Review: Fokuz are one of the most reliable labels in the business, having churned out a concoction of light and dark sounds for over a decade now, representing and pushing the Dutch scene on as they go. This release is a transnational and trans-continental, with Askel from Finland, Monika based in New Zealand and Critical Event also hailing from somewhere in Europe (we're not sure where). Purple Skies is a rolling, melodic release that sits inside Fokuz's sample-laden sound with elegant effortlessness. Bazil MC features on the wicked 'Remedy' and his vocals remind us of Bluejay or SP:MC in their tone and flow. The title track is the standout though, a sumptuously deep stepper that dives fast and stays low throughout. Lovely.
Review: HumaNature is another one of the many young, rising talents within the D&B scene at the moment and he's a producer with an undeniable capacity for diversity. First coming to the fore with smooth liquid tones, he's recently been proving that he goes darker and this EP is no exception. Teaming up with long-time producer buddies and long-time label Fokuz, HumaNature & Friends is some of his best work yet and it covers both sides of the spectrum. 'Roll' featuring Radicall is the highlight of the EP, with gorgeously vibrant percussion that injects a tangible sense of presence and a bassline that swells in tandem, a track that smacks of proper D&B. 'Xylophone' featuring Critical Event & Askel is equally weighty, with a driving back end that matches its stellar production line up. This is a top-notch release.
Critical Event & Askel - "So In Love With You" - (4:27) 174 BPM
ALB - "Using Minds" - (5:29) 174 BPM
Calculon & Dave Owen - "Ben Carlos" (feat Christina Tamayo - Zero T remix) - (5:11) 58 BPM
Smote - "Just Come Back" - (5:20) 174 BPM
Joakuim - "8am Roller" - (4:30) 172 BPM
Drumcatcher - "Feelings" - (4:35) 172 BPM
Brainwork & Mnml - "Embrace" - (5:18) 172 BPM
Review: Fokuz Recordings consistently release some of the best compilation albums around. Their pool of artists is so diverse and so top quality that an assortment of their work is always going to be special, especially when they bring in outside talent like Break and Zero T. Collaborations 2 is what is says on the tin: remixes and other collaborative projects and blimey, it's good stuff. Joakuim's '8am Roller' is the perfect example, a deft piece of piano-based smoothness that rolls out to your heart's content with sultry results, an instant classic of liquid-sized proportions. The Break remix is a welcome addition, as is the steppy yet soulful Zero T remix of Ben Carlos. Another very, very good selection of cuts from the always sublime Fokuz crew.