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DNO 16 by Marka San, Axel Holy

  • Label: DNO
  • Title: Hidden Knowledge EP
  • Reference: DNO 16
  • Format: 12"
  • Country: UK
  • Categories: Bass dubstep grime Hip hop
  • Style: Bass, Experimental, Hip Hop
  • Weight: 0.24
  • Release date: 02/03/2024
  • Catalog entry: 02/03/2024
  • Average rating:

DNO 16 review

DNO welcomes two new signees, Slovenian producer Marka San and UK rapper Axel Holy, for one of the label’s darkest releases yet. The ‘Hidden Knowledge’ EP presents five tracks of dread bass and bad-trip sonics, as the Bristolian MC delivers cut-throat bars with the kind of calm, looming menace of a tomcat toying with its prey.

It was DEDW8, Axel’s horror-touched collab with Split Prophets’ Blanka, that first made him known in Slovenia, prompting Marka San to get in touch about working together. The same sinister vibe that drives that project has spread its tendrils right through the ‘Hidden Knowledge’ EP, from the twisted brass and squirming bass of ‘Where Did You Go’, which drags its feet like some zombified blues track as Axel repeats the titular phrase in his husky drawl, to the equally chilling ‘Classics’— all eerie samples and abyssal lows, with a pitched-down hook and braggadocious bars.

On ‘Patterns’, Axel goes to war, attacking the creeping beat with vicious battle bars and stories of the hustle, while ‘Hidden Knowledge’ sees him flex his vocabulary to take swipes at the powerful, and ‘Robert Downey’ makes his unswerving determination clear over grungy guitar.

Deliciously macabre, with intricate layers and lyrics that’ll have you spotting something new on every listen, yet still heavyweight enough for the dance, this is a match made in the nine circles and we can’t get enough of it.

Rhythms of postmodern realism at the very bottom of the DNO.

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