Reviewed this week
Welcome to "Rollers Club" where it's happy hour all day and night long. Bou will be your consummate host, and he's rolling deep in decorated company. For the sublime game of contrasts that is the opening tune NAMF helps him balance warm jazzy chords with wriggling grunty jump riff with insane and truly unique effect. Elsewhere fellow gutter-bass showman Telekom joins the party for some grizzly, brain rattling bass on "Violet", Bou goes solo for the brilliantly twitchy, sharp-shooting switch up "Poison" and the man like T>I strolls in casually late for the last, and indeed gulliest track. No antidote required.
These are the breaks! Super-longstanding D&B bastion Drum&BassArena unleash their first EP in over 10 years with a special dedication to the driving drum fusion that's powered all our favourite jungle jams: The breakbeat. It's an all-star cast too... Bladerunner does his thing with a classic subby wobble and skippy breaks, Shimon gets his bouncy skank on with Darrison on "Believe It" while June Miller, James Marvel & MC Mota flip the breaks into a steppier, more fractured dancehall/jungle/madness switch up on "Don Dada". Those in need of a hardcore injection of rave purity should seek and support John B's ruthless "ENERGY" and A.M.C & Turno's glacier-blasting tech-jump melter "Ice Cold". Dedication's what you need.
If you know T>I's productions then you won't need to read this, you'll already be on them. The man has saint-like status among the very top best roller and riff selectors such as Andy C and Serum. It's because of tracks like these. Each cut hits hard, rattles with funk and is clearly made for the mix. Both "Permanent Marker" and "Absence" really fix our focus on his deeper rolling side, "Don't Stop" switches up a well known break with an understated groaning bass whip, "Rolling With The Nines" takes us on mystical trip, Thresh Hold is freaky creeper with ghostly pianos and strange otherworldly basses while "Move On" closes on a superbly restrained soul stepper that opens out into some beautiful synth strokes midway. This couldn't be more on-point if T>I opened up a knife sharpening franchise.
It's 2017 and you can finally have your cake and eat it. It's all down to Jungle Cakes head chefs Deekline and Ed Solo who have been working hard in the bass kitchen since the foundation days. Here we find them in five Michelin star mode as they serve up a banquet of creations both from their own and their peers' menus. Highlights across this incredible D&B banquet abound from the moment Craze and Infiltrata's (aka 12th Planet) classic "Things Just Ain't The Same 4 Gangstas" opens the collection and Firefox's (aka Roni Size) seminal "Keep It Raw" headbutts us a few tracks later. Elsewhere the Jungle Cakes dons treat us to skanked-out banger after skanked-out banger; Spyda's iconic vocals and the hornets nest b-line on "Soundsystem Entertainer", Tippa's harmonic heaven on "Pass Me The Dubplate" and one of the nastiest remixes Deekline's notorious "Don't Smoke" has ever experienced. Loaded with an array of cool FX and two continuous mixes, this is a true jungle feast. What a time to be alive.
They might be averaging 2.5 releases per year but man are Blackley's Cre8 killing it. Every single release has been rammer-jammer with talent, ideas, fusions and energy. The "We Cre8" series epitomises this spirit and attitude the best as we're bombarded with heaviness from the off... "Medusa" teases with a starlit arpeggio on the intro before snapping your neck with a waspy bass drop, "War Mongers" is a much fuzzier, no-nonsense skin-scorcher, "Touch Of Generations" fires more lasers than an unruly robot while Jaxx provides balance with the springier funk of "Leaf Of Life". Rounding off with stern spacious bass tones of "Hemp Seed" and the timeless roller "Showdown", this is the best "We Cre8" edition yet.
The Force ain't mucking about this year. Having slapped us silly on both Heist's Calypso and his longest standing supporters Ruffneck Ting, he now makes his debut on Serial Killaz self-stamped label. As always with Serial Killaz, there's no room for fillers or weak joints so The Force goes in balls deep with four distinct strains; "Pussy Sound" is the deeper roller of the set, "Serious Sound" buzzes with high end rasping bass sound that fluctuates tangibly and jazzy housey chords play havoc on the breakdown while "Your Love" takes a soaring soul vocal and intoxicates it with a treacle thick reese bass to breath-taking effect. Hats go off the most, though, for "Hipster". The sheer rudeness and out-there feels of the tripped-out reverse organ bass. Ridiculous. Drop it and watch your floor go bananas.
Young Worthing warrior Mentah continues to go loco in the Sub-Liminal kitchen cooking up no less than five fiery courses. Five! Each dish is a feast in itself, loaded with gruff groaning basslines, swinging drums and precision dug samples. Those with a penchant for gluten will fatten up nicely on the moaning bass tones of tracks such as "Can't Fool I" and "The Rules", those looking for a little citrus zest will be all over the electrical buzzy tones and block snare bumps of "Clear" while those who go straight for dessert should lap up the sweet treacle bass of "If You Need A Name". More? Look no further than the EP title track "Orders To Move". Grills set to murderation, this is cooked to perfection.
It's been a year since he last took us on a Hi Res romp but Bladerunner is back on his own label and kicking major jacksy as usual. Four tracks full and not a dry eye in sight, each cut really brings out the Dread alumni's chainsaw bass abilities. "Technological" buzzes with a vicious electrical aesthetic to the bass, "Rolling Fire" is a roaring rip in the space time continuum with classical and future sounds both fusing at 100000mph, "Don't Stop" is nothing short of a jugular slicer while "Wild West" takes us back to the rooting tooting old school with a loose drum swag and much more sinister shadowy bass texture. Full res, high res, Bladerunner for prez.
"Jungle Jungle"; so good he named it twice, right? You all know the drill now: It's lord Bladerunner, it's The Prototypes' unstoppable Get Hype imprint, it's a pristine roller that glides into the mix serenely, building subtly into a breath-taking synth-vocal drop that's emotional enough to turn your dancefloor (and the neighbourhood in a 50 mile radius) into one en-mass goosebump. Classic tucker from the consistently on-point Bladerunner and a sweet little curveball from Get Hype. There are no losers here.
Following on from their successful hook up with 2020 Vision, nu-disco heroes Crazy P have now joined forces with the Classic label (how has this not happened before?!) and here we get the "Truelight EP". Spacey retro soul balladry gives way to filthy cosmic funk on "One True Light" and "In My Hands" is nasty Padlock EP-style disco of the highest order. Hot Toddy (aka Chris Todd of Crazy P) remixes the latter into hypnotic acid and band co-founder Ron Basejam turns the former into chugging, sun-warped Balearic boogie.
VIPs in the hole! Two of Bulletproof's biggest club-shakers undergo fire updates from the men themselves. First up is barking badman Kanine who adds a whole new metallic crunch to his woofer-burning "Bad". Tsuki follows in hot pursuit with his modified "Inspector Gadget" where the lower part of the bass Q&A takes much more of a lead with a brand new twist on the hook. Deadly.
Given his history in the disco re-edit scene, it's perhaps unsurprising that Michael Fichman's first EP for Soul Clap contains a couple of bona fide mirrorball treats. Chief amongst these is "Get it On (Bosq Remix)", a brilliant chunk of revivalist vocal disco full of authentic instrumentation, including Nile Rodgers style guitars, a fine walking bassline and on-point percussion. DJ Bruce provides two killer, gospel inspired revisions of the track, too: the pared-back, pianos-and-bongos vibe of the "Feeling Mix" and the stretched-put, organ heavy gospel disco roller that is the standout "On & On Mix". Fittingly, both make much of Amy Douglas's inspired vocal. Elsewhere, "Side of Life" is a preacher-sporting chunk of sunshine disco and "The Changer" joins the dots between chugging dub disco and throbbing Italo-disco.



Ding ding, round two. S.P.Y gets into his stride as the second instalment of his "Alone In The Dark" series hits hard with five more sterling sounds. "Termination" is every bit the hurter you want it to be with its shattering snare shot and waspy alien bass and "Shadow Play" follows closely behind on the ice front with its chilling pads and sudden junglised drum shatters. "Get Up" follows with big sweeping radar basses buzzing under a soaring vocal and subtle heritage atmospheres and "Coldwave" is just a brutal slap into the 23rd century. Ever the switch flipper, S.P.Y ends on a curveball. This time the Vangelis-goes-neuro drama of "Mind Over Matter" with on-point barsmith Inja. You'll never rave alone.
Question: When will Tyke stand for prime minister and how can we vote for him? We'd all be in a lot safer hands if this graf artist-turned-Playaz premiership player ruled the UK. Anyone who can make sounds so grotty, weird and head-bending like the swampy bass gurgles on "They Must Come" and the 1.21 gigawatt electric riff on "Cosmos" has exorcised enough demons to be a level-headed, thoughtful person, right? And who needs Trident when you've got hole-tearing slappers like "Galvanised" or the sense-blurring turbo-thruster "Planet Merk"? Answer: no one.
For his second outing on Dirt Crew, Roar Groove boss The Revenge is in full-on peak-time mode. There's no hypnotic slow house chuggers or mid-tempo loop bumpers, just a quartet of tried-and-tested slammers. The veteran Scottish producer gets straight down to it with the loopy disco-house celebration of "Every Night", where judicious chops are used to incite a rapturous response on dancefloors, before cooling things down a little via the retro-futurist, late '90s New York house bump of "Grit". "Never Learn" is a percussive and stripped back outing that pits vintage, Tenaglia style drums and bass against wonky, alien electronics, while "Krokodile" sounds like a Chicago jack-track after a round of shooters with the Emperor Machine.
You don't get a second chance to make a first impression. But thanks to Friske, you do get a "Second Chance" to impress a dancefloor. Building on his METHXX and Platinum Headz adventures, the highly respected London deepsmith returns with his most comprehensive collection to date. Six slabs high and kicking in all directions, highlights include the mesmerizingly dreamy soul-tinged stepping title track, the physically addictive percussion and subtle-but-savage grumbles of "Departure" and the jazzy allure and bitter metallic aesthetic to "Suspicion". That's just the half of it. It's time to take a chance...
We'll cut to the chase on this one: If you're not shouting 'EPICENTRE YOU BADMAN' at the top of your lungs when the bulbous fatman bassline on "Fresh" drops then we suspect your soul might be damaged beyond repair. Other physical kneejerk reactions you might experience when vibing to this seriously sharp release include leaning back as far as you can to the east coast keys of "Infamous", hard-stepping like a mad bugger to the ghetto-grooving Astrophonica-style workout "Run It Back", leaping around like a total idiot to the ragga-tinged roller "Lion A Lion" and getting pranged beyond the cosmos on the darkstyle damager on "Jedi". As for the additional VIP of "Duppied Inna Dance", if you should expect around 20 gunfinger rounds a second. Any less and consult your physician.
Skue-K is getting more and more airtime over the last year, appearing more often and on more quality labels, such as Project Allout and the present Tumble Audio. The producer likes to go for the harsher strains of UK bass, deploying some naughty levels of mutant bass amid fast-paced garage beats and house drums. "Criminals", as the name suggests, delivers a load of machete bass for the peak time hours, with "Full Whip" providing more of the same drug, for added effect; Brent Kilner twists up the low frequencies to create an all-out bass attack from an aerial position. Careful with these explosives, son!
It's a Birmingham / Bristol Jah-off as long-established Ruffnecker K Jah adds a little twist to young Bristolian newcomer Mixjah. "Soul Survivors" sees the two Jahs go toe-to-toe with a beautifully simplistic bassline groove while on the remix-front "Send Some Riddim" enjoys a beautiful makeover with an elastic bassline stretching around some jazzed-out keys and "Purple Music" goes ultra-violet with its understated minimal bassline roll and cool showers of dusty organ. Comes complete with a killer original from K Jah where the perfect balance of agginess on "Crowds Just Go" guarantees instant mix gratification. Don't mess around.



If you've been to a festival this summer, it's likely that you will have heard "Surrender", the first collaboration between Running Back man Gerd Janson and Black Jukebox curator Shan. A pleasing slab of feel-good disco-house with added carnival percussion, the track's appeal likes as much in the duo's ability to place life-affirming peaks (built around colossal disco samples) in all the right places as the rock solid nature of the production. Basically, it sounds like an anthem and is fast turning into one. There's a similarly old school feel to "Gentle Place", too. The track's analogue bassline and layered, carnival house style percussion is brilliantly off-set by the kind of swirling Balearic chords and eyes-closed vocal samples so familiar from Janson's Talamanca System work with Phillip Lauer and Mark Barrott.