Review: Winner of the Best Newcomer Label in the Drum&BassArena Awards last year, Onyx celebrate two years as a full legit label with this excellent 20 track retrospective collection featuring some of the most exciting and forward-thinking names in new-gen D&B. From Jam Thieves to Hoax, AC13 to T95, Trex to DJ Gaw, Invert Era to Lavance, the tracklist reads like the line-up of any contemporary D&B connoisseur's dreams and it sounds like one too. Highlights include Hoax & Skantia's electrifying 'Space Invaders', Invert Era's thundering 'LND' and Kontakt's sublime 'Shotcaller'. A great place to get up to speed or fill any gaps in your collection, Onyx deserve all the props they get right now.
Review: Following his epic release on Rampage just weeks ago, one-man-boyband AC13 now jumps aboard the massive cruise liner that is Crucast. Featuring the man himself on vocals, 'Take Me Down' sizzles and fizzes with switches galore but leaves enough space for his emotional lyrics to cut through in a similar way to how Chase & Status and Plan B's 'Pieces'. 'Scanning Pages' goes even wilder with the bass tones as a Sub Focus 'Siren' style warp dominates the mix over a series of chainsaw basses and another one of AC's heartfelt vocals. Someone give this man a hug.
Review: Jungle Cakes shake us and bake us once again as label owners Deekline and Ed Solo lure long time friend Benny Page into their lair for this incredible 58 track collection. Created as a mix but all tunes available for your own persy armouries, as always with the 'Welcome To The Jungle' series, we're treated to sounds and styles across the entire dnb spectrum. Expected everything ranging from Benny's own bubblers to more dancefloor styles such as Blaine Stranger's 'Dragon' and Octo-Pi's 'This Sound' via rugged jump-up uppercuts such as Lockerz 'The Funk', crucial jungle licks like Exposure's remix of DeJay's 'St Paul's Jammin' and pure futurism like Filip Motovunski's 'Ninja'. And this isn't even the tip of the jungle iceberg here, there's so much to digest here. Huge.
Review: This single is a meeting of minds between the new and the more established, as long-term Critical producer Hyroglifics and the upstart AC13 combine to produce a single that's choppy and rough in the extreme. Even the softer of the two, 'Mercy and Misery', rests upon spasms of simmering synthetic sauce, the top line to a classic Hyroglifics bassline, one which just oozes class and sophistication. The flip is clubland readiness, with squelching bottom ends that tear into jagged patterns of rocky force, it's an absolute banger made all the better by a jokes sample. Big ups to the Critical crew.
Review: Jungle Cakes always tend to put out music that rests on the foundations of UK underground, the cross-over influences of soul, reggae, jungle and D&B. it's always a fresh sound and it always brings up connotations of Boomtown, free parties and sunny afternoons. This is a monster album curated by Aries and Kelvin 373, who have taken tracks both old and new to form a banging compilation. Bou nails it on 'Music Takes Me Higher', a rustic revisit to classic jungle sounds; Aries and Nicky Blackmarket roll things out in a tight way on 'Champion'; and Chimpo slams the brakes on 'DidDieDoThat'. We don't know the answer to that, but we do know this is fat. Big ups.
Review: Here comes the remix! As if these Born On Road cuts weren't gully enough as originals, Kelvin, Aries, Gold Dubs and fam have now enlisted a whole slew of versions. It's muderation from the off as Gray destroys Rahmanee's gun-toting western slammer 'Bad Boy Steppa'. A barrage of badness follows: Ben Snow's take on 'Round Here' is pure rifle bassline fire, Disupta flips Stivs & Aries' 'Raver' into an aggy blend of breaks and grunting jump-up bass, Marcus Visionary goes full jungle on 'Coconut Chalwa', the list goes on. Born to bad.
Review: A label shutting up shop is never, ever a good thing. But when they sign out with a collection as strong as this? You've got to admire them. Graduation is an epic collection of total D&B innovation from some of the Hospital sub-label's longest standing talents, old friends and a few new-gen upstarts along the way. Highlights across the 23 track set include raw damagement in the form of a S.P.Y's "Black Flag VIP", 160 freakery from Lakeway in the form of "Massive", swampy trippy tripletty funk from the long-missed Lung ("Stop Crying") and more blissful uniqueness from Kimyan Law ("Kaleido"). These are just some of the many impeccable designs from a collection that closes the label with full respect and the attention to detail the label has always had. Med School RIP.
Review: Following the likes of Ray Keith, Nicky Blackmarket, General Levy and many artists of high don calibre, Dope Ammo and DJ Hybrid are the next to take the controls as Jungle Cakes' Welcome To The Jungle series. As always, the selection digs deep across the board to include classics, absolute bangers that have been criminally forgotten and no less than 10 exclusives made strictly for this album. From the sun-kissed soul and key-tickling evangelist jam "Salvation" to the absolute rave carnage of "What's Going Down", the boys have gone in on this collection maintaining its still spotless reputation as one of the most consistent and prolific mix series available in the genre. Pay close attention to the Jukebox Jungle track, too. This needs your loving.
Review: No pain, no gain. "No Hurt", no shirt. That's how the saying goes and that's how a lot of people will feel when this cut from the currently unavoidable rising artist AC13. Somehow stripped back but laced with so many differently elements (minimal tech, rave stabs, jumpy bass, a honeyed vocal) this will have folk waving their tops around like helicopters. "Through The Woods" contains the same elements but this time the bass is so ice cold y'all better keep you upper clothing on. You can do what you like with your lower clothing, we're not your parents.
Review: AC13 is an 18 year-old producer on a mission, having burst onto the scene with a series of bootlegs and ear-catchy singles, he's now releasing on Born On Road with Giant Machines. Giant Machines shows off the AC13 sound and with its focus on snapping snare drums and fuck off big basses, this EP hits seriously hard, even if it could be said to be perhaps overly similar to the sound of the past couple years. 'Giant Machines' is very akin to 'You Got Me' from the recent KoTR album, with a big pulsating bass which switches up into a steppy minimal section and then back again - very nice. 'Awake' is in this vein as well - definitely worth checking this one.
Review: AC13 is a little-known but rising producer who tends to put a snappier spin on the current KoTR-influenced sound, his passion for whiplash drum-lines giving his tunes a unique and recognisable edge. He's now on Spectre for the first time with a single that embodies that uniqueness and both cuts are equally biting. 'Sensei' is packed with oriental sampling and Far East influences which conspire to give this tune a wispy ambience, an atmosphere that's cut in two with a diving bassline and cutting drum lines. 'The Operator' is equally wispy on the intro but far deeper on the drop, a subby back end rolling through the bottom end of the range with serious penetration. A good single from the up and comer.
Review: AC13 is an upcoming artist who is slowly making waves, with a recent feature over on Soulvent Records and a string of sick free downloads on Onyx Recordings. Now, he's landing one of his first original singles and it's a fatty, with two slices of heavy stacks and dark tones that have clearly been heavily influenced by the current sounds of the likes of Serum etc. 'Sensation' uses a classic sample to lure you in with the temptations of familiarity, before flipping to vibe on its head with a deep, growling and subby stepper that fluctuates all over the place with satisfying precision. The flip uses a similar slash identical bass sound but moves the arrangement around, to devastating effect. This guy is one to watch.