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Raising tension and attention with every release right now, Natty Dub return with yet another BS-free collection from some of the underground's most respected individuals. T>I loosens the bass strings for his slinked out dark-jazz stepper "Regulate", Hoogs puts all the aces in their places with a precision space-reggae gully jam "R Ting", Coda goes all bubble-bass a la mid 90s V on "Back It Up" and Jaxx & Dub General roll out with pure grumble groove and classic jump up spoken samples. Finally Flat T brings business to a close with a deal-breaking late 90s Bristol-flavoured cut where the spooked-out bass has a life of its own. Immense.
Sleazy McQueen's Whiskey Disco label seems to be on fire at present, with new EPs of white-hot edits appearing on an almost weekly basis. Predictably, there's more high-grade material on this latest split artist four-tracker. Pontchartain kicks things off with a brilliantly dubbed-out take on Gayle Adams classic "Lifesaver" (previously successfully extended and re-touched by FLX One a few years back), before Osmose delivers organ solos, orgasmic groans and rump shaking beats on "Broadway Kiss". Derek Kaye's "Holdin' On", a deliciously celebratory number full of cheery scat vocals and incessant grooves, and "I Got Your Wang", a cheery, sun-kissed chunk of disco perfection from Rulefinns Kravstor.
In the wake of key dispatches on the likes of Liondub, Subway, G13, Digital Terror and High R8, Sub Killaz continue their murderous mission this year with more titanium tear-out gold and cheeky homages to hip-hop's golden era. Just when you've worked out "Shock Out" along flies in a flamenco from nowhere. Elsewhere "Catch My Drift" punches with a unique sense of off-beat funk with Migos muscle and "Dangerous" goes for the drama vibe with its sweeping staccato riff. Finally "Rap Music" shuts us down with restrained stepper where a clipped bass tone grunts a sharp riff that's mirrored by the overweight subs. Get connected.
Steve Bcee recently blew people away with his impressive third full length LP, Come And Join Us. Such was the response that he's now releasing a companion record called "Thanke For Joining Us". The release sees the original LP reworked by a host of top names. Highlights include the soulful, intelligent melodies and crisp beats of SPY collab, "Is Anybody Out There?(The Vanguard Project mix)", the glistening broken hip-hop beats of "Delirious (Kiyan Law mix)", the jazzy, late night chill vibes of "Sun Goes Down (Pola and Bryson mix)" and the speedy, orchestrated DnB anthem "Cut Me Loose(Muffler mix)".
We've come accustomed to Kiu D delivering warm, groovy, floor-friendly music that blurs the boundaries between re-editing, remixing, and original production. He's at it again on this first outing for Fingerman's Hot Digits imprint. The EP's four original tracks utilize big chunks of killer old soul, funk, disco and jazz-funk jams, but combine these elements with chunky house beats and woozy deep house flourishes. This is arguably best exemplified on the tactile, sun-kissed swing of "I'm In Your Life" and surging, solo heavy "Jazz or Funk". The package is completed by two tasty reworks: a bass-heavy disco-house revision of "I'm In Your Life" by Voodoo Whiskey, and Twisted Soul Collective's righteous, party disco remix of "Jazz or Funk".
Spanish producer Rayko has delivered some impressive dancefloor magic courtesy of his Rare Wiri label. Ranging from re-edits to deep nu-disco and everything in between, the imprints sound is all encompassing. That philosophy is fully explored here on Retro Future Disco, bringing all kinds of disco approaches to the table. Highlights include the schmokin' 70s jazz-funk of "Hot Head Disco" by Psychemagik, the legendary Il Flagranti's rare re-edit of new wave classic "Walking In The Rain" by Flash & The Pan and the dreamy, star-crossed synth-pop of "In Your Eyes" by Yam Who? Something for everyone here.
Tsuki isn't messing around this month. Not content with shooting two ludicrous hurters on Bulletproof, he also makes his debut on Bass Legion with this firing four-tracker. "35mm" balances a spiked-out riff with some delicate piano strokes, "Watermelon" kicks with a blunt, Tyke-style riff while "Truth Or Dare" is all about the sinewy stabby riff that turns itself inside out midway. Finally "Bad" shows off the young UK producer's more restrained side with a purring sub that sets the scene for another sharp, jumpy riff. In other news - writing reviews of jump up records while severely hungover is not the one. WHO KNEW?
Over two decades later and we're still "playing that bloody jungle music all night": records don't come any more seminal than Marvellous Cain and Cutty Ranks limb-by-limb-shaking "HitMan". While the original still slews the dance 22 years since its first outing, each of these four updates are highly welcome: the legendary Bladerunner updates his 2013 remix with a little VIP twist, Brum newcomers Jungle Citizenz go for a darker, techier heads-down roll while the ever-crucial DJ Hybrid sickens up the dance with a tubular bass jungle battering. Finally King Yoof switches the vibe with a crisp dancehall riddim that pays homage to Cutty's crucial influence. Send fe de hacksaw!
15 years deep, Ant TC1's Dispatch hits the big ton with a two-pronged attack of restrained, understated, deep rolling drum & bass. "The Future Blueprint" features more of the label's newer affiliates and friends with notable exceptions such as the label bossman on DLR's update on his Seeing Sounds cut "The Grip". Other essential highlights across the 12 track collection include Skeptical getting us wriggly with "Narko"'s wonky two-step, Survival & Script rolling us out to places unknown with the break-heavy wobbler "Sahara", Mysen taking us on much more of a soulful, cosmic trip while Lockjaw takes Halogenix and Klinck's "Take The Lead" to the bleakest of drum-juddering corners. That's really just the tip of the centennial iceberg, too... Dispatch aren't messing around here. They never have.
Wrapping up another vintage year, Integral bossmen Artificial Intelligence return from their Metalheadz missions with four stunning reminders of their abilities: the way the strings ease in from behind and take you by surprise on "Nobody", the warm-but-deadly reese funk on "Definition", the power soul of "Dreams Of Freedom" and the return of the classic warm harmonic subby bassline they spearheaded in the mid 2000s on "Close 2 U". Timeless, as always.
It's been a while since Higher Stakes invited us for a game. Following "Full House" and "Crazy Eights" in previous years, Sly returns with another winning shuffle. A near album-sized game, there's some mean strategies at play: highlights include the early Die-style bass and guitar licks of "M1", the electrical high-range bass stings and soapy sample play on "EastEnd" and the wobbly brilliance and outstanding vocal processing of "Gas Bag". Aces.
From Prolix to Technimatic, Total Science to Was A Be by way of Icicle, Joe Ford, Fourward, Spectrasoul, Phace, Ed.It and many more, Friction's label digs deep from the genre's most innovative corners and eras. As we prepare to close off 2016, they've taken a detailed look back over the last 18 months of crucial output to not just represent where the label is at, but the genre itself. An ideal opportunity to fill any holes in your collection cuts such as Fourward & Linguistics demonic stomper "Storm", Was A Be's rudeboy-slewing halftime damager "Blind" or Break's sparkling "Emerald" and complete with a journeyman mix of the tracks themselves, this rounds up yet another serious year at the very forefront of drum & bass.
We're not sure what Hotmood got up to on his recent Rhodes Trip, but whatever it was, it was good enough to result in his latest EP on the mighty Editorial. Boasting four tracks, the EP features the freshest sounds from nu-disco world capital Mexico. "Can You Dig It" opens with smooth, jazzy and Latin-tinged poolside boogie, "Magic Touch" follows up with some looped saxy -fizz, whilst "Check This Out Yo!" veers into funky/disco house territory and "Soul Energy" wraps things up with a heady Fender-Rhodes-lead groover. Slick stuff.
By now, we should all know what to expect from Serbian scalpel maestro Tonbe. His frequent EPs are aimed fairly and squarely at the dancefloor, delivering a mixture of re-edits, reworks and sample-heavy productions that don't try too hard to impress. This latest EP is full of such cheery, tried-and-tested cuts, from the rolling jazz breaks, comfy Rhodes stabs and fluttering soul vocals of "Gambling Face", and punchy disco-house flavours of "Sweet Love", to the rich, organ-flecked soulfulness of "Those Days", and riotous, disco-goes-hip-house opener "Don't Mess With Us". In other words, it's another rock-solid collection of tasty peak-time bangers from one of the edit scene's most reliable producers.
You know the drill; it's another monumental compilation from London's 20/20 Recordings, the fresh-faced dubstep label, which can mean only quality and quantity above all else. There is plenty for any sort of bass fan to sink their teeth into right here, starting from the murky waters of Deft's future-dub, though to Belatron's icy grime-like riddims, and Caution's noxious hybrid beats. All in all, there's no one genre here, just pure vibes, and a great deal of low frequencies form the deepest, darkest corners of the UK's production scene.
Whisky Disco invite a trio of fresh faces to their ever-growing talent troupe for the Disco Darling EP. Andy Ash takes the lead with a loopy, strutting slice of sample-laced house that wouldn't go amiss in a Mark Farina set while Vincenzo De Bull & Halve Soul lower the tempo, invite us on a Balearic picnic and insist we gobble up huge chunks of Sade's "Cherry Pie". Deeper into the EP we find firm label friends Rabo & Snob laying down a velvet bed of Rhodes and vocal harmonies before the final label newcomer JP Source plays a slo-mo game of sample patty-cake with loopy disco mischief.
According to dictionaries to envenom someone is to bite them or infect them with a poison. According to junglists, meanwhile, to Envenom someone is to hit them hard with the gulliest possible jump-up cuts and not stop until they've kicked two massive dents in the floor. Following high profile releases on the likes of Calypso and Multi Function this year we find him smashing down the doors of Smokin Riddims with two more jugular-aimed riff-heavy cuts. "On My Way" balances a sci-fi atmosphere with grunted staccato bass hits while "Run" thrusts with a riff that can cut through solid concrete. Infectious.
Greek re-edit powerhouse, Chopshop, is back this time with a new various artist's compilation, Lost In Grooves. There's plenty of jollies to be had here, beginning with the high drama of "Lost In Venice" a swirling disco features golden tonsilled sirens and bug thumping drums. Elsewhere Levantine's "Atmosphere" recalls the good old days of French Touch, with its warm, filtered loops, C Da Afro opts for lazy beats and sumptuous strings on "The Sexy Groove" and DJ Laurel mellows things out with some silky 80s synth funk grooves on "Rising On Top". Slick!
Italian duo Mena and Melgado step up to the plate with their first appearance on Midnight Riot, bringing with them a quartet of funk-fuelled dancefloor bombs. They begin in confident mood, successfully looping up a breezy, impassioned vocal sample over a tooled-up disco-boogie groove on "Wings of Love", before "African Food" sees them stick a house rocket underneath a horn-heavy Afro-funk jam. "Instant Party" happily lives up to the promise of its' title, with chopped-up chants, spiraling sax links and goodtime grooves ensuring an energetic, club-ready feel. The EP also includes a tasty remix of "Wings of Love" from Masterworks and Hot Digits man Kiu D, who successfully drags the track further towards bumpin' disco-house territory.
Having put out their last release on Chez Damier's Balance imprint (the rather fine Tried & Tested EP), 25 Places return to their previous home, Dirt Crew Recordings. As you'd expect, the Party In The Hills EP contains another clutch of floor-friendly deep house explorations. The title track, which successfully blends chopped-up Brazilian vocal samples, sustained note chords, dirty analogue bass and a hustling deep house groove, is undeniably the EP's strongest moment, though the bold and fizzing "Closing Title Song" and chiming, riff-heavy "Backyard Stories" aren't far behind. Those who fancy something a little more ragged should check Laurence Guy's disco-house-meets-acid rework of "Closing Title Song".