Review: Ben Soundscape is superb at crafting rolling beats, sounds which straddle the spectrum between tough and softer tones. He does that on his own Intrigue Music label and he's doing it on Liquid Lab as well, as his Bronx Jazz EP takes the sample-based history of New York and blends it with the European liquid tradition. We especially love 'Get It All', which frolics along on the basis of a spinning, twisting bassline that's full of character and enjoyment. The title track is classic lounging stuff, with a charming double bass bassline and nonchalant sample touches to lift things up along the way. Beautiful work.
Review: Intrigue is one of the most consistent liquid labels in a drum and bass scene which has a conspicuous absence of high-quality, indie liquid imprints relative to the rougher side of things. This is their yearly album and it's on an astounding 18th year, a monumental achievement that is marked this time around with nineteen top quality cuts. Soulmotion's 'Moments of Blue' is a highlight, with a sumptuously deep back end that swells and swells to luxurious effect, as tinkling piano notes flutter through the top lines in nonchalant fashion. Label boss Ben Soundscape steps up for a remix of Raw Q's 'NY State of Mind', an Intrigue classic that he strips back and rolls out, with a supremely crisp set of drums that underpin a simple but sleek bassline. There are more cuts from Joakuim, whose halftime exploration takes him to deep depths, and The Insiders & Mutt, who get funky and old school with their liquid sounds. Sick stuff.
Review: Fokuz release some of the best compilations in the business, in part because they have such a large orbit of artists around them but also just because the curational skills at Fokuz HQ have been honed over twenty years of releasing music. Better Days is a classic Fokuz compilation, as a blend of artists both well known and lesser so come together to celebrate all things liquid. HumaNature and Royalty are both veteran Fokuz producers and their contribution - 'Stand On Our Own' - is a lovely mixture of bouncy synthetic funk notes and smooth, rolling soul. The mighty Villem & Mcleod team up once more with regular collaborator Leo Wood and the result is once again sheer goosebumps, as Leo's serene voice floats with a hint of magic. Lovely, lovely work.
Ben Soundscape - "Delayed" (Bonus Track) - (4:30) 174 BPM
Review: The yearly escapades of Bristol's Intrigue Music are entering their seventheenth consecutive year, a huge achievement for the label. Like always, the album is full of a broad range of tempos and sounds that embody the ethos of an imprint known more for its consistent quality than any particular style. 'So Many Moments' by Philth and Farz, with Collette Warren on vocals, is a beautiful, floating track that rests on solid foundations but which carries a lightness, a deftness which sees it hover in hypnotic fashion. Randall, MC Fats and Ben Soundscape get jungley on 'Rollin' Ruff', Octo Pi gets even heavier on 'Battle Cap', and the album is all round just an ideal LP for all the heads out there. Big.
Review: Intrigue's yearly Anniversary Collection is always one of the best liquid albums of the year and it's pretty crazy to think that they're on number 17 now, so shout out to Ben Soundscape and the rest of the crew. This album, then, is appropriately packed to the gills with liquid talent, including Phase 2, Lurch, Deviant & Sam BInary and more. Lurch's 'London Bridge' rolls out the funk in style, with floating piano stabs that pop in neatly above its solid percussive foundation. Phase 2 always doles out the goods and he does so again with the stuttering jungle of 'Destruction', and 'Cosmic Roller', courtesy of Deviant & Sam Binary, is another walloper full of depth. Oosh.
Review: Ben Soundscape's Bristolian Intrigue Music imprint is one of the most highly regarded smaller labels in D&B and its especially known for its annual compilations, which display some of the best-made high-brow D&B in the game. This is the second part of their 16th anniversary collection and its just as top-notch. Mako & label boss Ben Soundscape team up on the inimitable 'Uplift', a snapping, steppy tune which combines a classically Mako drum pattern with Ben Soundscape's characteristic wispy ambience. New Intrigue artist Mosaic chimes in with a stunning contribution, 'Airspace' has crisp, metallic drums that roll out inside a swirl of pads and deeply rich synth textures, a seriously melancholic track that ramps up and back down at various points. Stunning stuff here.
Review: Gently opening the door of 2018 with the able assistance of vocalist legend Tali and newcomers Paramount, Ben Soundscape kicks off Intrigue's year with the style and class we've come to expect from him. "Keepsake" is a delicate roller with minimal elements, trippy pianos and subtly gullified bass while "Imaginary Enemies" pries deep into our psyches with Tali giving us the counselling we all need but don't deserve. Intrigue never fail to beguile.
Randall & Ben Soundscape - "Nightfall" - (6:21) 175 BPM
Superior Selectionz - "Halcyon" (VIP mix) - (5:08) 174 BPM
Ben Soundscape - "Focus On You" - (5:38) 174 BPM
Joakuim - "Pale Ale Citizens" - (4:53) 173 BPM
Larigold - "Don't Wanna Stay" - (5:16) 170 BPM
Review: Happy birthday Intrigue! They're celebrating 14 years of their Bristol club night (and nine years of the label) in style with this beautiful collection of 14 exclusives that sum up the collective's vibe, spirit and energy perfectly. Deep, soulful but not afraid to slap you silly with grit or funk across the set we're treated to triplet-teasing elastic double bass freakery from Raw Q, total soul magic by Philth, SolidFrame and Collette Warren, cloud-leaping amen bliss from Ill Truth and white knuckle space funk from the daddy Randall and label bossman Ben Soundscape. With more from the likes of Phase, Random Movement, Break and loads more, this really is a special collection. Don't sleep!
Random Movement & Ben Soundscape - "Dreaming" - (5:24) 175 BPM
Isola Dusk - "Waiting For You" (Ben Soundscape remix) - (6:30) 175 BPM
Review: Intrigue founder Ben Soundscape lays down two blissful rollers in the form of a collaboration and a remix. "Dreaming" sees him joining forces with the inimitable Random Movement where the two try and out-soul each other their groove elasticity and sense of pace and restraint. "Waiting For You" sees Ben remixing Isola Dusk's 2013 future bass roller into a 2016 slippery D&B roller with warm pads, humming bass and light, brushed drums. Genuinely beautiful.
Review: Club night-turned-label Intrigue has been part of the Bristol drum & bass landscape since 2003, and continues to lead the way for those who like their junglism jazzy, deep and attractive. To celebrate their 13th birthday, they've put together this rather fine anniversary compilation. There's plenty to admire throughout, with local lad Break's previously unseen "Winter Rain" - all jazzy breakbeats and twinkling keys - proving an early highlight. Veteran Bristolian and frequent early party guest Lurch delivers some thrillingly experimental flavours on "Tangents", while resident DJs and label bosses The Insiders get in the celebratory mood on two tasty tracks. Fittingly, the set finishes with Joakuim's "Cenzontle", which is little less than a classic chunk of liquid D&B gold.
Review: Last spotted together on Intrigue's eleventh anniversary album, Bristol-based Ben S and New York-based Raw Q collide once again with two deliciously funky rollers. "Song That We Love" bumps with one of those bulbous basslines that's at once in your face and far away. Dipping into jazz territories in the breakdown, it's a lesson in jungle subtlety. "Start It Up" is juicier again; with a loose, fretless (brown paper) baggy bassline, it rolls and rolls until your entire floor are in submission. Authentically timeless.
Review: Intrigue Music presents a brand new LP to mark 12 years of legendary club night Intrigue. Featuring exclusive tracks from genre-forming greats like Break, Randall, Zero T, Random Movement, Jaybee, Raw Q and label owner Ben Soundscape, the crew's support across the scene for this has been incredible. Whether you've been an Intrigue local over the past decade or you just love a good old fashioned roll-out, this compilation puts together some of the very best sounds from the label right now into one neat, but massive package.