Review: With an already massive following and vaults of free download albums to their name, Invicta Audio come correct with the full label and launch with the twisted sounds of Jando. Four tracks in total, each one tickles a different corner of the minimal / hybrid playground. 'Corrupt' is the techiest cut of the bunch with its neuro-like build up drop into revved up barky riff and it's followed by three more trippy head-benders; 'Ignite' is a all about the fluttering high end harmonics, 'New World Sound' is pure prang funk while 'Verdict' closes the show with soothing pads and a drop into the scattiest bassline of the release. Imagine a metal ping pong ball bouncing down an aluminium tube and you're in the right dance.
Review: Well known for his killer mixes during the lockdown (and an absolute G on the decks in real-life raving back when that was a thing) Zoro sharpens his cutlass for his official EP debut on Born On Road. Five tracks heavy, all weighted in that heavy toxic bass funk that Born On Road are loved for, highlights include the ace vocal sample and sick breakbeat splashes on the crucial Disrupta collab 'Stone Cold', the raw sandpaper funk bassline of 'Everything's Ok' (with Addicted) and the humungous turbine groove of 'Siren Tune'. Spark up the dance!
Review: Look into Hexa's eyes. Not between the eyes. Not around the eyes. Not beside or beneath the eyes. Look into his eyes... And he will see to the depths of your soul. He'll have a laugh at your deepest desires to the twisted decaying rot of the title track 'The All Seeing Eye'. Then he'll sooth your troubles with jittering bass croaks 'Reassurances' and juice up those daydreams with the harmonic vibrancy of 'Submarines'. Before you know it he's probing your highest ambition, getting you feeling like Rocky to the understated grunt and thrust of 'Dismay' before getting you ready for war with the tense creeper 'Minesweeper'. The eyes have it.
Review: Bruk is flying the flag of the UK's supremely confident jump-up scene with this excellent four-tracker over on Sub:stance Recordings, his tendency to isolate the key elements and focus on the basics being done with absolute effect. Manual features on the absurdly good 'Stand Up Tall', which packs murderous funk into its choppy arrangement, a collection of energy which coils like a loaded spring and then releases with aplomb. 'Say My Name' samples Destiny's Child's classic pop record but flips it into a devastatingly heavy collection of potent stabs and kicks. The second half of the record continues in the same vein and the results are predictably top class.
Review: Oooh you're a popular soul aren't you? Upgrade's sent you a request... What are you going to do? Do you accept within seconds and send him your demos and a few revealing photos of your set-up to the curmudgeonly growls and sudden double bass flares and heavenly breakdown of 'Base'? Do you leave him hanging for a few hours, playing it cool before gleefully accepting to the slinky subby jungle rolls of 'Function'? Do you take a screenshot and share it for clout to the rough gutter chomping grizzles of 'First Request'? Or do you wake up and realise it's all a dream because he blocked you years ago for harassing him for dubs to the subtle creepiness and strange jazzy sci-fi rolls and rumbles of 'Gangbeats'? Choose wisely.
Review: Dunk is one-half renowned duo Jam Thieves, and his new excursion into the solo game is already beginning to bear some significant fruit. He's an absurdly prolific producer and has several released out and forthcoming already, with this four-tracker on Co-Lab the latest to see the light of day. It's classic Dunk, whose trademark blend of stripped back percussion, powerful subs and jump-up touches has been finely tuned over the last few years. 'Iceberg' is the perfect example, as a settled groove falls into place beneath oscillating, fluttering lines of gravelly bassline textures. 'Zombie Dog' flows with abandon and growls into its muzzle, whilst 'Dark Soul' featuring Illament is a skipping roller with deadly precision and a gungho set of jump up stabs. Big, big stuff.
Review: Audio Addict are turning ten years old, a fantastic achievement, and to mark the occasion the good people over there are releasing a wicked compilation that draws upon lots of the artists in their orbit. This first sampler features Disrupta, Jappa, Subcriminal, Crossy and K Jah across a five-track showcase of just how gully this label can be, with all five artists stepping up to remix tracks from the label back-catalogue. Disrupta takes the reins first and does so with aplomb, putting a fiery spin on DJ Hybrid's 'Shoot Em Up' and flipping it into a warped-out engine of pure dancefloor energy. At the end of the release, K Jah comes with a distinctly different vibe that's much more rough and tumble, a bouncy yet relentless bassline sitting beneath a sampled vocal from Liam Bailey that sounds unreal. Top EP and we can't wait for the full version.
Review: Ruffneck Ting have really outdone themselves with this one and it's courtsy of Verdikt, who, across four tunes, seriously rolls things out. It's the sampler for a forthcoming longer project and the standout tune is 'Wrong', featuring Dazee andd Collette Warren, the latter of whom smashes the vocal work as per usual, injecting that little something extra into a tune already thriving on its diet of wide snare hits and wibbly wobbly sub bass. 'Ya Ya' is a unique which reminds us of Bungle's 'Coccooned' with its repitition and relentlessness, except the bass in question isn't a constant note but another superbly wobbly sub bass. The others are equally stripped back, and we really love the barebones approach being taken here.
Review: Over on Pick N Mix Audio, Drowzee is landing with a single that blends the savage sounds of jump-up with effortless use of space and a clarity designed to impress but not overwhelm. 'For Me' rests on finger-click drum hits that intersperse with a wobbling sub bass and choppy bass staps, it's got that head-nodding vibe to the drums we all love and it's an all-round masterclass of blending funk and aggression. The flipside builds up with murderous intent above a body of furious kicks, before climbing the heights of euphoria into stabbing, flowing territory. Beautiful stuff.
Review: Tina Turner had steamy windows. Jilly Cooper writes steamy novels. T>I makes 'Steamy Rollers'... And he wants you to get all hot and sweaty by them, too. Coming at us courtesy of the steamy soundboys at Souped Up, each cut hits so hard you'll lose your undergarments within seconds... Those early Die style slinky bass hums on 'Jungle', those sultry guitar twangs and horrendously murky bassline on 'Paper Clipz', the twisted funk and slow burning build of 'Front End' and the riotous finale 'Steptrolasis'... All designed to get you so hot under the collar you'll disown clothing for the rest of your life. Body heat crew - this one you!
Review: Defying the curse of 2020, Yoteii's been on something of a roll this year with dope bombs on the likes of Cave, Breeze and now Logan D's mighty Low Down Deep. Two tunes, two vibes; 'Nostalgia' is a roller's roller with its mildly euphoric intro flipping into a whole chorus of space-aged gritty bass tones. 'The Virus', meanwhile, marks the weird and pranged-out era with vocal cameos from one of the scariest men on the planet. Stay safe.
Review: Fair play it's been an impressive run from DJ Warden's Bagged & Tagged this year, despite the rona working its wicked way with 2020. Following massive EPs from the likes of Total Recall, BlckHry and Obbley & Maze the label now hits with its biggest release to date... An all-star remix EP featuring the likes of Heist, Nu Elementz, Slipz and D-Nasty. All off them given the green light to go nuts on some of the label's most distinctive cuts so far. Highlights include Heist's raucous harmonic twist on the bassline of Vital & Phenom's 'Hoe Money' and D-Nasty's skin-melting technoid riff. Disgusting. Bag this one right now.
Review: Fresh from flipping us with 'The Switch' earlier this year on Zombie, Damageman and MC J.O.K collide once again. This time on Redrum and it's badman business as usual; J.O.K's unique flow and crystal wit sparks the joint while Damageman's grizzly riff keeps it smoking. 'Zangief', meanwhile, plays all coy and sweet on the intro but the minute J.O.K hints at a future teeth-smashing you just know the filth isn't far-away. Somebody shoot these messengers some gunfingers!
Review: We've become accustomed to the Editorial label offering up expansive EPs packed to the rafters with tasty edits and reworks, but even by the imprint's high standards Raw Funk is rather special. It begins with a bumpin' chunk of hazy and excitable sample house courtesy of Cody Currie (the brilliant 'Aquarian Girl') and ends with some slow-motion, downtempo disco sweetness from Ed Wizard & Disco Double Dee ('Slippin'); in between, you'll find a fine rearrangement of an organ-laden chunk of sweaty dancefloor soul (the Funk District's 'An Evening With El Diablo'), some slap-bass-sporting disco-funk (Matt Hughes' 'Get Down'), and a righteous trip into driving disco territory (the Owl's low-slung 'Funky Feelin').
Review: Sam Binga and Hyroglifics represent two of the most ingenious beat makers in the drum and bass, a pair of producers who, through their work on Critical Music amongst others, has pushed the boundaries of the genre. Wicked & Bad represents further encroachment onto the territory of neighbouring genres, including garage and grime, and the pair have managed to stay true to the formula of drum & bass whilst expanding on it with serious finesse. 'Wits End' embodies this mission statement best, as robotic vocals machinate alongside a bouncing garage beat and wallowing low frequency notes to form a technoid funk that's both heavy and sophisticated. There are more traditional jungle flavours on the title track, featuring Riko Dan on top form to provide a vocal overlay to the tune's rambunctious drums and pummelling bassline. More genre bending stuff from the Critical crew.
Review: DJ Hybrid on Born On Road... This is a big release whichever direction it hits you. Whether it bounces into your chops with its rubber ball badness of 'Just Keep It Real', creeps up behind you all slinky and ominous like 'Directions', sidles up to you all shady and paranoid like 'Last One', jumps on your head and screams 'woooooiiii' like 'Big Request' or struts right up to your face, bold as brass, and slews the dickens out of you like 'Send For Dem'... We guarantee this will hit you.
Review: As the title suggests, this wonderful EP from COEO pays tribute to the glory days of early '90s piano house. If you've been struggling through the current global pandemic, we guarantee that all four tracks will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Our pick of a very strong bunch is 'Hyperactive', where bold piano stabs, style synth-sax motifs, New Jersey garage style organ chords and a rubbery, all-action bassline ride a sweaty and chunky, hip-house style rhythm. There is of course much to set the pulse racing elsewhere across the EP, from the deliciously deep, loved-up and glassy-eyed wonder that is 'I Can Never Be Yours', to the acid-fired bustle of breakbeat-driven closing cut 'Bliss'.
Review: Presumably DJ Kaos spent much of lockdown crafting fresh re-edits of trippy little-known tunes, because his latest four-track selection of heady reworks is arguably his strongest release for some time. We're particularly enjoying the urgent, vocoder-loving disco-funk madness of 'Tapping The Source', a wild and wonderful rearrangement of a thoroughly obscure cover version of Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick In The Wall', though the more cosmic, hypnotic headiness of piano-sporting Italo-disco number 'Crystal Voyager' is similarly addictive. Elsewhere, 'Spiral Jetty' is an extra-druggy, Italo-disco style re-make of a familiar nu-disco classic, while 'Region Centrale' is a delay-laden take on what sounds like an early Chicago house jam (with added 'Buffalo Gals' acapella snippets).
Review: Calling all gyalists! Rumble, Mr Lexx and Suku Ward have teamed up on Liondub International for a carnival-ready dancehall jammer "Gyalis" which is flipped in a multitude of ways by some of the best in the game; Filip Motovunski gets his low-slung swagger on, UK hip-hop legends The Nextmen get busy on the bashy tip, Lost City finds his way with a powerful tribal halftime twist while Sao Paulo's finest L Side provides the headshot with the immense roller version. Think "Night Flight" on a ragga vibe and you're in the right dance.
Review: The most recent tune to get online D&B heads' knickers in a twist... Break has taken his beautiful 2018 GQ collaboration 'Whispers In My Ear' and given it a big droney bass twist. Switching the slinkiness for pure greasiness, it's Break on his darkest flex. He's in good company, too as Break & Total Science's 'Dogs Dinner' gets a total tearing up from man like Mefjus. The results speak for themselves. Give the dogs a bone!
Review: Kenji is over on Eternal Muzic and with this single takes you on a rough and ready journey through rolling D&B, one that's characterised by its reliance on the best elements of the older school of 170 sonics: big drum hits, creative sampling and a complete lack of pretentiousness or over-engineering. 'Make Moves' is exactly that and we love the spoken sample that rolls out over the drop, whilst 'You Have No Idea' finishes things off in style as well with more wicked sampling, this time of nostalgic sounds from the East. Top draw.
Review: Myth has been one of the scene's major success stories over the last 12 months. Known previously for his work as a part of Ill Truth, Jay has been killing it on the solo front by becoming known for a strictly stripped-back, jungle-focused approach to hard-hitting beats. This time around he's releasing on Lenzman's North Quarter imprint, who have moved away somewhat from their typical focus on dreamy liquid but have stayed firmly true to their commitment to organic, free-wheeling beats. 'Long Time' is quintissential Myth and packs serious smacks of Breakage in the drums and the structure'; the sampling is superb and the whole mix is clean, precise and devastating in the extreme. 'Reboot' rises up on a bed of funky sampling, before settling down into a loping, simple and yet masterfully effective bassline. It's a rough, raw and rambunctious release that relies only the bare minimum - perfection.
Review: A two-tracker here from UK duo Pookie Knights, hosts of the weekly Black Light Disco show on NYC's MyHouseRadio FM. Fathers Children's 1979 funk/soul jam 'Hollywood Dreaming' provides the basis for 'Sweetest Sweetness' itself, a mellow, brass-led groover that can safely be filed under "laidback and gangster-lean"! 'Good Vibrations', meanwhile, draws on 'Sweet Vibrations' by Latimore - a soul cut released on TK sub-label Glades all the way back in 1976 - and has a similar smooth, Sunday afternoon vibe to the lead track. There's no shortage of hi-octane mirrorball stompers around right now - head here for something a little more sophisticated.
Review: Put some money in their hands! Bou and Trigga's already massive 'Veteran' gets the VIP treatment and it's finally ready for us mere mortals. Classic Bou roughhouse bassline funk, signature story telling from a true Manchester OG, delivered on one of the most on-point labels in the game right now; there's a reason 'Veteran' hit the spot so succinctly in the first place. This VIP makes sure the spot remains hit for a long time to come. Start with your lyrics, sing for your song.