Review: Ed:It continues his "Sihouettes" series with another wide-armed collection of precision D&B. As with the previous editions in the collection (that will eventually comprise to form his debut album) the range is wide, incisive and reveals his deepest influences and knowledge of proper foundation drum & bass. "Can't Stop Thinking" lights the fire with an introspective, dark and sexy vibe (think Shogun era Perez) while "Empty Eyes" gets proper sultry on the vocal side and proper heavy on the bassline / production side. "Endings" takes the crown for the darkest jam of the EP, though; pure grumpy funk, not dissimilar to the recent work of Tyrone (or FD when he's in a badboy mode), there's something very classy yet disgusting about it. Finally he tags up with fellow Shogunites Pola & Bryson for "The Ticket", a slinky, subdued creeper that gets darker, deeper and more immense as the track builds. Just the ticket!
Review: Player central: Not one artist on this EP doesn't command serious respect. Ed:It and Pennygiles's 2014 firecracker gets the treatment from Ulterior Motive, adding just a lick or two of shade to the already solid groove. ST Files and Response follow with a beautifully restrained deep stepper that's not dissimilar to erstwhile ST collaborator Marcus Intalex. Total Science and FD maintain the deep theme with a soulful rolling track that's not dissimilar to their Funky Technicians material. Villem and McLeod anchor the EP with a unique halftime roll that balances dark and light tighter than your nan's 1950s television. A truly spotless EP.
Review: You can do this the easy way or the hard way... Whether you untie your shoelaces or not, your shoes are going through the window the second "Unchained" drops. Signs has officially levelled up. Bringing up the rear are Friction and Karma with a walloping roller where the bassline takes a much more active role in the story than it would in a more typical liquid cut. "Turn To Nothing" is Ed.It at his finest; restrained, barbed and tooled up with a sharp sample. Finally North Base close the show with their most delicate track to date as "Unexplained" shimmers with Technimatic-level pianos. Don't even think about fetching your defenestrated footwear.
Review: Shogun Audio don their shades and stare into the blisteringly bright future of drum & bass with a brand new series; Point Of Origin. The idea is to represent some of the most exciting names (old and new) with an open mind to the many sub-sub-genres drum & bass seems to have right now. As a result we excitingly flicker from lush emotional jazz (Ed:It's "Centre Suite") to unruly sheet metal neuro in the space of a track (Posij - "Shieldbreaker"). Much deeper into the set we hit icy vocal soul from the likes of Need For Mirrors and Liz-E, we get flattened by Zero T's tribal thunder drums and experience a blissful rolling lullaby from Karma. This is the tip of the Point Of Origin iceberg, though... A must-check for all future-focussed junglists.
Review: What a year it's been for Shogun Audio: albums from Spectrasoul and Rockwell, new signing Karma, the epic Point Of Origin collection and killer singles from every artist on the roster. Here they wrap up the year with 34 bangers, blissers and blunderbusses. If you've been following the label you'll know just how heavy this weights in bass gold. If not, it's the best possible place to play catch up. From the Jenna G-fronted Submorphics chiller "The Divine" and the gospel-level heaven of Spectrasoul's "Shelter" to the much darker, thunderous slammers such as Friction and Icicle's "Crucifix", Fourward's "Exile" and Calyx & TeeBee's gamechanging remix of Spor's "Aztec", this is a spotless sonic calling card for the label and its many multifaceted talents.
Review: Double decade business: Total Science celebrate their label's big two-oh with an on-point collection of ageless constructs from friends old and new. Naturally, everyone arrives to the party in their sharpest finery; Break's cheeky rave references on the juiced up "Unified", the ugly undertones and system-melting weight of Total Science, Digital & Spirit's incredible "Apply The Pressure", Calibre's cosmic ping-pong jam "The Trot", Nymfo's dreamy harmonic heaven "Game Of Love", The Invaderz swashbuckled drum session "Be Around"... Not one player has tailored a shabby garm, ensuring well-suited jams for decade to come.
Total Science - "Infinite Pathways" - (6:53) 172 BPM
Break - "Emeralds" - (6:20) 172 BPM
Signs - "Unchained" - (5:34) 172 BPM
Friction & Karma - "No Return" - (5:05) 174 BPM
Ed:It - "Turn To Nothing" - (5:45) 174 BPM
North Base - "Unexplained" (feat Charlotte Haining) - (4:42) 173 BPM
Review: What a crazy trip it's been.... Four months ago Shogun commenced their 100th release celebrations with the start of a four-part series that's seen some of the label's finest releases and broadest scope in recent years. Now all 16 tracks are available in one package, ranging from the horn-hazed bliss of Friction & Karma's "No Return" to Phace's deep space synth tear-up "Mumbo Jumbo" by way of Technimatic's string-surged "Transference" and Ivy Lab's impeccable shake-up of SpectraSoul's "Glimpse", if you're uncertain on just how on-point Shogun are then this collection firmly states exactly where Friction's label is at... And where they're heading.
Review: From Prolix to Technimatic, Total Science to Was A Be by way of Icicle, Joe Ford, Fourward, Spectrasoul, Phace, Ed.It and many more, Friction's label digs deep from the genre's most innovative corners and eras. As we prepare to close off 2016, they've taken a detailed look back over the last 18 months of crucial output to not just represent where the label is at, but the genre itself. An ideal opportunity to fill any holes in your collection cuts such as Fourward & Linguistics demonic stomper "Storm", Was A Be's rudeboy-slewing halftime damager "Blind" or Break's sparkling "Emerald" and complete with a journeyman mix of the tracks themselves, this rounds up yet another serious year at the very forefront of drum & bass.
Various - "Hospital/We Are 18" (Mixed By Tomahawk) - (1:12:45) 175 BPM
Review: 18 years ago, Hospital Records launched with a deep and jazzy D&B 12" from the Peter Nice Trio, whose members included London Elektricity founders Chris Goss and Tony Colman. Nearly two decades on, Hospital is one of the biggest brands in electronic music, having cornered the market in funky, soulful, accessible, party-hearty "festival D&B". To celebrate their achievements, they've put together an impressively expansive compilation. There are new and previously unreleased tracks from the label's growing roster of artists - think Nu:Tone, High Contrast, Camo & Crooked, Netsky and Logistics - plus a thrill-a-minute bonus mix from Tomahawk. Covering most of the junglist spectrum whilst remaining unflinchingly melodic, it's a fitting celebration.
Alix Perez - "Down The Line" (feat MC Fats) - (6:27) 172 BPM
JO - "R-Type" - (5:51) 174 BPM
Subwave - "Think" - (5:58) 175 BPM
Shogun Audio Presents: The Classics (2004-2017) (continuous DJ mix) - (57:08) 174 BPM
Review: When a label as consistent and as well rounded as Shogun Audio announce a 'Classics' release it obviously sends shivers around the drum & bass community. It's hard to imagine condensing thirteen years of dominance into a minimized box of thirty classics, but just looking at the tracklisting is awe-inspiring. We see classic reappearances from the likes of Friction, Spor, Break, Icicle, Rockwell, Spectrasoul, Alix Perez, Camo & Krooked and that's not even half of the names involved. To break it down simply, this compilation summarizes why Shogun hold such a legendary status within the scene, through incredible consistency and magnificent diversity of sound.