The don Randall continues to smash things to "Pieces".... 16 tracks of serious rolled-out dark groove soul, it's nothing but heads down grit and uncompromised creativity with every track playing the consummate role of lead player; T>I's soul-shaking hip-twister "All I Do", Benny L's epic groaning yes-fest "Dr No", Vapour's sci-fi drama stepper "Looking Back", Trex's cosmic alien lullaby "Short Story" are just some of the highlights as we roll deep to the very end as Seba blesses the collection with a superlative re-touch on Randall, Goldie and Dego's seminal, scene-shaping bomb from 93 "The R". Randall... Still doin' it after all these years. Essential for all drum & bass heads.
They're back! Following a year or so of bookings, Sub Zero and Original Sin's legendary partnership Generation Dub comes correct with two massive back-breaking productions. "Back In Business" says it all. Having been on dubplate with only these guys and Hype to play for several years, its wily riff and chop-burning bass are now available for all of us and the world is better place. "Ya Tink Ya Bad", one of their most revolutionary cuts from 2005, also gets a muscular G Dub 2017 reboot. Massive in every direction.
Time to get those fingers green once again as Leaf fires off the second part to his "Pick N Mix" series. Once again, it's an all-out assault of skanks, rasps and gnarly gurning dynamics that don't just make a crowd dance but electrify it. With its excellent vocal sample and potty bass "Jah" is the definition of 'fire' and DJs should call the local fire brigade before planning on dropping it, "Riddim" groans under the bass pressure before twisting you with an array of percussive elements, "Get Down" shows Leaf at his more stripped back, steppy and crispy, "Tosh" pays homage to the don with a block-snare bashment serenade while "Inner Connected" reminds us of Leaf's more soulful side. Job done... Just like any good pick n' mix, all flavours are covered - and every single one of them is sweet.
Fresh from flexing the iconic vocals of David Boomah, Dub Shotta bossman (and all-round G in general) Benny Page now locks horns with one of the most distinctive and hype-raising Jamaican MCs in the game $pyda. Wrapping his dancehall damage harmonies to "Gangsta", this is nothing short of an anthem thanks to its sing-along feels, a gut-punching hook and raw energy that will pop any rave into pieces. With its rifle riff, sandpaper harmonics and higher-end tones "Flava" takes us round the back for something a little more illicit and intoxicating. Both absolutely smash the place.
He's back! One of Full Cycle's most high profile new family members returns with his largest EP to date. "The Grand Chapter" leads with an army of happy-slapping breaks and a bassline that taps deep into the Bristol psyche. Elsewhere "Mijushen Style" looks east for inspiration as an oriental intro hurls us face first into a low-end swamp, "Don't Tell Mom" rides bareback on a rolling drumset while a bassline switches in a manner so deviant it should come with an 18 certificate, "Cold Rock Stuff" is a loose-limbed heads-down roller while "Mushrooms" promises to trip you out with its wild drum science and technoid sense of space. Trust us, these jams are so fresh there's no chance of history repeating here (not sorry!)
Version immersion: Switch return to Coda's 2016 release with two killer remixes from some well-rated and respected rising producers: Agro spaces out the classic juicy wobble on "Bad Guy" with more of a rhythm-based groove while Salvage & Shadre flip the elements and bring the Die-style bass groan to the forefront while filling in the background with a whole zoo of alien textures of their own. Bad boy re-rub business as always.
Hugeness! The mighty Macky steps aboard Friction's Elevate with one of his most in-demand tunes of the year. As with many of his anthems, the key is in the balance as a breezy atmospheric soul vibe blasts like ice cannons before the big sing-along bass riff thumps like a cannon ball with an infectiousness and insistency that will be soundtracking our nights from here to festival season 2034. Macky continues to raise the bar.
Swiss mandem Qbig & Zenith B have undergone a total re-focus and re-branding to return as QZB. And this heavyweight, multi-flavoured beast is this is their crucial opening statement. Covering more ground than they have in the past, but all with a consistent signature that's both powerful and stark, across the EP we're treated to space-age minimal rollers ("WYGD" and "Valhalla"), ghetto-busting footwork funk ("Apollo"), gritty riff steppery ("Turning Point") and sublime soul-burning halftime ("Revenant") Make no mistakes: the Basel boys have just upped several gears... This should not be slept on.
KiNK's taster for his up and coming album on Running Back is here. We don't know if the title is inspired by the Scottish town that techno larrikins Clouds are from, or the sleepy mining town in Western Australia: it's anyone's guess! The Bulgarian hardware maverick brings us some funked up disco loops, reminiscent of DJ Sneak's Sneaky Trax imprint back in the day. "Perth" is a prime example of his unstoppable knack for good times. Taken from the new Playground LP, the three versions here are dripping with grease. Split between the original, a chord mix (which is brooding and epic) and a funky beat version full of sultry latin percussion: it's all you ever wanted from a single. Perfect house music for techno DJs and techno music for disco DJs.
Having delivered their De-Evolution album over the course of three EPs over the last year, New Zealand's gnarliest bass slappers The Upbeats have now asked some of their mates for the all essential revisions. And they haven't gone in half measures as Malux, Rockwell, Annix, Agressor Bunx, Black Sun Empire, Memtrix and Emperor all deliver fresh chapters.... Empire's subversion of the depths of "Prism", the overwhelming emotional rush on Memtrix's take on "Say Go" and BSE's almighty thrashes and bashes on "DOOM" are just three examples of how epic these versions are.
Shady power moves from Kanine: Having already taken us "Into The Dark" on Twisted Beatz earlier this year, now he's trapping us in "The Shadows" and there's no way possible way to escape. Not that you'd want to escape, mind; with its orchestrated samples and drop into a dual-textured bassline that both groans and purrs, "The Shadows" has some of the best views of the dancefloor you'll ever get. "Invincible" holds us hostage even more with more of a classic brittle Belgian-sounding roughness to its grotty Q&A riff. Both kill it in two exceptional ways... You gonna bark all day little doggy?
A year has passed since Voltage took us for a "Ruby" on Logan D's Low Down Deep. During that time he's verified himself as a roller king and teamed up with Serum to get souped up and waggle his fat cobra in our faces. Now he's back with more high grade strains and they're all as smelly and potent as the next. "Sticky Vicky" is all about the staccato sandpaper harmonics, "Barbera" does this cool Q&A between higher and lower textures before dropping into a dreamy rave breakdown, "Labrynth" is all about the squelching farty off-beat bass funk while "Boy" shuts us down with weirded-out scary reverse bassline twistery. White widow... guaranteed to spark up the dance!
MC Fats and Cleveland Watkiss on one record? Now Break is just showing off! Bonafide soul badness, everything about this record is bliss as both the iconic vocalists harmonise with total messages of unity. "We Are The People" is almost gospel in its intentions while "Midnite Classic" takes us a little deeper into the night with more of Break's classic roughhouse funk foundation. Fresh from soundtracking many of Sun & Bass's parties this year, this is now yours forever. Give it to the people!
The choice of Tony Humphries to mix Running Back's first label compilation is a significant one. Getting his big break in the early '80s as an understudy for the legendary Shep Pettibone's Kiss FM show, Humphries went on to become one of the defining DJs of house music's formative years, with residencies at New Jersey's Club Zanzibar and London's Ministry of Sound. His previous mixes illustrate his continuing ability to bridge dance music's past and present and his new one for Gerd Janson's imprint will mark its fifteenth anniversary. It is a timely reminder of what has made the Frankfurt powerhouse remain on many favourite label lists for over a decade. It's a mix of golden oldies and recent classics alike: from Todd Terje's smash hit from several years ago "Ragysh" and the anthemic "The Voice From Planet Love" by Precious System, through to more recent bombs. Two by Running back alumnus Shan ("Bassline Party"/"Work It") and the legendary Mr G's Motor City ode "Ben & Gerd" (Killin It M Day).
Story has it that a bunch of Amsterdam's current scene heroes had studios in the basement of a hotel opposite the former iconic Trouw nightclub (RIP). One morning, local enfant terrible San Proper happened to cross paths with Nachtbraker (early on a Tuesday morning) and that's how this collaboration of sorts came about. More specifically, San Proper "casually grabbed a microphone.. Nachtbraker pressed record, Dr. Proper got his inner Mick Jagger on, and behold: Misses, madame, mademoiselle was born". Hear the cowboy of minimal house croon over Nachtbraker's funky disco loops on "M.m.m" (feat San Proper's Elegy), while Hamburg's finest Session Victim remix the track next: giving it more dancefloor dynamic. Second original offering "Hamdi" is a hammering disco house joint that will really rock the house, while the remix up next by Bli takes it down a couple of notches, plus a slight Afro touch into something deeper to mood light the early evening.
We are huge fans of Kenji, he's been producing some real jump up bangers, which still have a sense of musicality to them, which we all know is not a common theme. There's so much to love about 'Get Down' the background high pitched buzz, similar to something 'Tyke' would pull out of his hat is set against a sub which sounds like it is floating and decorated with wizzes and pops, the track is pure twisted magic. 'Al Capone' comes to us courtesy of Kenji & Bou, with a similar floating vibe to the bass accompanied by clicky and bleeping beats, this is another one for the floor.
Witness the Furniss! Rolling through the year with key cuts and EPs on the likes of Higher Stakes and Cre8, the mysterious murker dents Boylan's exciting new label On Point Audio. Five tunes deep, each one charging with firm focus on the two crucial elements this genre is founded on; the basslines grunt and have steam charging from their nostrils while the drums rattle and slap with a loose roll but firm punch. Highlights include the Rivera-nodding soul-stormer "Thief In The Night" and the canon ball banger "Tune Fa Tune" but the whole EP commands your attention. And does so urgently.
Essential reissue business: the debut album by recently reformed Bad Company is acknowledged and respected as a true blueprint document for the late 90s / early 2000s darkside arms race where the likes of Virus, Trilogy and BC would flock to Music House with their darkest designs, all inspiring each other to up their game. Raw, freeform and off-the-wall, every track on here has influenced the genre and had an impact: the horror movie orchestration of "Oxygen", the twisted funk of "Trick Of The Light", that insane reese tear-up on "Nitrous", the list goes on. History seldom sounds so future.
SOBAD it's good... Bristol's finest 12-legged/four-act crew come correct with their own label. All acts representing with a tune a piece, it's a serious statement of intent: Sly One dust off their favourite percussion tools and get gritty with some Cumbia soul, Bromley tags in Dread MC over a razor's edge breakbeat, Archive raises the tension with a big diva vocal sample over some sizzling rolling breaks before Distro closes on with some tripped-out percussion shimmers and ripples and more gutsy fractured drums. Each one exploring and documenting SOBAD's technicoloured shadow escapades. We're looking forward to more releases from SOBAD Sounds.
This entire EP is stunning, softly singing to the Shogun signature sound of rolling, liquid tech. Setting the tone for the release we start with 'Empire' and we just love Mr Porter's voice, it's just so effortlessly smooth, it nestles beautifully within this lulling track, gorgeous piano, echoing drips and warm sub. 'Forma' takes us to slightly darker planes, with a creepy manipulation on the vox and a low, slowing moving vortex of a b line. 'Some People' has a melancholy vibe, with classic samples and a deep sub, while 'Who's There' is all about the vocal, and it is just divine, juxtaposed light shimmers and dark twisted tones. Trust us, you need this release in your life.