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20 May 13
Review: If you judge a producer by their ability to successfully apply a winning formula to a variety of styles, Alix Perez is a master. While drum and bass remains his forte, there's enough on Chroma Chords, his second album, to suggest that he's growing as a producer. This EP discards with the synth-laden head nodders featured on the full album, though the four tracks here do still demonstrate the versatile nature of Chroma Chords. Thus the grimy hip hop of the Metropolis featuring "Blue Print" shares space with the soulful stepping action of "Playing Games" whilst the the excellent vintage Timbaaland does halfstep of "Shadows" (featuring breakout Eglo talent Strange U") joins up with the vicious "Burnout".
20 May 13
Review: Given his status as one of drum and bass's true heavyweights; you'd expect this eighth Calibre full-length to be one of the most hotly anticipated jungle sets of the year. Certainly, it's a fine effort, packed with emotion-rich atmospherics, fizzing rhythms and intricate, occasional beautiful, musical touches. He seems to be at his best when concentrating on musicality, as the delightful "Close To Me', soulful "Wilderness" and summery "Do Not Turn On" prove. There are, of course, rawer moments (see the tech-tinged "Simple Things" and dubstep flex of "Start Again"), but these don't hit nearly as hard as his effortlessly soulful compositions.
15 May 13
Review: Billed as 2013's biggest collection of reggae-fuelled party tracks, this madcap collaboration between New York's own reggae star Tuffist and newcomers Soul Rebel, DJ Tzinas and Bluntskull whips up new creations from some of reggae's finest tracks. From Toots and the Maytals to The Ethiopians, Soul Rebel, DJ Tzinas and Hammond Classics work together to bring a new flava, while Tuffist's jungle vibes and Bluntskull's breakbeat hype provide fresh new sounds to get the party skanking. Don't underestimate the power of reggae to get floors filled across the country, this series confronts non-dancers and shuns bad feelings. Embrace the party jams!
13 May 13
Review: Emperor began his journey not so long ago with his own brand of drum & bass that reaches beyond the depths. This EP sets out in stone his arrival into the inner circle. Starting off with the hauntingly savage "Begin" featuring the silken tones of Georgia Yates, there is no let up in the speed or accuracy with which tunes are flung forward. "She Said" is a double bass stepper Roni Size would be envious of, "Radar" rips through minimal synths at hyperspeed, "Precursor"'s strange, offset tape noise intro gives way to serious bass tremors and "Solar", featuring fellow English bass terroriser Centra blasts partway through the universe with huge neuro shockwaves. A serious contender for EP of the year so far.
20 May 13
Review: Been missing the hyperactive influence of Danny Byrd in your lives? Stop your whining and get your eardrums wrapped around this. The original party starter's latest collection of tunes has been designed to get glowsticks raised across the country. "4th Dimension" powerslams old school rave with high energy drum & bass to create an unmistakeable Hospitality soundtrack. "Bad Boy (Back Again)" adds some serious jungle vibing to proceedings, bubbling over with bassline bounce and a seriously sing-along-able vocal hit. With a hard-hitting remix from 303 as Flux Pavillion bring some swag with their "Bad boy" refix, get hoping for some good weather because these are going to blow the roof off clubs everywhere.
20 May 13
Played by: S Man
Review: Newcastle-based trio of drum & bass production masterminds Sato, Phobia and Tyrone have booted a spring up the bad parts with "Intermission", an immediately arresting delve into the murky jungle pasts of all three chaps. Bassy in all the right places and filled with the classic jangle of vintage amens, it's a star in its own right. "Knock Knock" is a more contemporary affair, in so much as it uses all the futuristic Carl Sagan-esque sound effects in its power to create the sensation of being hurtled through space to an ice cool jungle break soundtrack. Raw and heavy these tracks hopefully herald a new future of decent jungle-inspired D&B. We can only hope.
13 May 13
Review: LA-based drum & bass label Soul Deep Recordings is one of the most diverse and prolific out there. Concerning themselves with the deeper side of D&B, unlike many labels who take "soulful" to automatically include liquid, much of this release features tracks focused on the heady early days of drum & bass to fantastically smooth effect. Most, if not all the tracks included are from new, upcoming artists from around the globe and this is reflected in the diversity and energy of the compilation as a whole. Check Disept & Zendi - "Around The World" for early days vintage vibes, Introspection - "HumaNature" for deep, rolling beauty and Remote - "Stars" for some truly old school sounds. Essential listening for those who prefer beauty in their bass.
06 May 13
Played by: Fracture4
Review: Rotterdam's own Prospect Recordings enjoys a huge following and an even bigger roster of mashed-up, dark and filthy artists, and this family album looks to capitalise on some of this artistic wealth. Why not? If you had a back catalogue full of some of the most insane drum & bass on offer to the wider world, wouldn't you want to share it? Littered with breakcore, neuro, gabber and hardcore, it's a whipround through the neck-breakingly heavy side of drum & bass that many fear to tread. Track names like "Skullsplitter", "Total Confusion" and "Death Will Set Us Free" have rarely been so truthfully descriptive, and even label darlings Counterstrike and Bong Ra team up for "Possessed", a feeding frenzy of metal, breakcore and drum & bass. A horror movie for your ears. Nobody's lives were ever enriched by staying inside the chillout room.
13 May 13
Review: Mixing upfront jump up with jungle has made the Jungle Assassins series of releases a total necessity for all fans of either genre. Vol 4 is no exception, starting off with Levela's hard-hitting remix of "Dangerous" featuring the unmistakeable vocals of Solo Banton. Bouncing hard but still keeping track of Benny Page's floorfilling original, it's a tune to suit every party. "Rumple Stinkslit" is another Benny Page jump up masterpiece, plus, who doesn't love a good anagram? Big, brash and ready to tear up your dancefloor, like Red Bull-fuelled raving in a china shop, don't expect to stop until everything's destroyed.
17 Mar 13
Review: It's been a long journey for James Edward Jacob, from young thrash metaller in Leicester to aspiring dubstep producer in college, and now hot future bass property. This EP of his own VIP mixes is premier grade stuff, expertly produced and cleverly tweaked for different moods. "Fade" gets three different interpretations here - a club mix that sees big crescendos drop into totally nasty 4/4 garage basslines, a different club mix that goes deeper with soft pads and a retro Enya-goes-RnB vibe, and finally the Etherwood version, all melancholic DnB, forlorn vocals and piano fused with low bass and urgent beats.
18 Feb 13
Played by: Hong Kong Ping Pong, DJ Aka (Funk Moguls), Juno Recommends Breakbeat, Juno Recommends Drum & Bass, Juno Recommends Brokenbeat/Nu Jazz, Juno Recommends Electro House, Badboe, Euphonique, Run Riot, Ragga Scum, Ez Icarus, Basement Freaks, S Man
Review: Bang! There'd been hushed tones of this opus for well over a year, and at a whopping 29 tracks, it's been well worth the wait. Showcasing their widest repertoire, within the first trio of tracks we're already treated to Latino swing breaks, new jungle jiggery and dramatic dubstep. This wide-eared vibe embracement runs throughout consistently; "Hey Mr DJ" rattles a few electro-hop cages, "Countdown" is quintessential booty-bass heaven complete with delectable UK hip-hop rhymage, while "You Can Be My Night" shoots us up to planet D&B on a floaty carpet of rave heritage. A solid calling card to every party in town, it's time to get bouncing...
13 May 13
Review: London-based DJ and producer Philth has a lot on his plate. Aside from providing the beats for his weekly Origin FM show, teaching the youth how to produce and record for themselves and toying with the pressing matter of becoming potentially the most prolific drum & bass producer ever to have existed, he's also found the time to create each of the cracking soulful tracks on this little beauty. Working with Soul Deep for the first time, Philth chose to work outside of his comfort zone, crafting beautifully written D&B as a counterpoint to his usual ruff-and-tumble bass-heavy dancefloor smashers. The result is a gorgeous collection of heartfelt depth and smooth vibes. Check "Humbled", our favourite of the lot.
10 May 13
Review: Original breakbeat DJ and one of the founding fathers of drum and bass, Ray Keith's part in the early days of the scene can't be overstated. Match the man himself with Tenor Fly, one of the most distinctive voices in breakbeat and drum and bass and you've got a recipe for some seriously baking riddims. Renegade Live is Keith's dream - a fully live jungle setup that brings energy and soul back to those dark rooms filled with bass and nodding heads. Potentially the hottest ticket for the forthcoming festival season, Bladerunner's dub remix packs some serious punch, adding after dark attitude and ghostly keys. Hotly tipped for this summer, all eyes on Renegade - don't sleep.
19 May 13
Review: Ram's new golden boy Chords provides the official start to the summer with "Biting Point", a fresh and energising roll through techy D&B influences past and present. Straight up and to the point, it smashes in and maintains that momentum producing what's surely been the most addictive floorfiller of the year so far. "Amygdala" takes a full u-turn from the party vibes and heads down a deeper path. '80s drums herald a sober approach, but are quickly overwhelmed by a darkly destructive bassline and heavy stepping beats. Expect big things from Chords, Ram aren't grinning about their recent signing for nowt.
20 May 13
Review: Dark, dangerous jump up doesn't come more destructive than 19 year old newcomer Konichi's brand of noisemaking. Already fully supported by the likes of Hype, Friction, Dillinja and Hazard, he's been busy building up his repertoire to run with the big names at this summer's big events. As you'd expect, "What Can We Do" is a firestorm of bass, tearing up speakers with worrying ferocity. "Don't Start" picks up a more tech-stepper vibe as it gears up to launch yet another patented Konichi bassline. Definitely one to watch, Konichi is already one of the Real Playaz favourites for this year.
10 Dec 12
Review: What with Critical celebrating their ten year anniversary this year it's only right and proper that there should be a landmark album, looking back on their success to date. Enter Critical X; featuring a carefully curated selection from Critical's past, present and future (watch out for some cracking unreleased material), this is a must buy for deeper D&B heads. Stand outs from across the 16-track album include Breakage's awesome "Staggered Dub", Spectrasoul's iconic "Organiser", and of course jungle revivalist anthem Bladerunner's "Back To The Jungle". Make sure you check out the remixes from Mefjus and Enei, which add the final cherry on the cake for this superb and frankly rather essential release.
20 May 13
Review: Picked up swiftly last year by Playaz to release thoughtful stomper "Particles" alongside "Invasion", big bass duo Placid return to the fold with their second big ticket release on the label and it really was worth the wait. Old school vibes are crammed into every inch of this ambitious EP, piling techy soundscapes with hard driven basslines and fat, punchy percussion. Tracks like "Perception" show off the duo's talent for creating darker, techier tracks laden with atmospherics and even haunting musicality and "Light Year" takes them to the dancefloor. A seriously accomplished EP from two very exciting new producers.
21 May 13
Review: Releasing on Focuz for some time now, UK-based Malaky has been bringing his own blend of harmonious liquid and breakbeat-inspired rhythms to the worldwide D&B scene. This two track EP explores his deeper side, starting with the lush textures and widescreen sound of "Vibrate", a true liquid stepper that should sit high on any D&B setlist. "Own World" features soulful vocals from Lyndsey Murray and launches straight into whimsical string sampling and hard stepping beats. Warm rolling bass smothers the low end in a deep, resonant glow, leaving a barely heard sax to echo into the sunset. A gorgeous way to finish your evening.
20 May 13
Review: This EP is a collaboration of work by some of Europe's finest intelligent liquid producers. A strange sub-genre term it might be, but Intelligent Manners' Intelligent Recordings has searched far and wide over the past couple of years to find music that fits the niche. Celsius have done much the same here, showcasing some of the finest intelligent drum & bass around that still holds the soul and emotive qualities of liquid. Featuring the likes of Intelligent Manners, Command Strange and Mage, it's a breezy look at what the future holds for one of the longest standing sub-genres in dance music. If you like Calibre, DJ Marky, S.P.Y or Bukem, you'll want to check this out pronto.
20 May 13
Review: Big bad bass? Cockney gangster samples? Upfront riddims? "Take What You've Got" blasts every jump up construct going into their D&B hadron collider and the end result comes off sounding nastier than Vinnie Jones wielding a desert eagle down some local East-End boozer. Rowney doesn't make things any easier in b-side "Sludge" as he ditches the thuggery and heads lower into bassbin warrior territory. With Thunda Banton taking up the mic amongst blistering percussion this is one dancefloor smasher you won't be able to avoid thanks to its home on G13, one of the Playaz crew's sister labels. Hold on to your drinks, things are gonna get messy.
14 Jan 13
24 Sep 12
Review: Always one for a fun tune and catchy riff, Benny Page returns with another fine, fine riddim on the Cutterz Choice imprint as he teams up with Rhythm Beater for "That Girl" which heads up the single. Full of pattering jungle-laced drums, rumbling bass, chirruping SFX and reggae beats in abundance, "That Girl" is a lilting piece of sunshine filled loveliness. Get involved! Next up, Rhythm Beater goes solo for "What Goes Around" for another lush cut with chiming beats, murmuring vocal and gentle breaks which soothes the soul.
08 Apr 13
Played by: Nice Up! Soundsystem, Johnnypluse(Bulabeats Records), Dub Gabriel, Juno Recommends Drum & Bass, Juno Recommends Dancehall/Ragga, Juno Recommends Dub, The Funk Hunters, Euphonique, Good News Boppers, Highgrademuzik Aka Don D Selectah, Mo' Matic
Review: Wrongtom Meets Deemas J's album In East London was met with some serious levels of hype when it arrived on the reggae scene last September. "The strongest modern reggae set to emerge from the UK for many years" said The Wire. High praise indeed. So "Superteng", the second single to be released from the roots-inspired LP, is a toned-down affair, groove-driven and minimal, letting the lyrics do the talking. Featuring a cool and collected remix by Scoop & Alter Ego & Rico and the bonus addition of jungle mashup "Jump + Move + Rock" remixed by the one and only Benny Page, you can't mistake the top quality of this release. If you're a fan, buy the LP too, it's a modern reggae masterpiece.
29 Apr 13
Played by: Tchphnx
Review: Taking in drum and bass from all over the world for more than a decade, V Recordings and planet V have been a lynchpin in the scene and continue to release iconic drum and bass into their 14th year. Planet V - Volume 1 is a testament to one of the longest-running drum and bass nights still in existence. Mixed by the legendary Brian G, the compilation steps through all the sounds that make up this vibrant genre through the ears and eyes of V Recordings who've seen it all through from the very beginning. From Mr Joseph's natty ode to Rodigan right through to the smooth, contemporary sound of Artificial Intelligence as remixed by Marky & S.P.Y, the soulful, unmistakeable lilt of Calibre and the old school stylings of dRamatic & dbAudio, this is an LP any self-respecting D&B fan needs. A stunning tracklist with the credentials to match, get it while it's hot.
12 May 13
Review: Launching ProgRAM last year with his single "Pandorum", Frankee has become a flagship artist for the label. Returning once again with his first EP, he and ProgRAM hope to take the D&B world by storm with his unique take on dancefloor-ready, intelligent tunes. Each track shows a different side to the UK born producer, from the atmospheric-laden unearthliness "Harlequin"to the straight-up dancefloor destroying sounds of "Paranormal"; the intensely exotic vibes of "Saffron" permeating a perfectly rolling Reese and ends up with the comedy jungle influences of "Flintstone" where cartoon becomes reality. Don't believe us? Have a listen yourself - it's all there.
27 Apr 13
22 May 13
Review: mSdoS has been a member of the online liquid and D&B community for as long as anybody can remember, but with his latest batch of dazzlingly fresh tunes he might be set to break into the bigtime. Branching out from liquid to hard stepping dancefloor fillers, this EP covers the full spectrum of drum & bass, covering all the bases you'd expect with his own blend of soul and intelligent rhythms. There's even a taster of his junglist side in "Jungle Plants", swapping smooth rollers for blistering amens and atmospheric vocals. A man on the rise, catch him while he's underground because it won't be for long.
13 May 13
Review: The phenomenon that answers to the names 'footwork' or 'juke' has spread far and wide since its origins as a sped up fusion of ghetto, jackin' and hip-beats in Chicago. It's spread so far in fact, that French label, Booty Call, have taken it upon themselves to present this inspired compilation in an attempt to put the genre firmly on the musical map. They've got taste too, and highlights of these 12 prime cuts include: the deep synth fest of 'Access", the porno-hop frenzy of "Sex To Me" and the Kenny G on downers vibe of "My Sorrows".
20 May 13
Review: Renowned for their consistently dark, stark production power Amoss never cease to deliver. "Bumbaclart" pulverises from the off with its industrial strength kick drums and droning, warped riff. Rising with uncompromised menace, it's like an orchestra of steam-powered machines, slamming and drilling in perfect harmony. "Dilate" is a much more brooding affair. Lolloping on a slimy halfstep laced with a series of processed croaks and slurs, if you're looking to prang out your floor, this guarantees chaos.
07 May 13
Played by: S Man
Review: Upfront drum & bass behemoths The Upbeats smash into the public consciousness like a meteor through the roof of parliament with their fourth LP. Seemingly convinced their previous works just weren't loud or complex enough, this album is an exploration of not only how explosive the duo can sound, but how their sound has changed since their early days. Even with the techno and grime influences in "Again I" featuring Armanni Reign, chiptune in "Falling Into Place", dark, dread-dripping haunted rhythms in "Alone" with vocals from Tasha Baxter, minimal bass noodle-ry in "Castles", hard-hitting neuro and jump-up run straight through this release like an electric heartbeat. Fans have enough meat to satisfy their subwoofers, newcomers and naysayers can sink their teeth into the deeper cognitions and apparitions. What's not to love?
05 Apr 13
Review: Destination "Afrika" via LA... Here we find Sub Slayer Skanx delving deep into jungle heritage with a muddy roller that packs the same foggy, radar-ridden breakbeat punch as the Meat Beat Manifesto's "Radio Babylon". For a more contemporary dub twist head for 6BLOCC's remix; stripping things back to a nagging 4/4 sub thump, it's the perfect blend of trad dub and stark future-minded bass music. Elsewhere we don the white gloves for the rave-tastic "Boom" while Eek-A-Mouse goes under the sample scalpel on the swashbuckling "Dub War". The junglist massive are on fine form right here.