Dubs Vol. 1 by Interplanetary Criminal review

When it comes to high-octane 2-step garage, Interplanetary Criminal is a repeat offender. This year has seen him fire out a variety of UK garage and broken beat releases on labels such as Time Is Now Records and Banoffee Pies.

Packed with pulsating basslines and slick snares, Dubs Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 have allowed the Manchester-based artist to successfully carve out a unique sound amongst the saturated new wave of UK garage. Ominous yet exhilarating, his recent releases have found fans in basement clubs and DIY kitchen dancefloors across the country.

His recent releases have found fans in basement clubs and DIY kitchen dancefloors across the country

This marks a departure from the more mellow Confused EP, released in 2019 on Manchester’s own Dansu Discs, which gave a glimpse of the extra-terrestrial bandit’s softer side. The title track, Confused, with its twinkling synths and compressed breaks, has a soothing effect, especially when combined with Amethyst’s heartfelt vocals.

It was with this EP in mind that I delved into the Mancunian’s latest lockdown-induced release: Dubs Vol. 1. With bulky kicks and a looping junglist vocal, Gyaldem Dub opens with familiar twisted garage, before making an unexpected shift to summer-y strings. The experimental blending of two overtly different styles is admirable, but the end product doesn’t quite hit the mark.

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Criminal then blasts away any discernible summer sentimentalities in his edit of MC Flowdan’s Horror Show Style. Stripped back snares and pads, paired with an eerie string sequence that wouldn’t sound of place in a David Lynch film, creates an unnerving atmosphere. The vocals elevate the track’s intensity until a throbbing low-end is thrown into the mix with explosive effect. Reminiscent of Sully’s remix of Exhale, this one is a real heater.

Maintaining the previous track’s high energy, the speed garage remix of Pride sees a return to old school with its Fantazia-esque samples. Combining excitable chopped vocals with neat percussion, the track has a real rolling quality that will satisfy DJs and dancers alike.

Whilst Dubs Vol. 1 may not have the consistency of previous releases, the tracks are more than capable of inciting a riotous reaction when played in the right environment to the right crowd.

Dubs Vol. 1 by Interplanetary Criminal is self-released. Consider buying the EP from one of Greater Manchester’s independent record shops.

Listen to Interplanetary Criminal on Soundcloud or check out his mixes on Manchester’s underground platform, Limbo Radio, where he holds a residency.

Listen to Interplanetary Criminal’s Dubs Vol. 1