One of the most respected men in the game, Hazard returns with four blinding slabs of seismic sonics. Don't be fooled by the title, "Bricks Don't Roll" really does roll thanks to some unique drum programming, a harrowed hook and a sub that echoes its every peak and trough. Dig deeper for the head-turning, triplet-twisted hype riser "Mk Q", the subversive alien trippiness of "Death Sport" and the spacious reverberations and epic hollow-bass drop of "Meen Time". Hazard doesn't release EPs that often, but when he does the scene bricks it. This is beyond solid.
Expect much skanking and rejoicing from this herbal-tinted remix release, refixed and sharpened up by none other than the Serial Killaz. First up, "Uprising" goes on a high-energy jungle flex, rolling hard and fast with plenty of upbeats and plenty of vibe. Marcus Visionary steps up next for his take, rewinding back to the old school and adding the sounds of the street to toughen up the proceedings. Serial Killaz then get back to another co-effort for a dance-friendly Radio Edit and finally an instrumental mix takes centre stage. No beat was left unturned. Fire!
Legendary label Ruffneck Ting do their thing once again with the return of K Jah to bring the real sounds of jungle back to the dancefloor. This five-track monster rips it up from start to finish, with more fire than an octogenarian's birthday cake. First up to bring the vibes is "Supaclash" with its giant bass and even bigger selection of well-poised sampling. Following up with hard-rolling "Rough Times" and old-school tinted dancefloor-shaking "It Gets Better" there's a plethora of influences here ripe for the picking. "That's A Fact" follows up with a skank-along beats, filth bass and hip-hop vocals, and finally the greatest sweets in the world get a look in with "Cola Cubes" featuring Vytol, a dark and dingy look into the early hours; cold, heavy and very, very ravey.
Hotbox Boogie is the deep disco offshoot of Denver edit label Hotbox. Release schedules are there for a reason, and this time it's the turn of shady funk fiend Brutal Disco to step up to the plate. He doesn't do badly either with the slap-bass showdown of "This Kinda Lovin" and the smooth 90s lounge vibes of "Make Me Feel Good" hitting the spot, but it's the epic joy of filtered disco house beast "Keep On" that really steals the show.
Unlike his more prolific counterparts on the scene, Beta 2 has been working away quietly and sporadically over the past few years, spreading his talents sparsely but effectively, like a stealth bomber. With a timeless quality only a few producers manage to evoke, his tracks always bring the glory years of D&B to mind, transitioning smoothly from 1994 to 2004 to 2014 in the blink of an eye. "2nd Page" is a masterpiece in smooth, swaying drum and bass, picking up swooning strings as it rolls past. Second track "NOD" is made of harder stuff, with rough breaks and empty, minimal atmosphere. Moving into techier territory, "Time Traveller" takes beats most familiar to fans of the likes of Burial and Four Tet, speeds them up and sends them on their way with a gorgeously soothing rumble of velvety bass and soaring atmospherics. A true gem.
Moscow producer Alexander Lay-Far has enjoyed a productive EP, delivering effortlessly soulful deep house releases for City Fly, Lazy Days and Atjazz's eponymous imprint. Here he pops up on Local Talk with four more reasons to be cheerful. "Side To Side (I Just)" sets the tone, impressively fusing attractive electronics and shuffling, US house-influenced beats with warm chords and soulful vocal samples. Fouk remixes the same track, bringing out the bluesy elements in the vocal while offering a smoother, eyes-wide-shut, piano-laden interpretation. Elsewhere, Lay-Far shows his disco side on the baggy, horn heavy loop-jam "Get On It", while "Feel Like Making Dub" is an expansive, sun-kissed trip into boss-house territory complete with sumptuous keys and a rich bassline.
Man of many monikers Gerd returns to the NY Stomp alias he last used in 2012. "I Feel It Comin' On", featuring Matthew Kirkwood, is a sparkling chunk of revivalist US house, with pianos and cut-up soul vocals riding a classic bassline and stomping, basement-friendly beats. There's a couple of more UKG-friendly revisions in the shape of the Bass'N'Dirt Remix and Dub, while Ovis gives the original a thunderous makeover - all raw drum machine beats, powerful sub and cut-up, hands-in-the-air vocals. There's also a solid bonus cut, "Beatattak", in which Gerd laces chopped-up freestyle vocals and dreamy chords over a skipping, US garage style rhythm.
Liondub International come through with their usual bag of ragga jump-up goodness, and this time it's a mash up of the legendary Ranking Joe! "Ram Dance Selecta" is a serious body groover packed full of crunchy breaks and that inimitable Jamaican vocal twist - a true lesson in rub-a-dubbin'! "Jungle General" is another slice of mutant ragga funk, but a touch deeper and a little more sensual. All together, a true flash job. Run it!!
Time to pay homage to some of the greatest junglists in the biz for a lovely little detour into each of their mindsets. "Fall In Love" itself is a beauty of a track - with Eva Lazarus referencing Althia and Donna and the horns blowing pure heat there's a true dancehall vibe sizzling. First up to give it the remix treatment are Dope Ammo and Marvellous Cain who add their fun and fire twist with a hard edged drop switched into that winding bassline to send crowds wild. Mr Benn picks up the tune for its final remix and adds his own reggae vibes, swapping those dark dancefloor sounds for sunshine and tropical funky bass. Versatility and vibes - what more do you want?
Haunted bass peddler Woz has upped his output quota recently, and he continues his ascent with this short and sweet two-tracker. First up is "Cherry Hill" which is low slung, spacey and dark house: all sultry buzzes, hums and the ghostly vocals of Max Marshall. However, if it's creeped-out and dark 2-step you're after, you're best heading straight for the dark alley shuffle of "Trust Meh".
Following the sad news of Rashad's passing, this latest single from the ever-productive Addison Groove takes on a more poignant nature as the late footwork legend guests on the second track. That the track is called "U Been Gone" only adds to the emotional weight of it, not to mention the wistful keys and yearning vocal lick. Elsewhere Addison Groove is on typically fiery form, from the rave baiting whiplash of "Push It" to the weighty bassbin busting badness of "Dat Ass". The samples are beyond cheeky in their recognisability, and it matters not a jot when the music kicks as hard as this.
With releases on Mad Decent and Southern Fried to their name, Birmingham duo Hybrid Theory are fast becoming stars in the all-action world of bass music. Here, they continue their hard-to-define explorations, which variously doff a Snapback to grime, UKG, UK funky and deep house. Opener "Drop To The Max" gets things rolling via pulsating sub-bass, cut down rave stabs, locked in house beats and an almighty breakdown that should get hands rocketing skywards on the dancefloor. "Raw Sex" is an altogether more robust proposition, with dirty great bass and grime electronics wrapped around a hissing UKG rhythm. Finally, Hybrid Theory break up the beats a little on "Dollars", which is impressively sparse in its production, but no less effective. Once the bass and watery melodies take hold, you'll be hooked.
Bringing new levels of heat to the nu-funk fire, Rise Above returns with three more surefire party ruckuses. WBBL kicks off with a pitch-perfect update of Bomb The Bass's "Bug Powder Dust" on "Buggin", Sammy Senior looks further back and taps into the deepest pool of classic jams with a savage bass-scorched "Sweet Funk", and finally X Ray Ted closes the show with a cool homage to Al Jarreau, complete with a cameo from Mr Biggie Smalls himself. New blood? Bloody great, more like.
When you think of Basic Fingers, it's hard not to associate the label with the seasoned disco tweaking activities of Koko Garito, a man whose been integral in establishing the label within the edit community from the very off (remember that slick Skipworth & Turner edit on FINGERS001?) As you might have gathered from the title, this is the fourth solo Koko release for Basic Fingers and commences in jazz funk heaven with an edit of Deodato called "Family Affair" which shows off his skills for rearrangement and deft EQ for nine glorious minutes. Meanwhile, "Welcome Aboard" sees Koko flipping a Barry White and Webster Lewis arrangement in equally silky fashion, making it a perfect nugget for the early afternoon boat parties this summer.
Amazingly, it's been three years since Birmingham-raised duo Cause & Affect made their debut on Beatdown Music. Since then, their profile has rocketed thanks to regular appearances on Rinse FM. Here they pop up on the station's label offshoot with a four tracker that smoothly joins the dots between UK funky, deep house and UKG. Opener "Mistakes", blessed as it is with jaunty bleep melodies, warm sub, heady pads and a choice vocal sample, is particularly impressive. "Dimensions" is faster and breezier, with deliciously wide-eyed breakdowns, while "Bird Flu" laces electronic blips and cut-up vocals over a rolling 4/4 garage rhythm. Finally, "Foorest" is impressively weird and glitchy, sounding like UK bass house beamed down from another planet.
With the previous collaborative benchmark set high from the massive "September Sun" and their remix of Plastician's "Hard Graft", N-Type and Surge compound their premium partnership once again with this massive five-tracker. Every track is total galvanised darkness; from the paranoid pads and disgustingly thick bass/kick drive on "Katnip" to the almost Detroitian arpeggios, mangled grimy rhyme and spiked out acid line of "Clobber" via the dramatic rips and sneers of the EP title track, it's clear Surge and N-Type complement each other incredibly well.
Jump up heads, it's time to get nasty. A year after the release of this notorious dancefloor killer, Filthy Habits have taken to the lab once again to remix "No Cure" for the late summer crowds and boy are we grateful. Packed to burst with dirty bass and hard-spanking snares, there's not a pair of dunks in sight that could resist skanking to this. "Boiling Point" on the other hand raises up the salute to Turno's production skills with a faithful remix from Filthy Habits. Still dark, still destructive but with a sleeker, meaner level of devastating realness, this roller is going places. The favourite by far.
Cameron Jenkison and John Neenan aka South Royston are steadily making their way to the top of the garage game. The Southampton duo drop their first EP on the irritably on-point Four40 and as expected, it's a doozy. "Another Night" starts all floaty and pad-rich but quickly drops into a funky, militant 4/4 beat for the peak time hours. "Bad Format" goes even nastier thanks to a chopped up vocal sample that twists and turns over those silky, fast-paced garage kicks and hats. Bombs, the lot of em!
Serbia's Tonbe is back with a new sizzler, the Kindle EP, following success on the Midnight Riot label. He's definitely on a roll as the tunes here are all on a proper celebratory tip. From the Zapp-esque slow jam opener "Are You " to the G-funk of instrumental closer "Easy Ride Again" via the electro-funk-pop of "Western Wind" (and the killer electro stomp remix by Fingerman), it's one fun ride!
Many happy returns to Germany's Dirt Crew Recordings imprint, which this year celebrates a decade of deep and tech-house releases. For this celebratory collection, they've decided to take a slightly different approach, eschewing label classics and forgotten gems in favour of new cuts from familiar and lesser-known artists. There's naturally much to admire, from the heavy, Soundstream-do-deep house loopiness of Yosa's "Love Me" and the surging deep house funk of Timothy Blake's "The Town is Quiet", to the woozy, Ame-ish rush of Matt Masters' "6&3 Twos". Tigerskin does his bit for the label's old guard with "Ad Lib Robot", a bouncy, soul-flecked acid jam that's one of the compilation's genuine highlights.