Review: What a collection we have here as the ever-rampaging Time Is Now Machine unleash the third edition of their 'Allstars' compilation project, featuring six heavyweight originals from some of the most creative dancefloor names about. Y U QT kicks us off with a 2-step masterclass, alternating between shimmering chord stabs and dippy LFO basslines, with the glittering atmospherics and distant vocal lines of 'Regatta' from Cortese and straight 4x4 moogy pulses of Prozak's 'Next To You' in close pursuit. From here, Yosh takes a bit switch up and delivers the post-jungle inspired drum work of 'To Me', which again ups the pace of the whole compilation, with the shuffling 2-step drives and nostalgia-inducing organ chords of 'Pull Up Tool' from Main Phase then providing another different direction. Finally, Groovy D delivers a dancefloor singalong, with the rich vocal sweeps of 'Wun4Me' then putting the final touches on the project and seeing it out in style.
Review: The tide of Time Is Now continues to roll in as they once again deliver a tidy collection of originals, welcoming Peaky Beats inside for a selection of four original garage rollers. We open up with 'Road Runner', utilizing old school chord progressions and sine-wave driven bass instrumentation for a bubbling introductory outing, followed closely by the more shuffling percussion and dizzying organ taps of 'Cats From The Back'. From here, the intensity amplifies significantly as the raucous breaksy overlays and warping bassline action of 'XL' then arrive with instant impact, before Yosh arrives to deliver a cooling remix display as 'Road Runner' is given an even more blippy rethink, rounding off the project in style.
Review: As always, 2TUF4U have delivered a smooth collection of originals as they welcome Madd Tuff Project inside for a box of summer ready remixes, exploring the wider scale of the UKG sound in 2022. We open up with the official 'Confused Rebuilt O Dub' version of 'Faith Is My Fire', giving us a smooth backdrop of tidy chord progressions and moody bass hums, before ITonic delivers the 'Higher' remix, stripping the drums back into a much more old school backdrop, topped with catchy vocal slices to match. Finally, Stixy D gives us the final overhaul, again slowing the pace to focus on moody pad textures and distant chord progressions, giving us a smooth landing to round things off.
Review: Following on from the fantastic release of 'Know Myself', the wonderful Oppidan returns to her home imprint for a vibrant five track original collection, exploring the UKG scene's many unique avenues with some seriously smooth production techniques from start to finish. First of the new additions is 'Badgal', a fiery combination with the smartly chopped vocals of Sweetie Irie', doused in glitchy textures for good measure. From here, 'Hmm Dede' takes us down an organ-driven thrill ride of harmonic bliss, again backed with lively drum designs, with the nostalgic string & woodwind sampling of 'Rosalina' then giving us a different type of energy all together. Finally, 'Sol' arrives as a valiant title track, slowing the pace for a much more moody creation, giving the whole collection a final dash of finesse for good measure!
Review: Time flies when you're meddling at the forefront of bass innovation... While the label still feels so new and fresh, it's already been five years of dark soul gold from 1985. To celebrate, bossman Alix Perez has curated these exceptional remixes from the gang that span from Sam Binga's slick and sexy UKG twist of 'Melodrama' to Skeptical's sub aquatic switch of 'Trinity' via Monty's cavernous space funk flip of 'ABR'. Complete with plenty more goodies from the likes of DLR, Visages and Break, this marks five years in 1985's signature high benchmark style. Here's to another five years.
Review: When isn't it fun to see a new Skepsis release landing in the store eh? This time around he makes his way back into the CruCast forefront, delivering a vibrant collection of remixes as part of his 'Faith In Chaos' project, opening up with a sizzling VIP overhaul of 'Acid', deploying fizzing electronic synth drives right from the jump, before Window Kid's vocals on 'Lose My Mind' are given a new lick of bassy paint from WA-FU & Interupt. From here, fan-favourite: Daseplate arrives with his typically swampy rethink of 'Chain Gang', before the hissing synth designs of Turno are unleashed with his new version of 'Used To'. Serum then arrives to give a colourful lick of paint to 'Bumpa' alongside Scrufizzer, with some seriously cool synth design, followed by Disrupta's final addition, sending 'R U Ready' down a glittering spire of sonic wonder to round off this collection in style. Epic work!
Review: Joy Orbison returns to XL Recordings for the first time since the release of his critically acclaimed, and deliciously difficult to describe, debut album Still Slipping. Whereas that was constructed as a mixtape and showcased his influences and inspirations as much as his signature style (in other words, it wasn't a set of straight-up peak-time bangers), this two-tracker sees the long-serving UK producer refocus on the dancefloor. First up is 'Pinky Ring', an atmospheric and quietly dreamy chunk of post-two-step UK garage rich in gnarly, mutilated bass, cut-up vocal snippets, punchy drums and woozy chords. 'Red Valve7' meanwhile, opens with intergalactic ambient sounds before warping into a far0sighted, dubstep-influenced UK techno number peppered with minor-key electronics, moody chords and warped electronic bass.
Review: What an exciting link up we have here as the veteran sounds of Daffy and the explosive styles of PJ Bridger join forces for yet another fabulous addition to the Time Is Now catalogue. Opening up the selection, 'We Come Dere' works wonders as a haunted, distant 2-step homage to original broken-beat flavours, followed closely by more moody energy as 'Way Back When' focusses more-so on bulbous LFO crunches and intense shaker-lead drum stutters. The pair then dive into a move breaks-driven design as 'Dutty' provides us with another dubwise-infused room shaker, before jumping into the remixes. First up, Bakey steps up for an intricate, 808-centred rethink of 'Way Back When', deploying colourful organ chords and more of original dubwise FX, before Ollie Rant gives 'Way Back When' a much more dancefloor orientated overhaul, focussing on skippy chord progressions and soulful vocal samples, giving us a couple of very exciting alternate versions to close things off.
Review: Instinct has been one of the key protagonists in garage's ongoing renaissance. Not only have his tunes given a fresh take on the much loved old sound, but there have been plenty of them, too. Now he's back with yet another full length, and once again it's packed with heat. There are deep shufflers that nod to the original US garage sound, as well as darker, 2-step tinged get downs. More so than before, there seem to be plenty of reversed bass stabs and MC vocals, old school signifiers and jungle breaks that pay homage to the roots of the sound while never simply copying it. The heart aching vocal of 'Don't Know' is our fave and a likely candidate for one of this summer's standout tunes.
Review: The summer is most certainly en route and the garage & breaks sound combination continues to grow in popularity, which is what makes this new Frankel & Harper drop on Council Work so damned exciting. We open up with a post-hardcore mash up of wavy elements on 'Counter Strike' as breaksy drums and hardcore chord progressions and spliced into one lane, followed by the unusual drum textures and hypnotic melody work of 'Armshouse'. From here, the title track 'Return' then sweeps into the field of play, giving us a gorgeous soundscape of distant harmonic textures and floating pad designs, followed by an even more unpredictable overhaul from the one and only Al Wooton, sending it into the stratosphere with a eerily otherworldly refit. Lovely work!
Review: Champion feels so good he wants you to feel like a winner, too. This has been the way since he emerged eight years ago and proceeded to tear a hole out of the UK funky game. Flexing a sharp 4x4 feel with some deliciously manipulated bass designs and stacks of space between the elements to create a suspended state of funk and groove, every track makes you feel like a champ; the molten toxic bass of "One Time", the pure swamp-bass evil of "Drill", the chugging bassline/grime hybrid "Kill All Dem", the breath-taking textures on the Four Tet collabo "World" and the raw truth of "Young Raiden", the list goes on. This is how you do a debut album in 2017. Champion sound.
Review: The consistency with which the Time Is Now team are hitting high quality drops is pretty out of this world, with this spicy new selection from Groovy D being another great example of that. We begin with the oldschool breaksy garage chops and catchy vocal slices of 'OuttaControl' alongside Emma Cannon, before the slower paced drum stutters of 'AfterworldGroove' and super-syncopated rhythmic swings of 'KeepMovin'On' deliver follow up punches. Next, the squelching bass pressure and vibrant percussive pulses of 'ProjectZeus' alongside the steadily descending bass drones of 'Timeless' give us something a little different to enjoy, before rounding off with Anna Straker & Interplanetary Criminal getting involved on the blissful soundscapes and colourful drum selections of 'Higher' to unveil a perfect finale.
Review: Murder He Wrote has been one of the UK's most exciting production talents in and around the world of underground dance music for the last few years, with this latest launch on his own Rhythm Atheltic imprint being a very tasty one indeed. We open up with the skippy drum textures and smooth, lounge-like harmonies of 'Drop', which sets a tidy tone for the project with it's laid-back rhythmic approach. This is then chased down by 'Operate', which ups the energy levels into the realms of UK funky with a blippy backdrop of bulbous bass hums and clinking percussion, before 'Come Thru' switches the flavours into a nostalgic breaksy drive, focussing on shimmering arpeggios and shuffling breakbeats. Finally the pace slows firstly for 'Stay Up', a grizzly bop, focussing on dissonant chords and GM synthesizers, before Am Jams joins the party for a euphoric outro track entitled 'Fade To Black', fusing together emotional strings, bubbling bass tones and scattered drum textures for one last wild throw of the dice.
Review: As always with Extra Spicy, they have delivered a tasty plate of original nibbles as Myledo touches down for a chunky collection of techno-inspired bubblers. We commence with 'Sum Ting Low', a very vibrant perusing into sweeping LFO bass drifts and choppy breaksy backdrops, focussing on tidy percussive jolts to keep the energy levels high. Next, some potent, tripletted rhythmic displays as 'Did It Wub Yet' fuses choppy vocals and lethal subs for a powerful showcase, before 'Framework' deploys a much more lounge-like feel, stripped back the percussion for a UKG-inspired design. Finally, more vocal mastery is up on display with 'I Didn't Want This' leaping even further into the techy zone, giving us a warm bassline below a scattered 2-stepping set of drums above. Lovely work all around!