Review: Onyx Recordings level up with their first artist album - 'Tokyo Nights' from one of their longest standing artists DJ Gaw. An interesting concept piece where all the tracks link or segue super smoothly into each other, it's one of those magic drum & bass albums that works perfectly at home while still kicking hard in the dance. Highlights come in all shapes, sizes, forms and flavours including the bulbous roller 'Kyoto Days', the sweet two-step delights of 'Feels Wrong' with A Little Sound and the devilishly stern and steppy 'Disillusion' with Madrush MC. These are just a handful of many highlights from this impressive and highly accomplished debut artist album. Big up DJ Gaw.
Review: Jungle Cakes shake us and bake us once again as label owners Deekline and Ed Solo lure long time friend Benny Page into their lair for this incredible 58 track collection. Created as a mix but all tunes available for your own persy armouries, as always with the 'Welcome To The Jungle' series, we're treated to sounds and styles across the entire dnb spectrum. Expected everything ranging from Benny's own bubblers to more dancefloor styles such as Blaine Stranger's 'Dragon' and Octo-Pi's 'This Sound' via rugged jump-up uppercuts such as Lockerz 'The Funk', crucial jungle licks like Exposure's remix of DeJay's 'St Paul's Jammin' and pure futurism like Filip Motovunski's 'Ninja'. And this isn't even the tip of the jungle iceberg here, there's so much to digest here. Huge.
Review: South West Riddim is a drum and bass label and event, based out of Exeter. Having already launched their imprint with EPs from Chakhan and a split release with Arlo & Ellm earlier this year, South West Riddim fully arrive with a beautifully curated compilation, which is in no doubt on the way to getting fully rinsed out by the soundsystem culture they represent. With pumping numbers coming through the soulful breaks of Bokeh's "Watch The Way" and Pattern's tight line dub in "M32" - ferocious hardcore, jungle, and rave motifs keep it real in Guzi's "Stavro". Next up are the tear-out and hyperfluorescent breaks of Meridian's "Respect Is Due", some stripped back and nefariously heavy jungle in DJ Gaw's "Style" - a serious tip with the added touch of Trafic MC - with more explosive dub-steppers coming from Bruk's "Whopp Dem". Cap this off with "How Can I Be" and send your next block party into hyperspace.
Review: This various artists release from Born on Road is packed full of twisted sounds for you wrap your noggins around, and there's a sick blend of aesthetics and styles amongst all the filth. 'Turbulent Times' by Gray and Rider Shafique is wobbly and rolling, it packs all of its energy into the sub-bass and just flows out with style alongside some wicked MC work. 'Pieces of Eight' by Trex is a monstrosity of energy, with a superb drum section that packs more character into the arrangement than you can wag a finger at, whilst Bruk edges in over the top with 'Waps', showing what a hefty dose of technoid energy can bring to the beat. Big.
Review: Nuusic have been around for a grand total of three years now, and a three-part celebration of that fact is now here. This is the first instalment and it's a beauty, with a whole host of artists from the Nuusic orbit stepping up to lay down some serious heat. That's what's on offer here and it's a cut from Kumo - 'Skeng Riddim' - that really steals the show, as inch-perfect stepping percussion murderously underpins a rap-driven, bloated bassline sound which drips urban force from every corner. Serious Wretch 32 vibes on this one. Conrad Subs has two tracks, including a wicked rework of garage classic 'Bump & Grind', and Teej also has several contributions; 'Hydro' being the naughtiest, a drawn-out roller covered in old-school class. Yes lads.
Review: A long time ago, in a land far, far away, Deep in the Jungle unleashed interplanetary destruction on a galactic scale. Not really, but they are channelling the force with this compilation, which ropes in some of the galaxy's fiercest producers to craft old-school riddims with a futuristic touch. Conrad Subs lands all phasers blasting with a bunch of different cuts, and his collaboration 'Rock On' with DJ Hybrid is an absolute percy, a sub-heavy wobbler that oozes funk through brass stabs and a rhythmic, catchy approach. Redline flips a light, fluttery intro into bassline-led low frequency devastation, whilst Kartoon gets old school with his remix 'Lions of Judah' by Sharpz. Unreal stuff.
Review: Jungle Cakes always tend to put out music that rests on the foundations of UK underground, the cross-over influences of soul, reggae, jungle and D&B. it's always a fresh sound and it always brings up connotations of Boomtown, free parties and sunny afternoons. This is a monster album curated by Aries and Kelvin 373, who have taken tracks both old and new to form a banging compilation. Bou nails it on 'Music Takes Me Higher', a rustic revisit to classic jungle sounds; Aries and Nicky Blackmarket roll things out in a tight way on 'Champion'; and Chimpo slams the brakes on 'DidDieDoThat'. We don't know the answer to that, but we do know this is fat. Big ups.
Review: It appears that the Ghetto Dub Recordings team has assembled one hell of a roster for this one as they unleash the fully unmixed version of the Dubz: ReRubbed album project, allowing us to enjoy each and every tune in its full majesty. We find the perfect balance of high intensity dancefloor danger and more stripped back rollers throughout the compilation, from the Phibes remix of Wrecked from Vinyl Junkie & Sanxion giving us a gritty, synth lead smackdown to the much more junglist inspired recreation of Java's 'Screwface' from Aries. There are a few standouts throughout this eclectic selection, including Epicentre's monstrous sub-driven rework of 'We Up There' from Bill & Ed, alongside Veak's neurotic overhaul of Subcriminal's 'Mack 10' and the system rattling recreation of Flat T's 'Proceedings Closed' from Durban. What a selection this is!
Review: Here comes the remix! As if these Born On Road cuts weren't gully enough as originals, Kelvin, Aries, Gold Dubs and fam have now enlisted a whole slew of versions. It's muderation from the off as Gray destroys Rahmanee's gun-toting western slammer 'Bad Boy Steppa'. A barrage of badness follows: Ben Snow's take on 'Round Here' is pure rifle bassline fire, Disupta flips Stivs & Aries' 'Raver' into an aggy blend of breaks and grunting jump-up bass, Marcus Visionary goes full jungle on 'Coconut Chalwa', the list goes on. Born to bad.
Review: So no one told you life was gonna be this way. Your job's a joke, you're broke. Your love life's D.O.A It's like you're always stuck in second gear. When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month Or even your year, but DJ Gaw will be there for you. He's got Friends with a capital F. Mates likes Metalwork, Kumo, Parallel, Citrusfly, Magenta and Offline. Together they are most definitely there for you with raw co-lab fusion. Highlights include the ruff stuff bass grunts on "Mad Ting", the well-humoured mid 2000s style bassline funk of "Stingray Dub" and the deeper charms of "About You". Each friend bringing out a different side to Gaw. Each friend reminding us how on-point Pick N Mix are. They'll be there for you.
Review: Bristol's baddest drum & bass crew are back on the road and back releasing fiercely naughty music that's just packed to the rafters with urban-edged attitude. DJ Gaw has been honing his craft for some time and the work put in is evident in Hand Sign, five-tracker that starts off with a bang and doesn't let up for one second. 'Signal' is superb, as Gaw samples the great David Rodigan, creating a wicked ambience which is then cut through by sharp-edged breaks and bouncing, wobbly stabs. The jungle destruction continues on 'Hand Sign', Joe Burn lays down the bars on 'Hyper' and Disrupta finishes the job with a feature on the superly gruff 'Rasta'.
Review: Pick N Mix: A place where full fat variety comes as standard and you're guaranteed to leave with a blazing sugar high and the stickiest fingers imaginable. Since launching last year they've been responsible for a whole barrage of on-point fire jams from the most exciting names in the new-gen D&B movement and for their 10th release they've levelled up the selection in a major way. 20 fresh tracks from 20 killer new talents, the vibes here are so palpable you could chew them. Highlights include the techno-like insistency and of Alex SLK's "Gorillaz", savage tear-out in the form of Vital's "The Game", Zoro's Dread-bass warp wonder session "Buss It", Magenta's MC-fronted bash-about "Purpose", the list goes on and on. Sweet!
Review: Nuusic put out some damn good music. In fact, we're still reeling from their Sound of Nuusic compilation and that was months ago and so this EP from Disrupta is a welcome addition to the ever-burgeoning world of D&B. Five tracks long, Karma is a moody, raw release that would undoubtedly sound fat through a soundsystem. This is especially true for track one, 'Origin', a diving, sub-heavy piece of work that gargles on the stabs and bounces on the hits. 'Fire' featuring Zoro has a cool, steppy beat pattern and even bigger bassline to match. Top stuff.
Review: Who are the Dropzquad? We're not entirely sure, to be honest, but we assume that this release is a summary of their music. Featuring DJ Gaw, Decrypt, Phenom and LDT & Shock, it's a showcase of the Dropzone sound and we're definitely into it. 'Angery' is our personal highlight, with an endearing movie sample over the intro but a moody, vibrant back end that shudders and groans as it rotates on itself. This one is a proper roller and the rest of the EP carries on the charge with pure-blooded cuts left right and centre. Choonage.