Having already carved a decent name for himself in the nu-disco universe, 80s Child (aka Danny Worrall), now turns his hand to running labels. Masterworks is his new imprint, and this eponymous compilation is its debut release. It's a total all-you-can-eat buffet of contemporary disco, featuring a whole host of familiar names. There are a whopping 23 tracks on here, some of the best include Tomas Malo's sultry grinder, "After The Rain", Yam Who?'s bouncy sunkissed disco joint "Find Out" and the digi-freestyle breaks of TV's "Love Situation".
Is there ever a time when a Skeptical EP isn't welcome? Bringing the heavyweight depths direct from the North, "Imperial" shows a definite progression in his sound from his more minimal productions. Although space plays a big role in his work even still, there's a dizzying heartbeat of bass waveforms in flux in the title track, stripped bare in "Playground Chat" and used in devastating blows in "Delusions of Grandeur" behind warped effects. Final tune "Instant Reflex" brings back more of his jittery percussion to leave you feeling a bit tweaky.
While no D&B album is complete without at least one DRS-fronted banger, these are the Manchester MC's first solo outings since his 2012 earthquake-inducing album I Don't Usually Like MCs. With Jubei and Marcus Intalex on production duties, you already know this is going to bang... "The Puppeteer" is a vicious, late night shredder spiked with sharp-tongued lyrics and even sharper bass. "Emergency", meanwhile, is a skank-factored bouncer over which DRS shows he can sing just as well as he can spit. Looks like album number two is well en route... Bring it.
There's a touch of the Clash Of Titans here, with prominent Brooklyn re-edit label Razor N Tape recruiting James Baron (Ron Basejam/Crazy P) for a heavyweight nu-disco release. Baron doesn't disappoint either, delivering three tough disco housers that touch on 80s electro-boogie ("Love Don't Wait"), soulful gospel ("Someday") and loopy, filtered funk ("We Supply").
He moved halfway across the world to pursue drum and bass in the heart of St Petersburg and boy are we glad he did. Creating tantalisingly good productions right from the start of his career, the lad Demand have been touting for years as a massive "one to watch" is finally releasing a full-length LP this year in the form of Lighthouse. This EP is a sneaky peek of its contents, featuring the earth-shaking "Could Be", the extremely exciting Hybris remix of "Things Inside", one of Eastcolors' major hitters and "Dreams", a look into a crisper, darker side of the man. Extremely talented, highly recommended. 2015 is going to be his year.
Deep In The Jungle is a label dedicated to resurrecting the jungle stylings of yesteryear and bringing them back to their rightful place at the front and centre of the dancefloor. This behemoth of a compilation spans the full spectrum of jungle, from the ragga sounds of summer to the dark rollouts of the deepest basement party. With - count them - 22 tracks of pure jungle vibes, there's no stone left unturned here, offering the very best from newcomers and veterans alike. Expect to get feet moving on this one - it's an essential purchase.
With the Ladykillers EP being his third EP under the YSE Saint Laur'ant moniker, it seems that Ant Plate (Rhythm Plate/YSE) seems to be growing more and more accustomed to the guise. That's good news for us and fans of high quality laid back palm tree disco jams everywhere. There are four tracks here, each of which takes a different direction, from filtered slo-mo disco-house loops ("Ghetto Woman") to weirded out samples over hypnotic shuffles ("Psychodelic Woman"), but our fave is the breezy, disco-drenched yacht rock of "Crying Woman".
Here we have a brand-spanking new Bass Clinique affair by debutant Archive. "Make It Rain" is a half-step monster with some abrasively high levels of mutant bass - also featuring the vocal talents of MC Shantie - while "Felt Nothing" combines the harder edge of dubstep together with a techno flair in its percussion. There's yet more bass filth on "Through The Speaker", and Doctor Jeep transforms "Felt Nothing" into a true tech-house burner complete with deadly low-end. Top stuff.
Nils Penner's first release for Freerange, 2012's Munich/Berlin EP, seemed to re-ignite his career, landing him subsequent appearances on Compost Black Label and Exploited. This return to Freerange as every but as warm and involving as you'd expect, with the title track skipping along on a wave of Innervisions-style bottom end, shuffling drums, heart-aching string chords, bluesy vocal samples and some wonderfully tactile riffs. Even better is Pittsburgh Track Authority's superb remix, which adds a little Detroit swing and classic Chicago deep house bounce to Penner's very European-sounding original (think jaunty piano chords, eyes-wide-shut strings and fizzing Motor City percussion). Bonus cut "State of Mind" - all melancholic pianos, drawn-out breakdowns and tech-house swing - is pretty tasty, too.
Having fallen to earth some years ago, Alien Disco Sugar have now been well and truly assimilated into Earth's culture. Ok, at least Earth's disco culture (it's the moniker of veteran Greek DJ Leonidas), and here he presents us with four more of his world-renowned edits. "Don't Stop" is good wholesome pop-disco, "Love Connection" is an upbeat boogie-down and features a flute solo, "My Number & Dime" is killer '80s electro-funk and things wrap up nicely with the squelchy low-slung bass groove of "Nobody (You and I)".
Mysterious Parisian disco-house maestro KS French, has rustled us up three more slices of what he does best as part of his ongoing Super Groove series. "The Fuzz" kicks things off with some beguiling, guitar echoes, elastic basslines, and a sleazy, hissy thump, "Make Me" does its own thing and goes slow, opting instead for dreamy, filtered Balearica-meets soul and lastly "We On It" closes the show with some classy 70s hotel bar-style grooves.
"Delusions" by itself is a ballsy rush through warehouse atmosphere and deep, thundering bass. What else did you expect from the man like Seba, especially when paired with the ice cold mentality of Paradox? It's a kind-of industrial-meets-old school sound and we're all into it. Finally released on Seba's weighty Secret Operations label after teasing fans for months, "Future Now" is on the flip, placing on-point production alongside darkly rumbling bass and cymbal-heavy percussion.
Last seen collaborating with Need For Mirrors and HLZ on a single for Warm Communications, Swedish-born, London-based producer Mikal returns to Metalheadz for one solo cut and two team-ups. Solo track "Where They At" is full of Mikal's trademark bounce, a sparse, atmospheric production with jungle-inspired rhythm fragments darting off invisible surfaces in an irresistible manner. "The Chosen" sees him join forces with Nymfo for something a little more driving, as evil subs push things forward, while RIOT gets involved on "Control Of People", a slow-fast heavy hitter with crushing bass drops. You shouldn't need any proof that Metalheadz is still leading the way, but if you do then this should do the trick.
Birmingham's James Black may have done a runner to Australia but at least under his artist name, Arctic, he delivers a subtle a nod to his home country's current climate. Here he delivers four slammers (and a VIP mix) of prime bass music including the 4 x 4 rattler "Takin It Back", the psychedelic mayhem of the skippy garage rave of the title track and the fizzy, 8-bit wobble-fountain of "Inside (Arctic mix)".
Here's something of a pleasant surprise: a Steve Lawler record on Hot Creations that finds artist and label eschewing their typical sound in favour of something a bit different. The plainly titled "House Record" comes on like a long lost Tyree or Fast Eddie production - all "This Is Acid" stabs, thickset bass and lolloping hip-house rhythms. Flipside "City Nights" continues on a similar theme, with spitting drum machine percussion, jack-tracks style handclaps and an undulating bassline stirring long repressed memories of sketchy warehouse parties sometime around 1988. As a package, this is easily Lawler's - and Hot Creations' - best release for some time.
Since resurrecting System Shock, Callide has been on a one-man mission to raise the profile of his own favoured brand of soul-shaking deadliness. On this little beauty of a remix EP though, he's no longer a man on a lone mission, as plenty of the scene's hardest hitters have been placed on point to lend a hand. Remixes like DJ Hybrid's old school take on "Inferno" and Dominator's epic rolling intro for "A Way To Get The Answer" have given a new lease of life to these dancefloor-destroying slices of pure energy, as well as show off the diversity and creativity that still lives within the heart of our darkest, most club-focused sub-genres. A must for any fan of the harder stuff.
Ricky Bonewell's music on the Slowburner EP incorporates three vintage songs re-edited into sinuous and percussive grooves. "Edit Your Love" is all dark sweaty basement bass and fierce percussion breaks, "Itadi" is throbbing late hip grinder and "Slowburner" is all dreamy dreamy synths and slo-mo bottom end, a beautifully seductive closer.
If you've not invested in a physical copy of Session Victim's excellent sophomore set, See You When You Get There, you probably should. Alternatively, you could pick and choose between the various digital samplers on offer. There's tons of high quality material on this third EP. Throughout, the German duo expertly tiptoe the fine line between disco and house, variously delivering warm, rolling, Rhodes-heavy deep house (the brilliant "The Most Beautiful Divorce Ever"), loose and organic disco-house ("Under Your Spell"), eyes-closed slow jams (the seductive and becalmed "Eeo's Place") and cut-up Balearic beats (the picturesque "Crystal Maze"). Throughout, the production remains warm, smart and endearingly dusty.
From the trendy heartland that is Portland comes Glen E Ston, a producer who's not afraid to experiment with the boundaries of liquid D&B. From the synth-led energy of "Warmth" to the deeper, beautifully mellow tones of "Secrets In The Sky". This seven tracker twists and turns through the full spectrum of drum and bass, taking influences from the soulful and well and the dancefloor-driven tunes of the old school. Get acquainted with this guy, because he's not going anywhere.
Poor Loz Goddard, it must be a nightmare having a name that virtually everyone misreads as 'lolz'. Still, when it comes to this prolific young Mancunian's productions it's certainly no laughing matter. Here we catch him flexing his re-edit skills on four tracks for Editorial - "TJB" kicks things off sounding like an explosion at a Shalamar wine bar gig circa 1983 (if you're into sharp soul, that's a very good thing indeed) while "Sliced N Diced" is deep percolating house, "Shakedown" is thumping party funk and "You're The One" is warm and fuzzy filtered disco-house.