Review: Pick any of the most exciting new-gen names in D&B and we bet our bottom dollar they're repping in this collection. A debut V/A from Hedex's By The Producer brand, Collected 1 is bulging with the seams with fresh talent: Hexa, Disrupta, Dreadnought, Stokka, Klay, Bruk, the list goes on. With cameos from more established Gs like Total Recall and Jam Thieves - and a deep, rumbling, futuristic contemporary mood and sound running throughout - this captures 2020 in drum & bass perfect. Agitated, dark, moody, but hungry for a better future... And not afraid to have a little fun. One of the best V/As we've seen in a long time. Get collecting.
Review: DLR's Sofa Sound label has become a pillar of the scene in barely a handful of years, and this week they're following up their previously successful Sofa King Sick compilation with a second edition, this one equally packed to the rafters with both new and old school talent. It's a tour-de-force of the tough side of the genre and it's exemplified by 'Baja', courtesy of Scepticz, a Belgian producer who knows his way around the controls and who proves it once more, as jagged synth lines cut across its snapping, two-step arrangement with all the force and subtlety of an underground train. Kodin makes an appearance on the superbly gruff 'Chronic', whilst The Sauce get deeper than usual on 'Ultrasonic'. Quintessential drum & bass that makes for essential listening.
Review: Northern scene legend Adam Wigglesworth sadly passed away on April 3. This is how his friends responded... By compiling one of the biggest tribute albums drum & bass has ever seen. Just look at the amount of talent on here: Pyxis, Euphonique, Nvrsoft, No Concept, Exile, Euphonique, Dawn Raid and so many more artists have contribute to this 45 track album of which all proceeds go to Adam's family. From the blazing bass riff of Sappo's late 90s style neck snapper "Hannibal" to Exile's turbine bass growler "Symbiosis" via Sl8r's jazzy, almost Detroit style vibes on "The Mill" and various bits from Wiggo himself, this is a heartfelt salute from the entire scene to a man who'll be sorely missed.
Review: Ten years and 40 releases deep, Eternal Muzic let loose with their biggest VA album to date. Running the full jump-up range from bouncy to savage tear-out, some of the label's closest allies are all on side including DJ Sly, Tesen, Runnah and Krusty who appears multiple times across the album with some of the most provocative jams of the collection like the 2012-era harmonic riffage of "Need You" and the gnarly, flabby bass 'head-banging' finale. Elsewhere Rannah lays down a futuristic fire-up VIP of "Looney Toonz" and Sly & BlckHry get classical with the wriggly bass of "Vibe Check". Muzic forever...
Review: Budapest-based Pornostar Records is back wth another whopper of a compilation that is the perfect soundtrack to your Summer in quarantine. Funky disco house is the order of the day as per usual, but when it's this good? This is where it is at: poolside! Highlights come from all the label staples you have come to know and love: homeboys Crazibiza get properly low slung and sleazy on a number of tracks, collaborating with the likes of Greg Note, House Of Prayers and Charles J, but we have to admit that we were suckers for that very familiar mid-noughties pop hook on "Freak Like". Speaking of Charles J, he was in fine form on the evocative Afro house journey "Is It Right" among others, while there are also a few contributions from Block & Crown. They are really in their element on the collaboration with Fernando Lopez "Are You Ready To Dance" (Club mix) - a roaring vocal house anthem if we've ever heard one.
Alex Preston - "Toolroom Poolside 2020 - Mix 01" (Mixed By Alex Preston) - (1:19:30) 122 BPM
Alex Preston - "Toolroom Poolside 2020 - Mix 02" (Mixed By Alex Preston) - (1:19:07) 125 BPM
Review: Toolroom's Poolside annual returns for 2020 in a big way, welcoming Alex Preston to the Toolroom Family, who has hand picked the finest in house and disco across two continuous mixes, including essential cuts and exclusives from industry veterans and newcomers alike. Highlights comes from Dutch trio Kraak & Smaak who become right disco Stus on "Aftersun", boss man Mark Knight shows us exactly what uplifting house truly sounds like on the massive "If It's Love" featuring Laura Davie & The Melody Men, as does label staple Weiss on the joyous funky house of "You're Sunshine". Elsewhere, Robsoul head honcho Phil Weeks gets loopy on his typically jazzy kind of something called "Good To You" and the mandatory banger comes from legends Green Velvet & Technasia on the funked-up "Suga" while a classic comes in the form of Sterling Void's "It's Alright" (DJ Spen & Reelsoul remix).
Review: This 14-track VA comp will delight anyone who loves UK garage but has really had enough of partying like it's 1999, as London-based Dansu Discs showcase new directions in post-UKG bass music. Opener 'December' does for Al Green what High Contrast's 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' did for Julie London, and sets the scene for an album that's full of surprises, from the prog-isms of DJ Life's 'Blue' to Pinder's broken beater 'Hot Feet' to Warwick's ominously rumbling 'Only Way'. Elsewhere, Suki's 'Mind Control' could cross over onto deep house floors, while 'Original Style' from Main Phase will please the ragga-garage diehards.
Review: The latest edition of the the Sum compilation series features a mixture of established and upcoming producers. First up are The Reason Y and T?mas Sinn, who deliver the tough, reverberating groove of "Trip Tales". Meanwhile another emerging act, Risa Taniguchi, impresses with the deep, tunnelling techno of "She" and Eme Kulhnek drops the mesmerising, hypnotic groove of "Efforts". Mindful of electronic music's rich heritage, Second State has also commissioned some of Europe's most established artists to contribute to this edition; Quenum drops the clicky minimalism of "Fact Action" and on "Zurich" the veteran producer Secret Cinema, combines gritty drums with atmospherics to devastating effect.
Review: Well, what more can we say about the Nice Up! team at this point? Their roster and recent catalogue have both been incredible to watch, culminating in this, the sixth edition of their 'Nice Up The Session' compilation series. The line up is outstanding as we see Gentleman's Dub Club, Seanie T, Red Eye HiFi, XL Mad, Origin One and more return to the label for a showcase of some of their most popular releases this year. Two tracks we definitely would like to point out as interesting highlights for this one have to include 'Shards', a lethal future-bashment arrangement from Casement, alongside Champion Sound's explosive jungle rework of Turn Ya Lights On from Escape Roots & Dark Angel. Awesome!
Review: Honing in on, most specifically, a sound associated with a "160bpm" tempo, Through These Eyes for some five years now have pushed at the outer limits of footwork, jungle and half-step. This Omega release presents the label with its first compilation taking in tracks from more established acts like Sun People, Champion Sound and Digid to a cast of fresher faces like POLO LILLI, GPS Tony or Bassrael. Find some off the hook percussion in Yoofee's "Arrival" to the tearout bass and mechanical glitch sounds of ILL_K's "Persecution". Our tip: "Resilience (feat T-Man)" by Noh Vae.
Review: Tronic launches the ninth instalment of its Rockets series, which brings together new and established producers. First up is Oscar L, a veteran of the techno scene, with the rolling "Mesmerised", which breaks into buzzing bass drops and which features a series of snare roll crescendos. On a different tact Kamara, who has released on Tronic before, drops the pulsating acid of "Le Labyrinthe Enchant?", while the label has also enlisted the services of UK techno veteran Daryl Stay for the grimy bass and rolling groove of "Closure". Representing the new breed this time, there's Simina Grigoriu, with the forceful, acid-laced techno of "Brutally Honest" and The Reason Y and T?mas Sinn's tripped out minimal sound on "Illusions".
Review: Lovers of trad-style deep house grooves with funk and disco influences firmly to the fore will find much to enjoy on this 21-track label compilation from Raul Rincon's Stuttgart-based Tenor Recordings. Big names may be in short supply (Dompe, Alton Miller and Markus Homm being perhaps the best-known contributors) but quality deep house music certainly isn't, with album standouts including the hypnotic throb of Chuna & Bjorn Maria's 'Jack In The Box', Joey Chicago's disco looper 'So Close Making Love' and, most of all, Dan Le Blonde's 'Da Funk', for which my notes read simply "ecstasy music"... and I don't mean that in a bad way!