Reviewed this week
Some of us reach for the stars. Other, more superhuman-like, people reach for entire solar systems... And get them. Superhumans like yung Tsuki who has consistently smashed every door down in sight since emerging 18 months ago. Crafty with the riff magic, every bassline he conjures could make your nan shake and these are no exception; the pitch-shifting bassline mutations on the title track, the rattling organic drum fill and high/low Q&A riff on "RGB" and the venomous hook on "Terror" are just three certifiable shakers. Stay tuned. For his next trick Tsuki will be reaching for the universe...
Greezey by name, successful producer by nature: this slick-haired south coast hero continues to demolish in every direction as he makes his EP debut on Elsta's Murky Digital. Four tracks in total, each one primed for different corners of the dance "Most Wanted" slaps down straight in the centre of jump and tech with a subtly twisted wobble on the bassline, "My Way" is the rumbler of the set with a groaning bassline that murmurs ominously beneath the surface while "Love Dem Style" takes a disco dodo and slaps it back into existence with a barbed soul focus. "Headache" closes the show on a deeper, slinkier flex with lilting keys, a tightly-coiled two-step and a stern message in the sample. Most wanted by name, essential by nature...
Jinx is ready to rumble. The big question is... Are you? You should be; there are six stone cold jungle slappers right here, each one rumble-optimised for your maximum skank pleasure. Highlights include the slight wonky and loose flabby feeling on the bass on "Ready To Rumble", the roomier, deeper stepper "Long Nights" and the star-gazing, purring sub-led dubby workout "Hold Tight". But that's literally the half of it. Dig deep and rumble yourselves silly.
While Dave 'Joey Negro' Lee is a man of many talents, it would be fair to say that his speciality is creating impeccable blends of disco, boogie and soulful house. That's exactly what you get from "Must Be The Music (Original Disco Mix)", a brilliantly breezy and club-ready excursion full of slick female vocals, Nile Rodgers style guitars, undulating strings and colourful, boogie style synth flourishes. In some ways, it feels like a slightly more house-centric take on Lee's similarly minded work as part of the Sunburst Band. It's accompanied by a superb dub, where Lee's chosen musicians take it in turns to deliver killer synth and guitar solos over a chunkier, boogie-driven beat. In other words, it's another strong release from the Z Records founder.
The recording career of Salzburg's Bernard Weiss, AKA Demuja, has followed the well-trodden path of multiple compilation appearances followed by well-received EPs for a couple of little-known labels. There's a feeling that he just needs a breakthrough, and this single on Jimpster's Freerannge label could provide it. Certainly, the four included tracks are amongst his strongest to date. Choose between the sumptuous, shuffling deep house dreaminess of "Move", the warehouse-friendly thrills of "B.o.o.m", the hard-wired Italo-disco revivalism of "Into My Brain" - all raging arpeggio lines and dreamy pads - and the fireside-warm deep house/disco fusion of "Turn Me On". The latter's fusion of live instrumentation, evocative vocal samples and rolling house drums is particularly inspiring.
Now this is interesting... DJ Hybrid is releasing his second album across two EPs on both of his labels. Here we find "Addicted To Audio" on his flagship imprint Audio Addict. A dedication to the foundational D&B bug he was first bitten by, this collection shows his dancefloor side with raw, unkempt energy and riff dynamism; the low-end grunts and wry MC samples of "The Lurker", the logistical shades and euphoric thrust of "Forever" and beehive bassline and sudden flighty switch on "Boom Ting" are just three examples of Hybrid's high level addiction here. Now go and seek the second half "Deeper In The Jungle".
German house label Running Back has featured the likes of Radio Slave and Boris Dlugosch in its schedules. Now its time for cult hero Philipp Lauer to join the party and he's marked the occasion with the Phlipper EP, possibly his most Italo disco-influenced release yet. Basically the whole record is the sound of summer holiday fun - the title track is breathy retro Eurotrance, (think the Rhythm Of The Night) all stonewashed synths and hands-in-the-open-night-air melodies. "Muscle" meanwhile is more your 80s Outrun-style arpeggio disco and "Lauer Vizzi" is pure late 80s Italo house joy think Rimini via the Hacienda.
The unstoppable DJ Hybrid is doing something really special here. Rather than releasing his album on just one of his labels, he's sharing the wealth across both imprints. As well as "Addicted To Audio" on Audio Addict comes this equally slamming five-piece on Deep In The Jungle. Naturally it covers his break-bashing ragga style to perfection with some seriously show-stopping highlights such as the stuttering dancehall of "Raised In The Jungle", the gang-banging bass badness of "Deeper Into The Jungle" and the total drum heaven of "Original Junglist". And this is just the half of it.
Outer Edges: One of 2016's best drum & bass albums just keeps on giving. First came the whopping remix collection from some of the biggest and best names in the game. Now come rubs from the top cats themselves (plus a few classic VIPs thrown in for good measure)... "Voodoo" gets the 172 treatment with a snare-slapping bashment riddim, "Dead Limit" is torn to pieces by a gurning halftime switch-up and "Surfaceless" enjoys a new industrial strength coat of arms. Beyond the outer edges we have 2011's classically-trained "Tommy's Theme" getting deaded 2017-style and "Diplodocus" finally rising from dubplate status in all its gritty, sheet-metal-bending glory. Five slices of serious remix toxicity. Essential.
Bass gurus Wickaman and Mavrik return to Jungle Strikes with another clutch of precision executed, party-firing D&B edits. The first two are worked around some of the most iconic hooks to hit the dance in 1990: "This Is Goodbye" builds up around an iconic sax hook with added vocals from a play-full source while "Oceans 909" sends us out deep into the Pacific with a cult clarinet line to use as a paddle. Finally "Time To Move Over" takes us just north west of Bristol with a turbo-charged take on a mid 90s game-changer. All three respectful twists on classics every single person on your dancefloor will know... And indeed want to kick off to.
Rumour has it if you look into the mirror and say "Profile & Sub Killaz" 500 times both acts will appear behind you and lay down a brutal b2b set of obscene proportions. Failing that you can always just jump on these two crucial bass bullets; "Candy Man" has a bee swarm bassline that hovers menacingly right above your head, pranging the dickens out of you with every move you make. "One Love" continues to flex grunt muscles but with added soul power from a classic rave vocal sample.
Dutchman Bas Roos is the latest producer to contribute to Exploited's Shir Khan-curated Black Jukebox series. He kicks off a fine EP via "Downtown", a lumpy, bumpy chunk of dusty, piano-laden peak-time goodness driven forwards by bustling drums and a killer disco style bassline. You'll find more blissful piano solos on the similarly hustling, low-slung "One Way", which also makes great use of impassioned disco-soul vocal snippets and restless handclap samples. Elsewhere, "Take Life Easy" is an impeccable hybrid of jazzy disco samples and swinging deep house percussion, while "Ugly House" sounds like a long lost collaboration between Kevin Saunderson's Inner City Project, Chez Damier and Sheffield-based dusty house specialist Thatmanmonkz.
Six years have passed since Maceo gave the world his debut album Life Index. In that time he's solidified his status as one of techno's most untouchable soul men who's unapologetically ungoverned by tempos or boxes or any type of formula. He's also become a father, which is what this (and last year's "Journey To Solar") are all about. Rich in sentiment, hope and fear, each cut reveals a deeper layer of Maceo: the star-gazing optimism of "Kepler's Journey", the Bristolesque industrial dub soul of "Indigo", the careful countering of vulnerable emotion and roboticism on "Was Away My Tears", the list goes on. This is Maceo at his most heartfelt and arresting.
Here's something to cheer: the first EP from Dimitri From Paris and DJ Rocca's collaborative Erodiscotique project following the release of last year's superb debut album on BBQ Japan. As usual, their inspirations and musical reference points tend towards the vintage. Opener "One For Frankie", for example, smothers a vintage Chicago house groove with the kind of dreamy, positive and melodious musical flourishes that were a hall mark of Frankie Knuckles best productions, while "Zanzibar" pays tribute to the bustling, percussive, synth-heavy pressure of early '80s NYC and NJ "proto-house" productions. "Don't You Feel The Same", on the other hand, wraps sweet Balearic synth lines around a chunky, "French Touch" style disco-house groove.
Still guzzling up the fizzy bubblers, dub shotting bossman Page enlists one of the most iconic vocalists in the game for Dub Shotta's second release: David 'Badboy' Boomah who wraps his flow around an instant-classic riffy Q&A b-line with consummate style and finesse. Gutsy, energetic and party-primed, there's a strong sense of timelessness, funk and rudeboyism running throughout. Go follow them.
Reviewed by Jungle Strikes: Hadn't come across Ownglow before but always worth checking anyone on Hospital out. We were not disappointed! From what we heard here they seem to be destined to make a mark. Can hear why they have found a home on Hospital records. All 4 tracks have their own merits and some great vocal and bass work but for us the R & B and Hip Hop influenced 'Glo Mello Flow' is the standout track here. Great use of the filters on the sample tie in so well with the bass and horn stabs to create a really effective piece of infectous DNB. Even has shades of early High Contrast in there. Love it!
Make the most of Serum's incredible output because at one point he's going to get arrested for murderation. And with this level of killer material, they'll throw away the key. "Black Metal" is the ultimate doom monger with its indecent drone texture that just groans malevolently over Serum's trademark rolling beats, "Ramparts" riffs on bag-rustling double bass while "Skeleton Key" strips the vibe right back to its essential ice-cold oscillating elements. Three more absolute killers from one of drum & bass's most respected artists right now.
Berlin retro electronics from synth geniuses Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss. Synthwaves pays homage to the masters of the past, yet feels fresh and enchanting. Rich, neon-lit patterns are modulated and mutated with precision into several post cosmic sounds to drift to. During two intense weeks in the capital, Quaeschning and Schnauss (both students of the great, late maestro Edgar Froese) are said to have locked themselves in a studio full of vintage synthesizers, analogue sequencers and drum machines and here are the impressive results. These tracks are so evocative and life affirming as you'd expect given the credentials of these producers: in particular the dreampop and nu-gaze prince Schnauss' contribution. As with the finest Tangerine Dream soundtracks, it's the kind of music that paints vivid pictures on the canvas of the listeners mind.
Gradually rising up the ranks, Bristol duo Ill Truth hit us with a double hook this month as they appear on both Technique's summer album and slap us down with a full four-tracker on Break's consistently sweet Symmetry. "In Your Soul" melts hearts at 50 paces thanks to the delicate vocal realness of Charli Brix, "Discover" is a squirming slice of minimal tech, "Tear Up" spaces us out with gloom-funk halftime dubspace and "After Hours" plays out the scenes of your last 6am dungeon shock-out. The truth hurts sometimes, right?
It's 25 years since the release of Main Source's Breaking Atoms album, one of the finest full-lengths of hip-hop's renowned "golden era". To celebrate this fact, Geordie producer Smoove has put together "Main Sourced", a cut-and-paste tribute that incorporates elements from tracks sampled by the group across the celebrated set, alongside carefully selected rap samples. As you'd expect from a man of his talents and experience, it's brilliantly done, achieving a near perfect balance between the needs of the dancefloor, the dustiness of the original album, and the demands of Steinski style cut-and-paste productions. In other words, it's pretty darn good.