Review: A brand-new Breakage EP is always an event that perks the head and speeds the heart, as the scene's premier breaksman commands a level of respect and admiration other artists can only look on at in awe. He's a true great and his Index imprint - the phonetically spelt namesake of this release - is a home for all those who love proper jungle. He just nails it, and 'Valhalla' shows this off right away, his signature breezy intro giving way as per usual to a punching, absurdly clean drum section underpinned by a wall of subtle yet destructive low frequencies. Break steps up to remix the classic 'As We Enter' and does so in spectacular fashion, whilst 'Jah' blends stabbing 909s with tumbling breaks and a whole lot of angst. It caps off with the snapping 'B Side Bubbler', the final whistle on yet another blinder by Breakage.
Review: Tunes to make you go 'whoooo!' Breakage returns to his Index controls with two stinking bassline rollers that take us right back to his foundations. "Ric Flair Strut" lives up to its name with its swaggering bassline, rattling drums and scorching one note bassline while "Sanctuary" dusts off the classic breaks for a deep space voyage Omni Trio style. Watch out for that rumbling b-line, it's not here to make polite conversation. Magical murkery.
Review: Filed under Q in the D&B dictionary for Quintessential Breakage Rollers, James Breakage Boyle has launched his own label and it would appear he's well and truly back in the jungle. "Elmhurst Dub" is all about the break and the dubby washes while "Anymore" is one a moodier steppy vibe. Both subby, slinky, dank and dangerous, neither track could be purer if Doc Scott gave them an autopsy. True craftsmanship.
Review: This latest offering from Breakage is a depth charge of a different style; burning deep and slow with haunting vocals from the stunning Detour City aka Tabitha Benjamin it's a bit of a departure from the usual floor filler. Fill floors it will though, thanks to the anthemic, hypnotic rise of each verse, perfectly suited for off-the-cuff hard-dropping experimentations, the obvious isn't explored here. Instead we hear the chilled VIP or Jakwob's perfect two step-inspired remix, leaving all the tantilising possibilities of that vocal to the imagination. The original is a siren call for the end of the night and if you haven't heard it already, expect it to become the soundtrack to your New Year. Dark enough to hold its own, renew your respect for this producer right here.
Review: Digital Soundboy's bass superstar Breakage signs to Bassbin for his latest release. Moody, break-laden and nostalgic, there's a real sound of the good old days running straight through each track. With Amens holding the fort in "Hindsight" while atmospherics weave in and out behind old-school dub, the tone quickly changes to a more deadly, minimal stance for a sharp VIP of "Losing Track". "Lightweight" keeps the creeps but adds rapidfire percussion, ramping up that eerie atmosphere, and finally "Come Back" disregards everything before it and sedately and emotively dubs through breakbeat-trip-hop vibes, cooling down the pressure but keeping tensions high. A perfect selection.
Review: Known by many in the drum & bass scene as one of the most important seminal albums in the history of modern D&B, This Too Shall Pass was released in 2006 on Bassbin to widespread critical acclaim, followed by a slow-burning reverence from fans new and old over the years. The tracklist is dotted with tunes many bassheads would class as up there with the greatest: from the dubby lilt of "Lead Me On" and the intricate driving Amens and synthy static of "Morning Star" to the washed out swing jazz of "Unireverse" and the beautifully mournful reverb of "Black Sunshine", this is a re-release that's been a long time coming. RIP Bassbin, and thank you Rohan for making masterpieces such as this available to the buying public once more.
Review: Today's Critical lesson is brought to you by the letter B... Binga, Breakage and absolute badness. First up Breakage adds a rolling booty bounce to one of the many highlights on Binga's album Wasted Days album. Binga returns the favour by looking back into the annals of Critical history and dusting off Breakage's formative 2005 skanker "Staggered Dub" and injecting a cool amount of deep halftime space. Both exemplary examples of remix authenticity. Blimey. Bigness.
Review: It's that time of year again! The scene's longest-standing platform Drum&BassArena step up with their annual flagship album and once again it's a fitting salute to all corners, all shades and all styles of the rich, wide scene. 60 tracks deep comprising absolute bangers and bliss-outs from the likes of Chase & Status, Noisia & Phace, K-Motionz, Rockwell, DJ Hybrid, GLXY and Seba, it's also home to exclusives from Kyrist, Brookes Brothers, Bou & Simula, Kanina, Kove and A.M.C & Turno. From jungle to jump-up, liquid to dancefloor and complete with three killer mixes for life when you're not practicing your double/triple/quadruple drops, Drum&BassArena continue to celebrate the widest possible scene.
Review: Featuring some big names amongst the impressive tracklist, this mini album of D&B-shaped treats was first released in 2005, and as you'd expect, it's got the sound of the old school running right through it. From veteran producer Skitty's smooth rolling 90s flavas through to Seba and Lenk's winding, experimental take on an old-school roller, each tune is a throwback to the golden age of drum & bass, thanks to Bassbin's current mission to make these absolute gems available to the public once again. A must-bag.
Review: What with Critical celebrating their ten year anniversary this year it's only right and proper that there should be a landmark album, looking back on their success to date. Enter Critical X; featuring a carefully curated selection from Critical's past, present and future (watch out for some cracking unreleased material), this is a must buy for deeper D&B heads. Stand outs from across the 16-track album include Breakage's awesome "Staggered Dub", Spectrasoul's iconic "Organiser", and of course jungle revivalist anthem Bladerunner's "Back To The Jungle". Make sure you check out the remixes from Mefjus and Enei, which add the final cherry on the cake for this superb and frankly rather essential release.
Review: Kicking off with a VIP of one of the killer 90s jungle nostalgia anthems of 2010 - Bladerunner's "Back To The Jungle" - it's a great start to the next Critical compilation. Moving through the tough, percussive sounds of Break, soulful dub tinged efforts of Breakage, the blissed out Calibre in "Rockafella" to the sounds of man-of-the-moment, hotly tipped Enei with his fantastic "Forgive Me" around the halfway point, it's immediately apparent why Kasra's label has garnered such respect from his peers. Lomax - one half of Loadstar - provides a deeper incarnation to his Ram bangers in "Innocent X" and elsewhere, Rockwell's "Underpass" makes a re-emergence as does ubiquitous anthem "Redlines" which closes this utterly superb compilation.