Reviewed this week
The mighty Maji takes the controls at his own Sweet Tooth imprint with four peaktime bumpers. Longstanding singer Jessica Luck features twice on the super-hooky "Pressure" and the creepier, sultrier "Dangerous". Elsewhere we have two straight-up slayers: the soaring samurai bass of "Back Up" and the glitch-tripped data spiked bass of "Guillotine". Massive.
Unstoppable dark vibe maestro Joe Moses returns to V with five more of his signature understated, scene-uniting constructions. "Dimmer" plays the lead role thanks to its Krust-style drum savagery and ultimate groan bass riff. Highlight b2b highlight b2b highlight follows as the whole EP hits the kill switch.... The rolling Symmetry minimalism of "Kids", the creepiness and subtleties of "Suction" and the unabashed croaks and toxicity of "So Below" are just a few of the standout, hair-raising dynamics at play here. Essential.



Men of the moment Serum & Voltage press the red button on Serum's nuclear new label: Souped Up. The results are as bright, bashy and bad-ass as you'd hope them to be: "8-Bit" hits with a nasty rasping riff that grizzles on the top-end and sizzles on the bottom while "Gunfingers" shoots and whips with an anthemic bass melody that's so strong you feel you've known all your life. Already massive in the dance with those lucky enough to have it dub, this is the way all new labels should launch.
Belgium meets UK: Bass Boost's Basstripper makes his debut on Propz & Rowney's ever-shreddy G13 and he's really not messing around. Covering all shades across both sides of the scene he treats us to spiked-out high pitch paranoid riffage on "Safehouse", classic fuzzy bass hookiness on "Fur Dich", weirded-out robot-funk on "Level 1" and ridiculous harmonic switches on "No Laughing". Like we said... There's no room for messing around here. Crucial.
If there's any tune that can truly say I'll be back it's Hizzleguy's screech-funk stepper "Terminator". Released in January, it has returned in both VIP and remix form... And the results are even more hair-raising. The former is pure mimetic poly-alloy T-1000 with its stretched out bass textures and unnerving sense of danger while the latter (courtesy of Nu Elementz) will take your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle with its added grizzly bass tones and looser sense of funk. Terminated.
Fast becoming one of Natty Dub's finest success stories, Jaxx returns with a job lot of sweet sweet rolling gully. There's a sexy simplicity and minimal sense of mischief throughout; "Don't Push It" purrs, "Herbs" twangs, "Take A Walk" groans while "Search Party" jitters and teases. Lean, to-the-point and straight-up funky, this is what properly classically trained drum & bass is all about. Welcome to the asylum.
Remix time... Sub-Liminal look back over the last few years of releases, pick some of their many great rolling moments and get the artists to remix swap. It's gully grooves from the off as Hybrid adds a much darker dynamic to "Super Bad" and breaks up the reggae sample while Too Greezey injects serious drum muscle and switches out Hybrid's signature junglized basslines on "Kung Fu Master". Leaf follows with a darkened, clipped and steppy twist of Agro & Too Greezey's dubwise "Don't Mek Me Get Dark" and finally Agro smooths out the angular attitude of Leaf's "New Life" with a lower swung, funkier perspective. Great concept, killer versions.
It's been a few years since Ulterior Motive last delivered original material on Headz but these two ageless designs more than make up for lost time. "Step Change" is the assassin of the two: one click head shot business, this is a run for cover brock out with all the grit and aggression we need in these dark, paranoid times. "Get Close", meanwhile, proceeds to soften our edges. An unnerving, droning stepper that's restrained, but gradually built with measured menace, it's quintessential Ulterior Motive.
VARIOUS
What an absolute treat from the F2 stable this is! The courageous label has taken it upon itself to keep releasing puristic garage in an era where genres are bbeing blurred like Saturday night cocktails, and it really is a great thing to have someone carrying on the UK's seminal tradition along the hardcore continuum. This is the first volume of their F2 comps, and features a whol load of break-ready, gun-toting individuals wishing to inject some class into modern house. Inside, you'll find some absolute bangers for peeps like Champion, Tuff Culture, Deadbeat - who comes through with some twisted two-step - and Pharaoh K, among the many fresh faces on here. SICK!
Paul SG's Jazzsticks returns to their irregularly regular Hidden Tunes series with a second instalment of restrained rollers from understated up-and-comers and friends of the label alike. If you know the Jazzsticks sound, you'll already know the sterling vibe: dusty, soulful, warm and organic from some of the sharpest talents in the game. Highlights include the big jazz whirlwind of Soul Deep founder Scott Allen's "Soul Desire", a 97-style horn-melting stepper from Decon ("Cool Breeze") and Pulsaar's dreamweaving shakedown "Room For Two". What once was hidden is now found... And will remain in your playlist until the next instalment lands in years to come.
Marcus nasty: The man, the myth, the legend. A pivotal figure behind the emergence of Grime and UK Funky sounds, there is no one better placed to compile and present a comprehensive collection of the latest evolutions of the House & Garage sound. Curiously enough, the package drops on Dallas imprint Audiophile XXL, as Americas biggest dance music Europhiles the Texans constantly have their ear to the ground and are no strangers to good old fashioned British basslines!

Superabound with dance floor ammunition and A-list names, it is an all killer no filler collection. Wittyboy & Tengu hook up on "Bioshock" with a bassline so harsh it will leave you with a sore throat. LR Groove drifts into more traditional tech-house territory on epic track "The Journey". Brent Kilner rattles he ribcage with a 2017 take on the Sheffield Niche nightclub sound. There are too many standout tracks to mention and in all honesty we have a lot of music to focus on but we would seriously rinse this day and night for the next fortnight if we could.

Legendary UKG mix series Pure Garage return with a crucial 60 track collection curated and blended by unstoppable UK bass foursome Foor. Serious new school representation throughout, expect silky soul and darker steppers from some of the most exciting names to have come through in recent years such as Jax Jones, Mikey B, Conducta and Preditah. Interspersed with big hitters (Gorgon City, Rudimental) and UKF icons (MJ Cole, Wideboys), this really does reflect the exciting range and creativity happening in UK bass, garage and house right now. Comes with three continuous mixes, too. Badman bundle.
A couple of years back, Rafael Top Secret - a selector known for digging deep for inspiration - delivered a tidy re-edit of "Sekele I Like It", a previously little-known Afro-boogie cut by French artist Robert "Bobby" Helms. Copies of the 1980 album it came from, Lay Down, Girl, now go for serious money, prompting this licensed reissue. Helms' brilliant, horn-totin' original is accompanied by another cut from that album, "Feet On The Ground" - a straight-up disco affair - and two new remixes. Baptman and Betino's "Philly Vibe" mix of "Sekele I Like" is a largely instrumental interpretation that includes some killer electric piano solos, with Vas Moody's "Feet On The Ground" remix taking that track in a tightly-wound dub disco direction.
SMBD aka Simbad is back on GAMM again after a longer break and said to be planning a few EPs with seasonal themes for the label. The first EP as you might expect delivers three tasteful season influenced reworks and remixes which the label claims will 'be your perfect DJ weapons over the Summer months.' If the Afro broken beat groove of Bootsy's "Rather Be With You" (Alphabets Heaven X SMBD remix) won't do it for you, or the super soulful Colonel Abrams tribute "Table 42" (SMBD Tribute) does not grab your attention, guaranteed that the stunning 4/4 rework with Mike Lowrey of Jazzy Jeff's Summer classic "Summertime" has the potential to be a huge tune in the coming months.
His first substantial body of work since his agenda-setting debut album on DJ Hybrid's other label Audio Addict, Kumarachi jumps over to Deep In The Jungle with four bundles of absolute breakbeat bliss. "45" sets the scene with bashy amen cuts, a smoky ragga sample and basslines so rude you'll need new trousers. "Move Up Your Body" continues the lewd factor thanks to its Blackmarket-style bassline that rumbles with ankle-slapping lowness while "Buss It Up" plays the consummate end boss with its rough and rusty amen slaps and punches. "So Listen" closes the show with even nuttier drums, this time on more of a Dread bass timestretched flex. Impeccable and true to the craft.
South coast soldier Vital makes his debut on the turbo-charged young label Bulletproof who are already 17 releases deep after seven months of ops! Living up to his name once again, each cut tickles a different corner of D&B's dark underbelly: "Skank Out" is plain lethal with its MC sample, open-hand slap bassline, loose drums and iced textures, "Bossman" fuses a little jungle magic and soundsystem samples with a nagging bouncing riff while "Murder" goes in for the kill with its lower, grumbling bass hook that refuses to quit. Finally "Walking Dead" adds a little mischief as a carnival bassline sizzles and pings its way around a swaggering, mildly skanked two-step. Vital by name....
Opolopo barely puts a foot wrong, so it's little surprise to find that this collection of Bits N Bobs is really rather good. Highlights include the sparkling, jazz funk-goes-deep house swing of "Put Your Cap On", the P-funk bass and squiggly D-Train synths of "Spray Tan" and the swirling, life-affirming disco-house bump of "Stroke My Disco", where cut-glass string loops and crunchy Clavinet lines ride a relentless groove. Elsewhere, he further enhances his disco/house fusion credentials via the intricately produced, musically expansive warmth of "The Lakedown Stomp", before rounding things off via the bubbly Dam Funk synth solos, Chez Damier chords and snare-heavy drums of jammed-out highlight "Eventide".
It was way back in 1992 when Detroiters Raphael Merriweathers Jr. and Niko Marks first joined forces under the Unit 2 alias. "Sunshine", their cheery, piano-laden debut single, has long been one of Gerd Janson's favourite house tracks. Here, the Running Back boss has roped in Kink and Tiger & Woods to put a fresh spin on the stone cold classic. While Kink's version - all fizzing drum machine rhythms, steady bold and explosive piano solos - is top-notch, we prefer the Tiger & Woods rework. Typically loopy and tactile in the Italian duo's distinctive style, their mix is a lesson in the dancefloor potential of bass heavy, saucer-eyed, piano-laden loop funk. We have no doubts that it will become one of the house hits of the summer.
Three years on from his first Talamanca System collaboration with Tuff City Kids duo Gerd Janson and Phillip Lauer, Mark Barrott gets the gang back together for an album of typically loved-up excursions. International Feel's eccentric press release describes it as "a sunburned imagination of a day and night spent on Ibiza during a moment in time that probably never was". Given the album's repeated nods to baggy, piano-laden Italian house, the saucer-eyed, sunrise-friendly brilliance of 808 State's "Pacific State", sun-kissed post Italo-disco chuggers, percussion-laden tropical workouts and head-in-the-clouds ambience, it's actually rather an apt description. It's shamelessly Balearic from start to finish, but pulls it off with an authenticity that others could only dream of.
Breakbeat specialists Dubra and Arteo return to launch some aerial strikes on the Bomb Strikes imprint, and it sounds like these two have been busy chopping samples away on those machines! "Milk" adds a little milkshake from Kelis' timeless hip-hop mashup, the pair adding in more beat power to the equation, and this is followed swiftly by the moreold-school, siren-ready rave experiment by the name of "Bubble Baby". Last but certainly not least, "She Goes" goes for something a little more exotic thanks to a little injection of Eastern melodies to its outlook.