Review: One of the most exciting acts to emerge in recent dnb times, Bunnerz rally up their persy troops for this massive collab EP featuring Jappa, Dreps, BlckHry, Kombo, Magenta and Zeba. With such an all star cast, this one flexes across the D&B spectrum with highlights hitting from every angle. Dreps adding venom to the classic jump up dynamics of 'Loading', the creepy tension and dark funk of 'Look At Me' (with Magenta) and the old school pads and tension of 'Gang Roller' (with BlckHry) are just some of the many big moments on this epic collection.
Review: The celebration of Optiv's influence continues as C4C pay tribute to his legacy and the huge hole his tragic passing has left in the game with the second of this trilogy album series Stories. Just like the 'Origins' chapter, 'Evolution' features a whole range of major league artists who've all been influenced by the late great Cause 4 Concern founder. Break, Kolectiv, Current Value, IHR, Task Horizon, Audio, Malux and so many more brilliant souls all deliver exclusive goods to the album as C4C raise money for Optiv's sons. RIP.
Review: Talk is cheap but bangers like the ones coming out of Toby Ross's studio right about now are priceless. Take this crucial Serial Killaz EP; five tracks of absolute mercenary murkery, highlights include the big belly bassline and bulging subs of 'Rattle', the massive MC chant and shattering breaks on the EP title track 'Watch Yuh Talk' and the habanero hot bubbles and flexes on 'Spicy. Less talk, more action.
Review: Blimey Liondub International aren't messing around right now! Following the epic Phibes remixes of reggae Johnny Osbourne recently comes another top-tier tear-up, this time from Born On Road donnies Selecta J-Man and Gray. Big growling reese basses, Johnny's sweet dulcet tones and swaggering breaks galore, this takes 'Rock It Tonight' to a whole new level of sweet sweet dancefloor murderation
Review: Hot Gossip business: man of the moment Bou returns to his label with two more blazing originals. So bubbly, funky and made to mix; 'Camels' goes toe-to-toe with some of the best Bristol bassline jams of all time. 'Overthinking', in the meantime, features Bou's main mic man Haribo with some purring provocative words of wisdom... Don't wait for someone to blow to show support, show some love.
Review: A few steps ahead of the current new generation who are taking names and changing the North American drum & bass game, Flaco's been doing bits in the US scene for over 20 years now and here we find him coming correct with his precision debut album Balance. Delicately treading the line between dark, light, soulful and heavy, the album is a powerful snapshot of Flaco's skills and musical might. Highlights include the Detroitian ice of the dark stepper 'Logic', the burning Latin fire and full flavour funk of 'The Salsa Roller' and the understated subtle bubbles of 'Turnaround'. Massive album, this one keeps on giving on every listen and every play.
Review: The hardest working troupe to come out of Manchester in recent years, Grand Theft Audio bossmen Sola finally reveal their debut album. Proud champions of all styles and subgenres of drum & bass, their album 'Stars Align' brings together everything the trio are about... And plenty more. Highlights include the absolutely firing Latin banger 'Pico De Gallo', the glitchy Opiou-inspired cosmic beats piece 'Turncloak' and the absolutely firing 'Amazonia' which brings together pretty much every flavour of D&B all in one track. All this and plenty more, Sola have delivered something very special right here.
Review: Ransaked welcome the rising styles and skills of young UK artist Joik. Armed with a strong sense of dark minimal funk, 'In The Gutter' is a real prowler EP that stalks around your ears before worming in and staying there rent-free. 'In The Gutter' kicks off the EP with a powerful creeper flavours, 'Baggy Trousers' comes with a much heavier rolling breakbeat while 'Rainy Days' struts with chunkier, wilder drums and an even more abstract bassline that zips back and forth in a really trippy manner. Last but definitely not least, label bossman Nooch gets involved on collab duties with the super tight funk of 'Step Back'. Go with your gutter instinct on this one.
Review: A cool 13-track edits collection here from Audaz boss Alkalino. Where the 'Lolita Edits' series was never afraid to reach for a much-loved pop nugget, the 'Sure Shot' series seems to dig a little deeper and favour instrumental cuts, and as such, many sources will have to remain a mystery. Those we could identify, though, include Baccara's 'Yes Sir I Can Boogie', Sylvester's 'Over And Over', Jon English's 'Hollywood Seven' and, last but by no means least, The Escorts' 'Make Me Over' from 1981, which is reworked here into a surefire tension-builder as Alkalino teases out the intro and adds some highly distinctive cat-like wails.
Review: There is no doubting the majesty of Garage Shared as an overarching titan of the new school UKG world, with their label operations being among the best in the game right now, a theme amplified and proven further by the pure magnificence of this here compilation. Being the fourth in their self-titled series, they have once again pulled together a seriously vibrant collection of artists from their ranks, unleashing a collection of 30 outstanding garage originals. The cast of this incredible performance is nothing but quality, with the likes of Soulecta, Tuff Culture, WZA, Smokey Bubblin; B, DJ Jackum, Gemi, FooR, DJQ and more all lending their hand. It's such a great way to celebrate the success of the label over the last 3 years, whilst also applauding the garage community as a whole.
Review: We're not sure about the specific inspirations behind Ian Pooley's Studio A series on Radio Slave's Rekids imprint, but it feels like an exercise in getting the most from different bits of kit that have long been resident in his recording space. Regardless, this third EP in the series boasts some genuinely cracking cuts. Perhaps the headline attraction is 'SP12 Electric Mistress', an analogue-rich exercise in skewed, post acid-house jack with added Yorkshire bleeps that comes accompanied by a raw, discordant and mind-mangling, acid-flecked '303 Mix'. Elsewhere, 'PSS 480' is a thumping, driving, bass-heavy old school jack-track, while 'Viola' offers a tantalising mix of bustling techno drums, sci-fi synth-strings and creepy riffs.
Review: The Artikal team are back in business with this latest juicy drop as they welcome the ever-ready mystic state to the table with a bulbous four track selection. We open up with the jittering melodic backdrops and delicate drum designs of 'Gallows', a fearsome title track, jam-packed with gnarly bass goodness and eerie atmospherics, of course amplified by the unmistakable vocal presence of PAV4N. From here, the dubwise side of Mystic's character rises to the top as 'Understand' delivers a chord driven dip into delayed percussion and sweeping subs, before Jack-Flynn Oakley joins the party on the sizzling bass crunches and scuttling rhythms of 'Blinded'. Finally, the subtle Asian string work and hard hitting bass notation of 'Inner Sanctum' gives us another powerful feature to round the EP off. Excellent work!
Review: Leicester lads CXM and REWD link up for this walloping collection on OnlyDrums. Focused on the floor with pure fire coded into every element, 'Tonight' kicks off with an addictive spoken word vocal over an absolutely savage beat while 'On Sight' is pure menace, all stern and razor sharp. Elsewhere 'Pull It Up' plays ping-pong with our minds, bodies and souls as we bounce between basslines over a tightly coiled groove. Finally 'Delinquent' gets naughty over a grizzly, twisted jump-up lick. 'Tonight' is your night!