Rinse FM favourite A Motion is back delivering a unique, forward-looking fusion of classic speed garage and two-step. The You Know EP features four new bangers in this ilk, all peppered with further sonic elements. The spartan title-track mixes melodic wobble bass and floaty female vocals, "Close Your Eyes" features mean bass growls under hypnotic vocals melodies, "Locked" introduces spacey rave pads and "What You Do" integrates '90s house organs with raw tw-step friskiness. Fierce!
Tik & Borrow joined forces last year with the sole intent of fusing their DnB past with their garage-step future. Here they chose their own In:Flux label to release their latest tune, "Neuromancer", which is a forward bouncing wobbler, made even more lean by Thorpey. Elsewhere, highlights of the many mixes include Little Mester's deep and moody bass throbber and 1point5's delicate two-step influenced rework.
Local Action return to their Ginuwine and Aaliyah sampling belter from 2014, Finn's Keep Calling, with a host of remixers on board. DJ Q and Fallow tackle the lead track, with the former turning the bouncy garage heat up to 11 while the latter gets crafty with a gunshot ripping, cut-up electro-trap fusion style that should get heads all in a spin wherever it's played. Meanwhile Samename takes on "My My", turning it into a swung stomper full of pomp, ceremony and a whole lot of cheeky tones in between. Strict Face remixes "Only Boy" in a more tender fashion, making a spread out RnB bliss out from the component parts in a fine style.
Sophomore session heaviness: Joker returns with his long-awaited second album The Mainframe, and it's clear his purple shades are still hooked on tight. Developing his distinctive brew of bass and rich synth funk, Joker's unique signature is scribbled across the whole piece of work; from the epic, orchestral dubstep drama of "Boss Mode" to the gritty, widescreen R&B of "Wise Enough" via the Swindle-style jazz of "An Intervening Episode" and the concept-style three-piece "Scene" narrative where the real tale of album unfolds. Second album cliches are ten a penny... The Mainframe sees Joker shoving his purple-gloved finger up at them all. Essential.
Two originals, two remixes, two co-labs: "Dualities" is a more than handsome collection of sounds that expresses the skillish signatures of the individuals and their strength in numbers. Both the title track and B-Ju's "Kids On Fire" are a defiant homage to jungle's robust roots and its intrinsic relationship with juke music. Deeper into the set we're stunned by smoky Slohmo-style bass swings ("Red Vines") and skippy, jazzed-out D&B drama on Ticklish's "Jealousy". Dualities? Quadruplicities more like.
Bristol bass man Redlight takes a one-way trip from the '90s and polishes up his finest set of grills while en route. Following a similar hooky vocal structure from 2014's summer smash, "Gold Teeth" is fronted by a sultry fem-bot listing disparate ingredients to a futuristic rockstar life. What's more, she's backed by a super-slinky booty bass breakbeat groove that pops and wriggles with full-bodied classic electro panache. Sweeter than lemonade.
Tissues at the ready: Thomas White and Dear Lola's RAW imprint hits its second anniversary and the Montreal duo are celebrating with a stunning extensive EP with four originals and four stunning remixes. Writhing in the most poignant, minor-chord realms of the beat scene, trap and hip-hop, their sadboi hat is pulled tightly over the brows as we flicked through reflective moments... The WEEKND-style slumber slouch of "Trippin", the jazzy splashes of soulful intro of "Give You Up", the outer planetary amen fracturisms of "I Know", this list goes on. The remixes are equally emotional. Highlights include Dave Luxe burning additional rings round Saturn with his twist on "BB" and Shake It Maschine & Mr Pigman injecting a juke attitude to "I Know". Turn that smile upside down.
With his profile bounding into the premier league thanks to salvos on Livity Sound, Hotline, Tempa and Berceuse Heorique, Hodge cements his reputation with a double pack on Hemlock that justifies every ounce of praise. Across the four tracks his rough and tumble approach to bass-infused techno dynamics holds court with confidence, as "Blood Moon" throws down dramatic grime strings over clattering drums and "I Don't Recognise You Lately" turns out a melancholic chime pattern embellished with tightly coiled slithers of percussion. "Recall" edges towards nervy blips and gargantuan claps, while "Tail Of The Snake" summons up tribal incantations in an uneasy UK twist on minimal techno.
After spending much time linking up on the likes of Keysound and Tectonic, two of the sprightliest minds in the contemporary grime-infected bass swells of the UK scene consummate their partnership with this heavyweight long player. With that unclassifiable flair that has marked out so many worthy producers in recent times, the spirits of rave, techno, dubstep and much more all equally feed into the tracks, from the Beltram-baiting heat of "Dance Energy (89 Mix)" to the nail-biting pressure of "Chaos Engine". If you want to test the temperature of where the most upfront club music is headed, then Mumdance and Logos are more than qualified to give you the lowdown.
Callum Watson makes his Four40 debut with this dynamic trio of bass-laced UKG treats. The cleverly titled (especially considering his young age) "Sines Of Aging" is straight out the My Nu Leng / Mak & Pasteman playbook - a dark groove, a hooky bassline and beats so crunchy they could be endorsed by Walkers. "No Games" lives up to its name as a no-messing, heavy-hitting bass house hurter. Finally "Trove" switches the 4/4 for a sweetly skippy two-step rhythm and a more drone-like tubular bass sounds. The real treasure in this particular "Trove", however, is the beautiful chord structure on the breakdown. Bountiful.
Pure sonic sludge from the ever-evolving Cloaka. "Adapt" is a hip-hop speed bass affair with treacle-thick bass and a vibe that's not dissimilar to Tipper's most formative work. Label boss Liar backs up its anvil charms with a more tech-edged twist before we drop into three more originals. "Each & Every" is a spacious, paranoid affair as roomy half-steps provide a canvas for a series of strange stabby patterns while "Bandala" flips the vibes entirely with lush old school pads, loopy hip-hop-style vocal chops and a bass tone that's so rude you need your parents's permission to play it out.
Lisbon's left-minded low end souls let loose with another extensive collection of lush tropical gems. Weighty enough to drop in a club, smouldering enough to drop one's underwear too, the fusion of electronica, steady 90BPM beats and yearning, star-gazing melodies showcases the most forward-thinking, creative tendencies of Buraka Som Sistema's label. From the twinkling Orbesque arpeggios of "Sexo Con Ropa" to the slo-mo squeeze box and meditative marching band bubbles of "Zoukoudian", this package transcends formulaic environments and could work anywhere, any place, any time.
Fresh from their Dreams escapade, there's no sleep for Trax Couture as Sub Skank operator Akito joins the fray with four slabs of pure bass future. "Dalston Dips" comes in two flavours; the original is a militant marching anthem with heritage traces of LFO and Unique3, while the alternative take barges and bashes with more of a ghetto-tek attitude. The attitude gets even more brutal as "Strategem" simultaneously nods at grime, techno and UK funky. "Sordid Forfeit" closes the show on his most poignant note as cold slo-mo arpeggiated pads writhe mournfully before twisting into the full bass hook. Powerful.
Veteran Hungarian producer and former DMC DJ champion, DJ Bootsie brings us his latest solo studio album offering "In Solem Verti". Bootsie's particular brand of instrumental Hip Hop and Bass remains as innovative as ever. Drawing Influence from global music culture and sounds, while remaining free thinking and experimental makes this record more of a journey for the dance floor and the home listener, than something for MC's to ride along, though crisp beats and squelching bass remain constant throughout. "Rokka" and "Forgiven" are the highlight tracks for us; with subtle Trap and Dubstep flavours they really typify an album that perfectly straddles the realms of thought provoking and dance floor shaking effortlessly. This one is not to be slept on.
Future Parisian rhythms; [Re]Sources [re]mix the debut document that came our way this time last year and instantly won them friends such as Monki, Woz and Roska. First up She's Drunk gets busy on "Pulse", playing havoc with the space-travelling breakbeat with funky mischief. Galtier kicks it old school with classic rave samples and breakbeats over the still-haunting bleep hook of "Suspect" while Krizzli shuts things down with a twisted jungle take on "Wait". Steppy stop-starts with well chiselled gnashers, it chomps up the drama with a great sense of dark momentum before dropping you into the dreamiest of pads. Game changer.
Bleak, post-apocalyptic designs: Dutch freshman Ebbo's debut EP is a dark, distinctive document that refuses to lay its crooked, angular hat in any one genre. Fusing the trappist physicality of fellow countrymen Yellow Claw and the yearning, star-gazing otherworldliness of fellow native Zes, it's the soundtrack to the bleakest end-of-days movie you've yet to see. Highlights include the choral spine and arpeggiated suit of shivering armour "No Amount" and the Endtroducing-style plucks and fragments of "Pian888". A genuinely unique entrance, Ebbo makes a very strong case for radar-lockage right here.
Genre-blurring breakbeat-based badness from emerging UK duo Initial K. "Mecha" is a really cool piece of dancehall-optimised breaks that nods at the bouncy work of Dub Phizix thanks to its chubby bass and kick combo. "Can U Feel", meanwhile, is a turbo-charged roller that wouldn't have gone amiss on TCR back in the day. Wait until that star-gazing drop makes itself known and you'll be reaching for the charity wristband like it's 2007 all over again.