Review: Born On Road is one of the new-school of labels pushing the current moment's gritty, jump-up infused sound, the sound that has captured so many new fans to the genre in the past couple of years and which has catapulted the careers of Ben Snow, AC13 and others. This EP comes from the former and it's an excellent representation of where the sound is at right now, a massive, heavy piece of work that features David Boomah on a wicked vocal feature. The title track nails the sample, before rolling out with the foghorn sound on full display. It's top stuff and we're very much into it.
Review: Jam Thieves are the Brazilian duo who make simply sumptuous, minimal, rough and tumble rollers and they do so with an excessive amount of power and finesse. Love Forever is their latest EP and it's four more slices of sub heavy techy goodness, each individually packaged in an attempt to get your head moving in the dance. Title track 'Love Forever' is our favourite because it samples Marvin Gaye, but also because it's just proper minimal naughtiness, with in point drums and a chest-bashing sub bass. Excellent stuff.
On About (Remix) (Citrusfly remix) - (4:27) 175 BPM
Review: Coming in hot off the back of some great releases is both Sota and label Pick N Mix, who have collaborated on the producer's 8Bit EP, a six-tracker that spans a variety of sounds, all of which are driving and filled with purpose. Title track '8Bit' is a jagged roller with a great flowing feel to the percussion and an arrangement chock a block with funk and soul, despite its constituent elements being far from soulful. That's the sign of a good heavy D&B track and both producer and artist have nailed it.
Kastro & Scudd - "Something About You" - (4:50) 175 BPM
Kastro - "Who We Are" - (5:35) 175 BPM
Scudd - "Forever" (feat JustJo) - (5:44) 175 BPM
Review: It's a Newcastle thing! Kastro and Scudd land on Serial Killaz with this massive five track collabo-fest. Each cut hits with the gruff rolling goodness both individuals (and their north eastern mates like Skantia, Stompz and Nectax) are known for. Highlights include the warm dubby horns and Die-style wobbles on the bass of "Ease Out", the dark abrasive horns of the title track "LDN Ting" and the dramatic staccato hook of "Who We Are". With both men shooting out original solo tracks on the EP too, this is a major step up for all concerned. There's something big bubbling in the north east right now. Pay attention.
Too Greezey - "Fled The Scene" (feat Thunda Banton) - (4:26) 58 BPM
Agro - "Shot To Bits" - (4:16) 180 BPM
Too Greezey - "Time Traveller" - (4:28) 175 BPM
Agro - "Dumpers" - (4:38) 179 BPM
Too Greezey - "The Chant" - (4:28) 58 BPM
Agro - "Simple" - (3:39) 175 BPM
Review: Representing the vibes and history of reggae culture except with a uniquely British urban twist, Agro & Too Greezey drop a five-track testament to his ability as producer here. We've featured his music in the past and every time we do it's a devilish concoction of force and finesse, an amalgamation of ability and acumen. 'Fled The Scene' is as big as it gets, both in terms of its steppy percussion and driving bassline; 'Shot To Bits' reminds of Kings of the Rollers with a bassline that roars out the stops; title tune 'Time Traveller' combines reggae atmospherics with a rolling finesse. Sick EP.
Review: Sota has developed a reputation for tough, urban-edged sonics over several years now of cultivation and curation and, a fairly substantial number of tunes later, he's landing hereon Low Down Deep. He's diverse in his capabilities and Frontin / One sees him returning to his jump up-ier side, something we're definitely very keen on, especially when it's on a label like Low Down Deep. This release is wicked and 'Frontin'' is a highlight, with a snapping percussive line forming around its inching, creeping basses and eerie background ambience, all of which builds up to a ridiculously heavy top synth line, which is as choppy as they come. Top stuff right here.
Review: Fresh off the back of his rebrand, the man previously known as Signal but now performing under the moniker of IMANU has his first release out in his new identity. On Noisia's Vision Recordings, Ego is a stunning return to form and deeply diverse, complex and well-produced piece of music. His ability to turn dystopic soundscapes into recognisable pieces of dance music was always a talent for the young Dutch producer and this might be the best example so far. It's very hard to pick a favourite, but the fluttering synths of 'Nonplus' are unbelievably good, paired as they are with pummelling low frequencies that are masterfully balanced. Sarah Hezen features on the atmospheric 'Flower Veil', Johnathan returns to halftime expertise on 'Noir' and the Neurofunk history is perfectly apparent on 'All Talk'. An incredible release from one of the 2010's best D&B breakout acts.
Review: From Cologne with badness, man-of-the-moment Submarine comes correct on label-of-the-moment 1985 with his best release to date. Four tracks deep, each one reflecting just how exciting drum & bass is right now. "Fate" takes the lead with its crunchy groove and gruff 40-a-day bass grunts, "No Sleep" is a barbed drifter with an air so solemn it'll have you wearing black for the rest of your living days and "Return Of Enel" gets all snake-like in the bass department while the drum sounds flicker and morph on every 32. Finally "Pastell" closes with its purring subs and glacial pads. Coming on strong like a homage to the sound and attitude of Perez's label, it leaves you hungry for more...
Review: Since joining Toy Tonics last year, the Phenomenal Handclap Band has served up some of their greatest material to date. Predictably, their third outing for the label is another winner. You'll find the band's original mix of "Remain Silent" - a wonderful slab of off-kilter revivalist disco rich in attractive lead vocals, authentic instrumentation and spacey synths - tucked away at the end of the EP. The headline-grabbing remixes once again come from Ray Mang, whose "Extended Mix" and "Instrumental Mix" both offer a slightly tighter, polished-up feel that's arguably more suitable for club spins. The EP also contains rather good "Remix" and "Dub" takes from Superpitcher which subtly strip the track back and give it a more spaced-out dub disco feel.
Review: More from Faze Action member Robin Lee's offshoot Andromeda Orchestra project, whose throbbing and forthright releases have previously joined the dots between revivalist disco and the synthesizer-driven world of Italo-disco. In its original form (track three), "Don't Stop" is an authentically produced riff on the K.I.D track of the same name rich in swooping, razor-sharp strings, Clavinet-happy disco grooves and glassy-eyed female vocals. It comes accompanied by a stellar peak-time remix from Lee's old pal Ray Mang - all layered drum fills, swirling noises and jangling piano riffs - and a spacey, beat-free ambient "Reprise". Bonus cut "Kano Line Dance", a funky mid-tempo shuffler that joins the dots between boogie, jazz-funk and P-funk, is also rather tasty.
Review: Nuusic put out some damn good music. In fact, we're still reeling from their Sound of Nuusic compilation and that was months ago and so this EP from Disrupta is a welcome addition to the ever-burgeoning world of D&B. Five tracks long, Karma is a moody, raw release that would undoubtedly sound fat through a soundsystem. This is especially true for track one, 'Origin', a diving, sub-heavy piece of work that gargles on the stabs and bounces on the hits. 'Fire' featuring Zoro has a cool, steppy beat pattern and even bigger bassline to match. Top stuff.
Review: Manchester's Subwoofah is a regional powerhouse for, in their own words, the marriage of school jungle and modern D&B. That's the objective being borne in mind here with Epicentre's remix EP, a release which combines the percussive vibrancy of jungle with the powerful basslines of the current age. The 'Motiv' remix of 'Ear Worm' is a great example and we love the rough edge to its drums almost as much as we dig the attitude-packed bassline. Full of anger, but the good sort. Lovely.
Review: Ed:It continues his "Sihouettes" series with another wide-armed collection of precision D&B. As with the previous editions in the collection (that will eventually comprise to form his debut album) the range is wide, incisive and reveals his deepest influences and knowledge of proper foundation drum & bass. "Can't Stop Thinking" lights the fire with an introspective, dark and sexy vibe (think Shogun era Perez) while "Empty Eyes" gets proper sultry on the vocal side and proper heavy on the bassline / production side. "Endings" takes the crown for the darkest jam of the EP, though; pure grumpy funk, not dissimilar to the recent work of Tyrone (or FD when he's in a badboy mode), there's something very classy yet disgusting about it. Finally he tags up with fellow Shogunites Pola & Bryson for "The Ticket", a slinky, subdued creeper that gets darker, deeper and more immense as the track builds. Just the ticket!
Review: Five fine slices of contemporary disco make up this latest EP from Russian producer Alexandr Chebankov, better known as Sunner Soul. 'Feeling Of Spirits' is a midtempo shuffler that slowly breaks out into an intricate jazz-funk keys workout, 'Keep Strangers' is a Chic-y stomper, 'Liquid Disco' has distinctly Candido-esque overtones, 'Lay In Low (MF-SB Version' is a mellower, more lounge-y cut with muted space disco stabs and finally 'Simply Around' rocks a funkier, Blaxploitation-like vibe. With all five highly authentic-sounding and avoiding obvious samples, heavy rotation at the likes of Glitterbox and Horse Meat Disco is pretty much guaranteed.
Review: Detroit Swindle is amongst the most reliable artists operating in the overgrown no-man's-land between house, disco and boogie. That much is confirmed by "The Life Behind Things", which marks their first outing on Heist since last year's "High Life" LP. Title track "The Life Behind Things" is positive, ear-pleasing and dancefloor friendly, with the experienced pair peppering bouncy beats and thickset synth bass with joyous organ riffs (reminiscent of those found on Timmy Thomas soul classic "Why Can't We Live Together"), wobbly acid lines, jaunty piano stabs and female vocal snippets. Lorenz Rhode collaboration "Music For Clubs" is arguably even more rush inducing in its retro-futurist piano house intent, while Isoul8's remix of the title track is a swirling, soulful and decidedly tactile chunk of deep house brilliance.
Review: Jeopardize is back and oh boy, this release is absolutely top notch. For anyone out there who likes their rollers dark and dirty yet precise and engineered with quality in mind, you'll be into this release. With two harsh tracks, this release is just bursting with quality and if we ran a label, we'd certainly be writing these names down for the future. The first track, 'Futurama', excels in its simplicity, with all the work being done in a simple yet devastating drum pattern and its relationship to top-notch bit of back end work. The flipside follows this pattern: stunningly solid drums, fat basslines and arrangements rooted in simplicity, allowing the small details to shine. Wicked release.
Dub Sense - "Hood Flow" (feat MC Mel) - (5:23) 175 BPM
Krom & System - "Crackpot" - (4:28) 175 BPM
Review: Logikz Audio are building up a name for themselves as a label who never fail to bring out the big guns with their music. It's always heavy, hard-hitting and built on soundscapes and vibes which are deeply urban. The first track on this VP is no different and it kicks off with 'How We Do', a punchy roller with a bassline that stretches out over the horizon, the only constant being its grinding, coarse nature and the manner in which it constantly mutates and evolves. 'Twisted' is equally as rough but less rolling and more stepping, its structure and nature constantly changes, and it keeps the tune sounding consistently fresh. The rest of the EP is absolute vibes too.
Review: Guidance remain in full control this year as yet another powerful EP from Ulterior Motive's label lands. This time it's from Was A Be, no longer signed to Shogun and now just a solo act, it's another bold statement. "Passive Aggressive" takes the lead with, ironically, no passivity whatsoever. Subverting a ravey riff over a real growler of a bassline, it's another certy stinker from Italian stallion. It's back by three more gully blunderbusses: "Mirrored" (with Visages) strips things back and drags us down the bassline sewer with one of the grumpiest basslines you'll hear all season, "Shell" follows suit with more low-end toxicity and a sweet roll to the drums while "Double Tap" takes the Was A Be to some pretty cosmic, warped places. Last but not least we have the dramatic "Blue Roots" where more of a techno influence can be felt in the pulsating bassline. Immense.
Review: After first impressing on Hot Digits with 2018's "Gettin' Loose EP", Steve Cooper once more dons the Down Under Disco alias with a rock solid sequel. He begins in confident fashion via "Turn Away", a warm and groovy cut that sits somewhere between deep house and loopy disco-house, before offering up the bold and bass-heavy "Sonny Jim", where woozy organ chords and glistening disco guitar licks rise above a pleasingly saucer-eyed groove. "Get Down" is an energetic, trippy and low-slung chunk of peak-time disco-house headiness, "Everybody Lose Control" cleverly combines stargazing synth lines with UK funky style bass and bouncy house beats, and PickleJam's "Party Line" remix of "Turn Away" is a sparkling fusion of bouncy electro beats and slick nu-disco musicality.
Review: Brussels mandem Bredren get all arsonist with this scorching EP debut for Alix Perez's 1985. Four tracks, each one a flamer, we kick off with the forthright headbutt of "Inferno" where T Man holds court with savage bars. Deeper into the EP we hit their classic stripped back rolling sound on "Get Physical" before "Flick Knife" cuts straight to the chase with some sinewy, creepy low end flourishes. Last but not least "Undress" gets everyone naked with some beautiful light-at-end-of-tunnel barbed soul. Four out of four, Bredren are firing right now.
Review: Three months after allowing DJs to rummage through the contents of his "Sample Bag", Lego Edit has decided to repeat the trick. Unzip the bag and you first find his "4am" edit of "Flash Back", a sax and flute-wielding revision of a colourful and bass-heavy funk outing underpinned by chunky house drums and tons of energetic handclaps. Reach further within the bag's velvet-lined interior and you'll come across his smooth, rolling and dancefloor take on Philadelphia Soul era classic "The Ghetto" - check the sweet jazz guitar solos, locked-in house beats and scat vocal sections - as well as the wild, loopy and insatiable heaviness of stomping Latin jazz-funk revision "Journey To The Old Town".
Review: Mexico's Deep Sense serve up a six-track EP that shows there's more than one way to go about repurposing a classic. Rather than simply looping up chunks of the original, the edits here get a little more creative - Sauco & Manuel Costela's 'Are We Ready?', for instance, takes the vocal from Fatback's 'Bus Stop' vocal and places it over a fresh (and utterly irresistible) funk backing, while on 'Last Nite' Tony Disco uses a similar trick to reinvent an InDeep classic in altogether sultrier, jazzier form. An equally well-known chanted vocal tops the brass-tastic 'Flamingo' from Hot Mood, and there are three more very playable nuggets where those came from!
Review: Four months after the release of his fine debut album "What It Is", Toy Tonics founder Matthias Modias AKA Kapote offers up fresh versions of two of the set's most potent tracks. Of most interest to many will be the included "big name" remixes of "Jaas Func Haus". Art of Tones does a bang-up job recasting the cut as a dusty chunk of rubbery jazz-house/deep house fusion, while the Sworn Virgins remix is a delay-laden late night analogue-house wiggler from the Ron Hardy school of Chicago sleaze. Best of all, though, is Rahaan's rework, which is a wonky mid-tempo fusion of acid-style electronics and spiraling disco bliss. Elsewhere, there's another chance to enjoy Modias' funk-fuelled disco workout "Delirio Italiano", as well as a stripped back, extra-percussive "Dub" mix.
Review: We'd rather not quibble with Parissior about the definition of "house", but to us the majority of the tracks on his "Not Quite House Cutz" EP sound like house. Disco, boogie and nu-disco influenced house, but still house. Regardless, there's much to enjoy throughout, from the swirling deep house chords, gentle acid lines and chunky grooves of "Don't Worry About It" and the acid-fired, disco-tech bustle of "Acid Shape", to the bass-heavy disco-house loop jam "Bad Thinking". Complimenting these three layered and ear-pleasing original cuts is a remix of "Don't Worry About It" by Fingerman. The Hot Digits supremo drags the track further towards filter-sporting disco-house territory by emphasizing some sharp horn samples and turning the bass up to eleven.
Review: A cross-border collaboration here as Austin, Texas-based nu disco producer The Silver Rider joins forces with his Mexican counterpart Fernando Mendoza, AKA The Funk District, for a split EP on Whiskey Disco. The Silver Rider brings us 'Woman', a pacey, looping funk groove with a neat line in rasping bass and spoken, Euro-style vox, and 'Hustle Up', which comes on like a Blaxploitation funk jam. Then it's over to The Funk Rider for 'Imaki Ra Reo', a lively, Latin-leaning affair with a hefty bottom end and some truly wild sax blasts, and 'The Root Of Evil', which like 'Hustle Up' has an understated, soundtrack-y feel.
Review: Sometimes the road gets too rough. Sometimes you just have to slap a senior member in your family due to the high levels of gully coming into your ears. Whatever you do when things get too stinky, however you deal with the body-blowing pressure of absolutely foul tracks, we know you're going to do it to this new EP from Perez who is on such a roll right now it's crazy. Following his dubstep EP "Last Rites" comes this awesome back-to-dnb-grit session. "Trinity" is just utter high voltage darkness, "Phantonym" takes things even deeper with some proper gruesome bass bubbles while "SWRV" takes us back to Alix's soulful side and "Vibrations" plays the perfect game of contrasts and shade. What an EP.
Review: Israeli and Berlin-based DJ/producer Dasco has put out a fair number of singles over the last few years, but none are anywhere near as good as "African Power", their first outing on Local Talk. The title track is superb: a wonderfully jaunty, atmospheric, evocative and positive fusion of Afro-house, jazz, deep house and calypso that boasts layered percussion, a brilliant bassline and some lusciously lilting trumpet solos. "Keep Moving", meanwhile, is a heavily percussive deep house workout full of spacey synths and heavy South American drums. Trinidadian Deep does a fine job making "African Power" deeper, dreamier and even more melodic, while Anthony Nicholson joins the dots between Latin house and deep nu-disco on a suitably Balearic revision of "Keep Moving".
Review: Greek producer Chris GS returns to Israel's Thunder Jam with four more slices of reworked vintage funk/disco goodness. He's dug nice and deep for this set, so the original source material remains a mystery in most cases, but in his hands 'Shake It' is a strings-drenched disco number that would've sounded right at home on the 'Saturday Night Fever' soundtrack, while 'Lady' rocks a slightly rawer funk vibe. The same goes for 'The Funk', which reworks Positive Force's 'We Got The Funk' from 1979, while finally 'About It' leans a little closer towards early 80s boogie territory.
Review: Toulouse soul man Julien Salvi returns to The North Quarter with another prize-fighting package of deep, authentic drum & bass. Opening with a smoky intro track that's more jazz than dancefloor, he slowly take us deeper and deeper down his D&B rabbit hole. Cuts like "Fine Again" and "Next To You" breeze with that sad poignant spacious feeling he's made his own in recent years while "Evergreen Dub" (with FD) reminds us of his darker rolling side and "The Rhythm" is a direct homage to the man like Marcus. Stunning through and through.
Review: Eazy is a producer we've featured quite a lot on this site before and it's because he has an impressive talent for producing gargling, powerful beats that hit hard and don't look back when they step over your stunned body. It makes sense that he's on Bagged & Tagged, then, as his Khufra EP shows off the capabilities of both him and the label. The title track is the standout, a chopped-up amalgamation of energy and purpose, custom-built for the club and very much in tune with the strength of the scene at the moment. The rest of the release slaps as well - check it out.
Review: Co-Lab Recordings is Heist's label and is accordingly renown for putting out hard-hitting beats faster than you can say 'f**k off', a testament to the production and curation skills of the man himself. This time the focus is on Oz and the wider Co-Lab crew, as Oz gets his Abstract EP remixed and updated with some fresh new twists. The Teej remix of 'Assassin' is definitely up there as one of the best on the EP, a deeply growling track that is packed with attitude and foreboding notes of synth and sample-based power. Heist himself steps up for the remix on 'I.C.Y', flipping this one into a wobbly number with a wide, slapping snare drum and plenty of angst. Bangers galore here.
Review: Dub Damage Recordings don't tend to put out music that's weak, thin or otherwise not suitable for the dancefloor. This EP courtesy of Jeopardize & Exile is a testament to that, both cuts do some serious damage and the release overall is certainly on the sharper end of the spectrum. 'Cypher' is the best of the bunch and it's got a rough, Sofa Sound edge that injects a satisfying level of oomph into the arrangement. Exile's remix of 'Cuntroll' is a close second and its incredibly unique concoction of swirling basses and gargling pulsars adds a wicked futuristic element. Top EP from the Dub Damage crew.
Review: Damage Report has been doing, well, damage, over on Grid Recordings for a little while now and so this next release could actually be considered somewhat overdue. Never fear, however, as a remix release for the man himself is upon us and boy, it's been worth the wait. Courtesy of Lupo, Nick The Lot, Twisted Individual, Warhead, Matt View and Marvel Cinema, Damage Report has been given the onceover in a way that freshens things up by stays true to the original. Nick The Lot's remix of 'Time Lapse' is the standout contribution from a crowded field, his ability to warp sounds into devilish concoctions of force is on full displays and blimey, it sounds bloody wicked. One for the jump-up crew.
Review: Murky Digital are a label who do what their name might suggest in that they release digital murkiness on a regular basis. Black Lagoon is a various artists release that brings together Jaxx, Euphonique, Vital, Damageman and Tarz, all of whom have contributed dastardly naughty tracks. Vital's 'Bank Robbers' is up there with the best of them and it's all about that bassline, a foghorn of groaning, fiery proportions which rattles its way through the arrangement. Damageman also impresses with 'Low Signal', a sub-heavy roller which will please the more minimalistic heads amongst you. Banging stuff.
Review: The latest release on LSB's label is finally here and it's worth the wait. Anile's famously stripped back, creative sounds are laid out over four tracks that span a characteristically wide range of speeds and styles. From the rolling soul of Constant Reminder to the guttural bass rattles of Riggers, this is a wicked EP that shows off exactly why Anile is considered one of the most talented producers in the game. It's the first release on Footnotes from an artist that isn't LSB, and it certainly doesn't disappoint.
Review: We've come accustomed to the Helliker-Hales brothers delivering dusty, musically intricate deep house that tends towards the jazzier and more dub-flecked end of the spectrum. It's therefore something of a surprise to find that their latest two-tracker is an altogether bolder and more warehouse-ready affair. Title track "Come Together" features distinctive, alien-sounding lead lines, trance-like female vocal snippets and stabbing, warehouse-ready riffs rising over forthright drums and a chunky, retro-futurist bassline. If anything, "Digital Sound" is even heavier, with dub-wise vocal snippets, bleeping electronics and foreboding chords dancing around heavy tribal drums and the kind of muscular riffs that were once a hallmark of Junior Vasquez and Danny Tenaglia's mid-90s productions. In other words, it's a suitably sizable "big room" record.
Review: There aren't many artists in the scene who are more experienced with combining the tones of reggae with the pace of D&B than Serial Killaz, in fact, for many, the name is almost synonymous with the fusion of sounds the sub-genre represents. Dez is holding up the mantle on their label this time around with his Dub Organizer EP, a four-track wobbler that powers through both sides of the sound with ease. 'Dubplate' is probably our favourite, just because of how funky the intro is (bonus points for the Rodigan sample), and the naughty way it suddenly flips into low frequency stress. Banging.