Donovan 'Bad Boy' Smith - "After Party Vol 2" (continuous mix By Donovan 'Bad Boy' Smith) - (1:13:40) 178 BPM
Review: The compilations that come out of the V Recordings camp are as legendary as they come. A whole host of different ideas and concepts such as Planet V, Liquid V Club Sessions and V.I.P - I could go on - have landed on the label and brought us happiness. This time around it's instalment #2 for the Afterparty series and it's an LP with more soul than God, honestly. The sultry piano riff of 'No One Can Hear You Read' will have you tingling with excitement; the dulcet American tones of T.R.A.C go perfectly with Macca & Loz Contreras' iconic sampling on 'Leaps & Bounds'; and 'Summer Dayz' by L-Side and Addiction is a pure funk roll out. Another impeccable V Recordings compilation out the way, then. Smashing stuff.
Review: You shoot, you score... Weapons Of Choice look back over the last two years of killer rollers and thumpers and recruit a rollcall of hurter-mongers for some updates. The seemingly ubiquitous Bou returns with a savage shakedown of Saxxon's "Weapons", L Side flips Simplification's "Awesome Days" into a crazy amen munching sea serpent, Redeyes adds some dreamy charm to Dave Owen's "Twin Stars" while Jayline gives Mr Explicit's "Funk Ya System" an absolute foghorning. Full El Dude Brothers business, this has the power of at least 100 truckers all learning on the horn at once. Shots fired!
Review: Randall knows what time it is. Not just in the UK but stateside too as he continues to rep and support some of the US's most authentic and clued-up junglists Jaybee and Dave Owen. Here they hit hard with some of their gulliest flavours to date: "Grimey Shit" nods at the KOTR/Benny L style of foghorn bass, "Sacrifice" gets even more twisted with a cyclical bass drone and some impeccable amen work while the rather sweary cockney free-for-all "F**k Off" mops up the mess with a heads-down techy edge. Perfectly on-point.
Review: Super consistent US representor Owen flies free with his second substantial EP of the month: "A Love So True" on Soul Deep. As you'd expect from the title "A Love So True" is a total dreamboat. Floating, harmonic wooziness at its very best. Deeper into the EP we hit subtle grit on "Easy Does It", we dust off the jazz hands for the summer-swinging soul slider "The Get Down" and totally zone out on the delicious breakdown of "Do What It Do". Understated soul at its shiniest, Dave Owen is making all the right sounds.
Review: Blazin' by name, blazing by nature: the unstoppable US junglist Dave Owen makes his debut on Soul Deep with a superlative four-tracker that triumphs in showcasing both his on-point range and Soul Deep's ever-reliable status as premier LA groove dealer. "Blazin' Arrows" is all about the rolling breaks, pure Randall material. "Makin' Plans" fuses up slick emotional rap with jazzy muted horns and another set of precision rolling drums while "Soul Purpose" instantly flares up with a jaunty ragtime jazz piano riff. Finally "Slave 2 The Game" is a trip back to 96 on the Good Looking express. Slave to authenticity, more like. Vibes.
Review: Respectfully honouring one Dillinja's finest tunes in their name and respectfully honouring our ears in their short-but-super-sweet output so far, DJ Slap's WOC imprint is kicking with serious statements of intent. Following Saxxon's launch, US firebrand Dave Owen takes over with three equally on-point compositions; "Breaking Through" sits somewhere between Utah Jazz and Need For Mirrors with its rushy pianos and wasp-like electrified bass sizzles, "Twin Stars" takes us deeper into a more soulful introspective thanks to its ghostly vocal moans and weeping strings, "Run The Jewels" shuts down the show with the biggest weapon in the cabinet. A gully, swampy tech funk roller with heavy halftime sensibilities. All bases covered, all shots fired. Bring on WOC3!
Review: With previous collaborations punching massive holes through the walls at the HQ of Bryan Gee's Chronic and Liquid V, US D&B soldiers Dave Owen and Jaybee now set their sights on Bristol: home of junglist daddy Randall. Long time supporter of US D&B talent, Randall's roped the two in for a heavyweight collection: "Blow" is an all-out gully roller that seems tailor made for Mac II, "Streets Is Dirty" is all about the rattling snare and Krust-style twostep while "You Want None" is a straight-up grade-A 3am dark-out that shudders and shakes with the same grunting restraint as Jaybee's solo groaner "Who Want Some". It's a rhetorical question - we all want some.