Review: Paul SG's Jazzsticks returns to their irregularly regular Hidden Tunes series with a second instalment of restrained rollers from understated up-and-comers and friends of the label alike. If you know the Jazzsticks sound, you'll already know the sterling vibe: dusty, soulful, warm and organic from some of the sharpest talents in the game. Highlights include the big jazz whirlwind of Soul Deep founder Scott Allen's "Soul Desire", a 97-style horn-melting stepper from Decon ("Cool Breeze") and Pulsaar's dreamweaving shakedown "Room For Two". What once was hidden is now found... And will remain in your playlist until the next instalment lands in years to come.
Review: Carter is a mysterious guy - he's produced some of the most beautiful soulful drum and bass around over the past few years, but there's not much out there to tell you about the man himself - he prefers to let the music do the talking. "Nothing" sparks up this elegantly produced three-pack with an expertly balanced mix between layered melodies and the deep rumble of a well-appointed sub. Moving into darker territory for the remainder of the release, he uses wide open spaces and dark bass to underpin otherwise chipper musicality in "Riding After Sun" and although more upbeat, there's something of the melancholy about "Remembered". A master of his art - if you don't know, get to know.
Review: Soul Deep's D&B crooner packs more soul into one bassline than most producers can muster up in a whole LP. Packed with fresh production, hot, spicy spikes of jazz samples and funky bass, it might be cold outside but this release is hot, hotter, hottest. With plenty of rolling amens for liquid fans to chill to, each tune brings with it a story and its own little world. Featuring a samples from all over including a cheeky lyric by Amy Winehouse (see if you can pick it out), there's a good mix of vintage and crispy new sounds alongside pacy beats and techy synths. There's a lot going on here, but it all works out, like a big, tasty D&B jambalaya.
Review: One for the romantics out there, this release from Soul Deep favourite Carter is a soulful take on love and longing from a D&B perspective. "If You Let Me Down" is a shimmering beauty of a roller, taking jazzy influences and adding a contemporary twist. "Shinin' Smile" is the most summery tune we've heard all year, pushing classic breaks together with intricate layers of atmosphere and sampling to create an airy-light soundscape for that grooving bassline to roam free. "Lost In You" ramps up the atmospheric theatrics, moving fast and fresh with live jazzy guitar, and finally "Fallin'" (no relation to the Raiden tune of the same name) is a cinematic tearjerker to get hands raised. The soundtrack to a thousand 2014 sunsets. Let it in.
Review: Mysterious beat maker Carter returns with his debut release on Celsius after releasing on heroic liquid labels Good Looking and V Recordings through 2013. Picking up those bittersweet rolling vibes where he left off, each track on this hotly tipped EP is a journey through soulful D&B with a crisp, bass-driven edge. "Hard To Believe" is a case in point here, with fresh rolling percussion and a corker of a bassline. Don't expect chillout liquid - it'll make you move.
Review: Picking us up where he left us with "Chapter One" a few months back, Carter shares more of his hidden thoughts. "Drifted" is all about the strings and autonomic-style halftime, switchy drum programming, "Rain" is a picture perfect portrait of modern soul thanks to its slinky double bass runs and rippling synths, "Show Me" ups the funk ante thanks to some expertly executed wah-wah guitar tones and cascading flute stabs while "The Touch Of You" brings us to a jazzy climax that's to meandering piano elements and a very well positioned vocal texture with subtle but warm dubby motifs. With thoughts this strong it would be criminal to keep them hidden...
Review: Carter is described as many things: soulful, prolific, unique. What he's brought forward with this latest Soul Deep collection is a new, edgier side to his productions. Still playing with emotive sounds and rolling vibes, there are definitely deeper meanings behind the melodies, so delve in. Crisp, deep and bassy-as-you-like, tracks like "When It Burns Inside" and "Take Me Away" are showing a real progression in Carter's style - something that's really exciting to hear. Roll on Chapter 02.
Review: Soul Deep ally Carter returns to the evergreen soul stall with two subtly moody compositions. The titles should give you a clue... "Grey Skies" is brazenly stripped right back to let the naked drum elements slink around the soft jazzy chords and rippling synth textures. "Mighty Rain" hits with more minor chord pressure as gusty pads breathe deeply over the well-polished beats. With generous filter touches to the sample and rolling sense of momentum, it washes over you just as the name suggests. Get wet.
Review: Time to lie back on the couch and share your innermost thoughts with doctor Carter as he offers to nurture your "Emotional Mindset". Supportive, understanding and empathetic; every groove he crafts, every sample he weaves, every spell he binds gives nothing but comfort and warmth. Following from his golden work on Paul SG's Jazzsticks each of these four tracks hits the sweetest spots of your psyche; the wafting pianos and squiggled FX on the fills of "Heart On Hold", the unhurried feels and balmy bubbles of "Mr Nobody", the jazzy ripples of "Since You Left" and the loose limbed freedom of "Standing Alone", the list goes on...
Review: Last spotted on Soul Deep sharing his "Hidden Thoughts", Carter returns to respected LA soul stable with four more sweet and silky workouts. Each one as dreamy and widescreened as the next, throughout the EP we're treated oceanic, ear-massaging pads ("Ever Free"), church-shaking vocal velvet ("On & On"), glistening, spectrum stretching guitars ("Changes") and finally soft skanks and subtle amens on the deliciously dubby "Rise Or Shine". Bliss
Review: Lush rollers from Carter are never a disappointment. Bringing another dimension to his talents with this, his first release of 2015 shows off a more romantic side. Who said drum and bass couldn't offer up love songs? From the light and refreshing "You Love me" to the deep, bassy undulations of "What I See" VIP edit, it's a journey through Carter's record collection, filtered through his head, and produced with his own styles in mind. You've got to love that Soul Deep creativity shining through.
Monty Luke - "Behavior Detection" - (6:21) 121 BPM
Pixelife - "Five Month Survey" - (9:39) 120 BPM
Pixelife - "The Doctor Is Out" - (5:33) 122 BPM
Review: NYC label Throne Of Blood pay tribute to Monty Luke's Black Catalogue by inviting the chieftain himself and label-mates the Carter Bros to curate the A-side of their latest release, Throne Of Black Catalogue. The Carters provide a tunnelling, and at times progressive "Jamaica Burning" (version 2)", while Luke supplies a fuzzy-keyed, snare popping burner with "Behaviour Detection" - a track which sounds like a well behaved Kyle Hall. Horn Wax's Pixelife then delivers two tracks, with "5 Month Survey" fit for any jacking Ibiza dancefloor; "The Doctor Is Out" stays in the jacking zone too - with its marching snares, there's an added triumphant italo aspect.