Hackney's Compound One label must be jumping for joy having secured the rights to "Get Dangerous", the debut album from hotly tipped knob twiddler, Qualifide. A much anticipated release, this long player plays to Qualifide's strengths, delivering an eclectic mix of different styles, all fused seamlessly together in this producer's inimitable way. Highlights include the smooth urban sounds of "Dangerous", the soulful and jazzy speed garage of "Opportunity", the raw slammin' house of "Think About It" and the growling menace of "grow Stronger". A class act!
Dom and Mark Stanton fire up their rhythm machine and deliver one of their funkiest jams to date. Slippery, shaking, ultimately speaker quaking, the tight breakbeat groove is adorned by the slick spits of Eboi and given charming rubs from Dustin Hulton (industrial strength, drum-heavy vibes) and the currently unstoppable Mafia Kiss (a stripped back fusion of trap, garage and classic breakbeats). Each version is 100 per cent killer: the Stanton flame continues to burn bright.
Finnish Anglophile Rico Tubbs' love affair with the ravey sounds of '90s UK is still sizzling, with "Babylon Fall" incorporating lots of the best elements of British rave fom the last 20 years. The title track is a rolling 4 x 4 goliath, full of heavy bass, filtered rave keyboard stabs and pitched up vocals. Elsewhere we get hyper dubby breaks (Slick Shoota mix), retro speed garage (Jack The Hustler mix) and a totally mental wobble assault courtesy of Phatworld's mix.
Arun Verone's approach is pleasingly straightforward. Put simply, he combines elements of deep house, Chicago acid and UK funky to produce a trademark brand of UK bass-house that's almost irrepressible. As a result, this four-track assault for Q Recordings is well worth a listen. The title track does a great job in layering cut-up vocals and an icy, music box melody over shuffling house beats and a low-slung acid house bassline. The "VIP" version is a little more garage flavoured and adds a little late night darkness, whilst retaining the original's attractive elements. "The Coming (Keep It Coming)" sounds like "Good Life"-era Inner City making UKG, while "Short From Change" rolls forward on a wave of zipping electronics, choice hip-hop samples and a killer sub-heavy bassline.
Amici inaugurates the Lo-Beat label, an imprint which we've been told will bring back garage to the dancefloors. Title track "Feel The Vibe" is a seriously addictive tune, where crunchy, swinging beats meet rough melodies and deep, swelling licks of sub bass. Each track offers a different perspective on the garage genre, but our favourite moment has to be "Your Man" - it's both funky and totally nutty at the same time thanks to its off-kilter beats and memorable lyrics. If you want to cause some real damage on the floor, just play the whole EP out - we can't wait to see what's coming up next on Lo-Beat.
Whey Baq comes through correct with his second release for World Wide Phonographics, a label reserved solely for the most swaggering of garage-house hybrids. "Quirks Of Riddim" opts for a late '90s kinda vibe, juicing up the 4/4 swing with an old-school bassline, some flurries of acid and Clare Evers' soulful lyrics deep within the arrangement. You also get a UKG cut of the title track where the beats are tighter and snare-heavy, but our favourite tune is actually "John Wayne", a funky house bomb for the summer months. "Stand Up" is an ode to Frankie Knuckles, where joyful vocals meet progressive beats, and if that wasn't enough there's a sparser Vibes mix and a more menacing dub cut to boot!