Nu-disco hero 80s Child has come a long way since Masterworks Vol 1, the inaugural release on his Masterworks label a year and a half ago. Now we have the follow-up and it reveals how the label's sound has grown. There are 26 sizzling bangers on board this time, boasting a million delirious dance floor moments. Highlights of which include the fizzy thump-funk of 80s Child's "Computerized", Peza's doomy analogue electro mash up "Filmed Message" and the smooth, synthetic boogie of "Much Too Much" by Deelicious.
Heist invites New York's Hoogs to the Calypso crew with one of the label's most generous EPs to date. Those aware of Hoogs' 15 year repertoire will already know what to expect; cross-board ruffage with a cheeky US twist on the classic UK jump-up foundation. Heady, sharper and big in the lean riff game, highlights include the downward spiral of bass paranoia on "Gorilla Glue", the rattling jungle freshness of "What You Say" and the higher-toned bassline trippery of "Midnight Killing". Audio insanity.
Given the glowing reception to last year's Jungle To The World compilation, it makes for no surprise that Liondub have called on the curatorial skills of all-round junglist scholar, Marcus Visionary, to compile a second volume. The blend of legends and innovators alike is present once more, as Visionary pulls together 14 tracks from an all-star cast of producers renowned for pushing forth the reggae-infused jungle sound. Naturally the highlights come thick and fast, but Bladerunner's fierce "Guidance Dub" and Marcus Visionary's own collab with iconic reggae vocalist Jonny Osbourne, "Lend Me", stand out. Some killer sampling of the classic "Armagideon Time" abounds in this latter cut. E for essential!
More VA manoeuvres from the perennial Natty camp. The label has recruited new names and they're all packing ammo. Label bosses Cabin Fever reboot with old sparring partner Saxxon for an electrified brock-out "Clubhopper" before four acts make their label debut: DJ Hybrid applies a skillishly simplistic and highly timeless bassline stepper, Version cooks up with rattling wasps-in-tin bassline and warped retro sci-fi tones, Sureshock looks to the stars through a pair of Klute's glasses and a soaring big system vocal, while Kenji twists up with a serious space jam.
Destination Manchester: Young Guns harness the emergent energy of young Dutta who builds on his two year profile with his biggest EP to date. Balancing a trippy jazz with brutal bass pressure and local MC talent, he's developing a cool signature as tracks like "Questions", "Smoke Clouds" and "Swarm" go in ham on the bass riff before puffing out big smoky 20s jazz rings. Elsewhere "Lightning" follows suit with woozy trumpets and a car-crushing bassline, "Manchestvia" activates the warheads, "Take Me Back A Few Years" is a sweet-talking Omni Trio style roll-out while "Da Style" shuts down the system with basses rolled on the slimy thigh of an alien gangster.
Disco duo Yam Who? know a thing about re-edits, just take a listen to the endless back catalogue of their revered Midnight Riot label. Here they've recruited man about town Amp Fiddler, to rustle up an album's worth of scalpel jobs. There are 11 smooth gems here to groove to, some of our favourites including the meaty, meandering bassline and soulful vocals of "Superficial", the funky feminist clap-along "Steppin' (feat Dames Brown)" and the skippy garagey house anthem, "Funk Is Here To Stay". Sweet sounds.
Bio mainstay DJ Premium doesn't do EPs by halves; no pussyfooting around with slim-line one or two trackers... He always licks up a feast. Case in point: "Sour Diesel" a collection of peaktime jump-up slammers that buzz with off-the-wall sonics and brute force. From the classic rave feels of "Keep On" to the grizzly gutter-sounds of "The Gallows" and "Soul Diesel" to the hardcore-meets-Prototypes style laser bending of "Jump Up". Just like its sticky namesake this "Sour Diesel" is actually super sweet.
Four of Low Down Deep's heaviest club cuts over the last two years enjoy a new coat of VIP arms, bringing them all back up to date. Already in demand due to dubplate pressure, each cut adds new bassline and riff twists that will cause knowing gun fingers across the dance. Logan D & Dominator's "Giant Killer Bees" goes switch-heavy, Turno's "Gladiator" enjoys an emotional explosion on the breakdown, Majistrate's already tongue-in-cheek "Amsterdam" gets even sillier while Heist's infamous "Moose Knuckle" keeps its sci-fi haze intact while folding the bass riff inside itself. Serious VIP business.
Batten down the hatches! A "Torpedo" is set to wreak havoc upside your area and, with all its trippy vocal twists, it's clear Vacuum doesn't give two hoots how much damage he causes. Deeper into the torrential storm we go... "Stop Them" will tear a hole in your roof with its Prototypes riff flourishes, "Fadeout" could create a sink hole with its Hazard-style bass hook before filling it with epicness on the chorus while "Windshield" will protect us from future brutal acts of mother nature with its bouncy halftime hook. The EP comes complete with an exclusive jump-up slammer "Combat". Pure black belt business.
San Diego badmen Sub Killaz take the wheel for Liondub's not-stop EP joyride. It's gnarly business from the off as "Raised By The Block" and "Faces Of War" both hit hard with devilish riff dynamics. "Only You" strips the vibe back to a '99 sharp step and a well-tamed cushiony sub while "9 Pound Hammer" pokes and stabs gleefully with Annix-style keenness and "Salt Water" winds us down with shimmering piano strokes and hazy R&B style vocal snippets. Something for everyone.
Now this is how you bring everyone up to speed: Bizzy B and Pugwash's Dream Team return with a roll deep attitude. Saxxon, Bladerunner, Voltage, DJ Hybrid, Gold Dubs and many more muck in to bring the mid-90s Joker-released rollers a touch of turbo for the 2010s. The punch drunk Augustus Pablo-pushing "Walk & Skank", the savage bars of "Public Enemy", the unrefusable offer of "The God Father", the mystical ragga flex of "The Warriors".... It's all there, it's all serious jungle, it's going to floor your crowd. This is important.
Serial Killaz are beginning to expand their premiership fraternity and they've picked the right man to set the agenda; Leaf's already been heard in the sets of Rene LaVice, TC, Noisia, Hype, Marky and loads more. You can tell; each of these lean constructions carries no flab... Just concentrated detail on every sparse element. The block percussion on "Monsoon", the Critical-style robofunk of "Advice", the sample savviness and pneumatic drum pressure of "Wu Style" while the bassline on "Gunman" literally barks orders over a shattered amen. There's a reason the big guys are playing his tracks.
Razor N Tape has been predictably coy about the identity of new signing Tom of Brooklyn. Whoever the New York man of mystery is, he's certainly capable of crafting hot-to-trot edits that pay due reverence to their obscure source material. There's much to admire on this fine debut EP, from the chopped-up, late night hustle of the delightfully percussive "Disco Maniac", to the loopy disco-funk swing of "Dreamin' Again". Elsewhere, the Big Apple scalpel fiend makes merry on the low-slung, delay-laden disco drum workout "Heavy Dense", and pays tribute to sweltering temperatures and long, lazy days on the shuffling standout "Summerjam". Superb stuff, all told.
Bristol's bass supremacy is under threat from Sheffield's formidable Project Allout, who have literally gone all out by rounding up 21 heavyweight jams to prove it. With such heavy ammo who is foolish enough to try and resist? Not us, and if we really had to pick, some of our favourites would be Adam Mac's doomy, empty rainy street vibes on the haunting "Cold Side", the accelerated, pinged up, soulful 4 x 4 banger "Deep" by Deadbeat UK and the percussive dancehall infused synth bass monster, "Likkie Vibez" by Juzlo. The Allout revolution, don't fight it, feel it!
Ruffneck Ting ante-up with the first volume of the Xtraordinary League Of Junglists album. A family affair with tag-teams galore, the Bristol murk merchants divide and conquer on every cut; The Force & Verdikt get mucky with a big bassline jump-up, Jinx & Aries build an mischievous Q&A a la DJ Die or Roni 20 years ago while Jinx & Dazee play a game of Asteroids inside our minds with the sci-fi bassline that wouldn't have gone amiss in a Moving Fusion set 15 years ago. K Jah & Vytol wind up the dispatch with a clunkier iron age riff and a dizzying array of basses. Xtraordinary indeed... Bring on volume two!
Zero T and Fierce on Metalheadz: Few words are required, we all know we're dealing with uncut premium kit here. "Bonesmen" is all about the dark tech groove, the way the drums switch with subtlety, the persistent sub and classic Headz FX rotate through the spectrum. "In Circles" flips the vibe with a lighter tone in the pads, a sweet deep dream atmosphere on the blink-and-miss breakdown and chirpier, looser, funkier drums. Two cuts, both true to the craft.
Kenny Ken's Mix & Blen returns with a rare two-piece from the legendary bossman himself. Teaming up with emerging Dread-affiliate Margaman, the end result is two immaculate jungle designs fit for all rolling styles of D&B DJ. "Nuff Gal" runs amok with a big reggae vocal style and ruffage bass while "Tek It Easy" positions our focus around the detailed drum work where no 16 is repeated and things get rather twisted mid-way. Spotless.
KS French and Mr Given Raw have forever been uber tight, now though they've let their hair down and embraced a menage a trois with the equally ridiculously monikered, Le Smooth. As per usual label boss KS French is up first, with the urgent fizzy shuffle of "The Disco Way" (a Carl Bean re-edit), before Mr Given Raw delivers both the tough and brassy funk stomp of "Got Competition Baby" and the hard disco house of "Bless Soul". Lastly the meat in this boogie sandwich is provided by Le Smooth, who provides spacey synths and clavinet grooves on "Dance Baby Dance".
The Alpaca Edits camp are back with Anything To Stay Up. Stevie Wonder's classic "Love's Light In Flight" (known here as "Acid Paradise") gets a re-rub and is almost as good as that great one by Soul Clap a few years ago. There's some Salsoul Orchestra sounding big band disco on "Sweet Sensation" And they're not wrong: That Needs An Edit! Chic's "Soup For One" gets a re-splice on "Mojo Soup"; now that definitely needed an edit!
Building on the momentum of his comeback EP "Back On The Edge" earlier this year, Shifta returns with four more angular hurters. "Rubber Grip" takes us into the future with its techy bass texture, jumpy riff and sharp splashes of amen slappage while "Don't Move" takes us back in time to V's prime when Krust and Die dished out history-making workouts. "Going Down" continues the energetic tech-toned funk while "Leviathan" strip teases down to its flick knife two-step and 97-style paranoid drone bass. Clearly Shifta doesn't just have history, but he knows how to use it, too.