Review: FD hides his ingenuity behind deceptively simple, stripped back productions. His music relies on the basics done unbelievably well and A Vision Of Hope is a six-track embodiment of how effective this method is, as he rolls things out with clarity in the percussion and high quality in the low frequencies. 'Hazmat' featuring Fox is a perfect example and the pair are a force to be reckoned with, as FD lays out an unbelievably crisp percussive basis for a bouncing, infectious bassline, both of which pair superbly with Fox's little-is-more approach to vocal magic. There's just a quality to this EP, it's organic and well-meaning but still tough and gutsy; the bassline on 'Vienna Circle' lopes in purposeful steps, but squirms with anger on 'Bully'. There are liquid notes on 'Here With Me' and an instrumental to rounds things off, North Quarter style. Sublime.
Review: The North Quarter is rounding out their 2020 with the first in a new Various Artists series: NQ State of Mind. We're assuming this name is a hat tip to Jay-z and Alicia Keys' NY State of Mind, and the focus on urban funk comes through clearly across this album's 10 tracks. It starts with the long-awaited Tokyo Prose remix of 'All My Life' by Satl, and Tokyo has stretched out Steo's incredible vocals over an elegantly simple piano riff and solid percussive basis, a timeless sound that gets right to the heart of what makes this label so good. Zero T gives his 2017 album cut 'Slightest Moment' the remix treatment, taking it up from hip-hop tempo to full drum & bass to form a rollicking, nonchalant roller which skips along with such purity of spirit you'll forget where you are. There's a superb original contribution from Redeyes with 'Original Soul', a stripped back remix of 'Late Night Jam' from Lenzman, and a dirty old school roller from Sam Binary. What an album.
Review: Freddie Dixon AKA FD has been doing his thing across a variety of labels for some time now, but it's in the last couple of years, and under the tuterage of Lenzman's The North Quarter, that he's really begun to shine. Lanta Nights is a couple cuts of gorgeous liquid and then three bassy, naughty rollers that smash of dub and soundsystem culture. It's a potent blend, and Akemi Fox is especially fantastic on 'Lie To You', a lounging, hip-hop endeavour that rolls out with the nonchalance it deserves. It's a superb EP and capped off with The North Quarter's typically well-refined aesthetic. Fantastic.
Review: Lenzman's imprint serves up its first V/A right here with Quarter To Quarter. Featuring exclusive tracks from the likes of FD, LSB, Total Science, Kyrist, Tokyo Prose, Break, Zero T and so many more, it's a full spectrum representation of the label that ranges from sublime, sun-kissed soul such as Redeyes' "Lust", Atlantic Connection and Steo's "Night & Day" to bouncy, vocal high-vibe affairs such as Break's remix of "In My Mind". Along the way expect stunning strident, cosmic hypnotic workouts (Tokyo Prose - "Rescue"), dubby dreamers (Kyrist - "Untrue") unlikely rudeboy slappers (Total Science - "Killa") and every other authentic, genuinely crafted D&B sound you associate with the label. Quarter To Quarter ... No half measures.
Review: Toulouse soul man Julien Salvi returns to The North Quarter with another prize-fighting package of deep, authentic drum & bass. Opening with a smoky intro track that's more jazz than dancefloor, he slowly take us deeper and deeper down his D&B rabbit hole. Cuts like "Fine Again" and "Next To You" breeze with that sad poignant spacious feeling he's made his own in recent years while "Evergreen Dub" (with FD) reminds us of his darker rolling side and "The Rhythm" is a direct homage to the man like Marcus. Stunning through and through.
Review: What a release this is. Coming from the vaults of Break, it's unsurprising that Symmetry's summer compilation has turned out to be such a standout collection of tracks, I mean just look at that tracklist: Lenzman, LSB, Break and more. Break's 'I Need You' has been doing the rounds in mixes and sets for a little while now and it's great to see it released, the simplicity of the sample and structure is shows that less can often be more and Break is the king of finding that balance. Lenzman's remix of Ill Truth's In My Soul is a well-made rework of an already fantastic original, its revamped drums injecting the Amsterdam flavour. Again, simple is best and this release proves that.
Review: Three varied cuts here from FD, a house producer with roots in London's jungle and garage scenes. 'Ribs' (feat Issac Rosie & Maverick Soul) is a very noq-sounding affair with insistent shakers, shimmering synths, barely-there party vox that drift in and out of the mix and a neat Rhodes-like piano line. 'Ribs (Interlude)' then drops the pace for 1:18 of downtempo ambience, before the Byron The Aquarius Mix of 'Ice Cream' blends shuffling deep house beats and soulful vox in a way that harks back to UKG's earliest days, its title perhaps a tribute to the seminal label of the same name?
Review: Every time you see a release that's forthcoming under the moniker of The North Quarter, you know it's going to be very, very good. Label honcho Lenzman doesn't take prisoners with his A&R skills and he definitely doesn't do so when it comes to FD's debut album, not that FD needs much oversight in order to be an outstanding producer. Better Days is thus unsurprisingly amazing. 16 songs in length, including preludes, FD takes you on a journey through hip-hop influences, jungle vibrancy and full-on D&B that'll leave you quivering with excitement. 'Better Man' featuring Fox is arguably the stand-out, with serene jazz elements blending into Fox-led funk and bouncing bass stabs. Unreal.
Review: Over a year has passed since he last appeared on SUNANDBASS Records with his "Serious" EP, FD returns to his spiritual stomping ground with three more timeless jams. As always with FD, the record covers the full spectrum; "All Yours" has a silky, soulful, Lenzman feel resonating throughout, "Second Villain" sounds like Randall in a basement at 3am while "Wah Wah Track" is a sunset reloader in waiting. Think Marky, think Patife, think Calibre. You know the drill...
Review: Ahead of his full EP release on Lenzman's North Quarter, dedicated craftsman FD teases us with this beautiful piano-stroking soul shaker "Always Something". Laced with space, a wry touch of jazziness and groove; serious props go to Fox who provides solid gold soul with his fully-sung chorus and conscious story on the verses. Stunning in its simplicity and straightforwardness, hypnotic in its allure - this is an amazing way to reveal the next chapter from The North Quarter. Blessy.