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The connections continue as California duo Sub Killaz let rip with a second four-track volume of US jump up joints and jungle jams. "Demons" is all about the swaggering triplets and hornet's nest one note stabs, "Look" fusses up a sexy R&B vocal with a pant-dangling rolling groove that's not dissimilar to Break while "Feelings" maintains the high emotion levels but adds a more of grittier, sleazy funk swing. "Druggies" concludes proceedings with big jazzy pianos, a classic rap sample and plenty of twisted cowbell clanging. Just say yes.
One of the savviest axis-flexors in the D&B / jungle game, DJ Hybrid has an all seeing eye across the soundboy spectrum with his two labels and mixed-style signature. Here the full focus is on his flagship label Audio Addict with his first exclusive-powered mix album that covers all the crucial corners. Every track rattles and shakes with energy and subversion: the jungle chaos of his own "Mix & Blend", the iced-out atmos and toxic drop of Swerve's "Massive & Crew", the gunshot bass holes caused by Lost Dynamics "New Funk", the jaw-dropping ruthlessness of Ray Keith's take on "Badboy", the list goes on... DJ Hybrid levels up once more.
Strictly for the woken: Jaydan's back with some cold hard truth about the world we live in and how violent times call for violent sounds... "Priorities" is all about the broken glass funk, all spiked out and rasping, "It's On Fire" rides on a spooked out loop before switching to major arsonist mode with a Taxman level riff made of pure nasty, "Finish You Quick" ensures everyone in the area dies by laser bass while "Violent Nature" brings us to a fittingly gritty close with sounds so advanced, that we can only assume Jaydan's gone into the future and sampled from a great robot war. Big society bangers.
Aroop Roy is a producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist originally from the UK and now residing in Tokyo. Be prepared for one well funky and soul infused journey on "Talkin Bout Life" which is perfect to bring in the summer of 2017. Funky elements, a serious horns section and strong vocals hold up this brilliant track. It's a more straight ahead deep house affair on the rather evocative "We Together" and actually its the kind of track you could imagine Derrick May or Dixon playing out; there are definitely elements of 'hi-tech soul' in it. The Brisa remix of Talkin Bout Life" on the flip is a worthy addition also.
Happy birthday Intrigue! They're celebrating 14 years of their Bristol club night (and nine years of the label) in style with this beautiful collection of 14 exclusives that sum up the collective's vibe, spirit and energy perfectly. Deep, soulful but not afraid to slap you silly with grit or funk across the set we're treated to triplet-teasing elastic double bass freakery from Raw Q, total soul magic by Philth, SolidFrame and Collette Warren, cloud-leaping amen bliss from Ill Truth and white knuckle space funk from the daddy Randall and label bossman Ben Soundscape. With more from the likes of Phase, Random Movement, Break and loads more, this really is a special collection. Don't sleep!
Lumberjacks In Hell just keep on trucking, this time calling upon the legendary skills of Karizma in setting their latest EP alight. "Work It Out" is a fiery slice of gospel choppery, whipping up a fevered line in vocal insistence that hardly needs a rhythm section to make you move, but still has the necessary goods underneath the hood. Marcel Vogel follows a similar tact on "I Got Jesus", spacing the jam out and working a bit more groove, but certainly tapping into the same spiritually enhanced vein. Karizma then returns to make an aptly named "Stomp Dub" of the track, rounding off an absolute beast of a party record.
Just listen to that spaced-out groaning bassline on "The Test". If that doesn't take you off to some murky corners of the deep space of your mind, you might have to get a second opinion on those junglist credentials of yours. Classic Bladerunner. The same can be said for "Kick Off". Warming up mildly before dropping into a jagged, aggy riff (underpinned by warm subby wobbles), it lives up to its name in every way. We know you're gonna dig this!
Is it you? Is it your neighbour? Is it your mum? Still no one knows who Dawn Wall is (or are) but we know we're cruising point blank towards an album. Here are four more reasons to look forward to it; "Twin Falls" rolls with the anonymous artists' signature piano lulls and a hazy vocal sample. Simple, soulful, bliss. "Mantis" hits a little harder with warm insistent key strikes, a groaning bassline and some interesting textures fluttering overhead while "Holding On" flexes a Gill Scott vocal and Think Break with guitar glistening perfection. Finally "Marina" takes us out to choppier oceans where the seas and keys are notes of deep blue. The mystique continues...
New German label Original Key continue to fire the big guns on their third release: DJ Sly continues to chow down on the quarter pounders with another epic plunging bassline on "98 Style" that just tears through everything else in the mix (including the cheeky string sample on the fills) For the second track OKey invites fellow German titans Bassface Sascha and Feindsoul on board for a grunting, jumpy bassline-focused b-boy session. Die saga geht weiter...
Reviewed by Klute: Ive been a mate of Steve's since the mid 90s - were both originally from Ipswich so ive been closely following what he's been up to pretty much from day one. What i love most about Steve is hes trod his own path and always been willing to give anything a try and made some of the best tunes of all time along the way. Hes not precious - a tunes a tune and to me that makes it all very real. He's always been massively inventive and can come straight out of the left field with some mad whacked out ideas. Majorly influential. Anyways, its good to see him back on Headz with a nice EP. SunBites and Understand are the stand outs here, Sun Bites having been a mainstay in my sets for quite awhile now and it's absolutely superb, reminding me of some mid 90s Bukem type vibes. Big up Steve.
Who are Oz? Where are they from? Are they a she or he? Is it solo or a group? Why are they so good? So many questions and no answers - except this bare fact.. The music is tremendous. Classy drum & bass with clear roots in all the right places and the perfect amount of weight, space and energy, the music does all the talking. From the necksnap drums and groaning bass of "Rhapsody" to the psychedelic build and dangerously wobble-some drop on "Hellion", this is an exceptional exercise in timeless underground instrumental drum & bass. More please... Whoever you are!
It's been a strong year so far for the soulful D&B big boy Pennygiles with appearances on Metalheadz and now his debut on Dispatch. Playing a restrained game of contrasts and shade throughout, this is one of his most detailed and accomplished EPs to date: the mutant alien texture and evocative chords of "These Feelings", the hurricane atmospheres of "All Seeing", the subdued shimmers and ripples of "So Near" and the incredible depths and sub shakes of "Sheltered Life". Complete with a Zero T remix, this is a major win for all concerned.
It would be fair to say that Macc and Loz Contreras have made something a splash in the D&B scene since first joining forces back in 2013. It's also true that few contemporary producers are capable of delivering such musically rich, soul-flecked liquid funk. Their trademark sound - rolling breaks, sparkling electronic, carefully selected samples and melodies aplenty - is much in evidence throughout this fine debut album, which gathers together both previously released singles and previously unheard fare. Highlights come thick and fast, from the disco-sampling dancefloor bliss of "Better World" and the sun-soaked brilliance of bass-heavy carnival roller "Wanna Be Your Lover", to the sub-heavy assault that is "Switch". A handful of remixes from other artists - including liquid soul mate S.P.Y - complete a quality package.
BANG: Kre and his mates are back and it's more of the same absolute filth we've come to expect from the young UK bass flexor. "Shutdown" sees him teaming up with Multi-Function affiliate Freek for a crucial tech-edged riff that swathes through the mix like a samurai. Unadulterated chaos. "Toronto Blues" sees him teaming up with longstanding collaborator Basshoven for more of a groove-based funk-up that's laced with the twisted, menacing undertones the pair have excelled in previously in the past. Watch out for the breakdown as well... It'll leave you black and blue.
Hide your nudes! Aesthetics is out for revenge and it looks like he won't hold back on the punishment. "Out For Revenge" is a real rasping bass riff cut that maintains momentum until the momentarily floaty breakdown. "Assassins" shoots even harder with its sweeping growling bass while "Badboy Dubplate" strips us down with a Lynx-style focus and sense of groove (watch out for those amens midway, they'll take your head off) Finally we end with "Feels So". Rising and rising with a white knuckle build the Smokin Riddims mainstay hurls us into another brilliantly minimal drop where singular bass grunts and clever percussion sweep us off our feet.
Astrophonica kicks off 2017 with the sounds that have driven the label forward over the past five years. Gradients is the label's first compilation and brings together its small but powerful roster with a string of close friends and allies, giving prominence to both well-known names - dBridge, DJ Earl, Stray, Om Unit (under his Philip D Kick guise) and newcomers such as Lewis James, Tusais, Touchy Subject and Tehbis. This is a glorious celebration of Astrophonica's growth, as well as its stylistic roots and forward thinking ethos. Each of the 13 tracks have been tested in the clubs over the past year to ensure an all killer/no filler experience. Respect!
Remix time: Bulletproof don their protective clothing for two killer versions of two recent tried and tested bangers. First up Tsuki's "Street Wars" continues to develop a life of its own. As the dust settles from the recent VIP, Premium adds a whole new layer of thugged out prang-flavoured bass. K Motionz follows with an equally suited, booted and space-funked twist on Bulletproof's second ever release - Kanine's barking mad "9 Lives". With more to follow, it feels like Bulletproof are only just getting started.
British producer Birdee has been quietly doing his thing since the turn of the decade, delivering a string of underground nu-disco hits on a variety of labels. Here he returns to ISM three months after his last outing (the fine Love EP), this time with a trio of ear-pleasing Balearic boogie productions. Vocalist Chloe Amber guest stars on title track "Give Into Love", a sumptuous, sun-kissed fusion of lilting deep house dreaminess, sparkling '80s soul sounds and hazy disco warmth. With its jammed-out analogue synth riffs, fizzing electronics and elastic bass guitar parts, "Tonite" is an essential instrumental workout, while "Dinamo" alternates between sumptuous melodiousness and stripped-back, bass-driven disco-funk heaviness.
Longstanding roots collective comprising Aries, Jacky Murda and Tuffist, Chopstick Dubplate return to one of their classic riddims and work the hell out of it. Based on Mad Cobra's original "Gundelero", the previous version remained on limited 12". Now fully digital with a range of versions and remixes we're treated to the spiritual vocal uplift of Zanadu & Tuffest's blend, the wobbly-bottomed jungle jam from Margaman and a sparkling system shaking reggae jam and loads more. Shots fired.
While re-editors come and go, Frico AKA DJ Friction has been serving up fine re-edits in regular intervals for the best part of 15 years. The two scalpel jobs showcased here are arguably amongst his most impressive to date. As the title suggests, "Dance, Dance, Dance" is a rework of a particularly well-known New York disco milestone. While faithful to the original in the opening stages, it gets a little more dubbed-out and eccentric over the course of its near 10-minute duration, with Frico giving greater prominence to the instrumental elements and drum breaks. Hit the virtual flipside for "So You Wanna Be A Star", a tasteful rearrangement of boogie-era disco shuffler laden with wiggly synthesizers and bold vocals.