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Reviewed this week
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Dread Recordings unleash their fifth mixtape of dancefloor stormers, and with 17 massive tracks to choose from, they're not mucking about. Spanning the entire genre of drum and bass from its old school beginnings to modern minimal and everything in between, there's something for every picky sub-genre bass aficionado. This tracklist of rising stars like Excalibur, Mara Man and Deploy sit alongside the likes of Savage Rehab and Renegade Live to pull off the biggest D&B event of the year. Hold tight, this is gonna get messy.
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Logistics is back! More or less absent in a solo capacity since dropping the 2012 anthem Fear Not, Matt Gresham delivers Polyphony his sixth Logistics album in as many years for Hospital Records. Long term fans of both Logistics and Hospital will immediately resonate with the 13 tracks here with Gresham signalling a return to the vivid, life affirming brand of drum and bass that helped establish the classic Hospital sound. Uplifting piano chords, euphoric basslines and sublime vocal chops abound on Polyphony with a raft of collaborators including new names such as Hugh Hardie and Maduk as well as veteran producer Sonic and Gresham's brother Dan Nu Tone.
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Four massive remixes and the original "Inna Mi Draw" reach our eager ears in this blazer from Liondub Int. Messing with the smooth reggae and dancehall vibes of the original stylings, Potential Badboy add a swagger and sway for the first rework. The legendary Serial Killaz push their junglist flex, Curfew Steppas take things a little bit leftfield with on-point off-beat riddims and finally, Voltage twists the original into his own jump-up fantasy. A blistering release from one of the best labels of its type out there - get on it!
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In their official biography, Technimatic describe their particular take on musically rich liquid D&B as "hyper-coloured". In many ways, it's an apt description. Certainly, there's a baggy vibrancy to this belated debut album, which is gloriously breezy and deliciously soulful from start to finish. There's an almost horizontal feel to the duo's classic blends of vintage jungle rhythms, drifting vocals - most notable on the beautiful "Looking For Diversion", featuring the folksy voice of Lucy Kitchen - twinkling pianos, undulating strings and sun-bright chords. This kind of liquid jungle is always eminently listenable, but Andy Powell and Peter Rogers' particular take on the style is more cultured and mature than most. As a result, Desire Paths is an impressive and hugely enjoyable body of work.
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A team of essential underground D&B names gives this release some weight, but as always with these guys, it's the tracks that really speak for themselves. Breaking things in gently with a shoulder-shrugging old-skool vibe, "Old Poison" moves swiftly into overdrive with the nastiest bassline in minimal history. "Revolution Groove" offers a touch of sunlight - ready for Sun and Bass thanks to Release's influence - but "Gravity" plummets back down to the underworld, with "Move On" giving Arp XP the floor for some depth-charge bass infiltration and old-school Amen largeness.
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What can we say about Break that hasn't already been said? This man is D&B mythology - every producer namechecks, every DJ represents, every soldier on the dancefloor knows that Break equals neck-snapping quality of the highest order. Both tunes on this release are, it goes without saying, superb, but both come from different dark places. "Groove With it" is the stepper you want, "Soldier" is the heavy, bottomed-out, snare-flailing dangerzone you need. Drum and bass for the connoisseur who still likes to get messed up when it suits. Beautiful.
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In a culmination of influences and creative brainwaves, Blade & Conspire have got together and created something really special for Soul Deep Exclusives. Rather than the uplifting liquid often enjoyed from the label, this release is darker - somehow deeper and richer sounding, and with more references to the past. Pushing an old school sound without sounding hackneyed is difficult, but "True Pioneers" (we hope it's a pun), is a beautiful mix of old and new, blending dusted-off breaks with a futuristic soundscape. "Signals" packs far more of a junglist punch, and "9 To 5" thankfully forgoes Nashville to bring minimal, futuristic sounds based around a dampened scaffolding of beats. High grade.
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Crisp, futuristic sounds come courtesy of UK's own J Hybrid, a producer who's seemingly more prolific every single month that passes. This time he turns his paranoid junglist sounds to 36 Hertz, and first track "Nothing Else" is a blending high-powered dancefloor filler powered by the manifestly dark thoughts that fill his best productions. "Bring It On" changes the mood completely, with sizzling horns sampled over big punches of bass and jungle breaks and as "Smash and Grab" moves into cinematic territory with widescreen atmospherics we almost forgot where we were...until the drop. "Reach" rounds this stonker of an EP up with the soundtrack to a true old school rave. Bring the energy.
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One of drum & bass' true innovators, Rockwell spends his time wisely over at Shogun Audio creating only the best messed-up beats from a mind-bendingly diverse spectrum of influences. "INeedU" is a skitterish firefly of a track, complete with hyped-up ADD beats stolen from a Rave mixtape circa '93 and samples from every corner of his record collection. "1_2_3_4" features harsher than harsh pads throughout, creating a hard techno blast through the neon wormhole of Rockwell's D&B fever fit. More Bangface than Sun and Bass, it's an amazing mental breakdown of a tune that somehow works itself out into quite the little mover. Be prepared for a scare.
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Kredit joins the Soul Deep crew for this beauty of a liquid release and this German sure cam pick a melody. "Reflections of Time" starts out with a soaring intro, all hands in the air and sparkling chimes. His bass does all the talking when it kicks in though, dropping to reveal hidden depths far below the shimmering surface. On the other side, Future Engineers remix "Ascending Red", a tune caught part way between a stepper and a roller - part head nodder, part hip-shaker. A gorgeous filtered synth plays out the main riff as an understated bassline pads out the low end. A real treat.
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What a gorgeous sound these guys make. Separately, each of their tunes make complete, isolated sense. Laid together in a row, and they all sing from the same verses. Individual style and influences rarely gel this well, so it's a special thing indeed when four extremely talented producers, each relatively new to the scene, each from different corners of the world can get along so harmoniously. Each track on here comes from a different part of the D&B spectrum, from liquid roller to jungle-tinged futuristic shakedown; don't be surprised to find things swinging wildly between the two and touching every variation on the way past. Variety like this is a wonderful thing.
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If you get the tummy butterflies when you see Horizon's name mentioned, then you're in for a stunner. As per usual, Cern and Overlook call in all their special favours to bring a two-parter worthy of Noah's Ballroom. "Nevada Ghost" is stunning; dripping with atmosphere it sweats out the darkest bass only these two could concoct, bringing with it devastating beats that could rock Fort Punta Christo to rubble. "Decoy" brings more of the same pain, but darker and more stealthily. Sleazing its way into your psyche, it's a cold-blooded killer created just because they can.
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Brazilian producer L Side has a way with liquid not many producers do at this moment in time. Rather than pedalling the perpetual sun of his homeland, his rollers are wrought with emotion, tinted with darkness and glazed with sultry production techniques. He's no spick and span liquid merchant. He deals in tunes with feeling. "So High" featuring MC Fava could easily be a chart-botherer in the UK, piecing together unsettled lyrics with a stunning, sparkling backdrop of minor key lushness. If it was all getting a bit deep though, "Riddim Dancer" switches proceedings into stepper overdrive, showing that this guy is more than a one-trick pony. Dark and dirty and made with real care and passion, L Side really is one to watch.
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DJ Fox was last seen alive around these parts when he was working with the likes of Fade and Kai on a collaborative project. Now, here we are, being blasted to pieces by his blistering nightmare patchwork of 1993 amens and good old rave sensibilities. If you're a stickler for the old skool, you could go a lot worse than "Underground", which switches up and glitches out more times than Aphex Twin's dial-up. "Joy & Pain" offers up a more soothing taste of the wonder years, with washed out 'tape deck' production and the swell and release of sub and pads rocking you into the early hours of your long luxurious return to reality. A stunning piece of work, or something massive to dance to? This manages to be both.
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Junglists, salute. We've found the tracks you need right now. Tkay has come to ERBA with an on-point selection of ramped-up ragga-influences stompers to get things sizzling through the night. "Bad Bad" kicks off this two-parter with hard-hitting drums and fun and funky samples, featuring retro vocals bringing those original dancehall vibes. "Find And Kill" takes a more easy-going approach, but with no less dancefloor fire. Winding and grinding through vintage samples and big, wobbly bass, it's a dancefloor filler with the edge to bring everyone to the dance.
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Just like an old school white label, there's a really cool air of mystery about this whole release as you approach it, and with Taal Mala's short-but-perfectly formed repertoire tipping nods at myriad genres, you're unsure what to expect. It's a vibe that's retained throughout the EP, too; while the title track fuses loopy techno, footwork and breakbeats, "Bubble" is a dedication to the darkest of jungle foundations with added ghetto-tech badness and "Love Lies Bleeding" oozes delicious, soaking wet sub drops and trappy vocal elements. Grenier complements this unabashed flavour-free-for-all with a sharp and angular remix of the title track. As with the originals, it somehow manages to celebrate a million genres - classic electro, footwork, breakbeat and hardcore. MORE than something for everyone!
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The latest signings to the Fokuz roster are these breakneck Russian beatmakers, and from the first few moments it's clear everyone's going to love them. "Broken Dreams" kicks things off with a glorious amalgamation of crushingly heavy, deep and dutiful bass and surges of dark synth, all held together with a minimal framework of breaks. As if by magic, the pair switch roles completely for "Fine", a sun-drenched instant classic, rolling out hard with deep, sexy bass and a sizzling sultry atmosphere. These two aren't playing around - D&B needs something different in the water and they might just be it.
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With his place amongst the drum & bass community very much established thanks to a series of releases as Nolige, West Midlands producer Shaun Bateman signalled a new stage in his production trajectory with the SB81 project. The Blueprints EP is his second outing for the METHXX series from Metalheadz and it opens with a jagged sting of pure and unadulterated future jungle with the title track. "Blueprints" really showcases this producer's talent for twisting out interesting new rhythms from classic breaks and is complemented by some truly vicious sub bass. Elsewhere SB81 revisits previous production "Four Tun", sliding the tempo gauge up to 170 and easing the mood from dark to hopeful which contrasts nicely with the haywire half time headnodders delight that is final cut "Arq".

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Sit On My Bass returns with the ripest jump up on the planet ready to terrorise and tantalise. Newcomer Pleasure sets the subs in motion with the tearaway "Diesel" but it's not long before the don Heist makes his presence felt with a sound FX-laden skankout in "Crippler", which sets us up nicely for the dark sounds of "No Stopping" from the man like Jaydan. Finally, rising talent Dominator teams up with Logan D for a stripped back bass 'n' bones attack. Four tracks, one mission: to destroy the dance. Get into it or get mauled by it.
$11.26
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Strictly for all mix lovers, Fabriclive get busy on the D&B flavour once again with a monstrous blend from the mighty Calyx & TeeBee. Renowned for their six-deck sermons, here we find the duo stripping back the madness for something that transcends the dancefloor yet still carries immense levels of weight. Ranging from the updated Nasty Habits classic "Shadow Boxing" to upfront badness massages from Teddy Killerz and Fierce & Optiv, it's nothing short of a modern day drum & bass masterclass. Fabriclive never disappoint - an essential addition to all mix collections.
Exclusives
NICO D feat TURBULENCE - Inna Mi Draw (Liondub International) - exclusive 31-07-2030
DJ HYBRID - Out There (36 Hertz Recordings) - exclusive 07-08-2014
GONG, Ji Ben - Deeper In My Soul (Soul Deep Recordings) - exclusive 11-08-2014
Exclusives
VARIOUS - Dub Dread 5 (Dub Dread)
ACTRAISER - Inner Beauty EP (CELSIUS) - exclusive 07-08-2014
TECHNIMATIC - Desire Paths (Shogun Audio)
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