Review: Hedex is on a mission again! He's rousing up the troops for the second 'Collected' collection on his ByTheProducer brand and once again it's a monster rollcall of some of the scene's most exciting new-gen talent. Over 18 tracks we're treated to the likes Disrupta, Refracta, DJ Premium, Metal Work, Filthy Habits, Toxinate and so many more super skilled producers, highlights include the emotional space age jitters and whirls of Easty's 'Tapped', Scudd's emotional rumbler 'Complete', Posk's jazzy face-slapper 'Biting' and Metal Work's ruffneck 'Inner Peace'. And that's just the tip of the 'Collected' iceberg. Grab this now and grab yourself a piece of history.
Review: As if firing out badness galore through their 'Connected' series wasn't quite enough action for a label that's barely been around 6 months, Amplify and Metal Work's Gradient levels up again with the massive 'Foundations' VA that's stacked to the top shelf with some of drum & bass music's finest upstarts and high risers. 15 tracks deep, highlights come in all shapes and sizes including the sensual textures and tones of D-Fuser's 'Sticky Situations', the madcap jazzy springs and splutters of Fanatics' 'Everyday', KL's revved up staccato sizzler 'Plain To See', Metal Work's rather glacial 'Cold As Ice' and Parallel's early D-Minds style 'Capital Crimes'. Killer through and through, 'Foundations' as strong as this are built to last.
Review: Souped Up are always innovating around their tried and tested formula, and this EP is from a young artist the team have been pushing hard: Mozey. He's got four tracks here and all of them are wonderful balances of funky, synth-wave patterns and jagged dancefloor destruction, with Serum, Carasel and Current Value injecting that little extra into the mix. 'Simmer' with Carasel is a proper stomper, with a stepping percussive structure beneath a call-and-response format of shuddering stabs and shimmering, shivering synthetic screams. We love the bright, analogue funk on the introduction to 'Flirt', which creates an atmosphere of approachability far removed from its bassline's tendency towards spasmodic barks and gruff shouts. 'Lady Petrol' is a straight jump-up banger, and its position as the title tracks gives away the mission here: dancefloor pressure. Oh yes.
Review: Few producers have carved out a production signature as twisted and unique as Monty, and the Toulouse-based artist is back on his home imprint of 1985 with another absolute percy of an EP. It's just as diverse as the others, and F4DE moves from jagged dancefloor rollers through to dubstep destruction and deep, distinct liquid sounds. The title tune smacks of previous conquest 'Quest', and its hugely complex array of interlocked sounds ooze sophistication in a manner that's befitting its clubland persona. 'Righteous' is a monster of a 140 track and you can smell the blood from the off, as a foreboding introduction leads you down the path of no return, straight into the belly of the beast. More minimal force follows on 'SVP' feat. Icicle, before two liquid cuts round off the lineup; we especially love the deliberate, purposeful bassline of 'Whatever You Need'. Sensational.
Review: One of drum & bass' premiere rolling kinds, DLR is back on his own Sofa Sound imprint exploring the contours of 174 with a furious feeling of experimentalism only created in the depths of his audio laboratory. The title track is an atmospheric masterpiece in dancefloor focused sound design, with rippling arrays of bouncing bass nodes that slam through the air in perfect choreography, the dancing partner to DLR's dastardly ambitions. 'Sufferation' is possibly the evilest on the EP, a twisted fluctuation of sound that carves a cavern through the frequency range with palpable hatred and anger; a truly scary piece of production. This EP is honestly unbelievable, and cements once more why DLR has the reputation that he does.
Review: 25 years! The big H celebrate a quarter of a century in the drum & bass game with this phenomenal collection of remixes, reboots and revisitations by some exceptional names from firing new talent to the sagest of OGs. From Dillinja's remix of Urbandawn's 'Come Together' to Makoto's flip on Nu:Tone's classic remix of Lenny Fontana's 'Spread Love' via L-Side's immense remix of B-Complex's 'Beautiful Lies' and A.Fruit's dusty jazz take on the early 2000s 'Beautiful' from Phuturistix, the whole Hospital rave rainbow is covered by one of the best talent line-ups outside of their festivals. Whiney to Winslow, Remarc to Ray Keith, this is a fantastic document that reflects both Hospital and drum & bass on the widest possible level. Happy anniversary!
Review: This line up acts are all people who you've probably been seeing more and more of recently, as their own distinct brand of jump-up inflected sounds are starting to garner attention and turn heads. Stillz is at the helm of this particular journey, a six-tracker that hits hard and doesn't any prisoners - not even useful ones. This is exemplified best by the 'Way Out', which just goes, any time you think it's going to break down it just comes back bigger and better. 'Twisted' will certainly make you want to take some, a grating mash of pure energy that's matched in the subtlety of 'Business Hours', which takes things down in terms of loudness but up in terms of sophistication and production value. It finishes things off with 'Space Boy' and boy, what a finish, as glitching, techy stabs rattle all over the place and shove you along with them. Sick EP.
Review: Big tings on Cave, Biological Beats, ByTheProducer already this year, now Liondub International... Yung Tox here is one what you earthlings call 'a mission' right about now. Once again he continues to develop his style as he fuses different elements into his jump-up blend. From the dark trip wormhole twists and turns of 'Exorcism' to the frankly genius rhythm and percussion of 'Free For All', this is Toxinate in his broadest and baddest form. Fans of his earlier twisted grot won't be disappointed either when they hear 'Cyber Pimp' and 'Hard Times' either. Demon-slayingly savage.
Review: Deep In the Jungle know a thing or two about curating rough and ready beats, and this EP from Crom fits the bill perfectly. Across four tracks, the producer spits out a diverse mix of beat structures that form a singular purpose: dancefloor readiness. The title track is the highlight, as Rider Shafique does his usual business of injecting menace and catchiness in one fell swoop, this time above a stuttering junglist beat and sweeping basslines. 'Sticks & Stones' is our other favourite, a stripped back, no-nonsense tune with clean, powerful percussion and a relentless feel to it that reminds us of Grey Code or HLZ. Big ups.
Review: One of the best liquid drum & bass albums ever made is being reworked by a star-studded cast of drum & bass' biggest hitters. What more could you want? It's LSB & DRS of course, and the pair's Blue Hour album from the back end of 2019 - a gorgeously organic, musical release - has been taken up a notch into true 174 territory. Calibre has two features and it's his remix of 'Frozen' that really shines through, and the original's strings make for an ideal Calibre canvas; whispering atmospheres, sumptuously deep basslines and elegant simplicity. On the other end of the spectrum, FD flips fan-favourite and jazz-icon 'Letting Go' into a riot of funk-infused fun, as a wobbling bassline underpins DRS' superbly soulful vocal performance. What would this album be without a spot for Break, and the Bristol man's remix of 'High As She' flips one of the original's best non-174 offerings into a pure, blissful roller that's summer in a bottle. Unreal stuff from some of the best in the game.
Review: Fresh from his debut solo single last month, AFT fam Tuskan reveals the full debut EP four-courser, complete with all the trimmings. 'As We Enter' sets the tone with spicy urgency and groaning harmonics, 'Foul Play' is a full hearty main course with a cool sample and a gritty, unruly Q&A riff while 'Send It' is the sweet and squelchy dessert with its funky soggy bottom end. Last but not least 'Beast Reign' slips and slides off your plate with treacle-like charm. Yeah, it's a second dessert because you're greedy for the good stuff and so are we. Bon appetite.
Review: There are few EPs as hallowed as the Binary series, which has an unbelievable legacy of bringing through some of drum & bass' most successful artists including Signal, Monty, Hyroglifics and Current Value. This time around it's Trex, who shouldn't really need an introduction as the man has been slaying it across Dispatch, Mac 2 and more for several years now. This Binary is a great reflection of his sound, with its focus on sharp-edged techy sounds and rougher, more unrefined dancefloor textures. 'Stress Test' rolls out with abandon, a hugely satisfying number with a bassline that climbs in cascading waves of low frequencies. 'Other Species' is classic Trex, with a choppy vibe that's packed with murderous stabs and menacing tones. Another sick EP from the Critical crew.
Review: A treasure trove for the true drum and bass / jungle head, the Formation label sends in a second wide load of 170BPM+ steppers and bangers in a follow up to their Back To Jungle compilation series. Highlights straight off the bat include numbers from Dan Blackout and DJ Andy, with something seriously frenetic coming out of Mogshot's "Jungle Volunteer Force". For your stripped back rhythm tracks One Dread has you covered, with the likes of Slaine offering up a subtle dose of rave (all the more) with junglisms pushed to the max in Aries & Haslem's knees up special "Just Break". A wild compilation of maxed out jungle prominence.
Sun Is Dubbing (Future Jungle remix) - (3:00) 70 BPM
Universal Dub (Jungle remix) - (5:22) 87 BPM
War (Rollin remix) - (4:41) 85 BPM
Dubbing In Vain (EZ Jungle remix) - (4:04) 85 BPM
Review: As always with the legendary production styles of 6Blocc has provided us with some sizzling flavours on this spicy, extensive new refix collection, taking the title 'Dub Marley'. Reworking numerous works from the most famous name in reggae music, 6Blocc does what he does best, pulling older tunes into the here and now through a combination of junglist and dubwise production approaches. The project as a whole is pretty exceptional, with numerous classics from the late great Bob being thrown in for multiple recreations, including 'Forever In Dub', 'Revolution, 'Ganja Gun' and more. For us there are a couple of clear standouts, with the '140 Steppers Remix' version of 'Running Away' and the highly energetic drum skips and breaksy rolls of 'Stir It Up' being the two that immediately jump out from this impressive selection.
Review: Twisted's Grid switch to full blast once again with another collections of what they call 'Head Nodders' but us mere mortals call 'deep, tense, stinky bangers'. Featuring a full cast of familiar Gridsters, the vibes range from the farty party of Jando's opening 'Jaguar Trap' to the Dutch oven noxiousness of Parallel's screaming finale 'Warped Entity'. Between these two points we have the trumpy pumpy ruffage of Damage Report's 'Punch Bag', the trippy steamy vapours of Oli Lewis's 'Just You' and the air biscuit crunch of Jaxx's swashbuckling 'Horses For Courses'. Smelly.
Review: Naughty enough to make you have daddy issues, Froidy follows up appearances on Invicta and DnB Allstars Vas with his debut EP and, as he dutifully hints with the title, he's well and truly brought it. The title track features a Ragga Twins sample over a tense dancefloor bassline while the rest of the EP gets progressively darker and heavier; 'Diickhead' is a whole maze of bass flavours and textures tightly woven over rattling beats, 'Give It Up' counters a dreamy, almost trance-like breakdown with a series of killer depth plunge basslines while 'Mad Shots' closes the EP on a mean and meaty one thanks to some well sculpted bass drones. Don't slip on these Froidy ones.
Review: Wake up and bake up, Jungle Cakes are back in the kitchen with their prize dish range 'Welcome To The Jungle'. This time the guest chefs are none other than Dub Pistols who've been flexing all styles and sizes of breakbeat since the very beginning. Currently coming correct with 50 tracks, they cover the full range of D&B through their dubwise, reggae-roasted selection. From the steam engine skank-ups like Isaac Maya and Daddy Freddy's thundering 'Bring Dem' to Deekline & Ed Solo's instant sing-along smash-out 'Bam Bam' to the dancehall bashment of Selecta J Man's 'My Style', this isn't so much of a jungle welcoming but more of a full jungle takeover... And you'll never want to leave.
Review: Blackbelt badness: Martial Taktics lands on Audio Addict with three knock out tunes. 'Katana' starts the fight with a little help from MC Senso Zentinel who lays down his rogue ethics over a slippery, slinky beat. It's backed up by two more heavy duty weapons: a techno-influenced prowler called 'Phase 3' and a turbine-style shock-out with the finale 'Covenant'. Three absolute barnstormers. Wax on and on and on and on...
Review: We're barely knee-deep in to 2021 and already Joley has appeared on the likes of Bagged & Tagged, DnB Allstars, Invicta and Helix. Now he takes a bite out of the illustrious Liondub Street Series pie with this savage sextet of soundboy killers. From the panning effects and rear-end groans of opening track 'B-Line' to the final bone-shuddering breaks and siren echoes of the finale 'Badman' by way of Burnzy and Stillz co-labs and a whole lot more, Joely's got a roadmap from here to post-lockdown rave freedom all locked off and popping. Street talk.
Review: irst released on vinyl three years ago and now finally available on digital download, this must-check EP showcases a quartet of killer re-rubs of back catalogue tracks by L.A-based Afro-Latin funk fusionists Jungle Fair. The headline attraction is undoubtedly a pair of reworks by Ashley Beedle and Rob Mello's reborn Black Science Orchestra project - their first revisions for over 15 years. They first serve up a wonderfully percussive, analogue bass-propelled deep Afro-house remix of 2014 cut 'Culebro', before reaching for the delays and delivering an arguably even better dancefloor 'Dub'. You'll also find JKriv re-imagining 2013 single 'Firewalker' as a bumpin' chunk of horn-heavy dub disco, and a cracking Latin disco take on 'Village Hustle' courtesy of Bosq.
Review: Following fine outings from Fort Knox Five, the Allergies, Smoove and Marc Hype, amongst others, Bomb Strikes' reliable Funk N' Beats compilation series returns with rising star X-Ray Ted at the controls. In keeping with the series' heavyweight, funk-fuelled style, the Bristol-based DJ and beat-maker has gathered together a killer collection of soul, hip-hop and funk club cuts, with a smattering of more laidback numbers to keep things fresh. Highlights are plentiful throughout, with our picks including the boom-bap brilliance is Aldo Vanucci's tidy remix of 'All Down' by Mr Doris and D-Funk, the dancefloor jazz heaviness of Nostalgia 77's 'Changes', the cut-and-paste craziness of Double Dee & Steinski's 'Jazz' and the disco-funk masterclass that is X-Ray Ted's own 'Party Time'.
Review: Almost 12 months after the vinyl version hit stores, the second volume in Jim Baron AKA Ron Basejam's Ron's Reworks series finally lands on digital download. The real killer here is 'Your Brain On Music', a slightly beefed-up and tooled up version of an Italo-disco-era chugger rich in driving bass, spacey synthesizer lines, proto-acid sounds and almost symphonic electronic chords. Elsewhere, 'Be Bizarre' is a tight, mostly instrumental revision of an electrofunk era big studio rock number - all squelchy synth bass, glistening guitar riffs and heavily edited, effects-laden drum machine beats - while 'Call Me' is a fine scalpel edit of a sparkling boogie jam. If high-grade, club-ready re-edits are your thing, you need this EP in your life.
Review: The latest in the long-running 'Katakana Edits' series features five funk reworks, three of which we can identify the source for: Timmy Thomas's 1972 classic 'Why Can't We Live Together', Billy Paul's 'People Power' (1975) and The Four Tops' 'Are You Man Enough?' (1973). 'Stomp The Floor' has us beat, though, and as for 'Don't Stop The Music' - well, it isn't the Yarbrough & Peoples one, and nor is it any of the tracks of the same name by K.I.D, Cascade, Bugz In The Attic, Supermax, Bits & Pieces or Brecker Brothers! But it's a decent lil' funk/boogie groove all the same...
Review: Jenks is part of the really vibrant jump-up arena at the moment, part of the next generation of artists in at side of the scene coming through and re-energising not just jump-up, but the whole of D&B. Informal are fairly new and one of the most prolific labels in this movement and the Bills EP is the their latest hellish piece of work. The beats here are big, bad and don't care about your feelings, with the title tune exemplifying the approach taken: gargling basses and pounding percussive lines. Top release, and we also love the arrangement on 'Bones'.
Review: Revalation is pulling us back in time this time around with their latest EP, this one on Dutty Bass Audio, by rolling things out in true junglist style over five tracks in the stripped back, sample heavy manner so renowned in the 1990s. The title tune packs a sample base that's rich and vibrant, and it stretches its legs over a wonderfully subtle yet hard hitting combination of moving basses and rolling drums. 'Humboclat Elements' features more nostalgic sampling, which builds a ravey atmosphere into a feeling of suspense, cut away on the drop in wicked fashion. Sick releasee.
Review: Sniff my dubplate! Nuusic unleash a brand new project dedicated to special dub-level versions from the best in the game. First up on Dub Culture is this powerful shakedown from Teej. Taking the 2019 original from Grimesy and T-Man's energy-level changer 'Quantum Leap' and softening its rough edges, Teej adds a whole other layer of fatness to the subs while keeping T-Man's killer bars clear and central. This is what we call a serious remix. Oh boy.
Review: Time for a little Belgian bludgeoning as Giga Impact makes his debut on Eternal Muzic with 'Vibrate'. Aiming towards the G Dubs / Original Sin / early Hazard style of jump up, the basslines are broad, catchy and much darker and rougher than a lot of the jump-up that comes from Belgium. Highlights include the raucous vibes and savage sample of 'Higher Ground' and the Playaz style bassline Q&A of 'System Of Failure'.