The mighty Maji continues to reflect over his double decade shenanigans with another titanic remix set. Heist takes full control with his ravaged texture on the bass riff and edgier kicks on "Feels So Good". Dominator & Logan D completely flip the bassline on "Fallback" with a whole new layer of hench high end weirdness. Pleasure really brings out the euphoria and spine-tingling hype on "Stay With Me" before erupting into a gamechanging drop while Majistrate himself gives himself a gully makeover on the mischievously riffed "Hypnotic VIP"
What's going on here then? Emerging through the same tightly weaved fog of mystery and stylised with the same rich, deep rolling diversity and tribal visuals of Dawn Wall (whose true identity few, if any, of us have yet to decipher) Mohican Sun delivers his debut document: "Where Did You Go" is barbed bliss with a yearning vocal stretching over the groove almost longingly, "Dead Sea" is a S.P.Y style roller with the space between the bouncy bass coloured in 24k gold. "Sudden Change" twinkles on the top and swoons underneath with a Calibre-style piano loop. Finally "Lost Village" is a wider piece of cinematic majesty with mild Latin licks that pulls on a few pages from the Bukem bible. Each cut a diamond in the rough, the main message is clear: Whoever Dawn Wall's new compadre is, the most important thing is this music really stands up.
Tokin, smokin trail blazers G13 round up a new crew for a new smoky session. And everyone's wrapping their finest. Label big smokes Rowney & Propz take the lead with the sticky viciousness of "Devils Gate" while Mackey Gee blows back with a smooth retro vapour with "Arcade Machine". Kilos of new talent follow with L-Ectric shaking us out of our skin on the brutal "So Easy", Danee B getting his jazz on with sprightly-but-wonked sounds of "Bad World", Meladee and Niterider slinking out with a warm old school bass tone and Kenji bringing us home with a superb mind-warper that's both deep and hypey at the same time. High grade, as standard.
It's a biggie: Vienna quartet Fourward deliver their second album and they're not pussyfooting around. Whether they're flexing their fuzzy, gritty muscles (the Jakes-fronted "Bites The Dust", the vortex-ripping bass rolls on "Belly Of The Beast", the twisted mania of "Sequencer") or they're dipping into more experimental pastures (the rolling halftime pumps and textured vocal layers of "Empty Soul", the AI-style future space anthem "Over") or teaming up with another Austrian heavyweight with obscene tech funk (the Mefjus collaboration "Everytime") the whole collection works well in three ways: the dancefloor, your headphones and their position in the premier D&B league.
Putting the vibes in to V/A: Logan D curates a brand new various artist EP with heavyweight results: Heist and Logan himself ignite the turbo engine with the low-swung roll-out "Do It" while Cabin Fever & Info lay down a much sterner sermon with "Wake Up". Deeper again we hit mysterious newcomer Drop Off with a powerful riff-primed cut that's reminiscent of a young Tyke while veterans Ego Trippin' return with a beautifully bouncy Bingo style workout "Barely Breathing". All quarter covered and plenty more.
We'll spare you the introduction; A Sides is known to all card-carrying junglists and D&B fans. Neck deep into what's clearly shaping up into a mammoth album project, the third "Quart" sector leaves no sonic stone unturned: "Electric" is a straight-up naggy number with a fuzzy bassline reminiscent of Bad Company circa 99. "Vortex" rolls with a rough off-beat bass that judders in a devilish way that makes you feel uncomfortable, "Legacy" has a cold Digital style breakbeat/heavy reese drone feel, "Groan" twists up jazzy horns with a Headz-style bass grizzle. "Dreamwold" provides a beautiful finale with a disco-dented roll out with instrumentation so super slick they'd make Bukem's glasses slide off his face.
Ah Break... Easily one of the most universally respected men in drum & bass. Never playing to trend, not even partaking in the mixdown war, always with the most unique drum sounds, he does his own thing and we love him for it. We love his label too. More often than not a vehicle for his own output, here he celebrates Symmetry in fitting style - with his own tracks and collaborations. It's an all star cast with Total Science bullying up a disgusting stepper ("Betamax") and Spectrasoul co-handling a gully halftime jammer. Elsewhere highlights hit from every corner but only a joker wouldn't investigate his update on the Fats-fronted classic "Free Your Mind", the grizzling "Who Got Da Funk" or the infectious shaker-flaring dub cut "Left Behind". Here's to another 10 years.
Let's say it now: it's about time! Vienna's Paul SG has been quietly donning the currently massive Austrian D&B scene for much longer than some of his more hyped peers. No drama, no ego or fanfare....just a consistent stream of soulful groove for almost 10 years; a full length release has been expected, hoped and longed for years. Naturally he hasn't disappointed. Highlights include the brilliant juddering funk of "Lefthanded", the spacey jazzy Bingo Beats bass phrasing, the absolute soul of Angelina Dove on "Cherry Blossom", the TRAC-fronted Breakbeat Era style "Poverty" and the fluttering aesthetic of "You All Never Know". With Conrad on the vocals, it's the timeless cherry on a truly authentic D&B cake. Delicious.
More future-talent fire from the label that gave us early releases from the likes of DJ Guv and Prestige, Good 4 Nothing aren't messing around. We kick off the four-track power pack with label bossman Complex who runs with a crucial cinematic backdrop that's all spine-tingles and drama. Criticalblow follows with a real rumbler that's reminiscent of early 2000s Full Cycle era output where bass accounted for a good 80 percent of the tune. Minzo is all waspy and wild with a bass textures that morphs, mutates and melts in different directions amid some rushy rave pads while Heskk closes the deal on a gritty Belgian flex. Staccato one-note riffs don't come any sharper.
London (Ironlung) and Germany (Desire) join forces once again as two of the most consistent men in jump up cooked up two distinctive bass riff-focused jams. "Fight" has a similar attitude to "Mr Happy" but with added spoken samples dug from the deepest corner of B-movie heaven. "You Know Who" is much more of a business banger; sealing the deal with a real rough grunt, there's a dark funk coded into the gruffness that keeps you coming back for more.
One of 2016 many welcomed return stories (Bad Company, J Majik, Full Cycle, Pendulum...) Commix eased himself back into the game with two new super-deep originals and two long lost dubs. Now back with four originals, "Generation EP2" sees him reengaging with even broader, bolder brush strokes. "Freefall" is straight out of the "Music" era - spaced out, synthetic and sci-fi soul. "Honey" continues the deep dream feels but with a much harder, Photek-style super-chiselled drumset while "Behold" is an early morning run along a misty beach with big leaping kicks and a sense of unknowing ahead of you. Finally "Arplong" winds us down on a classic electro tip laced heavily with mild nuances of Underworld-style layering. No mucking around now .... Commix is back in the building.
Is that a fishing rod in your pocket or are you pleased to see us? Either way you've hit the catch of the day right here as Birmingham's Total Recall slaps down two massive tunas. From the likes of Playaz, Innerground and V, he now stamps his versatile sound down on one of this year's best label success stories: Full Cycle with two absolute belters: "Repeating History" takes us right back to the late 90s/early 2000s with a bassline as infectious as one of Die's but as aggy as Clipz. "Planet Earth" is a much starker riff-focused tune that gurgles with a fine-tuned deep throat bass gurgle. Precision ruffage.
The second release on SpectraSoul's own Ish Chat imprint; it's clear the duo are in their element with six examples of precision drum & bass construction. "Stock Sound" is savage both in its presentation, its message and its potty-mouthed bass textures, "Waiting For" is a deliciously smoky soul session, "AKA Yoob" is all sprightly, bouncy and highly reminiscent of Bingo's influence 10 years ago, "Tough Linen" is gully incarnate with a gritty sandpaper bass riff and a catchy MC vocal sample (that isn't credited but sounds remarkably close to Jakes) on mic duties. Halftime heads should jump on the garage-flecked "Frogspawn" or the toxic rumbles of "Gold Standard". Enough chat now, it's time for some action!
Young Signal's making all the right signs and sines right now. Barely 18 and he's already fine-tuning a crisp, spacious sound, variety and detailed mixdown signature. Most importantly... the funk is abundant. There's a natural groove to both "Parallax" and "Ten Paths" that's not dissimilar to Break just slightly darker. Elsewhere "Downfall" is reminiscent of "Oblique" in its icy soulful way but with delicate vocals from Zoe Klinck while "Fearless" takes note from techno with its staccato riff and tippy percussive off-beat clips. Teaming up with equally on-point and hyped act Aggressor Bunx for the finale, "Isolation Cell" hits with the darkest design of the EP Vicious and rattling with an electrified aesthetic. Another surefire sign of a bright future for Signal.
Fresh from their feather ruffling fourpiece on Heist's Calypso Muzak, Lowriderz return with another quad of floor-flatteners. "Smoke The Highgrade" hums with a Moving Fusion style sub roll that bulldozes a firm timeless groove. Elsewhere the Russians team up with US rising star Rawtee for an amen/dazzled, sample-slapping take on jump up on "Monsters" and Enek with a an AI style power liquid cut "Follow Your Dreams". Looking to bag more agg? Look no further than the old school hardcore style VIP of "Pitch Fork". Grade A++.
Years of supporting and studying have paid off as long-standing Sydney representer takes a really big bite into something big this year. Noisia's Invisible, Klute's Commercial Suicide have both boasted his sharp skills this year. Now Ant TC1's Dispatch is too.... "Interceptor" flicks and kicks with a loopy, mild techno dynamic while "Faded Memory" uses an interesting, slightly slappy loose synth for the swaggering bassline. He's brought his mate Sach for the ride for two more contrasting constructions: "No Escape" stands out with the pitch-bent swoops on the fills creating a really trippy jazzy feeling while "Nadir" is a Headzy stepper with arctic levels of coldness in the groove. Crispy.
The man, the myth, the machine... Original Sin returns with some of his most agenda-setting pieces since Grow Your Wings. Now working with Viper, he's painting with some bright colours: "Expansions" has an early Sub Focus feel but with added amen bull charge and futuristic speedyway dynamics. "Red Mist" continues to curl the cutlass in all directions with its turbo hornets nest bass and cheeky funk on the fills while "Vandals" fires with the strength of a million military lasers. Finally "So Vivid" lets rip with a caustic bass texture that shreds the spectrum with an epic, metallic bassline from somewhere deep in the 23rd century. Don't leave us hanging Mr Sin.
Longstanding Brazilian vibe merchant Duoscience delivers his first album in four years and it's every bit as golden, soulful and detailed as you'd hope it to be. Ranging from the Roy Ayers style vibe flavour and rich double bass of "Only The Truth" to the Potential Badboy style subby mid 90s roller "Liked It" via the dreamy jazz roll-out with Soul Deep's Scott Allen "I Found You", the disco string/horn salvo of "Symphony Of Angels", the cloud-chowing funk of "Lazy Lover", if you've followed his work since emerging in 2010 you'll already be aware of how good this is. If not, get to know now.
DJ Hybrid just won't let up. Consistently smashing 2016 to pieces with crusher after crusher, his sense of classic rudiments and contemporary dynamics is nothing short of precision. As proved once again on Sub-Liminal: "Murder Soundboy" rolls with the understated grit of a mid 90s 31 cut. "Kung Fu Masters" retains this foundation feel with a mid 90s grizzler vibe that Serum executes on the regular while "Know Your Enemy" is all reese bass and sirens with moody ominous results. Remix-wise Benny L plays the consummate edge lord with steroid drum twists. Murderation.
Longstanding Soul Deep fam, Lurch returns to the LA label with four more precision rollers. It all begins with "Slip Away" that balances a Metrik level vocal but a Need For Mirrors style bass groove. "Lost For Words" takes us deeper into his contrasts as the piano shudder with emotion before breaking into a classic Planet V era two-step and funk groove. "Life On A Loop" is a dreamier, harp-strumming trip-out and it's countered perfectly by the dark steps, jungle twinges and ragga nuances of "Fake Tan Dub". Real.