Review: As always with the now infamous 1985 Music imprint, they have assembled the great and good to explore the darker realms of electronic dance music, primarily focussing on dubstep and neurotic drum and bass flavour through this fabulous new 'Atlas' compilation. The names involved are pretty mind-blowing with a roster including the likes of Alix Perez, Drone, Headland, Foreign Concept, Safire, DRS and many more heavyweight names. The entire project has a touch of finesse and musical class about it, from the beautifully processed drum clanks of 'Nibiru' from Visages to the stunning vocal processing of 'Do Me No Good' from Nymfo. There really isn't a low point to this project with the sweeping soundscapes and electronic destruction of Deft's 'Scars' original being a real high point for us!
Review: Last year Bcee and Charlotte Haining released a superbly soulful vocal album, and the time has come for it to get the remix treatment. The lineup for this album is immense, as LSB, Technimatic, S.P.Y, Mitekiss and loads more step up to put their own spin on things. The Shogun duo Technimatic kick of proceedings by shoving a rocket inside 'History', with one of their trademark euphoric buildups, a lead that moves delightfully into an explosively rolling exercise in soulfulness. Deadline nail their remix of 'Almost There', and S.P.Y's flips 'Remind Me' into a growling dancefloor number. There are too many corkers to list here - check em out.
Review: One of the best liquid drum & bass albums ever made is being reworked by a star-studded cast of drum & bass' biggest hitters. What more could you want? It's LSB & DRS of course, and the pair's Blue Hour album from the back end of 2019 - a gorgeously organic, musical release - has been taken up a notch into true 174 territory. Calibre has two features and it's his remix of 'Frozen' that really shines through, and the original's strings make for an ideal Calibre canvas; whispering atmospheres, sumptuously deep basslines and elegant simplicity. On the other end of the spectrum, FD flips fan-favourite and jazz-icon 'Letting Go' into a riot of funk-infused fun, as a wobbling bassline underpins DRS' superbly soulful vocal performance. What would this album be without a spot for Break, and the Bristol man's remix of 'High As She' flips one of the original's best non-174 offerings into a pure, blissful roller that's summer in a bottle. Unreal stuff from some of the best in the game.
Review: When we are discussing the modern greats of electronic music production, there's no way we can have that conversation without Calibre's name coming into the mix and blend. This brand new album via the team at Signature takes the title 'Feeling Normal' and is a straight up masterclass, from the stunning breakbeat-driven soundscapes of 'Barren' and 'Man Got Sandwich' to the colourful post-garage designs of 'Feeling Normal' and 'Time To Breathe' alongside Cimone. It has a touch of everything and the quality levels just don't seem to dip, regardless of whatever genre or style we are hearing. There are also some serious highlights, with 'Badman' alongside DRS being a somber, post-dubstep homage, 'Has To Happen' being a sumptuous, emotive roller and 'Predictable' being a futuristic steppers delight. Incredible work as expected!
Review: DRS is back on his own Space Cadet imprint with a six-track collection of absolute beauties. Its DRS at his liquid-lounging best and he's recruited an all-star collection of artists to help him out, including Mindstate, Maverick Sabre, Vangeliez, Redeyes - the list goes on. We're especially taken by HMD and Redeyes' 'Cinnamon Roses', which takes a sultry, new-school hip-hop vocal line and stretches it out into a bouncing, funky and trendy liquid cut. There are floaty piano riffs on 'Us', darker touches on 'Running Back', and soaring soul on 'Save Me Now'. That's just the beginning of the Light Language, and with this album DRS is showing us all once more that he's the most diverse, wide-ranging MC in drum & bass. Legendary.
Review: Preceding the release of Calibre's so called 'first bona fide 140 BPM record' is two choice remixes that Signature have commissioned from legendary Berlin producer Mark Ernestus. Popularly characterised for his role in Basic Channel, Ernestus' dubwise remixes are only rivaled Chain Reaction's DJ Pete (aka Substance). Delving deep into the art of the saw wave, "Badder" sees swells of holographic synths float in the ambient textures of Calibre's original groove while occasionally buffered by light, skipping tops. "Bad", just the same only simmered down, allows its drums to cut through in a way that doesn't distract from its cavernous sound.
Review: Spearhead are back with another compilation featuring some of their music from the past, as well as a handful of brand new cuts. The final track on the release - The Vanguard Project's remix of 'We All' by L.A.O.S is the highlight, a brand new outing which rolls out a euphoric string section to great effect, a hands-in-the-air anthem which will make want to be in the rave. Phaction's remix of 'Mirror Image' came out last year, and we've been in love with its cascading drum section and adrenaline-fuelled vocal magic ever since, a truly wonderful number that's bright, shiny and full of pure vibes. Wicked compilation.
Review: Overview are without a doubt one of the biggest success stories of recent years and 2020 has proved to be their biggest yet, with a slew of fantastic releases across their roster of artists. Pretty much that entire crew is represented here and the tracks cover their 2 year history, from early tunes like breakout hit 'Around Me' to brand spanking new cuts like 'Framed' by Klinical and Waeys. Waeys has been an important part of the Overview story and his tune 'Who You Are' with Hadley was one of the first steps in that journey, a ridiculously dirty techy roller with an infectious bounce and a progression that will certainly get your gurn on. A spectacular album.
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: Shogun have a forthcoming compilation and it's one which shows just how good a year they had, all things notwithstanding. It features music from GLXY, Sustance, Koherent and more, and what's notable is just how many are from producers relatively new to the Shogun camp, evidence that the Brighton team are doing the best they can at nurturing the next generation. GLXY are at the forefront of that generation and they have several tracks featured from their Spring album, Research & Development. 'Conclusions' feat. Steo is one of the best, a feathery light liquid number with a dusting of harp and a dash of vocal magic, a sultry approach mirrored on their critically acclaimed single 'She Sings For Me' feat DRS. Koherent's recent, infectiously funky number 'Bliss' makes an appearance, as does several tunes from Gerra & Stone's rebirth as GEST. Big.
Review: Hospital's newest dynamic duo finally have their long-awaited album coming next week, and with Playing In The Dark the pair have exceeded all expectations. This LP moves across dub-influenced bounce, breaksy hip-hop sounds, soulful liquid and straight dancefloor heat. It's a palette befitting the history of both MCs and the range of producers they've roped in is unsurprisingly impressive, with LSB, Calibre, Diemantle, S.P.Y, Chimpo and more all stepping up. Calibre has two contributions, including a vibrant junglist cut, but Villem & Bcee's 'Playing In The Dark' might be the most memorable and we challenge any of you not to bop to this absurdly infectious tune. 'Tectonic Plates' by Diemantle is another absolute stomper, as the breaks-focused duo bring their cross-genre appeal with full throttle and birth a concotion of pounding subs and stepping, inch-perfect drums. This is a truly sensational album.