Review: Don't be fooled by the title; D&B pioneer A Sides hasn't gone all Christian Grey on us, 50 Shades Of A is actually the sound of him celebrating his 50th birthday with eight crucial new tracks. "Raise" cuts the first slice of badboy birthday cake with a nod to the classic Bristol style, all rolling and rough around the edges. It's followed by slice after slice after slice... "Edge VIP" sees him update his 2018 Chronic banger with added bass venom, "Tower" is a pure breakbeat hurricane, "Ribs" is a twisted paranoid stepper while "Imperial" nods to a Headz style sound with dramatic cinematic tom-thumping drums. Elsewhere "Million" takes us on a dreamy vocal vibe, "Ashby" shows us A Sides' most sentimental side while "Principles" closes on a beautiful jazzy touch and ensures every flavour A Sides has been crafting since day one is repped in true style. Happy birthday A Sides.
Review: A-Sides is a relative legend of the scene, having been around for literal decades and done pretty much everything that you can do in D&B. His old-school influence is a physical presence in his music and none more so than in the second instalment of his 2019 Remasters, a four-track EP of old-school tracks that've been given the new-school treatment. This is instantly apparent on 'Pause 4 The Hornz', which has a snare wider than the A6 and harder than it too. 'Destiny' has possibly the best bassline on the release, a truly all-encompassing bit of multi-tonal construction which seeps into every orifice you have. The rest of the release is equally as good, A-Sides showing off the benefits of the old school: subtlety and vibrancy.
Review: Donny don A Sides lets rip with the 91st Eastside release and, as usual, he's not messing around. "Tyrant" is every bit as belligerent as its name suggests. Mad Paradox-level breaks, big booming toms, sirens and north pole pads, it's nothing short of a drum & bass hurricane. "One Love (Remix)" takes us back ten years with a powerful update of his 2009 glacial thumper. White knuckle beats, pranged out bleeps and big washes when you least expect them; a masterclass in minimalism.
Review: A Sides has been in the game longer than some producers have been alive. You can hear the experience dripping from his productions and his latest single on Eastside is no different, a fiery yet melancholic double tracker which hits hard but doesn't leave you feeling used. 'Take Flight' is the darker of the two, its intro is relatively serene and vocal-laden but it drops into a catchy arrangement of climbing bass notes and sputtering drum breaks. 'Shellback' has the same combination of light and dark but takes it into slightly more expansive territory - absolutely wicked.
Review: A-Sides is a relative legend of the scene, having been around for literal decades and done pretty much everything that you can do in D&B. His old-school influence is a physical presence in his music and none more so than on his 2019 Remasters, a four-track EP of old-school tracks that've been given the new-school treatment. This is instantly apparent on 'Calibre', which has a snare wider than the A6 and harder than it too. 'Wake Up' has possibly the best bassline on the release, a truly all-encompassing bit of multi-tonal construction which seeps into every orifice you have. The rest of the release is equally as good, A-Sides showing off the benefits of the old school: subtlety and vibrancy.
Review: A Sides has been around forever, quietly purveying some of the most forward-thinking beats around, beats that sit over on the more rolling side of the spectrum, beats that both get you moving and get you thinking. 'Encounter' starts things off with foreboding ambience and a typically solid drum pattern, dropping away on the drop into a low-down shakedown of force and back end energy, taking you by surprise with its ferocity but pleasing with its sophisticated nature. 'Pain' is in a similar vein; rolling, powerful and wide, a proper head-nodder and a tune for the ages. Big ups to A Side for this one.
DJ Chap & C.A.B.L.E. - "Be With Me" - (4:25) 176 BPM
Murdock - "Raw Power Moves" - (5:14) 174 BPM
DJ Andy - "Acid Reflux" - (4:33) 174 BPM
Chromatic - "Footprint" - (4:58) 174 BPM
Need For Mirrors - "Go Easy" - (5:23) 174 BPM
Peshay - "Nitro" - (6:43) 175 BPM
DLR - "Dafunk" - (5:55) 175 BPM
Bailey - "Computer Life" - (5:10) 174 BPM
Simplification - "Therapy" - (5:18) 172 BPM
Alibi - "Machine Head" - (5:36) 174 BPM
Nymfo - "Warrior" - (3:49) 170 BPM
DJ Limited - "Love Is Blind" - (4:12) 58 BPM
Jumpin Jack Frost - "Chronicles" (continuous DJ mix) - (1:08:09) 178 BPM
Review: Chronic is a sub-label of V Recordings that's specifically for rolling, rapid and rough tracks, the ones that are too naughty for the main label yet too good to throw out. Jumping Jack Frost as curated this latest compilation for Chronic and it's simply too good, with a wicked mix of vibes. From the snarling funk of Philth's 'Sanctuary', the wobbling energy of 'My Flava' by Command Strange or the rough jungle on Bailey's 'Computer Life', this LP injects the old-school vibe into new-school clarity. Arguably the stand-out though is DLR's 'Dafunk, a combination of stuttering drums and upbeat samples wrapped up in typical DLR-esque fashion.
Review: It doesn't get more legendary than A-Sides, a producer with over 500 tracks spanning over 20 years, who's collaborated with virtually every producer worth knowing, including Calibre, Makoto, DJ Marky and Break. Spine is the first track from his brand new single on Eastside and it's more than representative of both his old-school heritage and production quality. Pacey drums kick things off right, a growling bass creeps in underneath and before you know what's going on, twisting low-frequencies come up to bite you; sine waves and sub bass form an all-encompassing, wave-like run of energetic sound. Tokiado Trilogy is the follow up, a drum line characterised by a beefed-up double kick and chin-wagging snare that draw out in the intro and draws you in. When it comes in, the bass is undeniably old school; rumbling, unclear and rough round the edges. It's a track that's eerie in its consistency, and rounds off an incredible release from the man like A-Sides.
Review: Veritable jungle OG A Sides delivers his first originals in over 18 months and they're every bit as authentic, real and gritty and loaded with dark funk as we want them to be. "Trench" lives up to its name with grizzly Serum/Benny L style groans and some absurdly sharp drum jungle choppage while "Moga" brings a more drawn out sense of tension with a space funk roller vibe laced with rushy fills and pristine synths. Ageless tackle as ever from a certified forefather.
Review: Double trouble: Riya's critically received debut album from summer 2015 enjoys a deluxe twist with double the amount of tracks on. As well as the album itself there are 13 fresh cuts including new originals such as the Gill Scott-style street soul pieces with Maverick Soul "Bittersweet" and "We Belong", the perfect piano-powered gospel roller "Everything" and the grizzly, groaning techy roller "Silhouette". Killer new remixes such as Pola & Bryson's subby switch of "Lost Friends", Break's spotless drums on "Confessions" xxx . Plus a few floor-melting VIPs: the relentless bass pump of "Fear Bites" and the cosmic touches to "Wears Me Down". Deluxe and demonstrative - this is a great addition to an already remarkable album.
Review: Ever the bastion of modern drum & bass from the smooth and liquid to the rough and ready, Hospital have decided to take stock with a bumper pack of classics, some of which have been remastered for the occasion. Logistics spells it out by kicking things off with the hyped up energy of "Jungle Music", while Danny Byrd brings a cosmic effervescence with "Amen Alley". All the label regulars are here with some bona fide gems from the vaults, whether it be London Elektricity or High Contrast on the buttons. Whatever the case, for newcomers to the label or those needing a refresher, this is a perfect one-stop hit of uptempo breakbeat mayhem from a British institution.
Review: Drum and bass legends A Sides team up with fellow wizard Makoto, who is Japan's number one producer when it comes to glitchy breaks and furious low-ends. Their collaboration comes through courtesy of the newly found Eastern Elements label, and features fifteen cuts; there's pure deepness, such as on "Uplifter", more head-nodding bassline business on "Articulate", nasty neurofunk antics via "Breathe", and even a tropical DJ Marky remix, to boot. Large.
Various - "Hospital Mixtape: Fred V & Grafix" (continuous mix) - (1:04:04) 175 BPM
Review: It must be summer! Hospital Records get the British heatwave season cracking with a brand new whopper-length mixtape, this time from the label's own Fred V & Grafix. The sheer number of quality names clambering all over this tracklist gives the release some weight even before it begins, but then again it's hard to see people like S.P.Y, Lynx, Ivy Lab, Urbandawn, Etherwood, Bungle and Cynatific without getting a touch of the vapours. Look out also for the stunning Logistics remix of Andreya Triana's "Lullaby".
Review: It's not often a true legend delivers the goods long into their career but MC Fats is still delivering the goods as this LP proves. Filled with collaborations and remixes from the MC Fats Collective and beyond and pushing his unique sound to the next level. Huge names like Calibre, Basher, Total Science, SIN, Lynx and Dom & Roland move in to attack their own slices of the action, taking what could simply be an outstanding LP to cult status and beyond. It's no surprise that a man of his experience could wrangle in some of the biggest names in D&B for his album - what is surprising though is that none of the input is an afterthought. Each contributor has given their best and it shows.
Broken Jazz (feat Mark De Clive-Lowe) - (6:00) 58 BPM
Review: Six years old and still sounding future, longstanding break merchant and OG junglist A-Sides reissues his third artist album Mysterious Vibes. As always with A-Sides the vibes are high and far reaching as they range from dreamy whirling liquid soul such as "Ain't Nobody" to gurgling wobbled-out halftime such as "One Seven Five". Other highlights include the mystic space funk stepper "Hibiscus", the skank-packing horn blazer "Roots & Culture, the gun-toting gutter grizzler "Doppler Diss" and many more. Ageless.