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The dark art of gunfingering according to Upgrade: tuck ring and pinky fingers deep into your palm, point middle and index finger, use thumb as trigger, aim skyward then listen to "Gunfingers" and pull the most screwed up face possible as the metal-striking bass riff scuffs your very soul with concentrated adrenalin. Maintain your gunfingered stance throughout the rest of the EP: "History Of War" is as murky and paranoid as the title suggests, "Transmitting" layers octaves with a riff that will shoot through your mind for months to come while "Tell Me" combines classic rave elements with Upgrade signature riff science.
Hungarian hurters, if you know any of the Puppetz previous material you'll already understand the levels of darkness we're dealing with. If not, you're in for a treat. Demonic, distorted and full of leftside dirt, each cut is an adventure into jump-up's darkest pastures... "Mambo Jambo" is all slo-mo voodoo sludge, "Hench" twists tones in a way that defines science while the dagger riffed "Start Of Something" will also be the end of something... Your amicable relationship with your neighbour. "War" and "Bounce" close the show: the former is a deep drone work out wrapped in politics, the latter is all bass lasers and a very well-known spoken sample from the rave annals.
Todd Terje & The Olsens come correct with their first recorded material after an extended bout of them treating festival audiences to some of the Norwegian's best-loved material, not to mention some killer cover versions. Indeed it's the latter, oft-derided method of recording that forms the basis of this delightfully-presented double pack (we love a good Big Trouble In Little China reference) as Terje and the group rip through renditions of some disco standards from Martin Circus, YMO, Vangelis and more. Given Terje's lengthy range of official and under-the-counter edits, news of this new project makes perfect sense to us. In addition to these cover versions, Olsen have also commissioned some remixes with arch Terje colluder Prins Thomas involved along with Comeme artist Daniel Maloso.
Heist's Calypso Muzak continues to unearth fresh talent and give them the spotlight they deserve. Envenom's time to shine... Building on the sturdy foundations dug on Multi Function and Train, each of the five cuts shows how he subverts and twists jump-up and tear-out conventions: "Blizzard" layers bass in thick impenetrable sheets, "Killer Bass" is a space voyage over asteroid terrain while "Deaths Door" has a bass riff and breakdown so harrowing you'll need counselling for three years. Dig deeper for some skillish switches and trippy fills on "Warning", aluminium aggro on "Stimulation" and broken glass, handclapped funk with the playful riff on "Bad Juju". Devilish.
Double decade business: Total Science celebrate their label's big two-oh with an on-point collection of ageless constructs from friends old and new. Naturally, everyone arrives to the party in their sharpest finery; Break's cheeky rave references on the juiced up "Unified", the ugly undertones and system-melting weight of Total Science, Digital & Spirit's incredible "Apply The Pressure", Calibre's cosmic ping-pong jam "The Trot", Nymfo's dreamy harmonic heaven "Game Of Love", The Invaderz swashbuckled drum session "Be Around"... Not one player has tailored a shabby garm, ensuring well-suited jams for decade to come.
Hot on the kicks of his inaugural "Circuits" collection, scene soldier T>I continues to flex his floor-centric range with five more surefire slappers: "Changes" has a squiggly bleepy texture that balances just the right amount of weird funk with humour. "Hammerhead" lives up to its title with added drills and saws (and heads) while "Judgement" does a really trippy stretchy bass thing that's guaranteed to turn heads. "Let It Roll" will be the highlight for many with the juicy oozing out of the subs at toxic levels while "My Size" takes everything you know about T>I, jungle and life itself and burns it with fire. Deliciously twisted.
Black Sun Empire's Blackout development has been astronomical: A go-to hub of forward-thinking tech-edged drum & bass, it's played a leading role in the dominance of the neuro sound this decade. And here are 13 reasons why it's developed such a buy-on-sight status: from BSE's hair-raising, joyriding shake-up of Audio to Current Value's Kubrickian sci-fi drama to the long-awaited arrival of "Ego" VIP, not only will this shatter any floor in a ten mile radius but also documents the versatility, talent and innovation in the darker side of D&B right now. And Blackout are partly responsible for this.
Back in March, Rayko and James Rod launched their Classics of Arrikitaun series with an EP of largely impressive re-edits on Rare Wiri. This second volume delivers more breezy, midtempo goodness for those who like their grooves sunny and synth-heavy. Predictably, Rayko's two contributions tend towards the Balearic boogie, with the drifting, delay-laden vocals, rubbery synth-bass and glistening guitars of "Betcha" just elbowing out Midnight Starr cut-up "Headlines" in the "highlight" stakes. As for Rod, he urges us to grab a glass of something cool, sweet and refreshing on the piano-laden disco shuffle of "Silver Bike", before closing his eyes and raising his arms heavenward on the sensual boogie throb of "The Name Of Love".
Jump up jungle time! A trailblazing DJ in New York for almost 20 years, Hoogs knows how to bring it, and bring it he does - from jungle to deep and minimal there ain't a road he ain't travelled. Here though it's all about hyper fun DnB, with "Monsoon" kicking off with a relentless 175 bpm wobble-influenced assault, the title track bringing in some tougher breaky elements and "Sand Bag" is all about take-me-to-your-leader bass and horror backing tracks. Lastly "Day Dreaming" mixes speedy beats, barking mechanical bass and retro samples. Mad ting.
Robert Hood's second album as Floorplan sees him hone in on disco, gospel and house influences to create a proper big room collection. As the driving, disco-loop heavy "Spin" and the ridiculously catchy "Music" demonstrate, the Detroit producer has stripped Floorplan of its techno influences. However, this does't mean he has simplified his message; accompanying the religious vocals on "The Heavens & The Earth" is a hypnotic organ riff, the slightly less pious "Good Thang" is a riotous siren-heavy jacker in the Reese tradition, and "He Can Save You", with its dense primal rhythm is reminiscent of Green Velvet as his madcap best. Hood may have chosen God, gospel and disco over the minimal nation, but he still knows how to lead his people onto the dancefloor.
Rumour has it Phil Tangent's release rate is so criminally low the police have a warrant out for his arrest. Then, just as they prepare a dawn raid... Boom: along comes another muscular collection of absolute gold and the long arm of the law starts reaching for the lasers again. Four tracks of undiluted lushness, one instrumental, Phil's soulful space-bound signature is in full effect right here. From Hannah Eve's vocal hurricane on "As Much As I Can Take" to the planet-leaping synths and whirlwind pads of "Illuminate", this is Tangent at his sonic sharpest... Now if only we could squeeze him for more than one release a year.
Few re-edit series of recent times have been quite as consistent as the Editor's Kutz EPs. We can happily report that they've maintained these high standards on volume six. Vinyladdicted and Sleazy McQueen join forces on the opener, a rolling, head-nodding stoner rock re-cut that makes excellent use of subtle disco-house trickery. Regular studio buddies Ed Wizard and Disco Double Dee do an excellent job in looping up and dubbing out Marcus Valle's Balearic disco classic "Estrellar" (here re-titled "Stellar Dub"), while The Silver Rider chops between drum rolls and charity shop disco thrills on "Good Lovin' Baby". Finally, Doc Jam turns a well-known disco staple into a Soundstream style cut-up disco-house shuffler.
Juan Miguel Bassols first pricked our consciousness way back in 2012, when he delivered a fine debut under the JMII moniker on 100% Silk. He's not released all that much since, making this first appearance on Hivern Discs his highest profile EP to date. There's naturally much to admire amongst the three original productions present, from the stripped-back but melodious acid house shuffle of "Thrills", to the wild lead lines and chugging bottom end of the analogue synth-heavy proto-house snap of "Tightbrass". Christian S provides two tasty reworks of that cut, including a dark and seductive "Angry Dub". A woozy, dreamier John Talabot re-edit of "Thrills" completes an excellent package.
Let It Roll: Prague's drum & bass festival mecca reaches new heights every year as they involve and work with more of the scene's key labels. Part of a series of EPs from influential labels, Hospital joins the fray with four unreleased power punches: Logistics' gets his crunch on harder than usual with "Destination", Krakota busies up the soul VIP-style "In The Area", Whiney proffers a Bcee-level vocal massage on "They Will Come" while Anile closes the show on a dark rolling note. Think 98-era Total Science and you're not far off.
Quite remarkably, Obas Nenor's 2015 debut 12", My Way Home, appeared on Moodyman's Mahogani Music imprint. Since then, he's released hot material on Strictly Rhythm and Sol Power Sound. Here, he pops up on Detroit Swindle's Heist imprint with another strong collection of hazy, low-slung deep house shufflers. He begins with the loose, cheesecake-rich warmth of "The Door", before dipping the tempo a little on the funk-infused groove jam "Glimpse Of Light". There's a pleasingly bluesy feel about the bold and melodious "UV Lights", while "Wakee" offers a nu disco-influenced take on Detroit Beatdown. Mr Tophat's dense, deliciously percussive remix of "The Door" completes an excellent package.
Stroud collective Situation has long been among the most reliable re-editors on the nu-disco scene. Further proof that they barely put a foot wrong arrives in the form of "Simple Pleasures", a deliciously jazzy chunk of breezy dancefloor goodness that effortlessly combines glistening guitars, warm organ stabs, shuffling soul breaks and a life-affirming female vocal. For those who can take or leave the vocal, the boys from the Five Valleys have included an excellent instrumental version. There's a tougher, more upbeat remix present, too, with Chop Shop boss George Kelly turning the swinging original into a metronomic disco-house chugger. While good, it lacks a little of the alluring looseness of Situation's original version.
DJ Kaos doesn't put out many re-edits these days, but when he does, they're invariably superb. This seven-track set of fresh reworks contains some of his finest scalpel work to date. The headline attraction is undoubtedly "Midnight Patrol", a brilliant rearrangement of the Valverde Brothers' 1978 disco cover of JJ Cale's "After Midnight" that makes much of the winding synth solos and gospel backing vocals. There's plenty of other killer material throughout, though, from the synth-laden cosmic disco throb of "Stranger", and 135 BPM tropical drum workout "Ocean Rhythms", to the '70s rock surge of "Psychedelic Supermarket" (a tasty re-cut of The Who favourite "Eminence Front"). All killer, no filler.
One of Vienna's many talented D&B troopers, Dorian makes his Cre8 debut with two understated rollers that wouldn't have gone amiss back in the era... Ten gallon subs, rolling drums and a groove so heavy it could make Randall blush, "Bluds" is all about the jungle swing while "Call It What You Want" takes more of a melodic bassline approach with a hook that's reminiscent of Moving Fusion's late 90s work. Authentic.
Only two years have passed since Survival & Script unleashed their Scar project but already it feels like they've been part of the D&B landscape forever. Their grand scope of heritage and shared futurist vision has ensured each document is as weightier than the last... And their debut album The Orkyd Project is set to be so heavy we may need a new server store it. Tuck into these three sampler tracks for proof: Naomi Pryor's vocals get two stunning deep night contexts while "Yours" and "Punch Drunk" both slap with industrial glee. Bring on the full album!
KNG, the partnership of KS French and Mr Given Raw is back with three new disco edits, and they're summer sizzlers the lot of them. "Got To Get" is a bawdy, swingin' swagger of vintage disco-rock, whilst "Get It On" introduces tougher French house beats and loops to the mix. Lastly "Brown Groove" turns its filters to 11 for a low-slung cocktail house jam. Groovy!