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Murderation: Filthy Habits have been pushing out high grade drum & bass for some years now, but this is a whole new level. Highlights include the way "Artificial Intelligence" subverts everything you know about drops with its rising, paranoid riff; the way "1.17AM" creates the sensation of driving 100mph down the wrong side of the motorway; the way "Retaliation" buzzes and jitters like a digital bees nest on fire and the way that sudden extra jungle fill on "Yeah" well and truly knocks you off your feet each and every time. Powerful, uncompromising and utterly, utterly filthy.
Agro a-go-go.. The Sub-liminal bossman breaks down the doors of 2017 with four absolute flatteners. The story starts with "The Music" where a crisp, warm skank and vocal are soon shoved into a murky pool of low-end riffage, jump-up with added funk in the groove, this will spark up any dance in any corner. "Vengeance" follows on a meaner tip as stern bass and sudden amen flurries lick upside your senses and "Cold Roads" has one of the coldest drops Agro's ever created - sinister, moody and tubular, it is 1997 all over again. "Crush" concludes this fearful tale with the help of equally rising Leaf. Slapping and buzzing with a mild nod towards the Bristol sound and Clipz in his early prime - there's mischief in the moodiness. We'll let the music do the talking from here on.
We're not sure how much The Force sold his soul for, but we reckon Beelzebub must have given him a handsome deal as there are some seriously savage skills at play here. The hurricane bass harmonics on "Sold My Soul To The Devil", the Die-style bass mischief of "Field Of Vibrations", the "Nightflight" style sub flutters of "Looking For Trouble" and the balance of dreamy strings and early Playaz style bass riffage on "Kick The Flow". The whole package is authentic, true to the craft and original. May The Force be with you.
Tyke's Holographic Audio sparks up a big fat 2017 with a hefty seven-piece from the currently unfailing Damage Report. Every release of his last year was a blinder and we're looking just as destructive this year... The high harmonics and jazzy breakdown on "The Jitters", the crisp minimal funk and loose triplet swagger of "Back Ark", the cosmic twangs of "Backspace", the sandpaper volcano that is "From Earth", the wideboy wobbling sub and lolloping drums of "Not Right"... Each track hits with its own distinctive yet consistently heavy charm and character. Always underplayed and rough around the edges, these are the perfect antidote to the over-produced, digital-finessed D&B du jour.
South coast filthy animal Damageman lives up to his name once again with another hefty collection on Eternal. Two new originals, two crucial VIPs: "My Selector" sets the pace with crisp sunshine skanks and a gritty Q&A drop while "Hit Me" flies into deepest space with eerie radar blips, woozy jazzy sax and a series of bass textures that hit you like a meteor storm. VIP-wise he's re-touched his last Eternal tracks with a few sinister surprises along the way. Selection satisfaction guaranteed.
It's been a while since longstanding roller warrior Jayline last dealt out a six-tracker but, as always, the wait is more than worth it. This fact is evident the moment you catch a whiff of the vocal sample on "Unzip It". It's also evident the moment you're shaken to the core with a vigorous bass distortion on "West World", bitten by the funkier gnarly swagger of "Level 37 Wizard", hurled savagely into a the hornets nest bass of "Do It Right", hypnotised by the strange time stretched drum build on "Amazon Rhumba" or arrested by the dramatic chimes on "Enter The Dragon". Hell, it's evident in every release Jayline has put our way since 2009. Here's to waiting.
Following the hugely successful launch last summer, Lenzman delivers another album-sized trove from his new brand The North Quarter. Once again he's in generous mode as eight tracks (including an intro skit and versions) flow like fine soul wine. From the silky dynamics of "In My Mind", where Manchester singer IAMDDB really flourishes with neo soul allure to the darker late night drive of the Jubei-featured "Park Hill" via the delicious smoky piano-lingering haze of the Steo-fronted "Tender Love", this is the sound of Lenzman in his element, relishing in his sound and vision at levels we've never seen before. The North Quarter is shaping up to be something really special.
Origin returns to Logan D's Low Down Deep with another superb pair of curveballs. "Chasing Funk" takes us back to early 2000s with the funk and playfulness of Bingo Beats, Full Cycle and V. Bouncy, fun and killer in the dance - this slays with finesse. "Savages" lives up to its title, too. Maintaining that classic early century riff and groove mentality but with a darker T>I or Serum style, it's an instant reload bullet. You won't be forgetting these in a hurry.
The S.O.B.A.D crew descend on Nottingham with a whole armoury of hybrid bass/beat hurters. Sly One do all the driving as "My Name" slaps with a UK take on juke beats as a fork-tongued lava rap from TK Wonder whips up a dramatic frenzy. "TMB" sees the duo taking us on an even techier tip with its loopy, hypnotic vocal loop while crew mates Distro & Archive give UK funky a dark, demented update for today's paranoid times. Final S.O.B.A.D member Bromley winds down the trip by completely stripping "My Name" back down to a classic electro breaks groove. Block rocking.
Nottingham rudeboy Slipz slides into Subway HQ with four stark, steppy bassline grunters that will melt any floor this side of 2020. Kanine jumps on board for the opening shots on "Keyboard Warrior" - all metallic and rasping with venom. Elsewhere "Check This Out" rattles with a harmonic riff reminiscent of a young TC and rattling snare-heavy beats, "Massacre" creates a blood bath with its Hazard-style thick-n-fast ravaged riff while "Ha!" has the last laugh with some heady Generation Dub style grunty riffage. Don't lay off this one.
Some artists have the midas collabo touch. Artists like Need For Mirrors and Phil Tangent. Both superb vibe maestros in their own right, they also run extensive lines in partnerships... It was only a matter of time before they collided. And they've done so with five slices of pure gold. The whole collection is essential with highlights including the hazy swoops and reverse textures of "Candelabra", the restrained skin-melting poignancy of "Shifting Tones", the propeller-like heads-down rolls of "Residue" and a whole load more.
Their first new material since their incredible Orkyd Project album, Scar switch over to Dispatch for four crucial ice slices. Coldness runs throughout the droning bass and graveyard atmospheres on the undulating "Veiled Threats" while "Run The Track" is all about the reese bass and some savvy heritage reference work. Deeper into the document we dig... "Rogue Wave" is a hard hitting drum thumper with one of the most paranoid breakdowns Dispatch have seen this side of the DLR album while "Rude Boy" rolls out with early BC style dynamics and some superb vocal sample manipulation. Essential.
Some eighteen months after it first dropped on wax, Whiskey Disco's brilliant Disco Galaxie EP finally gets a digital download release. Given the quality on show, it should be an essential purchase for any club-focused disco DJ. The real killer is Kon's "Promised Land" edit, a thrillingly epic re-arrangement of a long slung, bass-driven disco monster that slowly builds to a dubbed-out crescendo over nine mesmerizing minutes. Elsewhere, Jacques Renault's "Disco Galaxie" is an authentic scalpel rework of a swirling, string-laden space disco stomper, while Love Dance moves towards Philadelphia Soul territory on the impassioned disco hustle of "Who Is He".
Insanity jams: Subsonic & Fraksure collide for five pieces of pure mayhem. "The Maze" is almost operatic with its strings and its screaming bass riff, "Born Killer" shoots lazers so hard and fast you'll be in need of new trousers while "Sound Killa" causes sub murderation with its foggy, droning intro and ruthlessly lean subby drop. Elsewhere "The Beast" balances an incredible hammer horror score sample with a vicious sandpaper riff while "Apocalypse" gives us a finite date on human extinction with soaring reeses and a riff that guarantees nightmares. Epic scenes.
All eyes on rising Nottingham bassline badman Holy Goof right now. Recently tipped as one to watch by UKF, his stamp-happy, groove-heavy 4x4 cuts are ticking all the right bass boxes. Including this next level club jam. Fusing subtle old school rave elements in the hook with a twisted, murky harmonic bass riff, this has got 'festival damager' sprayed all over it. The eyes have it.
Following a recent dalliance with Brooklyn-based Razor 'N' Tape Reserve, COEO returns to the loving arms of Toy Tonics with another solid four-track excursion. Happily, they hit the ground running with the rushing positivity of "Mydonna", a bumpin' chunk of peak-time house goodness built around some superb disco samples and a bustling groove. The accompanying, "alternate cut" smartly emphasizes some of the original instrumentation, whilst adding some subtle swing to the disco-house drums. On the flip, you'll find the deep, smooth and sensual "Torrow", and the breezy, atmospheric, piano-laden shuffle of "Coast To Coast".
Consistently bringing through fresh talent, Sheffield's Project Allout welcome bassline debutant Nadine. Instantly she gets stuck in as "Motion" (with hyped Crucast affiliate Frazah) warms up with warm chords before dropping into a thunderous high-end creeped-out riff. "Me & You" and "Crazy" both provide an expert balance of UKG vocal sass and more tripped out sad robot moans and groans while "Intoxicated" closes the show with some of Nadine's darkest bass designs and sharper fragments of vocals. A really cool balance of soul and savage here - we look forward to hearing more.
Eighteen months and two cameos on Headz and Hospital since his last SGN:LTD soiree, west coast soul merchant Submorphics returns with four more moments of deep drum & bass clarity. The lead track that has that dusty sample feel that rolls with a loosely hewn restraint very similar to early 2000s Makoto or perhaps Calibre cuts. "Stratospheres" sees him team with US MC of the moment T.R.A.C for a cool roller that wouldn't have gone amiss on any Progression Sessions album. "Arcata" shows Submorphics's darker side with a S.P.Y-style cosmic stepper while Christian Tamayo brings serious soul and sensuality to the swooning synths of "Lost In The Lights". Think Riya and you're on the right track.
Find your own personal inner rhythm as prolific soul veteran Furney returns to SDE with four adventures into the divine deep "It Must Be You" sashays with a slight eastern twang, pipes and a distinctive lead vocal while "Missouri" is a spring morning jive, all sprinkly keys and light-fingered feels. "The End" pays homage to drum & bass's spiritual church with a badboy jazzy roller that wouldn't have gone amiss on the mighty V back in the day. Fittingly we conclude with "Much Of A Deepness", a tripped-out heads-down roller with wee traces of Calibre in the dustiness of the piano sample. Exceptional, as always.
A key radar fixture since emerging on Euphonique's Sub-Woofah a few years back, Epicentre makes a return to Hybrid's Deep In The Jungle with five more jaw-dropping jungle jams. There's a strong sticky-icky theme as we spark up - "Dem Vibez" is a soundsystem shaker with notorious lyrical levels while "I Like Dope" wobbles with a bassline so authentically jungle it still needs to pay its Poll Tax. "Featherweight" belies its name with heavyweight drums and rolling breaks where a grunting sub provides the main hook. Stepping closer to the light, "Sweet Dreams" is a more cosmic roll-out with subtle psychedelic flourishes while "Watch Your Back" is an all-out lesson in jungle theatre - toxic bass, operatic vocals, sheer dance hedonism. 100% vibes.