Review: As if firing out badness galore through their 'Connected' series wasn't quite enough action for a label that's barely been around 6 months, Amplify and Metal Work's Gradient levels up again with the massive 'Foundations' VA that's stacked to the top shelf with some of drum & bass music's finest upstarts and high risers. 15 tracks deep, highlights come in all shapes and sizes including the sensual textures and tones of D-Fuser's 'Sticky Situations', the madcap jazzy springs and splutters of Fanatics' 'Everyday', KL's revved up staccato sizzler 'Plain To See', Metal Work's rather glacial 'Cold As Ice' and Parallel's early D-Minds style 'Capital Crimes'. Killer through and through, 'Foundations' as strong as this are built to last.
Review: Feeling fine for Northern Line! Rantik and JAK's fledgling young label comes correct with their first full paid release. It's a VA and it's a beauty. Continuing the exceeding weight and exciting breadth of the sound they've built up through free downloads, these nine tracks rep the Newcastle label's parameters with deadly intent and features some very exciting new-gen names. Highlights include Hexa's pranged-out swinger 'Shanghai Knights', the volcanic bombastic bounces and blazes of Stompz' 'Funk Accelerator' and the Metal Work's gritty punisher 'Changes'. And that's just the tip of this northern iceberg. Firing.
Review: The best Welsh label in the game - as chosen by UKF this year - are back in the business with a properly sick VA LP, one which takes a bunch of the artists in their orbit and provides a platform for them to show off their untapped potential. Rantik steps up with 'Hear My Rhythm' and expertly weaves hypnotic percussive patterns around punching kicks and menacing vocal lines, a superb arrangement that's topped off by a gorgeously dark bassline with a core of solid steel. Label regular Hexa kills it with the relentlessness of 'Mirages', and 'Losing Sleep' by Division is the archetypal minimal roller. This album is stripped back, techy to its heart and a glimpse into the future of drum and bass. Special.
Concept One & JAK (UK) - "Gutters" - (4:50) 175 BPM
Concept One & JAK (UK) - "Delta" - (3:44) 175 BPM
Monsoon (VIP) - (4:31) 170 BPM
Review: Coming in hot with the filthy minimal approach this week is Concept One on Incurzion Audio, the Wales based imprint which never fails to make us wince with beautifully crafted, tightly edged music that seems more befitting the urban sprawls of London than the rolling hills of South Wales. Either way, Concept One has smashed this one, with four-tracks that, to put it simply, bang. The title tune barks at you with a grate of energy, fluid energy moving underneath and giving it a lovely, lively feel. The VIP of 'Monsoon' is a penetrating halftime number, whilst they team up with JAK for the jungle flip of 'Delta' and the distorted perfection of 'Gutters'. Sick, sick stuff.
Review: Killaz by name, killer by nature; Vital Elements and Tobie Scopes' continue to set the agenda as DJs, artists and as label owners. This third annual mix-up is certainly no exception as they plough through 59 tracks - many of which are brand new exclusives - to paint a picture of exactly where drum & bass is at right now. A thick smelly melting pot, everything is thrown into the mix: Upgrade's spine-trembling harmonics on "The Voice", ruded-out bassline badness from Voltage ("My DJ"), various jump-up hybrid creepers from Russian newcomer Ozma, brand new dark wobble lava from Serial Killaz themselves ("Rudebwoyz") the list goes on and on. This is a huge package and it comes with a superb mix too. Treat yourselves or defeat yourselves.