Review: Alibi are the Brazilian duo who never fail to impress and having dropped a stellar debut album only months ago, they're back with a four-track EP on the inimitable V Recordings. Catalyst sees a return to their gritty, barebones take on rolling D&B, it's a format that they manage to constantly reinvent for themselves and Catalyst does it just as well as usual. 'Directions' is arguably the highlight, with numerous artists singing its praises on Twitter and we can see why, with a big, wide and synthy build up that dissipates wonderfully on the drop into a spacious, forceful arrangement that breathes well and moves even better. Top EP once more from the boys.
Review: Level 2 and DJ Chap need no introduction. Right at the front of Sao Paulo's new wave of D&B talent, their Alibi project has been damaging dancefloors (and hogging our playlists) for several years now. Enough years, in fact, to hone their stripped back dark soul signature to an album level. And here it is... Said & Done is a powerful document that cements the duo's skills and position in the game. Ranging from the subtle piano laced opener "Debris" to solid sure fire stinkers like "Through The City" (with Serum & T.R.A.C) via sci fi junglised steppers like the gently fluctuating "Recycle", this Level 2 and DJ Chap at their most widescreen; leaping from delicate ("Grace" with vocalist OG Cleveland Watkiss) to deadly (the venomous creeper "Said & Done" with MC king DRS) this is a seriously on point debut album. That moment when Said & Done is all...
Review: Level 2 and DJ Chap continue to demolish the dance with their currently-spotless Alibi project; "Trunk" is a conga-weaving roller with all the hallmark ingredients of a timeless classic heads-down roller; tight percussion, creeping basses and subtle bars from Coppa, everything about it is deep, dark and dangerous. "No Escape", featuring fellow Sao Paulo artist Nitri, is more of a late night fast lane stepper. Laced with techy textures but driven by a precision groove break and heaps of space, it's a smack back to the darker sounds of the early 2000s before everything went hyper. Extremely well played.
Review: Brazilian super-duo Level 2 and The Chap collide once again with two more disarming damagers: "Aftermath" pumps with a soft-but-insistent two-step and lavish filtered chords wheezing and teasing around a faraway vocal sample. "Oxygen", meanwhile, rolls with more of a timeless edge. Referencing all the classic V hallmarks - jazzy tones, subtle-but-scratchy bass and a heads-down funk feeling and well positioned vocal samples. Avuncular funk.
Review: Astronauts and astronomers alike have been searching for the paradise planet known as Planet V but only one man knows where it is. That man is V don Bryan Gee. Luckily he's happy to take us the planet, and right now he's charging up the rocket for our third trip on pure turbo charge VIP power. For this particular sampler Alibi & Command Strange's collabs from last year both get a variation twist. "Skyline" gets a whole turbine in the bass engine while "Ahead Of Me" is given a subtle twist in the groove department while maintaining that all important roll. V flickingly sublime.
Review: Bryan Gee and V Recordings do not mess around. They never have in the past, they're certainly not right now in the present and judging by this highly anticipated Future album, they're going to mess around any time ahead. 25 tracks from some of the biggest, best and baddest names in D&B (Dillina, Serum, Benny L, Paul T & Edward Oberon, Roni Size, DJ Marky, Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Bladerunner, Saxxon, the list goes on) this one's been a long, long, long time coming... And it's been well worth the wait. From L-Sides massive remixes of Dillinja and Krust to Need For Mirrors super-revved "Lambo" to Benny L's incredible remix of "Days", this sums up why Bryan and his label are as influential and respected in the game as they are today. Don't mess around.
Review: Command Strange and Alibi is a combination to be reckoned with. With the former from Kazakhstan and the latter a duo from Brazil, this partnership spans both the globe and D&B's more sophisticated, classy end. Don't be fooled by that sophistication though, this is still music that's gritty and rooted in the scene's penchant for tough beats and urban sonics. 'Stardust' is a subby roller that reminds us of 'Skyline' from the same artists, and 'Major Groove' is a dirty, junglist piece of naughtiness with serious attitude. V Recordings does it again.
Review: Sao Paulo OG DJ Andy gets busy on Brazil's spiritual D&B home V Recordings. It's business from the off as "Sanctuary" rips into the ether with a powerful vibe that's a similar power to that of Mind Vortex. "Retaliation" follows with stripped back dynamic, snaked two-step and endless risers and "Keep Rolling" hammers with a dancefloor grit that's up there with Professor Bassline Smith in its darkened aesthetic and pure muscle. Finally "Let Be Stomp" says cheerio with a classic hip hop sample, hurricane bass licks and beats so strong they could crush your entire street. Sanctuary isn't a luxury... It's a necessity.
Review: With a title such as "The Vibe is Coming", you'd expect this all-star excursion from the Sun and Bass Recordings camp to be chock full of breezy dancefloor positivity. DJ Patife and David WS deliver just that with the soulful reggae/D&B fusion of the title track, which features some wonderfully slick and emotion rich vocals from Fats. Alibi delivers two lilting chunks of audio sunshine: the hot-stepping dreaminess of "Feelings", where piano motifs and delicate horn samples tumble across the sound space, and the notably sub-heavy punch of Command Strange collaboration "Ahead of Me". Simplification and Translate join forces for closer "Don't Forget", a warm and attractive roller smothered in rubbery synth bass, whistling synth melodies and yearning vocals.
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: V Recordings sublabel Chronic has developed a reputation for putting out beats that are even more venomous than its big sister, and their long-standing rollers series is getting a beef up with the fourth instalment. Featuring a litany of acts from a range of eras and a diversity of styles, Chronic Rollers Vol. 4 is a perfect addition to the arsenal of any DJ. 'Blindspot' from Nectax blends a soulful sample with an oscillating warp of juddering bass energy; Mancunian upstart SL8R gets subby and rolling with 'Roundabout'; and Brazilian label long-timers Alibi roll things out tidily on 'Sentinel'. Banging.
Review: V Recordings do some of the best compilations in the business and their brand new Foundation series is a natural recognition of that fact. They're not being hyperbolic with the usage of the term 'Foundation' either, because this is truly an overview of some of the scene's most foundational producers. Old-school Dillinja, Krust, Roni Size and DJ Die, amongst others, make up the roster of acts that formed an integral part of the genre back in the day. The new crew is also represented, however, in the form of L-Side, Think Tonk, Nasza Linez and loads more, all of whom bring some of that V-style heat. Wicked album - one for the heads.