Review: The man, the myth, the groove magician: Beta 2 returns to Horizons with three more eternal heaters. "Manufacturism" rolls like its 1999 all over again with its restrained but ominous themes but latent sense of funk, "Voices In The Sky" stays in a similar era with its dark rainbow of basses that interplay and swirl around a precision break and classic humanised chords and "Sans Swing" is the grimiest piece in the puzzle with its Dispatch-style distorted, shapeshifting lava bassline and rolling heads-down drums. Supreme quality as always from both Beta 2 and Horizons.
Review: Unlike his more prolific counterparts on the scene, Beta 2 has been working away quietly and sporadically over the past few years, spreading his talents sparsely but effectively, like a stealth bomber. With a timeless quality only a few producers manage to evoke, his tracks always bring the glory years of D&B to mind, transitioning smoothly from 1994 to 2004 to 2014 in the blink of an eye. "2nd Page" is a masterpiece in smooth, swaying drum and bass, picking up swooning strings as it rolls past. Second track "NOD" is made of harder stuff, with rough breaks and empty, minimal atmosphere. Moving into techier territory, "Time Traveller" takes beats most familiar to fans of the likes of Burial and Four Tet, speeds them up and sends them on their way with a gorgeously soothing rumble of velvety bass and soaring atmospherics. A true gem.
Review: The enigmatic concept that is Beta 2 returns to his spiritual home with four more stark soundscapes. "Black Dahlia" takes the lead with its lolloping brown papered double bassline and jazzy, hip-shaking flurries. "Speckled Dots" retains that jazz sentimentality with psychedelic blasts on the fills but a much grittier bottom foundation. Deeper into the EP and we're destined for more cosmic pastures as both "The One That Got Me" and "Slide" take us on a trip to much further D&B planetary systems on Photek-style rockets. Delectably futurist.
Review: The spin-off Optimo Trax is in danger of overshadowing its mothership if its run of form continues. First up on this split release is Beta's "Endless Plains", where rolling breaks and dubbed out drums prevail. Then comes the brilliantly named Love's Flaccid Disco Muscle's - a pseudonym for L/F/D/M - "3am At The Aqua Disco". Unlike some of the producer's industrial-leaning music, this is a trippy, jazz-house groove. Alex Burkat steers the release back towards disco territories with the sassy sounds of "Culture Full Circle", but Modini demonstrates that diversity is the name of the game, and "Ghost Seducer" is a cold, bleep techno affair.
Review: Paris DJs earned themselves a serious reputation as kings of the compilation with their online mixes notching up 3.7 million (or so they say) downloads. This popularity led to them releasing many official and fully licensed themed comps. However although they've previously explored Afro tropical, psychedelic, jazz and hip-hop themes, they've never touched on funk and soul...until now. They've dug deep here too, providing 15 very different interpretations of these styles including the eerie electro-funk of "Brassa Nova", the chilled out funky hip-hop of "Return Of The Dig-Fu" and the retro analogue shuffle of "Thinkin Back".