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Passport? Check. Space suit? Check. Anti-gravity decks? Check. Welcome back to Planet V. First visited in 1999 with groundbreaking, benchmark-setting force then returned to in 2013 by the captain Bryan Gee himself, we make another voyage. And we've packed enough tunes (60+) to fire us twice around the known universe and have enough to juice to spare. From future-primed versions of classics (Juiceman's loose and slappy remix of "It's A Jazz Thing") to brand new gully creepers (L Side's "Riddim Dancer"), slipper-shuffling soul (Paul SG and Carter's purple-hazed "Jazz Cigerette") jump-up jazz funk ("Forgotten Funk") via all manner of tried and tested V classics, this really is the biggest, most creatively far-flung and comprehensive collection V have ever released. Ready for take off?
Exclusive overload: while some labels like to solely wrap up their existing content into a compilation, Hospital request freshness from their troops. In amongst the 60 tracks on offer (yeah, 60!) there are no less than 25 brand new cuts previously unavailable until now. From the breathy, horizon-glaring bliss of Fred V & Grafix's "Constellations" to High Contrast's first original in well over a year "Calling My Name" by way of Krakota's pulsating gully stepper "Lust Thrust" and Ulterior Motive's darkside creeper "Oddness". This is - without question - one of the biggest, most bountiful Hospitality albums so far. And let's face it, they're always pretty special anyway.
Crate digging in the Northern Soul scene is the gift that keeps on giving - an endless quest for rarer and rarer gems. Here Beatnik present a new collection that features nine classic Motown and Northern Soul cuts which have been sensitively retouched by some contemporary talent. Highlights include the celebratory, fizzy soul jam "Soul On Fire" by Shaka Loves You (yes, the one sampled by Beyonce), a Junkie XL-style makeover of Martha & The Vandellas on "Nowhere To Go" and Mak & Mr Bristow's muscled up take on The Rascals - "Olympic Lovin".
The wait is over: Metalheadz have been teasing us with the prospect of a Mikal debut since at least 2012. Naturally the Swedish skirmish starter hasn't disappointed. 16 tracks of grazingly fresh designs we range from the sci-fi laser ballad opener "Patterns" by way of dagger-sharp dark tech ("Ruff Life"), elastic space drones ("Segunda") and even slinky, sassy funky drummer work on his ode to the master ("JB's Groove"). Complete with cameos from Break, Xtrah and Buraka Som Sistema's RIOT and Chimpo, this is the type of debut album you'd take home to meet the folks... If your folks understand the virtues of precision engineered drum & bass, that is.
The first two volumes of Paper Recordings' Trash The Wax series both flew off the (virtual) shelves, thanks in no small part to their on-point selections of modern disco in all its' glorious forms. This third installment is, if anything, even stronger. Beginning with Red Rack'em's killer rework of Solid State's cut-up disco classic "Philly Live", the 17-track collection variously touches on psychedelic disco-rock (Deckard), sweaty, homoerotic disco-acid (Dunn and Massey's filthy "Red Room Disco"), baggy revivalist disco-funk (Skinny Dipp), hustlin' edits (Get Down Edits), synth-laden nu-disco (Julian Sanza), and contemporary Scandolearic treats (Rave-Enka). In other words, it's a hugely strong collection of modern disco treats.
Not quite house, not quite disco, Fouk (aka Daniel Leseman and Hans 'Junktion' Peeman) straddle both worlds, utlising the best of both in their quest for the ultimate groove. Here they present the gruff EP, comprising a set of three truly accomplished recordings - the loungey shimmer of "Gruff", the filtered loop boogie of "Freebooter" and the live sounding jazz-funk of "Orchard". The best remix is Snacks' rework of the title track - all squelchy disco synths.
Player central: Not one artist on this EP doesn't command serious respect. Ed:It and Pennygiles's 2014 firecracker gets the treatment from Ulterior Motive, adding just a lick or two of shade to the already solid groove. ST Files and Response follow with a beautifully restrained deep stepper that's not dissimilar to erstwhile ST collaborator Marcus Intalex. Total Science and FD maintain the deep theme with a soulful rolling track that's not dissimilar to their Funky Technicians material. Villem and McLeod anchor the EP with a unique halftime roll that balances dark and light tighter than your nan's 1950s television. A truly spotless EP.
Russian disco and edits label Vintage Music is still doing the business good and proper. As said previously, living in Siberia doesn't stop these guys living a sun kissed dream and more power to them! This time it's home grown talent Sunner Soul appearing for the most part, mining the kind of smooth 70's soul funk samples that even Kenny Dixon Jr. would approve of. We're particularly keen on the sultry Rhodes and guitar licks of "Do It For My Brother" and the oh so uplifting "Smooth Riding". Liner offers us "Ocean" but hang on; it's Sunner Soul's edit and it's brilliant too; that vocoder, wow!
Fresh from signing exclusively to Shogun Audio, Ed:It justifies his position on the Team Assassin with four rush-whittled rollers. "Pathways" is loaded with ghostly vocal textures and structured around a super sharp two-step, "Viewpoint" is a much bulkier affair with detailed drum work that's produced and positioned so well it sounds like your own personal drummer sitting right beside, in front and behind you. "Night Creeper" takes us deeper into the darkness with the careful lyrical guidance of Linguistics. Finally we climax to the techy rolls of "All Away". Penned with the help of Pennygiles, it's a smart way to end a sharp EP.
Founded back 2010 by duo Vital techniques, Second To None, was born with the intent to promote 'the sickest...130-140bpm bass' from around the UK. They've certainly done that here, presenting 12 bleeding edge cuts for listening pleasure. Highlights include the linear, up-and-down hoover bass joint "Live My Life" by Deadbeat UK, Mikey B's heavy and eccentric 2-step gem "I Wonder" and Vital Techniques own deep bass workout, "News To Me".
Editorial are back with another mini compilation: hallelujah! It's more on the deeper tip than the disco one this time around, but it's all the same quality you expect from this camp as always! Jus Tadi's dreamy and lush deep house vibes come courtesy of "Peaches", Matt Hughes serves up some deep down and dirty funk on "Do Your Thing", plus there's some chilled-out balearic business covered also by P SOL on "Come On". A Salsoul sounding re-edit by Serge Gamesbourg (!) on "Burning" is a worthy addition and some sexy deep house to close out proceedings courtesy of Long Island Sound and The Owl respectively. All killer no filler!
Midnight Riot's latest recruit, the wonderfully named His Dirty Secrets, hails from the steamy, sleazy surrounds of Miami. His music is similarly saucy, with this debut EP offering a sextet of tracks that effortlessly blend soul, disco, funk and boogie samples with his own warm, goodtime house sounds. There's naturally much to admire, from the funk-goes-house hustle of "When You Get The Groove" and bouncy, string-laden disco-house stomp of "Real Love" (built around an oh-so familiar classic), to the loved-up, slo-mo chug of "Sylvia", and rich deep house opener "Thug Life". All told, it's a strong collection of tried-and-tested dancefloor grooves.
Soul Trader has swiftly established itself as a force to be reckoned with, having launched less than a year ago and dropping pure gold every EP. Saxxon takes the title credit with the powerful piano-rolling jazz jam "Blue Harbour" that's underpinned with just a mild mischievous wobble. From here Spearhead bossman Bcee takes the wheel and drives the rest of this multi-artist EP behemoth home. "Only You" loops up the funk with Troutman proportions, "Understanding" is a full-on male vocal workout with big gospel guts while his three-way with Saxxon and Surplus "Tripped Up" takes a minimal synth Q&A and peppers it with spacey vocal echoes and light pianos. Soul Trader's stock is high right now.
Three months on from his last outing on Rebel Hearts, Mr Given Raw returns with four more reasons to be cheerful. Cannily moving between different disco moods and tempos, the Shake Raw Hearts EP sees the French producer once again tiptoeing the fine line between scalpel-style re-edits, and house style remixes. He begins with the tightened-up, horn-heavy disco-funk of "Shake Your Body", before heading to heavier - if a touch slower - pastures with the low-slung disco-funk-meets-disco-house hustle of "Get On Down". There's a bouncier feel to the rather tasty "Love At The Disco", while "Shake Raw Cut" is a grandiose, string-drenched, Salsoul style disco treat.
UK south coast filth-flinger Operate has been stealthily dropping twisted science on us for several years, including a debut album last year on Hostile Bass. Now stepping up to the ever-reliant Murda Sound platform he's delivered four more potty mouthed dark exercises; "Futher" is total grainy, distorted, chaotic paranoia, "Scatter" is lean, mean steppery with some chiselled bass groans, "Z Word" is a choppy, slap happy break frenzy with more cool squiggles and giggles than a chocolate-sponsored nursery. Finally "Uncertainty" shows Operate's spacier, star-gazing side. But don't get all too caught up in the smoky and lazers, there's a droning bassline to chow down on.
We're not quite sure who SAM PaLmER AKA SAMPLER is, but this debut EP for George Kelly's Chopshop stable is something of a winner. Palmer's default style is loopy, sample heavy and intense, sitting somewhere between the slamming disco-house cut-ups of Soundstream, and the baggier, slo-mo loop-jams of LTJ. It's a formula that frequently delivers fantastic results; check, for example, the slow-building brilliance of Steve Miller Band rearrangement "Super Fly Eagle", or the rolling, saucer-eyed dancefloor bliss of "One Night In Chaka". Elsewhere, the debutant gets jazzy on the woozy, Bossa-influenced deep house of "Night In Tunisia", before heading for low-slung Balearic disco pastures on "Body Bits".
Given the quality of their respective releases, you'd expect this first collaboration between Moscoman and Red Axes to be rather good. Predictably, it is, with both tracks offering the perfect balance between weary late night atmospherics and intoxicating dancefloor shuffle. Opener "Dikembe Manatu" builds the action around a foreboding bassline and dense African percussion, with metallic melodies and druggy electronics expertly layered atop. Virtual flipside "Rage In The Cage" takes a different approach, with sleazy, late night electronics and throbbing analogue refrains contrasting neatly with the trio's unfussy, cowbell-laden percussion. Both tracks sound primed for dimly lit basement spaces and intimate parties the World over.
Here we have clash of the Bristolian titans with rising R&B dude Conducta hooking up with bass man Notion for the long awaited "Felt This Way". This title track has a retro-futuristic 2-step vibe about it, with echoes of the early work of Craig David and Artful Dodger (officially no longer a bad thing). On the digital flip, "Vague" is a dirtier affair - all nasty bass undulations, pitched vocal snippets and sparse, high-rise beats. Fresh.
Noisia's Division operation deliver their very first multi-artist EP featuring far-out bass tests from the likes of Monuman (AKA northern D&B upstart Emperor), Signs, ARKTKT, Ponicz and JNTHN STEIN. Not a well-travelled road in sight; each act delivers something resoundingly fresh and exciting : Noisia & Ivy Lab get insanely lopsided, Monuman digs a filthy bass grave before lifting us to the heavens with evocative chords, Signs gets the motor running with an array of twisted engine samples while ARKTKT activates a spacey trap mode, all bouncy and gravity-free. Last but not least, Ponicz shreds up with a toxic instrumental hip-hop swag while JNTHN STEIN kidnaps a rainbow then pushes it down the stairs... In the same way Division push the envelope.
When music hits you feel no pain. Right? Wrong... When Maji's in town you feel every ounce of his hurters. And we wouldn't have it any other way. One of the most consistent and long standing rave merchants in D&B (20 years and counting), here we find him taking his last EP and giving each track a raw VIP scuffing. Some VIPs flex subtle melodic twists in the hook ("The Truth Hurts") while others enjoy completely new bullet proof coated basslines ("Destroy") and out-and-out reworks ("Work For Nothing") On-point VIP science and huge potential for DJ creativity if you already have the originals, Maji knocks us out once again.