Review: Holy mother of sugar-coated shoplifting, TJ has put together Pick N Mix's biggest ever VA right here! The second edition of his label's All Stars series, here we're treated to 30 reminders why drum & bass is in the safest of hands with the new generation. Highlights are all over the shop and spilling from the shelves... Formula's Serum style less-is-more revs on 'Dragster's Den', Hexa's redeye romp 'White Widow', the sexy snap and swing of Lovell's 'Deja Vu', Yoteii's quirky funk and church-sized harmonics on 'Gameboy', MLH's surreal echoes and torn up harmonics on 'Technique'. The list goes on...
Review: Devon don Amplify continues his epic vein of form this year with another major league EP, this time on his own Gradient imprint. Following his recent 'Amplify & Friends' EP, it's loaded with a whole gaggle of collabos including Master Error, D-Fuser and Clarkey as he works us through our paces with his grotty, riffy bass hooks and wry sense of funk. Greeze by name, greasy by nature; 'Problems' oozes oily soul with its preacher sample and melting horn bass tones, 'Deadman' writhes in the warped bassline mud while 'Soundboy' (with mic-man Stytchd) is pure sleaze and swagger. These are just some of the highlights. Grease up and get some.
Review: Established in 2011, High R8 Digital is a Milton Keynes based drum and bass label, aiming to bring you quality tracks from producers around the world. Their next release is the debut of Amplify, with a massive six track EP titled Enemy Of The State featuring collaborations with some esteemed label staples. The title track is the gnarliest, sci-fi inspired techstep we have heard this side of Ed Rush & Optical, while the dark and stripped back stepper "Boss" is another original track, and "Optimal" sees him team up with Master Error. On the particularly impressive roller "Depth" he buddies up with Clarkey.
Review: Pick The Lock Records is a drum 'n' bass record label owned by Nick The Lot, located in the UK. He presents the label's first various artists compilation here titled 'Back Of A Lorry Vol. 1' featuring six rising young producers within scene, such as Devonshire luminary Amplify with the classic techstep vibe of "Sleep", Cardiff-based DisKrete delivers a minimal stepper in the vein of DJ Krust on "Time's Up", while Germany's Cramz nails that classic Ram Recordings sound on the tough roller "Revolver" and Manchester's Kormz (WA3 Collective) hammers the message home in style with the sci-fi beats of "Mind Trap".
Review: Cave has rapidly become a must-follow imprint ever since its launch, and Maurizzle has taken to it like a duck to water. This single is his first release on the label and The Wonder maintains the high standard we've come to expect from the producer. It's rough and tumble rolling goodness, and 'Wonder' represents this mission statement with devastating clarity, as resonant synths give way to penetrating percussion and a growling, tendril-like bassline. 'Obsession' has a wicked new-school vibe to the drum line but it's bassline is as futuristic as they come; vicious bulges pushing left and right with a visceral sense of movement. Potent, potent stuff.
Review: Crank it till you bank it: Amplify tells us to turn up once again with this humungous EP on Pick The Lock. Featuring collabs with Clarkey and Nick The Lot & Master Error, it's a ruthless vibey free-for-all from all concerned. Highlights include the scorching bass reese fumes of 'Need', the ridiculous squelch factor on 'OMG' and the uncut, high-grade fury and fun of 'Carnage'. Relax? Not when Amplify is in town matey.
Review: Feeling fine for Northern Line! Rantik and JAK's fledgling young label comes correct with their first full paid release. It's a VA and it's a beauty. Continuing the exceeding weight and exciting breadth of the sound they've built up through free downloads, these nine tracks rep the Newcastle label's parameters with deadly intent and features some very exciting new-gen names. Highlights include Hexa's pranged-out swinger 'Shanghai Knights', the volcanic bombastic bounces and blazes of Stompz' 'Funk Accelerator' and the Metal Work's gritty punisher 'Changes'. And that's just the tip of this northern iceberg. Firing.
Review: The Next Gen Audio team are definitely an imprint with a knack for sniffing out powerful new releases, which is exactly what they have found here with this spicy new selection from Amplify. Kicking off with 'Human', we can tell we are in for a high energy ride as sizzling synth pulses lead the way atop clean breaks, before 'Seduction' sends us a little more leftfield with some unusual bass processing that just seems to work. Next, Fanatics join the party for 'Carousel', a super gnarly exploration of high ended bass stabs and choppy drum manoeuvres before 'Got You', alongside Master Error gives us a classic jump up outro, again pushing some super colourful bass designs for forward for a hell of a splash.
Review: The so-far-unmissable releases of Amplify & Metalwork's Gradient imprint continue into the new year with this gunslinging danger doublet. Amplify takes the lead with his first appearance on the label - the roughhouse gritty funk of 'Bank'. Meanwhile Fanatics gets us all grizzled out with the savage sounding 'Wounds'. Proper bare naked bassline business with some very interesting trippy sounds woven into the mix, like the rest of his peers on Gradient, Fanatics is developing a unique and exciting sound. Get connected.
Review: Amplify is a name we're becoming more familiar with and they've come out with a properly good collection of tracks here, tunes with an urban-edged spin on modern D&B and jungle. They're tunes which you can imagine hearing out your mates' car, and that's a very good thing. 'Out of Me' is a rolling number and it's one with a wicked choppy bass and a satisfying sense of sparseness in the drums, a pulsating yet expansive cut that'd go down well just about anywhere. 'Miracle' is the proper dark stuff, the broken drum stutters and eerie sampling giving it that vibe that only this music can impart. Wicked selection.
Review: Hydrated Audio don't tend to put out music that's weak, thin or otherwise not suitable for the dancefloor. This EP courtesy of a litany of their artists is a testament to that, as all of the cuts do some serious damage and the release overall is certainly on the sharper end of the spectrum. 'Dead Out' is the best of the bunch and it's got a rough, Sofa Sound edge that injects a satisfying level of oomph into the arrangement. Amnesia's 'Correct' is a close second and its incredibly unique concoction of swirling basses and gargling pulsars adds a wicked futuristic element. Top EP from the Hydrated Audio crew.
Review: Pick N Mix need no introduction. Sticky fingers, stinky bangers; TJ's imprint is at the very forefront of dnb's exciting new generation. Now they raise the game once again, amplifying their message with arguably the most important album in the genre this year: 'The Black Excellence' is 100% created by artists and creatives of colour from the artwork to activation and it slams down any question of lack of diversity in the game. Featuring the likes of Amplify, BLCKHRY, Dilligent Fingers, Kyst Cortez and so many more, it runs the entire range of sounds from deep and soulful ('Be Free') to dark and slinky ('Settle') to savage and rasping ('Legion') and reflects how exciting and wide-range the dnb sound is when it comes from a diverse place. More albums like this, please.
Review: Turn it up! Amplify follows up his co-lab with Curvurs on Young Guns earlier this summer with two gritty solo stink-ups. 'Right There' is a playful but powerful blast-up with a squelchy bassline that strolls up and down the scales while a sultry vocal does its thing in the background. Think early Die and you're on the right dancefloor. 'Roughest' takes us a little deeper into Amplify's circuitry with a much grumpier bassline and more stripped-back sense of savagery. A highly accomplished solo debut.
Review: Any release that starts with a drum-line as solid as Lonely does is an instant win in our books. It's the pounding monotony of those opening drums that defines this EP; relentless, forceful; constant; dirty. 'Undertakes' has a lovely feel of movement to it, its synths are rock-solid and the vibe is a tough. 'Pop It' manages to cram an even wider snare into the mix, a heavy underpinning that carries its gasping bass synths all the way through. 'Lonely' has an air of Bou about it, a tight little melody wraps around the drums in a purely satisfying manner whilst another top-notch sample provides the suspense. 'Bucking On Em' ties up the release in an angular, pointed fashion, it's jagged synths perhaps not the kindest on your ears but no doubt smashing in the rave. Awesome.