Drum & bass's most unique gentleman Calibre plunders his vaults to compile a new collection of unreleased gems through the ages. As you'd expect, the end result is a timeless assault of lush grooves, soulful sonics and sweet skippy riddims. From the soft jazz insistency of "Honey Dew" to the hollowed harrowed bass tones of "Bellamee" via the harder, rave-referencing "Sagan" and the deep bass gurgles and DRS's reggae-style vocals on "Eschaton", the only issue here is the fact Calibre hasn't released them sooner. Unarguably incredible.
Alix Perez on Exit? That's enough to make most D&B aficionados froth at the mouth. Throw in collabs with the equally hot Stray and two of footwork's most demonstrative players and you've got a release so cool it comes with its own beard. "U" is a rifle-like jitter-jam of cuts and chops, all massages together to juke glue. "Sludge", meanwhile, lives up to its name in every way. A funky post-dubstep downbeat strutter, it wonks as hard as it works. The truly unique "Make It Worth", meanwhile, is an eerie stepper that morphs from subtle to stately drama with a Detroit style heaviness and a grime vocal loop. Finally we hit "Gully Halves" which, as the title suggests, is a waspy paranoid bassline on a dark stroppy halfstep. Four incredible future jams from the Shogun superstar... This is next level business.
New Zealand drum and bass legends State Of Mind return to the dance with their groundbreaking new LP on Blackout Music. Kicking over the fence between old school sounds and brand new ideas, they've taken inspiration from around the world and thrown it into one of the most accomplished D&B albums released in recent memory. Sharing the spotlight with collaborating artists like Black Sun Empire, Nymfo and Codebreaker hasn't hurt them either, helping to push their sounds further into orbit. Each track is fresh but with a nod to the past that grounds it deep in D&B, making it worthy of the hall of fame. It's already a classic. Do not miss this.
Vienna-based D&B outfit Fourward aren't about to sit back and let their good name carry itself through the ranks. Releasing on Shogun Audio this high-octane mix of neuro and hard stepping floor fillers takes the group to the next level, pushing their influences from Noisia and Ed Rush & Optical to Icicle and Alix Perez through each finely tuned track. From the dark lyrics of "Countdown" featuring Kyza on vocals to the neurofunk masterpiece that is "Phase Align", this is a bad little EP that blows up first, asks questions later. Get your crash helmets ready.
Yes! Dominic Angas returns with his first Dom & Roland transmission of 2014 and many will be glad to hear it contains the monumental exercise in Amen murder known as "Remember Your Roots". Slammed in the club by the likes of Goldie, Audio, Break, and Klute, there's been the usual online clamour for "Remember Your Roots" since it first appeared on the Metalheadz Rinse show in December. And rightly so, as it kicks like a farmyard full of mules wearing steel toe capped footwear, but amidst the Amen filled onslaught, rumbling bass lines and that staccato riff, it's Dom's implementation of classic samples that rams home where his roots are! Don't sleep on the B-side either as "Freeze" is every bit as potent a dancefloor cut, a classic arrangement of strings and breakbeats that's befitting of spinnage at the iconic Metalheadz residency at Blue Note.
Grab those dearest to you and nail down anything of value because Critical's latest release is epic on a grand scale and it's going to blow everything away. We're talking nuclear, apocalyptic style. Forget Noah and his sailing trip. There's a lot of joy in hearing these two producers work together - two similar twisted styles interlocking seemingly effortlessly, creating havok at the touch of a button. It's like magic. Dark, weighty and intense, at times it feels like they're going right over the edge...but they always manage to pull it back for another drop. Soon to be heard in clubs everywhere to the tune of thousands of contorted bodies moving in unison, there's always one release a year you'll kick yourself for sleeping on. Don't let it be this one.
Part of the V Recordings family, Chronic is Bryan Gee's baby. Established in 1996, the label has stayed true to its roots by releasing only the finest in roof-raising, booty shaking soulful floor-fillers. Jaybee and Andy Sim get to it on "Forgotten Funk" which harks back to the glory days of funk-fuelled D&B. They haven't forgotten. "Don't Front" sees Dave Owen joining Jaybee for a laid back roll through fast-moving soundscapes with a deadly bassline worth a severe snarl - just wait until it drops. "Jugging Sound" changes things up totally with stressy pads and a bigger attitude than Arnie, and finally "Check This Out" steps it out like a cocky young thing, staring out inferior basslines from a mile away. An EP full of surprises, get on it.
Run Tingz Digital tear a hole into the new season with their first release of 2014. Living up to its name, "Road Block" is a party-packed skanker that's set to become a summer anthem , courtesy of the label's very own J.Man. Signed exclusively in 2013, his agenda-setting remixes of undisputed Run Tingz classics has cemented his name as one of the best in the business. This is his debut original project with the label, building on his already impressive profile. Complete with his signature jungle drumming and instantly recognisable horn riffs (taken from The Aggravators' "Rockers Almighty" no less) it's the perfect complement to the impeccable lyrical talent of Parly B. One firing original, three vibing versions; Run Tingz Digital are tearing up the dance with promise. Jump on this now!
Challenge: Make Craig David sound lush, deep and dangerous. No problem - challenge accepted. Hungarian outfit "Incident" take things down to the depths of dark D&B, dragging an old chart garage classic with them. The result is a chilling roller made for basement dancefloors with just a touch of irony. Gotta love some irony. On the other side, BCee's "Double Take" is a think of light, airy beauty. Soaring like a bird in a summer breeze this tune's got it all - Brazilian flavas, rolling bassline, orchestral sampling. It's a perfect spring day wrapped up for your headphones.
The Liondub Street Series continues its path of destruction with volume five in its arsenal - veteran producer Zero G's Atom Bomb. Scorching the floor with jump up breaks and intense bass bombs, "Guy Fawkes" is a sinister little number, with more underlying tension than real explosive. It's hard to ignore the insistent drums and electro stabs over shouts of 'murder'. "Indescribable" contrasts low-bit sound effects and melodic passages with roughneck bass battering for a bit of a baffling combo - we suspect that's where the name comes from. The more complex atmospheres and drum science of "Zero Jungle" along with the sampled Rhodes licks in its breakdowns briefly point the EP back to the old school in a heads down groove. Final track "The End" is an apocalyptic farewell with a pile-driving bass wreaking havoc below insistent drum breaks, bringing the fifth Street Series to a raw finish as darkness falls suddenly over barren concrete. You've been warned.
Dancehall don Sizzla presents a deep, emphatic sermon on meekness over a sharp steppy beat and crisp oriental strings. Shooting wide on a remix flex, Muti Music have curated a full spectrum selection: from Benny Page's reggae skanks to Son Of Kick's stampy bass hype via the deep tribal drum dynamics of I Said No's rub and Andreilien's tropical snaps and slams, each and every take adds a whole new chapter to Sizzla's captivating narrative.
Swiss beatmaker Pulsaar gets deep and emotional with his brand new EP on Jazzsticks. Who said D&B couldn't be romantic? Full of soulful rhythms, jazz flute and jazzier sax and deep basslines made to get booties shaking across the land, this is a dancefloor-perfect release made to get crowds feelin' the love. Featuring the amazing Paul SG on the cool and breezy "City Trip", every other track on the release is self-made solo work taken from the jazziest, most soulful recesses of Pulsaar's imagination. "Misunderstandings" finishes off on a gorgeously old-school note. You can't afford to miss this, get it bought.
Flowrian and Kyro return to Focuz for another round of drum & bass classics in the making and this time things just got a little more chilled. Alright, so the breaks are as edgy as ever and the feverish bass rolls out like nobody's watching but "Never Ever" has the crisp production and dreamlike sampling of a track made for stealth chilling. The happiness continues in "Formulas", tapping away at electro bips and boops while sax swoons all mellow-like in the background. Final track "Valencia" gets a 'deep & dry' remix, topping of the mid-range with hazy atmosphere and a whole bunch of deep-meaning feels. A must-have for every D&B headphone commuter.
Beautiful and effervescent is how the title track of this two-track stunner rolls - and roll hard it does. Deep bass and hard-edged percussion make for a crisply produced little number, but it's that gorgeous mix of keys, vocal sampling and washed out atmospherics that gets us tingling. UK based Macca and Slovakian producer Changing Faces team up with Identified for a haunting and soulful roller, with vocals tinged with hurt and sadness to match a perfectly moody, brooding bassline. Two absolute stunners from Celsius Recordings UK - support these amazing producers, they are going places.
Another newcomer for talent-scouting, freshness-addicted Celsius Recordings UK sees a producer from small town Russia get his well-deserved turn in the limelight. He makes the most of it too, with two stunning tunes cut straight from the heart. There's something about first track "Hold You" that sounds endlessly melancholy; despite that washed-out, summery sound there's a feeling of deep contemplation, maybe brought about by deep, reverberating bass and wistful guitars playing around live drums. "Rise On Me" picks jungle breaks as a base, playing impressionist piano around a playful bassline. A soulful liquid release with technical intelligence and a fresh outlook. More of this, please.
Deekline has always been good at blurring the boundaries between bass-friendly genres, be that breakbeat and garage, dubstep and UK funky, or - as is the case here - classic garage and jump-up D&B. Really, "Real Love" shouldn't work, but it has that irrepressibly fun vibe that's always been a hallmark of his productions. Think garage organs, a classic R&B vocal, a speed garage bassline and a relentless jungle rhythm, all finished off with his trademark production style. It has that anthem-in-waiting feel that suggests it could be a big tune this summer - certainly, it has all the makings of a hands-in-the-air festival anthem.
This gorgeous slice of lush, rolling deepness is brought to you by Thesis, aka Matt Anderson from the ancient city of Cambridge (Pretty apt name for a producer based in a university town, wouldn't you say?) Title track "Lemuria Rising" is a journey of a track, moving fast but staying strangely static, giving the sensation of a train ride. It's as though the beautiful sounds are travelling around you, moving you on to their next destination. "Activated" is far more pushy, demanding full attention as perfectly produced pads add cyberspace texture to washes of synth and rapidfire breaks. Soul Deep, where do you find these guys?
Breaks veteran Jay Cunning (a former resident at Kiss FM) started Sub Slayers in back in 2009 and ever since he has seen the label's popularity go through the roof. He reckons it's due to the imprint's militant manifesto of 140bpm+ bass and who can argue? Here label regulars Gold Dubs are entrusted to take us through a 50-minute mix of the best jungle orientated releases in the Sub Slayers back catalogue. It's a typically explosive release featuring reggae vibes on "Back 2 Hackney", hyper urgent breaks "Separation" and the laser infused old skool attack of "Unreal".
In case you were wondering what all those street parties have been about over the past week, Sigma has released some new material, and good lordy is it top drawer. Put down those garland necklaces and that bottle of Patron and listen. One thing you should know - it's a remix of the Charlie Wilson tune of the same name (which in itself was sampled by the one and only Kanye West - which is the version used here, in case you're a fan of music trivia) and it's a big ol' bundle of dancefloor energy. Packing a serious punch under that ultra-recognisable piano loop thanks to retro breaks, this is hard, fast and fun D&B that'll bring dancefloors to destruction point. Get some!
Break heads get ready, because this EP is going to knock your socks off. Fusing jungle with future breakbeat, Vinyl Junkie and London's own Sanxion whip two genres into a tasty frenzy, adding Kingston warmth to calculated beats and tight bass. First track "Talk Too Much" also gets the Gold Dubs treatment, exaggerating a big dub sound. "Attitude" is a firestorm of blistering rhythms and old-school mentality, while "Poison Me" adds soulful vocals courtesy of Maria Milewska. "Radiate" looks forward to summer with hot breaks and ravey vamps and the classic "Wages Of Sin" gets a release and remix thanks to Strange Rollers. Finally, "Tear Down The Place" and "Rhythmic Vibration" plunge through ever-changing scenes of breakbeat perfection. Made for happy dancefloors everywhere.