Review: Deep in the Jungle continue their onwards march with this, the seventh edition in their widely acclaimed Anthems series, a compilation that always finds the ideal mix of current and future talent to showcase. In the case of the former, well-travelled producers Epicentre and Kumarachi roll things out and tear them down on 'Light Em Up', which features a gnarly array of interlinked bass nodes and torn low frequency sonics, al underpinned by a percussion section that's the perfect blend of rusty and sharp. New talent emerges in the form of Trobe and Mirage, who have their first label release with '89', although you wouldn't have guessed it based off this tune's razor clean percussive edge and expert use of space, a hard thing to get right and one this pair blow out the water here. Rave samples, expansive basslines and a synth arrangement you won't be able to shake - unmissable. 34 tracks later and Deep in the Jungle have nailed every single one of them - big ups.
Review: This compilation arrives with a rich heritage of V Recordings compilations behind it, and Planet V has for a number of years been the flagship series for Bryan Gee's label. Edition four comes to a whopping 73 tracks and includes a mix as well, and all the familiar V faces are present, from Alibi to Paul t & Edward Oberon. All of the tunes have already seen the light of day in a previous form, and Disrupta and Duskee's 'Deep Thoughts' is one of the standouts, as Disrupta lays down a minimal yet funky beat for Duskee to rap lyrical over, something he does with serious presence. New gun SL8r makes several appearances, including on the excellent 'What U Need', which bounces along in a synthscape of serious depth and texture, its funky nodes nodding to the beat of a vintage blend. Crossover outfit Think Tonk also shine with 'Tom & Heavy', an offering unique in its stepping, breaksy percussion and one which oozes soulful class. There are dozens more to have a gander at, so take your pick.
Review: Deep in the Jungle are back doing what they do best - laying fractious jungle rhythms and having a blast while they do it. This time around it's Critycal Dub, and their focus with The Secret is focused on what's really important with this music, the barebones elements of the genre that give it vitality and soul. Nowhere is that more apparent than on title tune 'The Secret', featuring DJ Hybrid, which soulfully flicks its way through the intro and into a fluctuating, vibrant reece bass that perfectfully hovers in place, caught in suspended animation between the teeth of the drums. 'Can't Stop' feat. Yush is more junglist fever, while 'Cluster Bombs' strips things back even more on a slightly rollier tip. Big.
Review: Catch-up time! If you've yet to experience the vibes of OKey's Original Key imprint, now is the time to get acquainted... Launched in Germany this time last year, here they've put all their releases so far in one handy package. Ranging from Heist's percussion-flickering funk on "Seems Risky" to DJ Sly's horn-blazed skanky switch-up "98 Style" via Bassface Sascha & Feindsoul's badboy blaster "Sage" and Tomoyoshi's Clipz-style Q&A fireworks on "Killa Soundboy", this collection is testament to what a great year it's been for OKey... And drum & bass in general.
Review: Critycal Dub are on a roll right now. Covering all bases with their trademark Sao Paulo barbed soul, they've been delivering some impeccable cuts of late. These four included: "Moment In Time" is built up around a simple, beautiful piano hook and softly textured dubwise vocal sample, "Reckless" takes us to a darker side with its subtle b-movie style textures and star-gazing rave vocal before "Losing Time" takes us down a minimal soul rabbit soul where a lilting piano line is the only thing keeping reality in check. Need more input? Jump on the soft jazzy spring riff of "Find Out" and realise you're actually 10 foot in the air. Happy landing.
Review: Most frequently spotted on V, Liquid Drops and LuvDisaster, Sao Paulo's Critycal Dub makes a surprise appearance on the heavier-premised Clawhammer. Two tracks deep and the bassline message is clear: "Only Witness" goes straight for the jugular with two rasping bass textures fighting and vying for our attention while "Dirty Minds" gets a little more sinewy and twisted with its classic rave sample on the percussion and a subtly wonked reverse riff. Both cuts seriously bump. Or, to put it another way, the last time he got this rude was on Chronic. Nuff said.
Review: Following December's all-star launch, Original Key returns with two more slices of impeccable jungle fire. Once again it's a trusted crew: veteran and super-respected junglist Aries breaks the seal with a brilliantly bouncy roller that's not dissimilar to the classic Bingo sound 15 years ago. Sao Paulo's Critycal Dub maintains the heat with "Jungle War" - an incendiary halftime stepper with bass so gully it's grown oily wings and a bright orange beak, it's arguably one of Critycal Dub's heaviest and most demonstrative tunes to date. Seriously.
Review: Celebrating half a decade in the game, MSdoS's Liquid Drops gets reflective and pours back over the last year of sounds, selecting soaking soulful highlights. There have been many... 2016 was the label's most prolific year with groove upon groove every month. Highlights include the daft samplecraft and subtle gully bass squidges on Clart & MSdoS's "Disco Inferno", the dusty jazz finesse of "Morning Vibes", the overwhelming bass sensation of NCamargo & Ghibli's "Astral Drift". And that's just the tip of the freshness fountain.
Review: Any jungle is festival jungle when dropped at the right time, but if you're looking for out-and-out skanky bumpers that guarantee arena meltdowns look no further as Vinyl Junkie and Rachael EC have selected 48 (yes 48) cuts that promise to raise all kinds of bodily temperatures, noises and movements. Serum's wobble-funk "Rat Trap VIP", Rob Blaze's system-slaying "Sound Boy", DJ Hybrid's Headz-style drone bass snake-wrestler, the iconic rave vocal emotion on Vinyl Junkie & Sanxion's "Ninja Bizznizz", Billy Bunter's chaotic dancehall skanker "Killa Sound".... We could list the highlights for days on end. An epic collection.