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The latest volume in the Surgery Edits series is something of an epic affair, with scalpel-wielding hero Dr Packer offering up no less than eight intricate procedures. It's naturally a mixed bag, with the Australian offering gently beefed-up and quantized versions of both well-known cuts (a well-loved Marvin Gaye classic gets the treatment on "Give It Up", while "Disco Squares" is a punchy revision of a Rick James produced Teena Marie favourite) and lesser-known floor-fillers (the bubbly '80s soul flex of "Your Love Baby", the heavyweight P-funk strut of "Move That Bottom"). There's not a duffer in sight, with jazz-funk style closer "Smoov Groove" and righteous disco-funk bumper "Party Time" arguably the pick of an impressive bunch.
Let's say it now: it's about time! Vienna's Paul SG has been quietly donning the currently massive Austrian D&B scene for much longer than some of his more hyped peers. No drama, no ego or fanfare....just a consistent stream of soulful groove for almost 10 years; a full length release has been expected, hoped and longed for years. Naturally he hasn't disappointed. Highlights include the brilliant juddering funk of "Lefthanded", the spacey jazzy Bingo Beats bass phrasing, the absolute soul of Angelina Dove on "Cherry Blossom", the TRAC-fronted Breakbeat Era style "Poverty" and the fluttering aesthetic of "You All Never Know". With Conrad on the vocals, it's the timeless cherry on a truly authentic D&B cake. Delicious.
The mighty Maji continues to reflect over his double decade shenanigans with another titanic remix set. Heist takes full control with his ravaged texture on the bass riff and edgier kicks on "Feels So Good". Dominator & Logan D completely flip the bassline on "Fallback" with a whole new layer of hench high end weirdness. Pleasure really brings out the euphoria and spine-tingling hype on "Stay With Me" before erupting into a gamechanging drop while Majistrate himself gives himself a gully makeover on the mischievously riffed "Hypnotic VIP"
Putting the vibes in to V/A: Logan D curates a brand new various artist EP with heavyweight results: Heist and Logan himself ignite the turbo engine with the low-swung roll-out "Do It" while Cabin Fever & Info lay down a much sterner sermon with "Wake Up". Deeper again we hit mysterious newcomer Drop Off with a powerful riff-primed cut that's reminiscent of a young Tyke while veterans Ego Trippin' return with a beautifully bouncy Bingo style workout "Barely Breathing". All quarter covered and plenty more.
Make no mistakes: Ruffneck Ting are smashing it on a whole new level this year! Bombarding the game with beat after beat, barely a month has gone by with a Ruffneck roll-out session. The Xtraordinary League Of Junglists takes this proliferation to a whole new level with 20 killer cuts from some of the label's firmest friends and family. Every cut is a highlight but you'd be off your nut not to check the clinically obese classical mid-90s jump up bass of "War", the sprung-out Bingo bounces of "All 2 Myself", the piano-slapping feel good rave workout "All Through The Night" or the dubbed-out trickery of "Hazey Dub". Need we go on? Ruffneck Ting have been on this ting since dot and they're rolling out some of their finest right here. Essential.
The second release on SpectraSoul's own Ish Chat imprint; it's clear the duo are in their element with six examples of precision drum & bass construction. "Stock Sound" is savage both in its presentation, its message and its potty-mouthed bass textures, "Waiting For" is a deliciously smoky soul session, "AKA Yoob" is all sprightly, bouncy and highly reminiscent of Bingo's influence 10 years ago, "Tough Linen" is gully incarnate with a gritty sandpaper bass riff and a catchy MC vocal sample (that isn't credited but sounds remarkably close to Jakes) on mic duties. Halftime heads should jump on the garage-flecked "Frogspawn" or the toxic rumbles of "Gold Standard". Enough chat now, it's time for some action!
Hype's go-to banger dealer in recent times, Guv lives up to his name once again with this thundering gully quartet: "Angles" spits with a refreshing bass texture that's unlike anything being used right now, "Survival" takes the riff to a higher end of the spectrum with a strangely timed vocal sample and sudden drops into manic sci-fi speedway licks. "Execution" is as ruthless as its title suggests while "Chopper VIP" twists up the mentalist riff from last year's tried and tested smasher. Work the angles.
What's going on here then? Emerging through the same tightly weaved fog of mystery and stylised with the same rich, deep rolling diversity and tribal visuals of Dawn Wall (whose true identity few, if any, of us have yet to decipher) Mohican Sun delivers his debut document: "Where Did You Go" is barbed bliss with a yearning vocal stretching over the groove almost longingly, "Dead Sea" is a S.P.Y style roller with the space between the bouncy bass coloured in 24k gold. "Sudden Change" twinkles on the top and swoons underneath with a Calibre-style piano loop. Finally "Lost Village" is a wider piece of cinematic majesty with mild Latin licks that pulls on a few pages from the Bukem bible. Each cut a diamond in the rough, the main message is clear: Whoever Dawn Wall's new compadre is, the most important thing is this music really stands up.
This collaborative EP featuring reworks by Whiskey Disco boss Sleazy McQueen and fellow Florida resident Romano Arcaini first appeared on vinyl almost a year ago. Since then, prices for second hand copies have gone through the roof, making this digital download edition particularly welcome. It's undoubtedly a very strong collection of re-edits, too. Not only does it boast the ten-minute trip into life-affirming disco territory that is "Peace, Love & Harmony" - think swinging drum breaks, strong vocals, phased funk guitars and twinkling pianos - but also a killer chunk of saucer-eyed Italo-disco sleaze ("Disco De Monda"). The final track, a Clavinet-heavy warm-up shuffler entitled "Private Life", is also killer.
We'll spare you the introduction; A Sides is known to all card-carrying junglists and D&B fans. Neck deep into what's clearly shaping up into a mammoth album project, the third "Quart" sector leaves no sonic stone unturned: "Electric" is a straight-up naggy number with a fuzzy bassline reminiscent of Bad Company circa 99. "Vortex" rolls with a rough off-beat bass that judders in a devilish way that makes you feel uncomfortable, "Legacy" has a cold Digital style breakbeat/heavy reese drone feel, "Groan" twists up jazzy horns with a Headz-style bass grizzle. "Dreamwold" provides a beautiful finale with a disco-dented roll out with instrumentation so super slick they'd make Bukem's glasses slide off his face.
Ok folks, it's a new Bomb Strikes release, you should all know the drill by now. Yep, it's all about party friendly breaks and mash-ups here, so leave your arty pretensions at the door, thank you very much. Here we have two self-professed 'funkmasters', Prosper and the suggestively titled Stabfinger hooking up for three sizzling jams. The title track mixes brassy big beat and daisy age rap, whilst "Don't Hold Back" is pure hands-in-the-air poppy electro funk before "Baby Baby Please" wraps it all up nicely with an infectious fusion of electro-swing, rap and cumbia beats.
Having previously included Vaudafunk tracks on a number of their multi-artist EPs, Chopshop has decided it's time for the Italian producer to serve up a full EP of his own. Flowered Shirt & Sunglasses begins with "Zora", a deliciously cheery and cheeky revision of a little-known European disco smasher from the Italo-disco era. He cannily uses extended filtered sections to emphasize key moments in the decidedly cosmic cut. "Love Is Psychedelic" is a bustling, string-drenched disco stomper, while closer "1999" sees him make merry with a lesser-known version of Pigbag's low-slung punk-funk classic "Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag". When the famous horn line kicks in, there will be bedlam out on the dancefloor.
One of 2016 many welcomed return stories (Bad Company, J Majik, Full Cycle, Pendulum...) Commix eased himself back into the game with two new super-deep originals and two long lost dubs. Now back with four originals, "Generation EP2" sees him reengaging with even broader, bolder brush strokes. "Freefall" is straight out of the "Music" era - spaced out, synthetic and sci-fi soul. "Honey" continues the deep dream feels but with a much harder, Photek-style super-chiselled drumset while "Behold" is an early morning run along a misty beach with big leaping kicks and a sense of unknowing ahead of you. Finally "Arplong" winds us down on a classic electro tip laced heavily with mild nuances of Underworld-style layering. No mucking around now .... Commix is back in the building.
The man, the myth, the machine... Original Sin returns with some of his most agenda-setting pieces since Grow Your Wings. Now working with Viper, he's painting with some bright colours: "Expansions" has an early Sub Focus feel but with added amen bull charge and futuristic speedyway dynamics. "Red Mist" continues to curl the cutlass in all directions with its turbo hornets nest bass and cheeky funk on the fills while "Vandals" fires with the strength of a million military lasers. Finally "So Vivid" lets rip with a caustic bass texture that shreds the spectrum with an epic, metallic bassline from somewhere deep in the 23rd century. Don't leave us hanging Mr Sin.
Young Signal's making all the right signs and sines right now. Barely 18 and he's already fine-tuning a crisp, spacious sound, variety and detailed mixdown signature. Most importantly... the funk is abundant. There's a natural groove to both "Parallax" and "Ten Paths" that's not dissimilar to Break just slightly darker. Elsewhere "Downfall" is reminiscent of "Oblique" in its icy soulful way but with delicate vocals from Zoe Klinck while "Fearless" takes note from techno with its staccato riff and tippy percussive off-beat clips. Teaming up with equally on-point and hyped act Aggressor Bunx for the finale, "Isolation Cell" hits with the darkest design of the EP Vicious and rattling with an electrified aesthetic. Another surefire sign of a bright future for Signal.
Yorkshire's Ewan Ewan (drum roll!) has relocated to Europe's new capital of electronic music; Berlin, like most ambitious young producers do these days. Despite being on a roll previous to his relocation, there's no doubt that the vibes and sounds of the German capital have rubbed off on him, as clearly heard on his new LP entitled There Is No Right Time. The dusty and lo-fi sounds of hip-hop inspired/disco-fied Berlin deep house are aplenty on this fine EP which covers a wide variety of moods and grooves. Highlights not limited to: the emotive deepness of "10405", the rusty and vintage lo-tech soul of "Waiting For L" or "Left On Lucy" (featuring fellow expat Steve Huerta) and the wonderful "Earnest Kelly" which you could imagine playing during a car chase in an '80s action film.
The Brotherhood Sound System released two heavy bass swelters back in 2014 and, since then, only another appearance was made in 2016, which leaves this new collaborative effort to give us a little view as to what they might be up to next. There's a whole bunch of new faxes here, and Callahan's "Kudzu" sets the scene nicely with a bit of minimalistic tribal drumming, which is followed by the glitchy, sparse two-steps of "Eastern Shores" by Silas & Snare. A:Tonal's "Perfect Imbalance" is the master-stroke on here, a fluttering wave of percussion and hissing sonics, but SYZ and LKY's beat thrashings should not go overlooked. In fact, this whole EP feels truly collaborative, linked-up by a recurrent pattern of thought which is sublimely executed from start to finish.
Saying that Editor's Kutz is going string would be an understatement, and although the label is only on their seventh outing to date, it feels like much longer that we've been graced with their inimitable style of disco editing. There's four cuts this time, a timeless bunch of disco groovers that have been re-moulded for the modern ear and its need for a steady but of 4/4. "Shining Bright" from VinylAddicted is any disco lover's dream come true, while Dan Johnson's "Love Affair" is a solid, fist-pumping bomb with one mighty bassline. "Stop On By" is more laid-back and cooler in its approach, but "Get Ready" is the shining star here, a deep, wet slice of dynamite funk that you could leave on repeat for hours on end.
Hello is the serious burns unit? Yes it's Juno Records here, we've been in direct contact with J Kenzo's latest Artikal release and have lost several layers of skin. Get an ambulance right away you say? Just after we've listened to this a few more times! "Battlefield" twitches a ruddy sub that bounces around beneath big system horns and a strident energetic drum groove. "Zbantu Shake" is a much more stripped back stepper that's all wooden kicks, trippy flute flurries and ladles of thick treacle subs. Soundboy killing material.
Few producers enjoy the exalted position that Current Value does. And since he's moved back from his hectic crossbreed creations to more traditional tech drum & bass sounds, you can really hear the detail in every element. Xtrah is a man of similar frequency obsession, making this Cyberfunk release a really natural and honest project. Highlights include the cymbal-splashing twist on the triplet arrangement ("Escape") and the insane blocky snare funk on the total sci-fi freak out "Matchfit". With all other tech territories explored in between, one could easily argue this to be Cyberfunk's best release so far.