Review: Paul SG's Jazzsticks returns to their irregularly regular Hidden Tunes series with a second instalment of restrained rollers from understated up-and-comers and friends of the label alike. If you know the Jazzsticks sound, you'll already know the sterling vibe: dusty, soulful, warm and organic from some of the sharpest talents in the game. Highlights include the big jazz whirlwind of Soul Deep founder Scott Allen's "Soul Desire", a 97-style horn-melting stepper from Decon ("Cool Breeze") and Pulsaar's dreamweaving shakedown "Room For Two". What once was hidden is now found... And will remain in your playlist until the next instalment lands in years to come.
Review: Scott Allen and Against head up this single on Fokuz. Its rattling breaks and gentle chiming intro pave the way into a lush, mellifluous main part full of swishing atmospherics, lush piano keys and snippets of sinuous vocals which are interwoven into the main fabric of the tune effortlessly. Ky and Deeper Connection step up next with "You're The Only One" - a more weighty, stripped back roller with emphasis on the bass and rolling subs. Gentle melodies still populate the track, with ethereal vocals and delicate delivery. One for the liquid lovers.
Scott Allen & Blade - "Nobody Like You" - (5:56) 175 BPM
Scott Allen & Sunny Crimea - "When I See You Again" - (5:57) 174 BPM
Simplification & Scott Allen - "Roots Of Love" - (5:48) 175 BPM
Scott Allen & Blade - "Love In Your Eyes" - (5:34) 175 BPM
Review: Scott Allen steps up with his next release on Celsius. The What Lies Ahead EP is an accessible, easy listener that skirts the boundaries of liquid drum & bass with its gentle atmospherics and rolling breaks. "Nobody Like You" gets things started with an echoing vocal snippet, cooing breaks and undulating melodies - a great collab with Blade. Next Scott Allen teams up with Sunny Crimea for the equally as yearning "When I See You Again" which is full of light breaks, warm bass in a sparse, ticking soundscape. "Roots Of Love" continues to weave the narrative with Simplification - expect a soulful vocal and punchy drums before "Love In Your Eyes" brings the EP to a close.
Deeper Connection & Scott Allen - "Since You've Been Gone" - (5:58) 174 BPM
Review: Watch out, it's another Soul Deep Exclusive coming at you direct from Colorado and the UK courtesy of two vastly underrated artists locked in on the Soul Deep rollcall. Mixing deep bass with bootyshaking breaks, these tunes were made for dancing. Make way for the collab on the flip; fresh sounding and full of cinematic atmosphere, it's a track that just keeps on giving.
Review: Scott Allen & Deeper Connection and Soulculture team up for a sterling collaborative EP on Soul Deep. Expect rattling breaks, jungle-inspired vocals, murming basslines and reggae samples a-plenty across the five-track adventure. "Badness" gets the party started with punchy drum rolls and reggae horns, before Soulculture's jungle riddim "No Heed Dem" kicks in, and then "Some A Dem" with its funky SFX. Scott Allen & Deeper Connection return for "Joke Smoker" with its firm beats and booming bass, and then "Run Away Soundboy" rounds things off.
Review: Fokuz bring us a five course musical dinner from D&B chef Scott Allen, who together with Deeper Connection, Duoscience and Twisted Facts, serves up some lush new flavours to cleanse the palette. "Close Encounters" is all sombre piano keys, tripping breaks and gentle liquid funk, whilst "If I Were Your Woman" goes in with a throbbing b-line and weight subs; "Street Of Gold" pairs clip-clop beats, horns and discordant keys in a smoky, sultry nodd to the jazz era. "Summer Rains" is the most straight up D&B track, reminiscent of the early noughties, and the Brother remix of "Primitive" brings the EP to a close.
Review: Scott Allen heads up this EP on Celsius, teaming up with talent such as Faible, Flame and Deeper Connection on four of the six tracks. "Dusk" provides an atmospheric intro to the Inner Beauty EP with its rattling percussion, mournful flickers and breezy atmospherics. Next, the title track is all reflective musings with murmuring bass, glistening SFX and a rose-tinted haze. The first of the collaborative tracks, "Saw Your Face" brings in Faible for another laidback slice of jazzy D&B, whilst "Drifting Away" with Flame brings in sweeping synths and more punchy drums. Deeper Connection adds a warm, cosy darkness to "The Need In Me", before "Need You" rounds things up.
Review: Fresh, rollin' breaks and roots reggae sampling signals the first track on Soul Rebel's latest signing Scott Allen's "We Nah Run". Close-knitted amens duck and weave around retro guitars as that vintage vocal moves the atmosphere into a clearer focus. A clear club banger, it's just the right balance between jungle and drum & bass to get the masses bouncing. "Toonzragga" is a more stately jungle affair, blasting those sirens and horns from the outset with dancehall beats and big soundboy bass. A mish-mash of classic effects raise a smile while the larger than life riddim keeps feet moving. Skanking crew, get ready.
Basement Jaxx & JC Chasez - "Plug It In" (extended Club House mix) - (5:28) 127 BPM
Review: Jaxx devotees have been waiting for a new album for six years, but they can't really grumble right now because hot on the heels of April's 'Lost Dubs' collection, here comes another trawl through the archives - and pleasingly there's very little crossover between the two, with only 'Plug It In' appearing on both albums. Hearing tracks from different periods side-by-side like this highlights just how versatile the duo really are, with cuts ranging from the Jamiroquai-esque 'Good Luck' to the rave assault of the aforesaid 'Plug It In', and from the uptempo soul-jazz of 'Hush' to the Afro excursion that is 'Better Days'.