Whether they playing with themselves or playing with each other as Decimal Bass, Annix and Konichi are two of the most creative minds jump up drum & bass has seen since TC came through with "Deep" over 10 years ago. Highlights include the sexy vocal sample and infectious congas of "Work It Out", the outrageously nasty hook on "England" and Konichi's complete liquid switch flicker "Those Days". No stone unturned, Annix and Konichi are at their most extensive and exciting right here. Stunning.
This epic release comes just in time for jungle's optimum time of year. We're talking, of course, about midsummer raves, outdoor parties and general naughtiness in the sun and "Rise of the Soldiers" has got all that nastiness and more. Packed with vintage samples from the golden days of ragga, reggae and soundsystem culture, and perked up with fast-paced drum and bass riddims and bass heavier than Jabba the Hutt's mama, you can't afford to sleep on this. Featuring Saxxon, Bladerunner, Supreme Being and Coda to name just some, there's enough talent here to get any self-respecting VIP BBQ off to a flyer. Get a shuffle on.
Jubei writing about his true form gets everyone nervous, because if the stuff he was pushing out before wasn't raw enough, how much darker can it get? True to form, this extended EP is a gold ticket to all that's good in the world of drum and bass here in the middle of the 2010s. From start to finish those bottomless basslines roll out into huge caverns of sound, where empty space plays with constricted percussion and tight, original song writing and stunning musical ideas from like-minded producers. Jubei is killing it and if you're in his way, prepare to be converted.
Dark and menacing is how Turno's playing it with "Judas" and to be honest, he's nailing it. Ram-packed with techy madness and hard and fast snares, this is jump up for the connoisseur. "What You Thinking" is a total turnaround in style, choosing smooth rolling bass and the heartfelt vocals of Pretty P. Come mid-set, this'll be a must-play. Two blinders.
If you're left scratching your head after reading the title of this release, nothing we say here can help you. Saxxon has become Liquid V's leading authority on jazz and all its sexy nuances. This EP has been tailored to suit those of a more soulful persuasion - and that's not to say there's nothing here for the bass heads - the level of low weightiness is off the scale. Let the jazz and the bass melt together into a perfect world of deep, funky relaxation.
A king selector and respected label director first and foremost, Critical bossman Kasra doesn't dish out sonic sermons very often. But when he does, it's always worth paying attention. Especially when Russian demon Enei is on board, too. Five tracks in total, we range from the swampy half time sludge of "Inside The Box" to the early Metalheadz ice and depth plunge breaks of "Words" via the peaktime heads down stepper "Arcana". The real highlight, though, is "Overthinking". Haunted pianos, ghostly breakbeat flickers and paranoid poetry from everyone's favourite MC, DRS, this is up there with "Count To 10". Yeah, it's that good.
Making music since the early '00s, badman duo Tantrum Desire have been keeping their sounds heavy from the streets of London since UKG was topping the charts. Bringing a fresh, modern twist to vintage and old school vibes, "Diversified" is a full-length look at where they're at right now, and it's mightily impressive. From the cinematic pomp of "Diversified" and the trancey rushes in "Genesis" to the totally massive "The Shadows" featuring Matrix & Futurebound and the ridiculously addictive "I Need You Here" with Drumsound and Bassline Smith, this LP is a must bag for any hardline drum and bass aficionado.
South east soundboy Damageman digs deep into the jump psyche with this muscular collection of big bass bust-ups. "This Music" comes with a really rounded smooth bassline that almost purrs in a similar way to Urban Takeover many moons ago. "What The Fuck Was That" is much more upfront and gritty, coming on strong like a Logan D or Tyke blunderbuss. Elsewhere "Tricks" combines at least four different basses to create one overwhelmingly nasty message, "3 Seconds" rasps with a cement-melting metallic bassline and wins the 'best sample' award this season while "Control" closes the show with a bubbly bass dynamic that's not dissimilar to a young Original Sin. Comparisons in this league don't come any higher.
Riya gets her own release. It's about freaking time. The soulful siren of the underground for ten years, there aren't many people who are better connected or more respected amongst the 'good guys' of UK, European and Brazilian drum and bass than this lady. She's a force to be reckoned with. Working with Dynamite MC, Villem, McLeod and Break on this stunner of a two-track, the beats drop hard and the bass rolls deep. But really, what did you expect? If you call yourself a drum and bass fan, pick this up as soon as your fingers stop tapping to the sample of "I Don't Need".
For those interested in the creative potential of drum & bass, Hospital offshoot Med School has long been of more interest than it's festival-friendly parent label. Designed to showcase experimental, off-kilter and lesser-known D&B producers, its' consistently offered up singles and albums that bristle with great ideas. Here the label offers up a full-length from Russian producer Electrosoul System, a man who has been impressing at the margins of the D&B sound for the best part of a decade. Accessible but always unusual, Flawless impressively blends elements of liquid D&B, jungle, half-step, hip-hop and more ragged rhythms to deliver something fresh, intoxicating and hugely enjoyable.
Just who is Dawn Wall? And how does their sound simultaneously manage to feel comfortingly familiar and fresh? Equal parts deep and light, twinkling melodiousness marks "Simple Mind" as the ultimate EP opener, giving plenty of hints of the goodness yet to come. "You Remember" is a reckless banger, rolling out once more, this time with a moodier angle for the dancefloor. "If I Smiled" offers a little warmth and romance, and final track "Saigon Blaze" shimmers with exotic sounds and that trademark rolling bass.
Filth at its finest, Lymitless has taken his jump-up credentials and twisted them into something rotten, pushing the darkest sounds around as he does it. Relatively minimal as far as the genre goes, this slice of high-energy bass-driven madness focuses on ramped-up compression and choice cuts of sampled club noise and melody. Look out for "Real Ugly".
An immensely enjoyable compilation to stick those hungry chops around, Co-Lab's success has been off the charts over the past decade and this saucy little collection goes some way into explaining why. Kicking off with something smooth and intense from Heist, don't be fooled, this isn't an LP where one sound rules all. Expect fresh liquid rollers, harder, techier beasts, old school, jazz, soul and funk, all cable tied into this one neat package just for you. Isn't that thoughtful?
Marcus Visionary and DJ Lush's Inner City Dance come correct with a far-flexing, full-flavour chapter of universal, sub-genre-shattering D&B. Artifice takes the lead with a disco-dented springer that's reminiscent of an early J Majik cut (yes, it's that good). Marcus follows with a winningly contrasting jungle stepper "Slave" while Dcision enters the fray with a straight up slab of mid 90s-minded nasty (think Origin Unknown circa "Sound In Motion"). Finally Hungry T chows down on a feast of early Good Looking influences for a beautiful star-gazing, Moloko-sampling rolling monster.
Munich badman Danny Scrilla returns to the label that introduced him to the world, Om Unit's Cosmic Bridge, with a fine 12". Hardly the most prolific of artists, Scrilla has committed just two Eps worth of material to wax since Cosmic Bridge issued his Flash Power 12" back in 2012 so the chance to assess where the German's sound is currently at is most welcome. A hefty four tracks feature on the True Sight EP, commencing with the epic synths and percolating textures of "Helium" which clearly takes its name from the high pitched vocals. "Rigel 7" meanwhile shows off Scrilla's quite wondrous talent for instrumentation, and "Jello" offers a line into more darkside atmospherics with some truly snappy percussion. Om Unit pops up on final cut "Free Flight" which skilfully blends in elements of dark sparse sounds, jungle, and left-field techno.
A rallying cry for the junglists out in the place who never got to truly experience the raw ferocity of '90s rave culture in all its finery, "Junglist Fever" is as close to the feeling of those renegade times as we've heard of late. Wildly patterned drums and pads facing off with unravelled vocals; horns and soundboy samples blowing up all over the breaks; stressy synth stabs lighting up the breakdowns: this is the sound of all the nights you'll never remember. But they always say, you'll never sit back one day and congratulate yourself on the nights you stayed in with a milky brew.
Fracture's entrenchment in the rave foundations reaches a new depth as he revisits The Skeleton Krew's 1992 hardcore classic "Luv Ta Luv Ya". Retaining all the messy majesty of the original while ensuring it's ballsy and muscular enough for today's D&B dancefloor, it's yet another flashback without the unnecessary additional OTT production guff many old school updates have to suffer. Pure futuristic nostalgia.
Mystery surrounds this eccentric release from Berlin, offering a musical collage of influences from The Doors and Santana to Latin grooves and classic drum and bass sounds. More likely to be heard drifting from a nearby open air bar on the sunny shores of some paradisical Greek island or Croatian coastline than on the sticky floors and darkened interiors of your downtown club, interestingly, they're said to be offering up an LP later this summer with zero odd sampling involved. A pair to keep an eye on over the next 12 months!
MSDoS returns to Soul Deep for some fresh material to see in Great British Summertime 2015. Crisp and soulful, each tune is an instant classic and the type of quality we've all come to expect from this prolific producer. Especially stunning is "Straits", which takes vintage breaks and repurposes them into a deeper than deep roller that manages to be weighty and beautiful in equal measures. "Such A Thing" sees a Malaky and MSDoS pairing, bringing forward the sunshine vibes, leaving us wanting a bit more from these two. Future collabs imminent? Stay tuned.
Soul Deep's latest success story Greekboy brings his own tweaked take on rolling liquid heart-stoppers with this loaded EP. Switching styles from soulful to chopped and quirky and everything in-between, after a few releases where he was finding his feet, there's something about tracks like "Wake Up" that show he's really got it covered now. Drawing on influences from the old school and placing them against his own magical sound design, it's awesome to hear an artist striving for originality in what can often be a saturated scene. Final track "Faster" is the perfect example of this in practice, mixing playful invented sounds with Amens to create a new world sonic. All eyes on Greekboy.