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A few words on Hold Tight Record’s latest EP…

Having emerged from a collective of multi-talented ‘soundboys’ putting on events in and around Bristol; Hold Tight Records as a label has taken shape, and some would say the lead when it comes to music inspired by roots and soundsystem culture. Not only have they been consistently bringing the heat when it comes to releases, but they have recently established themselves as a foundation for many dub-enthusiasts during a time when the odds seemed to be stacked against them. Despite restrictions, they have rooted for artists to stay connected whilst hosting collaborative events alongside the sure-fire promise of supplying the heftiest of sound systems. 

Ring the alarm, as not only does it seem the rules of the dance are to be alleviated but the rise of ‘Hold Tight Records’ is imminent as they kick start the year with three absolute heaters rolled into one featuring some iconic vocalists. The main force behind the buttons and creating such 140 wizardry is Bristol-based ‘ickle’ and it should be noted that by no means does his name reflect his productions. Having released ‘An Ickle EP’ three years ago on the label alongside a number of more downtempo tracks, his wealth of knowledge in the roots department has only evolved and he continues to level up. Not only that, but his impression within the bass music scene stretches across genres and his production techniques have gained support from dons in the scene such as Aba-Shanti-I. 

ickle & Riko Dan

The hype over the first track ‘Wicked’ has been massive and rightly so as London City Warlord, Riko Dan, steps up to the mic after rolling deep with the best of the best. The affinity between Riko’s distinct lyrical flow and Ickle’s grime-infused wubs is immediately apparent. It’s hard-hitting, energetic and certainly oozes an element of nostalgia as it takes you back to that mid-late 2000’s ‘badman’ era, you know the one, where it became unsavoury to be stepping on man’s Reebok classics. It has instant appeal and is bound to see a few wheel-ups in the dance. Alongside this and harnessing the very same energy is an official music video starring Riko himself; a pivotal moment for HTR as it is their first time delving into cinematography. Go check it!

Ickle’s next track ‘Murder’ holds a much more moody, sub-heavy weight to it and the square dubstep waves are typical of that ‘Purple Sound’ of Bristol – much more of a groove rather than a skank. This is only emphasised by prolific lyricist and MC Rider Shafique as he lays down some thick raspy vocals which sit perfectly in the breakdowns. It has a certain sincerity about it and also lends a nod to the deeper and darker end of the dubstep spectrum.. It’s thought-provoking and progressive. To round off the release, and moving further into the shadows, we have Hinjix’s avante-garde remix of ‘Murder’. It has to be some of the most experimental production we have heard from the dubstep trickster and that HTR has ever put out. Imagine The Bug meets Ivy Lab – distorted and dour. To wrap it up, HTR are stepping up their game and making moves to signify that they are ready for war with music being their ammo – grab yours now and join the troops.