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27 Feb 12
Played by: Ennio Styles (Stylin Radio Show), Ricky Simmonds (DJ Rsi), Bizt, Sounds Of Sumo, Champion, Rack N Ruin, Major Notes
Review: Any naysayers believing that UK funky is in decline need look no further than Roska's Kicks & Snares imprint which continually delivers the goods in terms of vital, high quality material. Beyond The Sea is MA1's second release on the imprint, showing off his diverse production talents. The title track is a deep number with cavernous synth stabs, whilst "Rockstaa" has all the swagger its name suggests, rolling along with a tumbling bassline and razor sharp claps. "Circles" is a distinctly more soulful number whiles "Bassbox" uses a distinctly ravey, ruckus-rousing high pitched synth stab and building claps. Finally, Shox remixes "Beyond The Sea", stripping it right back to it barest components, using its melodic hook sparingly and adding some sawtooth bite.
25 Feb 13
Review: Where they find the time to run such a consistently on-point label and come up with so many creative new twists on the sub-frequency heavy style, we don't know. But Macabre Unit have been killing it for many years now. Hot on the heels of last month's debut volume, "Unit Jams Vol 2" strikes even bolder poses. "War Riddim" swaggers with all drama we've come to expect from the trio, "Unit Jam" rumps with an edge grime angularity, "Millennium Falcon" is more a classic electro breakbeat riddim complete with 50 shades of euphoria and "Tooth Grinder" concludes this eclectic selection with an industrial ghetto-tech groove. 10 years deep and still going strong...
07 Nov 11
Review: This new split single from excellent future-garage label L2S sees grime pioneers Macabre Unit go up against fellow UK producer Rowl, with doubly devastating results. Macabre Unit's "Clockwork" is simply brilliant - a stripped down burner with a crisp, Blawan-esque 2-step drum pattern, deep basslines and a slowly rising four-chord pad sound, all mixed together with huge amounts of tension. Rowl goes for a more murky sound with "Think About You" - a complex and deep banger with a worming bassline thread through dubby atmospheres and crackling drums.
05 May 13
Review: As far from the quaint old Beatle as you can get (unless you believe that weird old rumour about him discovering SL2's 'On A Ragga Tip'), this Macca is a hotly rising member of Wolverhampton's StayFresh crew. Here he goes solo in an inventive 2-step homage that features slick orchestral flourishes and eccentric keyboard melodies. Oh, and some killer rhymes that name check the likes of G-Star and er, Primark. Elsewhere "I Do Me" is assertive grimey hip-hop.
13 Jul 10
20 Feb 12
Played by: Chris Coco, Juno Recommends Dubstep, Vorres - Juno, Danny Drive Thru, Matthew Kyle, J Courage, Djs: Most Charted - Dubstep, Bam Bam Dealers
Review: For a producer who used to be clearly defined in the sliced hip-hop tempo of Dabrye and Prefuse 73, it sure is hard to make sense of Machinedrum these days, and we mean that in the best possible way. As the name might suggest, his latest effort "Nastyfuckk" is a guttural affair, plying those frantic juke rhythms while a synth line satan would be proud of growls away underneath. It's a relatively linear effort and all the better for it. "What U Wanted 2 Feel" flips the script with a slow-lurching rhythm more akin to Mount Kimbie than DJ Nate, complete with treated R&B vocal licks, while Pixelord jacks the track up with a colourful and punchy remix.
17 Jan 12
Played by: Mental Overdrive, Woodhead, Deepchild, Wildlife!, Dairmount (Room With A View Recs), Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Hxdb, Vorres - Juno, Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy), Klipar, Gilus, James Johnston, Nsekt, Liz-E, Astronomar
Review: Having thoroughly re-established himself in the wave of re-appropriated juke on last years Rooms album, Machinedrum steps up with this rapid fire EP of sliced samples and R&B brightness. "SXLND" distils some serious auto-tune mangling into a broken rhythm, while "Van Vogue" captures the feel-good flavour of early nineties chart dance in a strange, understated soca groove. "DDD" is almost outright house music, albeit with plenty more snippets of vocal getting jiggy with each other, but the smooth shuffle is hard to resist despite its prevalence in these times. Machinedrum's versatility can't be argued with, but more impressive is how he maintains his sonic identity throughout. Highly recommended.
27 Mar 12
Played by: Odiggity
31 Oct 11
Review: Slime Recordings continue to generate heat in the form of this debut EP from 20 year old producer Made, showcasing futuristic sounds in the vein of Hudson Mohawke and his contemporaries, taking in the influence of garage, R&B and grime along the way. "Like Us" is a neon slice of melodic future R&B, skilfully weaving a sultry vocal around a dubstep bassline and garage rhythms, while "That I Need" has a slightly more relaxed vibe, utilising hypercoloured melodies while a rolling breakbeat propels the track forward. "You're Sorry" takes on more of a Burial vibe, with a more atmospheric mood complete with sweeping strings, while closer "Fantasy" offers one of the standout moments, utilising a classic 2-step beat over a reverb laden soundscape.
06 Oct 11
01 Oct 09
19 Nov 12
Played by: Major Notes
Review: In its original form, Major Notes' "Abeka Lapaz Dance" is a pretty straightforward, tropical-tinged UK funky roller with more than a hint of "Township Funk" about its bleep melodies and swinging percussion. The remixes, though, take it in two wildly different directions. First, TemaGuy breaks up the beats on a garage-flavoured excursion that wisely keeps the original's bold, chiming melodies to the fore. DJ Eastwood, meanwhile, somehow manages to inject the original with a huge dose of rave-itus. There are wobbly rave riffs, skittering, Major Lazer style drums, fuzzy electronic noises and those melodies. The result is pretty darn tasty.
19 Mar 12
Played by: Kalbata, Ricky Simmonds (DJ Rsi), Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Sunday Roast, Greenmoney, Major Notes
Review: This quietly impressive EP from Major Notes offers four distinct takes on future garage and UK Funky. Opener "Ama", for example, rides a wave of voodoo murkiness and tropical-infused rhythms before introducing a few rays of light later on. "Albino", meanwhile, goes for a similar voodoo feel, but adds odd, chopped-up vocals and marimba melodies for a slightly airier experience. "Abua" sounds like a booming, tropical take on Basement Jaxx's "Fly Life" (it isn't, incidentally), while closer "Antidote" is unflinchingly sweet and sugary - a genuinely happy finish to an otherwise intoxicatingly murky EP. Impressive.
11 Jul 11
07 Nov 11
Review: Londoner Major Note's impressive "Ashanti Jewels" and "Ashanti Spears" releases have seen the producer building on his hip-hop roots and developing real skills as a tropical bass wrangler. Pleasingly though, as on the sine wave frenzy of "Off Sync", he uses scratches and cuts to pepper his beats. The crazed UKF of "Blow Your Load" and the ethno-house of the title tune both go into making this EP a tasty treat for fans of fresh bass beats.
06 Feb 12
Played by: Ricky Simmonds (DJ Rsi), Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, DJ Whitecoat, Bizt, Clear Conceptions, Major Notes
Review: At its best, UK funky can be one of the most joyously uplifting forms of electronic music. The key to great UK Funky tracks is always the grooves, which at their best offer a knock-'em-dead combination of addictive, almost tropical rhythms and heavy bassline pressure. This new single from Major Notes -accompanied by soulful vocalist Koni - boasts a fantastic groove. Combined with Koni's excellent vocal and some neat melodic touches, it sounds both grown up and markedly energetic - like soulful house given a massive boot up the backside. The accompanying Notesy Remix is great, too, and offers a deeper, less hurried alternative that gives the vocal more room to breathe.
14 Dec 12
Review: UKF protagonists Major Notes return with anther dancefloor illuminator in the shape of "Spotlight". The title track features a light calypso vibe complimented by a soft organ and a strong female R&B vocal. Of the six remixes provided it's Phountzi's cut up and choppy mix and Hagan's synthy tropical voodoo mix that really set the club alight.
18 Feb 13
30 Jul 12
Played by: Hxdb, Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy), Sounds Of Sumo, J Courage, Konnekt - Hot N Heavy, Cosby (Car Crash Set)
Review: An in demand producer from Leeds, Mak touches down with Embassy Recordings for two new fresh joints - the breezy digital jack of title-tune "Bhasa" which uses vocal acapella chops in a way that recalls greats like A Guy Called Gerald's "Voodoo Ray" and Mory Kante's "Yeke Yeke". On the (digital) flip, "About You" is a minimal spank of impressive 808 sequencing and R&B vocals, fused together with real flair.
02 Apr 12
Played by: Odiggity, Ricky Simmonds (DJ Rsi), Wildlife!, Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Hxdb, Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy), Mike Hindle - Immersed Audio, Reilly Steel, Sounds Of Sumo, Konnekt - Hot N Heavy, Mak & Pasteman
Review: Upcoming UK house pairing Mak & Pasteman show a healthy respect for the best of Detroit and London on this new release on Shifting Peaks. The essential title tune "Do The Same" is smothered in strong dreamy pads a la Derrick Carter, but spiced up hugely by an addictive vocal hook that's layered perfectly over blunt kicks and Carl Craig-style arpeggios. "Lost" is a more withdrawn and haunted 2-step winner, while "Mode" takes a familiar Junior Reed refrain but frames it perfectly over some rough snares and tough, grimy bass. An excellent release and definite names to follow during the course of the year.
12 Dec 11
Played by: Ricky Simmonds (DJ Rsi), Hxdb, Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy), Klipar, Sounds Of Sumo, Diamond Bass, Paradisiaca Recordings, Tcts
Review: Mak & Pasteman deliver their long awaited debut for Sounds Of Sumo, with an EP that cannily blurs the lines between bass, dubstep and UK funky to spectacular effect. "Chakra" takes an Indian string sample and combines it with a growling bassline and funky snare rhythm, whilst "Move Something" is a fast moving bass roller with warm synth buildup and sweet vocals that recall Joy Orbison's early cuts. "Get With The Program" meanwhile sees the pair deliver a late night groover which filter a 90s house spirit through old school jungle rhythms, whilst "Heat" takes furious vocal pitching and melds it with a percussive masterclass to create a unique take on the big room sound. The EP comes with an embarrassment of remix related riches, from Tommy Kid, Bondax, Click and Kingsin, with CDBL's furious reworking of "Chakra" and Real's melodically rich reworking of "Heat", (which recalls James Blake at his finest) standing out for praise.
20 Feb 12
Played by: Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy), Thrills, Konnekt - Hot N Heavy
Review: A bass-loving UK duo who are able to bust out quality bangers across a wide-range of genres, Mak & Pasteman turn in two stand-outs on this new Hot N Heavy release. "Playboy" is a pepped-up half-stepper with a glitched out bassline, a sea of astral arpeggios and a Machinedrum-esque use of R&B acapellas that fire over the track in a head-spinning array of pitches. "Jungle Juice" on the other hand rocks a UKF beat with nasty grime bass and an excellent, DJ Mujava-esque lead sound thrown in.
18 Jun 12
Played by: Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Commodore 69 (Hot N Heavy), Bizt, Shouts!, Mike G, Deepski, Sounds Of Sumo, Konnekt - Hot N Heavy, Ground Control
Review: Second time around for Mak and Pasteman's "Playboy", this time in glistening "VIP" form, backed by a string of new remixes. For those who enjoy their garage to flicker between fizzling haf-step and bombastic tropical rhythms, "Playboy VIP" should be essential. Remix wise, choose between the cut-up wobble of Udachi's remix, the breakdowns-and-dubstep-on-speed flex of the Clicks & Whistles version, and the snappy bounce of the Subio remix. There are also three new reworks of "Jungle Juice". Of these, it's the fairground two-step and call-and-response madness of the Palle Remix that most impresses, though there's something deliciously raw about Mike G's heavy rework.
28 May 12
31 Oct 12
Review: Mako is the latest name to arrive on the Hot N Heavy imprint, bringing his own brand of intricate bass music. The sparse title track focuses in on weighty 2-step kicks, wrapping all manner of subtle melodic riffs and vocals around its complex percussion. "Hurt Me" is more explicitly UFK, rolling forward on a rhythmic flex of funky snares, reverb heavy vocals and filtered synths, while "Good FiRday" shows the producer to have a knack for crafting boogie infused hip-hop beats, combining neon saturated 8-bit melodies with weighty organic beatwork. A hefty remix package is also offered; Almostt turns Tropicality" into a moodier, snappier cut, "Shouts" swathes the track in rippling dub effects while, Huffaker Park transforms "Hurt Me" into a precise piece of swung 4/4 house.
07 Sep 07
13 Sep 07
29 Feb 12
16 May 11
Review: Having previously teamed up on releases for Southern Fried, tropical house twosome Malente and Jay Robinson join forces once again with much-missed MCs Yo Majesty on the mic for this big, big tune. With a marching band rhythm and urgent soca stabs locked into a bouncy groove, the YM ladies tear it up and add an inimitable swagger to this future classic. With a host of brilliant remixes also included, highlights include Botnek's insanely warped yet infectious treatment and Raffertie's tight eski-garage reworking.
21 Sep 12
Played by: Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage
Review: Electro house heroes Malente and Zero Cash continue their productive alliance with a new five track EP on No Brainer Records. "Without Out You" looks back to the days of raw, hair-raising house including stomping beats house-nation/jackmaster-style vocals and of course good old piano stabs. "Jail Babe' is best described as 'laser-house' as the intense rhythm track pound while an industrial alarm repeats and um, laser sounds goes off everywhere. "Turning Beds" combines disco-synth lines with galloping tribal house. The title track is also remixed by Ego Troopers -a deep and dubby affair- and Vin Sol & 5kinAndBone5, who conjure up the spirit of Lil' Louis to killer effect.
21 Mar 12
Played by: Odiggity
27 Apr 09
Played by: Jack Stat
31 Oct 11
30 Jul 12
Played by: Sounds Of Sumo
Review: French imprint ClekClekBoom are really gathering steam this year, and follow up a blinding release from Bambounou with two stripped back rollers from Manare. "Quartz" is the perfect collision between UKF and the French take on African rhythms, with 808s that smack hard and bass frequencies begging to be played on a huge system. "Down To Dis" is similarly robust but is characterized by wonky melodies playing off against an insistent vocal sample - big tip on this one.
07 Jun 10
Review: An incredibly impressive selection of remixes on this fun and fruity single from French producer Manare. A relative newcomer, he's managed to capture the current trends for tropical, snare-led beats and jazzy samples perfectly on "Speakeasy" with its '30s, Cotton Club-style trumpets billowing over a perfectly balanced beat. The much-praised duo Renaissance Man work up a thrillingly intense and minimal beat that builds with filtered up shivers of the original's trumpets, joined in turn by choir samples at one point. As more and more is added to the mix, it becomes a jacking treat and one well worth checking out. Lorcan Mak uses the choir vocals as the main melody, albeit side-chained to within an inch of it life. DJ Beware & Motorpitch take things down on their mix, employing a deep house groove and peppering it with horn stabs as they build the vibe step by step. With another Manare original, the ferocious electro monster "Pirog" included as well as a Dubbel Dutch mix, this is a very classy, utterly cool EP that really represents the best of 2010.