Review: A superbly executed EP here, with VIP re-works from some of the key bods from the Playaz camp - the ineffable don of wobble jump up, DJ Hazard and his cohorts Erb N Dub, Legacy, Original Sin and brother Taxman, plus Friction and Nu Balance and newcomer Jaydan. First up is a delectable re-interpretation of massive 2011 hit "Food Fight" which draws out the vocal and juxtaposes it with grizzled bass. Next is "Alaska (VIP)" which is a glorious, fast-paced explosion of sound, and special mention must be made of the wonderful "Casino" VIP by Original Sin plus mid noughties classic "Robocop" which is updated by Taxman. Jaydan rounds things off in rowdy fashion with a VIP of "Driller Killer". An expansive package and a must buy.
Review: Cementing its position as one of D&B's most essential labels with this round-up of the year's biggest tracks, Shogun Audio has outdone itself. From Rockwell's bafflingly precise electronic meanderings to Icicle's considered approach to minimal bass and drums, Technimatic and Spectrasoul's beautiful synergy of sound and feeling and newcomer Joe Ford's unique slant on experimental soundscaping, this is an unashamedly outgoing collection. Shogun has been running the gauntlet for some time now, focusing all the experimental energies harboured by its own terrifyingly impressive host of signed artists. As always, it's been worth the hard word. An essential release for an exceptional year. Long live Shogun!
Review: It's a biggie: Vienna quartet Fourward deliver their second album and they're not pussyfooting around. Whether they're flexing their fuzzy, gritty muscles (the Jakes-fronted "Bites The Dust", the vortex-ripping bass rolls on "Belly Of The Beast", the twisted mania of "Sequencer") or they're dipping into more experimental pastures (the rolling halftime pumps and textured vocal layers of "Empty Soul", the AI-style future space anthem "Over") or teaming up with another Austrian heavyweight with obscene tech funk (the Mefjus collaboration "Everytime") the whole collection works well in three ways: the dancefloor, your headphones and their position in the premier D&B league.
Review: Highly anticipated for longer than we care to remember, Friction's debut album was always going to be a full spectrum, widescreen affair. All corners covered with an energy and style we've become accustomed to from his DJ sets, this is the full Friction in more detail than he's ever displayed as a producer; highlights include the slamming choppage and damage of "Ultrafunk" (with Metrik) the slower tempo space rave UKG vibes of "Blue", the near Pendulum levels of euphoria and heaviness on "Running", the squidgy bass and roustabout riff of the appropriately named "Stinker" and the pure emotion and urgency of the album finale "All Nite". This is Friction at his most revealing and far reaching. Make a connection.
Review: The build up to Friction's debut album continues... Following the heavyweight "Mad In The Jungle" this summer, comes second LP single "Running". A heavyweight dancefloor banger that balances between slamming jumpy riffage, spacey peaktime euphoria and surging soulful vocals courtesy of Raphaella, this is Friction at his most playful and peaktime. Bring on the album!
Bring It Back (feat Stylo G - Tantrum Desire remix) - (4:42) 174 BPM
Review: If you liked the mighty Friction's Bring It Back from earlier this summer, you'll be thrilled to know that he's already 'brought it back' again. Yes the award-winning artist (aka Ed Keeley) has commissioned a new remix of his tune and is presenting it via his new Elevate Audio sub-label. The imprint aims to promote "straight up, uncompromising, dance floor drum & bass", the kind that might be a bit too real for his own Shogun label. Here Tantrum Desire fit the bill perfectly by conjuring up four and a half minutes of some seriously hyped frantic DnB mayhem!
Review: The concept behind Friction's Vs series is simple: hook up with as many mates in the studio as possible and write straight-up floor-flatteners. No theme, no pretention, just talented producers working together and playing off each other's strengths. Following epic co-labs with the likes of Icicle, Technimatic and Total Science comes the fattest edition yet as the BBC broadcaster teams up with Dimension (hooky and euphoric), Prolix (outrageously nasty and techy), Metrik (unabashed evangelism with a very well-known vocal hook) and Ulterior Motive (old school references wearing new school armour). Each one repping all player's finest attributes, Friction has brought out the best in his peers... And his own work. Essential.
Review: The d&b world can always count of Friction for an injection of huge, shady roll-outs, but this release is special - it's the first in his "Vs" series. Putting his skills up against some of the biggest names in the game, his contenders this time around begin with heavyweight veteran duo Total Science who brings colossal old school vibes and a ton of eccentric production values to the table in "Scatter", giving the straight-down-to-it bones of the track a massive unique twist. On the other side, new Shogun signing Fourward rattle along on a runaway techy drag race, pushed along by the unmistakably dark vocals of Jakes. Massive.
Review: Want to hear something that'll blow your complacent brains out? Get a load of this: Icicle and Friction have been in the studio together and created the sound of two planets colliding in the form of "Crucifix". Luckily this meeting of minds has been fully documented by Shogun Audio and packed up nicely into a perfect two-piece release. On the other side, Friction joins the ever inspirational Technimatic fellas for "Floating Frames", a tune so sweet it could bring entire civilisations to their knees. So it's fair to say this release has all aspects of universal domination covered.
Review: What is there to say about Shogun Audio that hasn't already been said at length directly into your ear at 3am? Friction's brainchild has become one of the scene's biggest, most successful and perhaps most importantly one of the most highly-regarded labels in recent years. A decade might not be a long time in D&B talk, but 10 years has been long enough for Shogun to put its stamp on almost everything making its way from the underground and into the blinding light of day. From the experimental sounds of Alix Perez, Rockwell and Icicle to the spellbinding Technimatic, right through to the chart-bothering escapades of Camo & Krooked, this is a flip through the highlights of Shogun's life. In case you forgot, it's been a brilliant one so far. Roll on the next 10 years.