There's nothing better than hearing producers on top form and this release is one of those absolute joys. Judging by the cheeky solo digit in the title, we can presume that there's more to come, and that's good news for everyone. Featuring Break himself working with the infallible Calibre and DLR, and with a bonus track smack bang in the centre from NC17 and KC, there's every chance you already know and love these tracks if you're a big Break fan. Even if you're just a casual admirer, the originals won't have passed you by, which makes Calibre and DLR's remixes all the more special. Believe us - you need this, even if just for "Wondering Why", a masterclass in Break-style chop-n-step funkiness.
Enter Bailey for V Music to show the world what the face of D&B looks like as we approach the end of the beginning of 2014. Featuring 24 tracks of the hardest-hitting jungle drum & bass the scene has to offer, this adroitly named compilation is an ode to the more stripped back, raw sounds of D&B's past - all with the unmistakable edge of 2014 production power. Take note - if bass ain't your thing, move it along. There's nothing for you to see here.
Ivy Lab provides Critical Music with its first physical release of 2014 with a four-track EP. To begin with there's the piano-ambient introduction of "Missing Persons", which in a way sounds like a highly sped-up Burial track combined with Frank Carter III's vocals full of a similar sounding soul heard in Storm Queen's crossover hit "Look Right Through". The drums remain super-quick on "Live On Your Smile" alongside warbled computer bleeps and melancholic female vocals, while "Sunday Crunk" is a hip hop-inspired, MPC-styled slow jam that may well take its inspirations from southern rap. Lastly on this deluxe package, Project: Mooncircle and 2nd Drop artist Deft touches-up Ivy Lab & Emperor's "Pepper" for something verging on heavy dubstep mixed with some growling, Fis-like effects.
As LionDub International charges into 2014 with new releases and a newly-unveiled Street Series, we welcome their latest newcomers, REDS, a recently-minted East London drum and bass duo who proudly offer their solo debut featuring vocals from India's Delhi Sultanate and remixes from Canada's jungle don Marcus Visionary, the inimitable Mungos Hi Fi out of Scotland, and Dublin's Dirty Dubsters. Switching through bouncy dancehall vibes to the deep, dubby sway of Von D's delightfully filthy dubstep mix, there's plenty to get those feet moving here. Raise your hands and lower your caps, it's about to get messy.
With a statement cover imagining a planet overrun with speakers - what a place to live - this compilation offers some of the most bonkers jump-up and high octane D&B currently available for human consumption. Featuring some of the finest new talents from 36 Hertz's roster, this release splits into two halves. SR & Digbee's "Supersonic" and NC-17 & Soul Culture's "Jungle Nightmares" are helter-skelter mad, ready to break free at any moment. Push on to Lutin's "World Of Blue" and a deep rolling bassline and skitterish hi-hats make for a techy respite that's still packed with energy. Finally the tech continues with a cold, clinical disintegration into madness courtesy of Delphi Productions. Who said jump-up was samey?
Frenetic and fun D&B from Soul Deep's fresh newcomers Humanature and J Logic, first track "Get Ya Down" revels in the sun-drenched sound of Brazil. Large and overflowing with jazzy breaks, this EP is exactly what's needed for a mid-week chill. Not to say this isn't prime dancefloor material - if you're looking for soulful, high-energy tunes made to get folks moving, you've come to the right place. With moments of pensiveness snatched in-between big, rolling waves of liquid sunshine, there's no way you could have a bad time listening to this. It's an instant mood lifter.
LionDub International has never hesitated to show strong support for new artists, and offering new talent in consecutive releases is their way of showcasing something they truly believe in. For Street Series Volume 4 they present the production debut of Truespirit, a storied figure best known from his time in the jungle and garage days as Marga MC. Breaking down the wall between old skool jungle and current D&B, this release is a harmonious blend of the two, never clashing, always stacked with vibes. Adding weighty atmosphere for "Baby Baby" he proves that he's far from a one-trick pony - it's the standout track just for sheer ingenuity.
Beautiful, undulating waves of luxuriously-produced liquid drum and bass - what more could a D&B fan want? South East England's answer to the crisp, clean rollers coming forth from mainland Europe, Soul:Motion might be a newcomer, but his tunes definitely have clout. With a pretty but tough remix from Colossus taking a deeper tack, this producer's strengths are clearly with soul and atmospheric melodies. Playing with impressionistic piano sounds to create emotive, rain-dappled soundscapes, there's no filler here, just an EP packed with heart and passion.
Stunning, sparkling and disarmingly ethereal, Bipolar's crystal clear production has a way of luring you in before spitting you back out again. Huge, revving basslines pack out each track's crisp, frosty atmosphere, bringing a big, rounded depth to his machinations. Of course in "Sublime" there's some fantastic virtuoso sax to contend with too, but who doesn't love a sax solo? "Like This" is big, brash and floor-razing; if it's not a staple near you now, it soon will be. final track "State Of Play" picks up the frozen vibes again, adding venom through an agile but heavyweight bassline. So much at play here, very impressive stuff.
"Straight up Argentina moustache gangsta house" reads the press release, so needless to say, we were intrigued. Packing a lo-fi punch and ripping into retro plink plonks like nobody's business, Arcade has stripped this season's sound down to its pants and taken it out for a stroll. Working it all out into a big bassline freakout as the track strings you along is just all part of the fun, not to mention the side order of nutjob footwork left by way of a remix from Deft. Absolute madness.
Legendary D&B label Renegade Hardware has been a powerhouse of essential tunes from the darker side of the street for 19 years now. Pushing ever onwards with their future sounds, this release is a neat and nasty selection of the finest new talent around right now. Kicking off with a tasty slice of neuro badness from Slovakian artist Trilo and banging tracks from Klax and Subtension who takes to the studio with MC Nuklear, there's also a beast of a tune from rising also-Slovakian star Minor Rain. Clean, precise and just a bit deadly. You need this in your life.
The Hospital crew bring their industry-topping heads together to belt out a charity single like no other. Featuring Diane Charlemagne, London Elektricity, S.P.Y and remixes from Nu:Tone and Lung, "I Am Somebody" has been created to raise money for Street Child World Cup, a global charity re-launching itself ahead of the Rio World Cup to take young people from the streets and give them the hope and opportunity to start a new life. It's uplifting, it's bright, it features some of the biggest names in drum & bass right now and it's for an excellent cause. What other reasons do you need to buy this single?
The mysterious artists behind this happy collection of rollers and steppers might be hard to uncover but thankfully their tunes are easy to come by, thanks to them being picked up by Liquid Drops earlier this year. Progressive, repetitive and deep at times, this isn't liquid in its usual state. Toez steps up first; "Spiffy's Song" does an excellent job of providing the perfect transitional plateau for a foray into house or 4x4 while still remaining a classy, dubby little mover, while "Sunflowers" plays with jungle sounds and dark and dingy bass under jazzed-up percussion. Okee's input is far deeper and expansive, taking his space age sounds on blissed out journeys through both his tunes. Two artists to watch, and a very interesting EP in its own right.
Psaphyre are on a roll as of late, releasing filthy nu-jungle stompers for the next millennium. Their latest mass of squelching, rip-roaring fury comes courtesy of Dubthugz and it's a two-track scorcher - "Doomsday" is the one for the head-nodders and "Roll Call" adds even more layers of low-end delight. Fans of Hazard won't be disappointed...