Review: Sub-liminal Recordings are a regular presence on these pages, their music is precise and damaging and they're back this week with a single from Agro. Timbuk 4 is a two-tracker that relies on its wavey concoctions of low-frequency movement to impress, with hard percussive knocks resting nicely underneath. 'Fair Trade' is the B-side and probably our favourite, with Chats MC doing some serious work over a very creative back end. Lovely stuff.
Review: If you like huge, rambunctious drums then this release will almost certainly be up your street. The 'drums' in D&B come first for a reason and that's because they're the most essential element to any 170 track, with all the energy and momentum being carried in the percussion. Bomber Man knows this, clearly, because both sides to this single absolutely stomp in this area. Both 'Deuce Crew' and 'Chuck' pair these drums with gnarly stabs and gargled, twisted low frequencies and it works brilliantly. Proper stuff this.
Review: Dubstomp 2 Bass are the Birmingham based label that have one commitment and one commitment only: getting you out of your seat and onto the dancefloor. Chilly is their latest purveyor of pure heat and he's doing so over a two-tracker, the first of which is classic D2B: a gargling, subby bassline and unrelenting destruction in 170 form. 'Listen' is a tad more melodic but doesn't ease back on the weightiness, its big, soaring bass hits rising and falling all over the arrangement. Unreal.
Review: Here we have a very exciting new label venture, which takes the name of Kaotik Hypnotic, a team that are seemingly ready to take the techno world by storm, as they here unveil their first official drop from David LaFhionntain. The title track 'Unholy Riot' is an absolute blitz of intense, pulsating drum smashes and high tempo 4x4 rhythms, soaking in distorted bass energies throughout. Next, the nostalgic hardcore themes of 'Survival Rate' race into earshot, chased up by the breaks shimmers and underground vibes of 'Bring Out The Dead'. Finally, the big room drums of 'Battling The Void' wrap this one up in timely fashion with a touch of tech finesse. Don't sleep on this one!
Review: Gilles Aiken is not short of space in which to express his distinctive ideas about fusing dancefloor minimalism with a global palette. While his more streamlined house and techno fare is generally released under his Edward alias, Desert Sky has carried some of his wilder ideas with stunning results. The first few releases came shrouded in mystery on a self-titled label, but since then Desert Sky has landed on Assemble Music and Baby Ford's iconic PAL SL. Aiken returns to the latter now with a hefty album project that gives Desert Sky the appropriate room to breathe, and Aiken sounds free spirited and expressive through every inch of tumbling percussion, deft handclaps, spooked out textures and more besides. It's a heady trip through dusty samples configured in fresh, invigorating ways, ranking among the strongest artistic statements Aiken has made to date thanks to its worldly inspiration and otherworldly end results.
Review: Nu-disco scene stalwart DJ EQ returned to action a couple of months back with one of his most robust and quietly impressive EPs to date. There's plenty to enjoy on this swift follow-up, which delivers a perfect balance between celebratory peak-time fare and warm-up ready slo-mo workouts. In the latter category you'll find the languid, sun-kissed synth-boogie goodness of "Oasis", the blissful, instrumental '80s soul seduction of "Chillin" and the "Nights Over Egypt" revisionism of "Siesta". For those looking for sweatier thrills, we'd suggest checking out the dizzying piano solos and thrusting boogie-house thrills of "Endless Summer" and the soothingly slick fusion of blue-eyed soul and disco-house that is "F.Y.L".
Review: Double Bubble here return for another fantastic offering, linking up with the legendary Breakbeat Paradise Recordings imprint, who continue to champion the future sounds of breaks on this incredible 2019 run. We kick off with the smooth horn riffs and vocal harmonies of the A-side 'Ridiculous', which is chased up in style by the more heavy hitting 4x4 drum marches and vocal call and response of 'Show Me'. We are also gifted a pair of absolutely top notch remixes for this one as we first hear Gramophone refix 'Ridiculous' with some funkadelic themes, before Rory Hoy brings out the breaksy power on his tasty overhaul of 'Show Me'.
Review: The fusion of dubstep and reggae is a combination that will naturally work, it's a tried and tested formula, rooted into the historic relationship between genres, which is why this latest Dublaw drop sits so sweetly. We kick off with the softer chiming melodies on 'Simon Says', the cinematic string thrusts of 'No Harm' and the rolling electronic sub bass tones of 'Rockers Riddim'. Next we land into some seriously vibrant digidub as 'Psalms Riddim' combines big room strings with asian plucks and marching drums, before Wolf Selectah joins the party at it's finale on 'Revelations', a robotic twist up, signing the EP out in style.
Review: Italy's Sound Exhibitions serve up two phat slices of squelchy contemporary funk action courtesy of the mysterious Funk O'Ya. 'Star 80' itself pairs a rumbling electronic bassline with a lively horn section, rap vocal micro-snips and twangy geetar, and comes on like early 80s Cameo or Zapp given a 21st Century, post-rave overhaul. The accompanying 'Over The Top' is a more all-electronic affair, with acid squelches, a familiar spoken male "house one night" vocal and organ stabs redolent of early 90s New Jersey, making for a cut that'd work on house and more leftfield funk/disco floors alike.
Review: For this one we dive into two very exciting originals as Instinct and Jack Michael join forces for a pair of dancefloor ready heaters, sitting nicely between the tech and garage divide, making them both super applicable across the board. Firstly, we take a look at the stripped back drum grooves and gnarly bass growls of Instinct's 'Operation', a dance ready roller to say the least! On the flip we then take a trip down a more breaks inspired avenue as Jack Michael deploys his nostalgic weapon in 'Hypa', a super bouncy, break heavy switch up, doused in sumptuous sub tones and subtle soundscaping. Two excellent original creations on this one!