V Recordings sister label Chronic steps up to give us volume 2 of their Rollers series, featuring 16 exclusive tracks from the freshest talent and the most exciting names currently holding down the underground scene. The label was reborn in 2013 with the mantra of presenting the world with no frills dance floor Drum and Bass and judging from this latest offering they certainly seem to be fulfilling their mission. From the rolling jungle sounds of Bladerunner's epic "Lock Off VIP" to the distorted growls of Command Strange's "Riots" if you are looking to get the dance floor bouncing, then Chronic have you covered.
Macky Gee has earned respect all the way probably thanks to his dramatic and modern take on drum and bass. In the 11th Liondub $treet $eries release, Macky quickly gets down to business, as the RnB flavas of "Be The One" gets crushed under a massive bassline. Title tune "Black Widow" takes a similar approach but switches the bass into filthy overdrive. "Seduction" keeps things on a minimal tip with nothing to dress its rude, battering bass and drum styles. He shows a more supple side on "Anxious" with rattling breaks and experiments in texture and drama. Final tune "The Hood" takes ghetto hip hop into jump up, hitting it hard right to the end. Macky Gee, we salute you.
CIA are bringing out the big guns with this intense selection of stone cold classics and fresh new sounds. Not content with already leading one of the finest talent-led subgenre revolutions, Computer Integrated Audio have brought together some of the biggest names around to lay out the future of drum and bass for all to see. From Smyla & Script's massive floor destroyer "Stockpile" to the unforgettable "Soul Patrol" from the men themselves Total Science and featuring acts like Enei, Spy and Riya, Serum, Break, Digital and Nymfo along the way, it's a thing of wonder to behold. Don't get caught out.
If you're after a slice of dubby rolling drum and bass perfection, Mark System has just made your day. Set to release his debut LP on legendary cult label Exit Records this pair of devastatingly dark tracks come as a warning of what's to come. "Optix" has the presence and swagger of old school Photek, and "Pursuit" picks up a dangerous urgency from knife-sharp percussion that screams on-point production. This man is on fire. Get yourself acquainted.
If the sight of these three names together on a track doesn't fill you with chills and anticipation, hand your HD25s back to the front desk and be on your way. Break and DLR's VIP of "Murmur" does not disappoint despite high expectations thanks to severe punches in the snare region and plenty of twisted distortion writhing around in the low end. Continuing the depravity, "Tugboat" gets a moneyshot VIP, pushing driving bass and that cheeky horn blasting through a thick fog of bass. "Regeneration"'s metamorphosis mix is much more concerned with the crackpot sound design side of drum and bass, stepping hard with more than enough alien drum patterns to keep it interesting. Massive release.
On a label that was created to give a platform to the up-and-comers of this world, Vacuum is thriving. Putting his own brand of dark-edged, jump-up flavoured sound to the test, this EP is filled with forays into the darker end of the scene. Striving for the underground, he hits the mark in sleek stepper "Confusion" and strange experiment "Scissors". The rest of the EP flexes his jump-up muscles, offering a grisly insight into a hyperactive, nocturnal mind. Expect to be making some moves towards the dancefloor to quite a few of these bad 'uns.
The Jam Thieves return with an absolute blaster in the form of "Bomber Man", a steroid-injected muscle pumper with just the right level of old school vibes to keep the vibes feelings flowing good circulation. This EP blends all that's good about this pair of Brazilian beatmakers: style, precision and bone-shaking, life-altering bass. Tracks like "Vacation" use minimal melody to hammer home solid percussion and hard-stepping attitude, and just you wait for "Real Killer's" hurter of a bassline. This is a collection of showstoppers - keep them in your bag and whip 'em out when the crowd looks hungry. Devastation everywhere.
The original Bristol jungle outpost Ruffneck Ting is back in operation and sounding as vital as ever on the strength of this release from The Force vs Habitat. For all those who bitterly complain about the lack of soul, imagination and rawness in modern day D&B, look no further than this four-track salvo that makes it feel like '96 all over again. Habitat keep things decidedly bouncy and not a little bit cheeky on "See Me Coming", while "Razor Blade" heads into more devoutly junglistic territory to deadly effect. The Force has a smoother blend on offer with the big leads of "City Love" bringing a little Detroit magic to the mix, while "Musical War" rubs a little rootsy skank into the crisp breakbeats.
For his debut full length outing on Hospital, Reso has pulled out all the stops. With a production history most would kill for, this man knows how to craft drums and anyone who heard his "Pulse Code" EP back in 2014 will tell you, this LP has been a long and tantalising wait. From beautiful multi-layered masterpieces like "Taiga", "Coming Back To You" and gorgeous title track "Ricochet" to experimental forays into sound design like the chilled out hip-hop stylings of "Aqueous" and "Happy Travels", this is an artist who has chosen not to conform in the best way. When drum and bass is art like this, who needs strobe? Oh, you want strobes? Take "Deadly Premonition" and "Unexist" then, there's bass and psychotic drums enough to bring the roof down. Stunning stuff.
Darker than the night and deeper than the Pacific, Amoss steps up to Dispatch once again with a three part session of pure danger. "Oxide" features the evil machinations of Fre4knc and as it rumbles and writhes that grumbling bass slips further and further off the scale. "Hold Back" takes the underground sound of industrial drums to a neck snapping ninth degree, tuning out all distractions, leaving the bass to drive forwards and provide the melody. "Skittles" takes over the final spot, mixing up a ravey drum pattern with disturbed effects and menacingly low freq bass. Nasty stuff.
Drum and bass powerhouse Sigma has made an early claim for summer anthem of the 2015 with this selection of sizzling hot mixes of "Higher". Featuring the unmistakable vocals of Labyrinth, it's only when you get to Sigma's VIP that you realise the depths it can reach. There's no getting around it - this track will be everywhere come the first sunny day of the year. Lavished onto the rest of the release are an array of exciting remixes from a host of dance producers from a crisp house reduc from GRADES to Jay Montero's trancey radio edit, Grant Nelson's bass-heavy house cut and Lucas Maverick's anthemic floor filler
Slovakian Renegade hardware recruit Minor Rain has never been one for making easy to chill to rollers and "Totem Tube" kicks off this three parter in standard Minor Rain minimal style. Over deep rumblings of bass, tribal drums pick up the pace moving things into an abstract direction for some serious neck snapping. "Deformation" uses the cheerful sounds of distant cries to set the scene for a carbon black stepper topped up with techy nuances. Final track "Resistor" is a lesson in scattergun percussion and warped bass. There's nothing like this out there right now, pick it up before the world knows.
Massive. One word is all you need to describe first track on this tantalising little sampler from Randall, DJ Vapour and Dawn Raid. But for some more; "Angels Warning" is big and ballsy, full of bass and the most amount of fun you can have with your headphones on. "Red Sonja" takes things back to the old school with tripped out junglist breaks, euphoric atmos and diva vocals stretching on out into the small hours. A total blast in a sea of metronomic drum and bass. Get yourselves acquainted.
Kronology - the two-piece made up of LA's Slogun and iOh - join forces with Devine Elements, a new names on the circuit for this latest release on Technique. "You & Me" is a perfect all-hands-on-deck feel-good roller complete with anthemic build-ups. "Submerge" has the force and drive of a neuro blockbuster, stepping hard into wrecking ball bass. Final track "Monster" features Without My Armour. It's a soul-sapping warp-speed descent into darkness, with a drop that'll turn dancefloors to dust.
Keeping things minimal is one of Jonny L's specialities and in these two destroyers there's a lot of hard work at practice to keep all the elements things ticking over. "Invisible" takes one descending scale and runs with it throughout, using hardline drums to keep up the pace. "Synthesize" is where that talent really shines though, playing close to his chest with a severe head-nodder of a beat and techy bass that reaches out to a barely-there euphoric synth. Interesting stuff, so don't say he never challenges you.
Something of a newcomer to the scene and a bit of mystery, Blackmask claims to call New Zealand, the USA and Germany his home. There's clearly influences from all three countries involved in his production as you can't get crazed, electro-driven insanity like this by sticking to one local style. Germany rings out most in the Phace/Noisia/Misanthrop of "Supreme Power" and the dark, dangerous sounds of "Combat Evil" bring America's Evol Intent to mind. Extreme energy and a filthy undercurrent. Gotta love that combination.