Review: The heat has yet to settle on his Chronic EP and rising talent Acuna returns with another big hitter on DJ Hybrid's Audio Addict. This time linking with Manchester mic master Madrush MC, the pair weave two sterling cuts, both laced with venomous tension. 'Babylon System' is every bit as foreboding as and grizzly as the title suggests while 'City Lockdown' takes a deeper, more tense vibe as the pair flex between some buzzy midrange bass hits and a skippy beat. Loaded with two instrumentals for added mixing creativity, Audio Addict smash it once again.
Review: Some top-drawer collaborative action here, as much-loved quirky disco specialist Bottin joins up with fellow Italian scene stalwart Francisco de Bellis (Jolly Music, L.U.C.A) for some predictably eccentric but rather good tracks. Title track 'Love Life' is sleazy and sexy, with the pair adding trippy psych-rock guitars, effects-laden vocals and sparkling synth sounds to a squelchy, acid-flecked slo-mo groove, with Fernando Pulichino hook-up 'Delta Tigra' is gloriously sunny Afro-Balearic business that's as stunningly picturesque as it is hard to pigeonhole. The EP also boasts two tidy remixes: a dubby, spaced-out Italo-disco revision of 'Love Life' by Rodion, as a cheery, mood-enhancing nu-disco treatment of 'Delta Tigra' courtesy of Nang records regular Ichisan.
Review: Glitterbox regular Alan Dixon brings us his take on five Salsoul classics, but rest assured these are no shoddy "whack a 4/4 kick under it" bootlegs - Dixon was given full access to the original multi-tracks for this project. Even so, it's a brave man or woman indeed who looks at the Salsoul catalogue and thinks "I could improve on that," so he's wisely avoided doing anything too radical or adding any extraneous elements of his own, instead simply teasing out the tracks' most familiar hooks and giving them a structural make-over, rendering them easier to programme in contemporary house and disco sets. Classy stuff.
Review: For the next release from the ever-ready Chimpizm, he remains on his home imprint for two more fantastic journeys into garage culture as he invites both Alex Lee and Tuff Culture inside for a pair of tidy remixes of 'Floor Burner'. To begin, we take in Alex Lee's 'Original Donk' mix of the track, which as you can imagine focuses on a very moog-like lead bass instrument, plucking away in an almost deep house compositional style, laying the blueprints below a catchy groove above. Tuff Culture's remix sees us take in a very different style as lively drum skips and uptempo 4x4 rhythms take a hold of the original samples, giving us a real big room feeling from start to finish. Two wicked remixes to say the least!
Review: The clock is ticking. You have 10 seconds to deactivate these bombs or else they'll explode all over your face and ears. There's only one man who can help; D-Fuser, a young south UK artist who's been lurking in the Gradient shadows on a few V/A releases and now levelled up with his debut artist EP for Amplify & Metalwork's label. Six tracks in total, flexing from the sunny-side skanks and soundsystem roughage of 'Dreadlock' to the classic mid 2000s style jump up flavours of 'Wanting You' via the stripped back jackhammer that is 'Killer' (with Pengo), the whole EP will stop you worrying about which wire to cut and instead get you wondering which ear you'd like these bombs to explode in. Badness.
Review: Liondub's wicked Street Series continues in full force and this next instalment is courtesy of Decrypt, a producer who comes with some serious heat on this one. All five of these cuts mean business and our favourites are the steppy bits, 'Make My Day' especially, which combines apocalyptic vibes with urban sonics to create a powerful patchwork of force and energy, all underpinned by a broken percussive line. The other four are also strong and we're definitely looking forward to hearing these out and about.
Review: Ireland's Dexter Jones serves up a four-tracker on Fingerman's Hot Digits Music. Whether these are re-edits or just heavily sample-based productions isn't entirely clear, but opener 'Feel' is a female-vocalled funk/boogie jam that could pass for Janet Jackson in a dim light, while on the title track Jones drops down into out-and-out funk mode, foregrounding a sinuous bassline and melancholic horns. 'Jan Jam' then sits somewhere between early 80s boogie and shimmering Nang-esque nu-disco, before the EP winds up in full-on boogie territory with 'I Want You Back', which bites the vocal The Jones Girls' 'On Target' from 1983.
Review: So far in his career, St Petersburg-based Nikita Kropachev AKA Diskette has done his thing almost entirely for Russian stable SOVIETT. Now though, following recent excursions on Rare Wiri and Silhouette Music, he comes to Manchester's Sprechen with a three-tracker from the dreamy, Balearic side. The title track is a hazy, synth-y affair built for slow groovin' in the afternoon sun, the slightly more upbeat 'That's Not True' throws together Italo synths, muted piano chords, a looped, reverb-heavy "love me, love me" female vocal and more, while 'Honey Melts' drops the tempo right down and is one for the morning after...
Review: Boom 93 is DJ Hybrid's new label, and The Prelude is the longest release he's put out so far. Six tracks long, it's an expression of pure jungle and drum & bass; no pretensions, no frills, no rubbish. There's also new sounds and textures that we haven't heard all that much from Hybrid, as the Tron-esque synths of 'Swan Song' build into a rolling crescendo of chopped up basslines and rabid drum breaks. There's more classic jungle vibes on 'Biggest Baddest' and 'Jumble Jungle', as well as more considered breaks on 'Grasshopper'. Finally, the all time great that is Sempra rolls out the goods on his remix of 'Riddim Runner' in that nostalgic, forward looking way that only he can. Big.
Review: Erbman has developed a reputation for tough, urban-edged sonics over many years of cultivation and curation, over years of doing his bit for a scene and over years of pumping out very, very good music. He's diverse in his capabilities and this EP sees him nailing once more his jump up-ier side, something we're definitely very keen on, especially when it's on a label like Natty Dub. This release is wicked and 'Fat Bud Stack' is a highlight, with a snapping percussive line forming around its inching, creeping basses and eerie background ambience. We also love the funky basslines in 'Pontiac Funk' and 'City Flow', two tracks that are designed to make you move. Top stuff right here.
Review: Evil Fred aka Shed arrives on Unknown to the Unknown in an EP that the label describes as UK funky, jacking techno and 'deeper than deep houz muzik'. Prior to this there is only the one other Evil Fred release (that made its way out on to H2 Recordings), with this EP still firmly focused on that raw, banging, soulful and original warehouse sound. "You (Work It)" will go down as your stripped back, chord slamming rave job next to a deep and summer tripping trance jam "The Evil Trance". With something chopped up, sustained and swinging coming out of "The Evil Dance", it's perhaps "You" that presents the most overt, or heaviest rave track here, with this new string of productions wholly indebted to a '90s house sound you can sometimes only dream about hearing today.