Review: From the holy to the moly with all levels of WTF and crikey along the way; Gradient have just levelled up with this turbo-charged VA that celebrates how exciting the new generation of drum & bass is right now. So many talents, not enough time or space to list; just press play, dig deep and you'll find untold bangers for days. From Harley D to Warhead to Amplify via Nick The Lot, Jenks, Scurrow, Flint, Fanatics and the bossman Metal Work, this is a huge collection that's right on the cutting edge of the club D&B sound. Fusing elements of jump-up, tech and good old fashioned dancefloor bangers, these are the sturdiest foundations from which future careers will be built on.
Review: Celebrating two decades deep in the game, Critical Music deliver this exceptional 22 track collection from some of the most innovative artists in the bass field. From old label mates such as Sam Binga, Mefjus and Ivy Lab to exciting newcomer talents like Spectral, Able and Cauzer, the entire collection is a blistering jolt of futurism that ranges the full Critical spectrum. Highlights range from the introspective tones of Buunshin's 'Forget About Me' to the dark, tense minimalism of Calibre's 'Verstat' by way of the barbed soul of Halogenix's 'IDGAF'. Here's to another 20 years...
Review: Catch us up, catch us in, let us begin; StillZ is on Pick The Lock and he's laid down so many disgusting flavours it's a sin. Highlights across this stinky six pack include the opening grizzler 'Vibe Catcher' (with kindred spirit Metal Work), the tense groans and scratches of 'Cold Caller' and the euphoric tease of the build before hurtling into classic harmonic mid 2000 style hookage on 'Send The Details'. Complete with a collab with Master Error, it's an epic spread that provides for all chapters of the night. Catch you on the flip side.
Review: Have a word son! DLR's 'Sofa King Sick' series continues with another breath-taking collection of thumpers, bumpers and grumpers from an outstanding roll-call of talents. 14 cuts in total, highlights include the creepy tension of Industry's 'Chronic', Sweetpea's classic stepper 'Munka', the real stinky, swampy funk on DLR & Script's 'A Different Style', the stripped back drama and growling subtleties of Kyrist's 'Underfall' and the outstanding tear-up from Trex & Freddy B - 'Go Mad'. Fitting title for such a powerful display of leftfield D&B funk. Sick indeed.
Review: Brand new artist name Western Curriculum arrives on DJ Hybrid's Audio Addict with four slabs of total bassline dynamite. Each one flexing a different party flavour, we slide and glide across the spectrum as this mysterious artist takes us from the ragga-flecked 'Chatter' (with Mad Sam) to the AudioPorn style bassline growls on 'Immortality' to the stark drama and tension of 'Chemical Warfare' all the way to the venomous stepper 'Trust Issues'. Nuff to chat about here.
Review: If you count his albums as Spectrasoul and his debut LP as Workforce ('Late Night Soundtrack') then this is Jack Stevens' fifth artist album. But in some ways it's more like a debut album as it's definitely his most considered and sculpted body of work. Featuring ongoing themes and samples of consciousness and the trippy sax textures of Leroy Horns, the album is able to explore the vast, sprawling D&B vista while remaining consistent. Working like a set or journey that's fully playable on the dancefloor yet whisks you into a unique universe, very few drum & bass albums dig as deep or are as articulated as well as this. Fifth album or debut - it's definitely his best, which is saying something.
Review: It's been a busy old month for man like Vital as he's appeared on Invicta, Murky, Drum Lab, Lickwood & Gunshot and NWS Digital in the last two months alone... Now he crashes down into the Dutty Bass HQ with three total steamrollers. 'The Chosen One' says it all - a Benny L style slap-about with an array of bass textures to chow down on. It's backed by more fire flavours; 'Killa' is a grizzler that shoots first and asks questions later while 'Time Lapse' plucks the harp strings to lure you in before hitting you hard with alien bassline spasms and cosmic flurries. Choo choo choose this!
Review: The Subster returns to Nuusic with some absolutely wild burn-ups right here. 'It's The Way' sets the levels with a classic vocal sample that all card carrying junglists and ravers should recognise. It's backed by plenty more heat as the EP title track goes all out on the breakbeat gullyness and one of his biggest cuts so far - 'Bump & Grind' - gets an on-point VIP twist. Finally Myth joins the fray with a crucial take on another Conrad classic 'Conviction'. Ipswich representing!
Review: Rider Shafique rolling with appreciation over a soft focus bassline groove from NYC producers Liondub and Jah Boogs: it's a winning combination. Both elements as breezy and emotional as each other, there's a perfect summer flavour at play here. Looking for something that's blessed with more of late night edge? Look no further than Acuna's much darker work-out. Paying full respect to Rider's vocal, but doing so with all the whistles, bells and grizzles, it's another sure fire success from the Brazilian man of the moment.
Toolroom Ibiza 2022 (Tech House mix) - (59:21) 126 BPM
Review: Big room house specialists Toolroom have been responsible for countless White Isle anthems over the years, something that makes their annual Toolroom Ibiza compilations a must-check for those seeking future floor-fillers. Their latest edition is something of a beast, featuring no less than 50 full-length, unmixed tracks and a couple of themed, non-stop DJ mixes (one gathers the set's deep, funky and electro house cuts, the other the tech-house tracks). Naturally there are far too many highlights to list here, but our current favourites includeMason Maynard's subtly DJ Mujava-inspired 'Light My Fire', the piano-powered rush of GotSome and Georgia Meek's 'Dead End', the twisted tech-house weight of Iglesias and Classmatic's 'Freak', and the warped, mind-mangling late-night shuffle of De La Swing and Rendher's 'Voodoo Step'.
Review: Exactly a year after the inaugural volume, NC-17 drops the third part of his immense 'Most Violent Year' series. One of the most prolific yet intensely considered bodies of work Dispatch have ever released, each album has gone in on the details and celebrated the whole span of D&B generations while remaining fully future-focused. This collection might well be the most wide-armed as the Canadian artist flips between vibes like the technoid Renegade fire of 'Blood Warden' to the grungier bassline stink of 'Punk Drunk Love' within the first two tracks. Complete with collaborations with the likes of John Rolodex, Exile, Philth and Logam and explorations ranging from Loxy-style percussive grizzlers ('Wolfen') to the wide-armed swagger of 'Romeo Is Bleeding', NC-17 has completed a unique truly special trilogy right here.
Review: There's plenty to get excited about on this selection of 'lost mixes' from the vast back catalogue of Toy Tonics' parent label, Gomma. Check first Pete Herbert and Tristan Dan Cunha's retro-futurist, proto-house-meets-Balearic nu-disco rework of The Glimmers' 'U Rocked My World', before moving on to In Flagranti's all-action, peak-time ready take on Golden Bug's 'LookLookLook'. The Ep continues via a now 22 year-old rework of Leroy Hanghofer's 'Pin' by Jacques Lu Cont and John Burillo - a brilliantly low-slung house workout featuring punk-funk bass and colourful boogie synth flourishes - before concluding with a killer dub disco take on the KDMS' 'Never Stop Believing' courtesy of NYC disco original Nicky Siano.
Review: Roll up! Roll up! OG workhorse Coda crash lands on Heist's Calypso Muzak with this mighty selection of bruisers. Bubbly, rattling, full of fun and great to chop in on the mix, every cut is a guaranteed floor melter. Highlights include the Zinc-like cascade up and down the notes on 'Heebee Geebees', the euphoric blasts of 'Limits' and the ruffneck distorted grit of the EP title track 'Roll The Tape' but the whole EP is an essential listen. Get taped up!
Review: The currently unstoppable Posk returns to Sub-liminal with another super-generous EP that's loaded to the lips with stinkers and slappers. The damagement rolls out from the off as Posk links with Agro and legendary MC Foxy for the creeped out 'Jungle Veteran' before a whole barrage of badness seeps out of the speakers in its wake. Highlights include the savage breaks and wobbled out bass of 'Cohiba', the grumbling, sludgy 'Invertebrate' and the ragga chatting vibes and staccato bass of 'Soundclash'. Vibes!
Review: Any new album from deep house pioneer and all-round legend Larry Heard is good news, but especially so when it's credited to his best-known and best-loved alias, Mr Fingers. Around The Sun Pt 1 is Heard's first album under the alias for four years and, unsurprisingly, it's as musically expansive, evocative, and atmospheric as they come. Naturally, it's rooted in the warming, dreamy, subtly jazz-flecked deep house style he's been tweaking and improving over decades, with occasional forays into sun-kissed downtempo grooves ('Touch The Sky'), angular acid tracks, Heard's take on dub house (the deliciously deep, micro-house influenced 'Marrakesh') and summery Balearic house ('Shimmer'). All in all, it's another masterpiece from deep house's most significant pioneer.
Review: The story of Triii continues as Break and Total Science continue to ramp up their new co-lab imprint with two more powerful link-ups. 'Blame You' is all about those warm dubby vibes. Soul stirring vocals and a big old sausage of a bassline; like all of their collaborations, you can hear both acts' sounds so clearly in this. 'Aardvark' follows with even more oomph and ooh-la-la. Big on the ravey vocal sample and even bigger on the turbine bass drone; this one is going to enjoy a lot of heavy rotations over festival season. Wowzers.
Review: War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing... Except the outstanding Jungle Wars concept from DJ Hybrid's Deep In The Jungle camp. Nothing but pure fire from across the board as each artist works hard to bring their heaviest cuts and sharpest breaks to the ring. Mixed up by Mrs Magoo (who also collaborates on the track 'Big Bout Ya') the whole vibe and energy of this collection hits harder than 100 Fantazias. Highlights include Conrad Subs' super-ravey 'Wildstyle', Euphonique's 'No Problem', ODF's piano-slapping 'Good Times' and Plasmator's lesson in ruffness 'Bad Boy Sound'. Show us your war face!
Review: Oh gosh... Jungle Cakes look back over their delicious back catalogue, and the wider jungle vista, to bring together 74 of the finest recipes known to mankind for this Gold level baking session. Featuring some of the biggest dishes in existence, one minute we're skanking out to Klue's insane 'Rudy, A Message To You', the next we're getting slapped by Spyda on Serum's 'All Ganja Man' then the next we're being tickled by seminal classics such as M-Beat & General Levy's 'Incredible'. The list of incendiary cuts goes on and on and on... Bossmen Ed Solo & Deekline's 'No No No', Potential Bad Boy's 'Over My Head', Dope Ammo & Taiwan MC's 'Babylon Falling' - every single cut is as hot as your oven on baking day. What a package... And there's a mix thrown in for good measure. Gold... Always believe in your soul.
Review: As always, the Breakbeat Paradise team are bang in form as they unveil yet another top quality drop, this time welcoming the explosive sounds of Boydex inside, who delivers a weighty five track collection. We open up with the bulbous bounces of 'Push it', which sees the team link up with Sully Sax & Pecoe for an old school funkadelic freak out, followed by the horn-driven title track 'Funk Fam' and disco-laced delights of 'Cosmic Funk', which also sees Stabfinger move into the collaborative harness. Two more corkers to round off then as 'Party' lets fly another dizzy display of brass and guitar combos, before the stuttered drum taps and distant vocal sampling of 'Ease Your Mind' gives us a crunchy landing to close out with. Lovely work!
Review: Now here's a rollcall you can set your watch by... Jeopardize, Disrupta, Atlantic Connection, Dunk and Oz all on one release dicing and splicing, chopping and popping with some of Warhead and Teej's releases on Co-Lab. The results spea for themselves and range from big 3am drone horns (Jeopardize) to theatrical breakbeat rattlers (Atlantic Connection) to classic mid 90s sounding vibes (Oz) Bangers o'clock!