Few people are more aware of the potential of high-quality dubstep collaborations than the guys behind Hydra Records. The Japanese label, still in its infancy, scored a massive coup in September when they secured Japanese distribution of the latest album by dubstep pioneer Skream (who also experienced huge success this year as part of dubstep super-group Magnetic Man, a three-piece collaborative effort with long-standing fellow producers Benga and Artwork). Hydra Records’ follow up release, “Deepsketch” by AZZXSSS, is unlikely to achieve similar mainstream crossover success anytime soon, but could yet prove to be an important addition to the flourishing Japanese dubstep scene.

AZZXSSS, as well as presenting pronunciation problems to radio DJs worldwide (it reads something like “Azzuks”), is the official name of the collaboration between Japanese producers Azzurro and Solid State Soul. The former will be familiar to fans of hip-hop as a past member of Japanese group Mellow Yellow, while Solid State Soul is a new moniker that techno producer Shigeru Tanabu has taken on for his recent foray into dubstep. Though the two come from different musical backgrounds, they were united in 2007 during the recording of Azzurro’s “Nagisa” release, at which point they recognized they were both heavily influenced by dub and decided to begin producing tracks together.

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