Review: His first fresh material since his album Intaference last year, the mysterious Ahmad returns with another lean, mean collab-heavy EP. "Singularity" launches the collection with its graveyard textures and roomy drum arrangement. "Clarion Call" sees him colliding with Gremlinz once again for one of his minimal moments to date; tribal yet sparse, drop this one very carefully. "Bricks" reminds us of Ahmad's dubbier side with its ocean-deep sub lines and readiness to rim shot when required. Finally Ahmad teams up with Dispatch collective DBR UK for the mentasm-primed jungle assault "Grinding Teeth". Bricks don't roll... They smash.
Review: Demand Records command the sort of widespread acclaim for each release that larger labels envy. No hype, no empty threats, they are without doubt the scene's go to label for upfront and intelligent drum & bass. It's not surprising then that this blistering release showcases some of the finest new talent in the scene right now while providing some serious attitude. "Armshouse" is a dancefloor driven, down and dirty breakbeat roller; tight, punchy and fierce. Newcomer "War" sends out his battle cry with rapidfire percussion and deep, dark atmospherics. Two standout tracks from one of D&B's top labels.
Digital & Keygenlog - "Too Late Again" - (6:03) 58 BPM
Digital & Gremlinz - "Low Battery" - (6:14) 174 BPM
Digital & Sight Unseen - "Out Of Control" - (6:23) 174 BPM
Digital - "Bitter Switch" - (5:41) 174 BPM
Review: Digital returns this week to the seminal Function Records, an old-school imprint with old-school credentials an old-school lineup yet new-school freshness. Digital is of course the man of the moment and he's teamed up with some of his most talented friends for Mental State, an EP which means business. 'Too Long Again' featuring Keygenlog is knock-down jungle that seriously smacks, a gravelly, monochromatic back end adding the weight to a set of naughty jungle breaks. The other cuts are all more fantastic jungle, proper jungle and jungle which resonates in a manner that's deeply urban and which strikes at the core of the genre. Unmissable.
Review: Canadian minimalist Gremlinz returns to Paradox with two leaner, meaner stepping machines. Teaming up with Jesta for "The Axe", it's an all-out drum frenzy as a classic step break is peppered with thundering hang drum insistency and chilling pads. "White Dove", meanwhile, takes us back to the source with a wonderfully Headzy detuned synth refrain buried deep beneath a more rolling drum arrangement. Impressive.
Review: Second time around for Gremlinz "Frankie Gunns", an atmospheric, early morning jungle roller that first appeared on Renegade Hardware's compilation style Deadpan EP way back in 2009. Here, the hazy, head-in-the-clouds original - a wonderful combination of slowly shifting ambient chords, hedgerow field records, rambunctious jungle breakbeats and booming sub-bass - comes accompanied by a fresh rework by Paradox, AKA 1990s drum and bass survivor Dev Pandya. His rework is, arguably, even better than Gremlinz fine original version, with deliciously dreamy ambient chords seemingly drifting in and out of a backing track rich in punchy D&B beats, stabbing riffs and rumbling bass. When Pandya ratchets up the ruffneck riddims midway through, the hairs on your arms and neck will leap to attention.
Review: Nasty, low down, tech steppin' drum and bass courtesy of DJ Trace's seminal London imprint DSCI4. Toronto's Gremlinz teams up with fellow homeboy Adrian Go on the dark sci-fi nightmare that is "Rice Bowl" which truly plunders the depths of hell; this one's intense and calls to mind the classic sound of Ed Rush & Optical and Trace himself. The UK's Quartz steps up to the plate also with "Tachyon" featuring Nanobyte. A satanic exploration in breakbeat science reminiscent of late 90s experiments by Boymerang.
Review: When two deepsmiths combine forces on the ultimate blueprint label: Toronto's Gremlinz and London's Jestas build on previous collabs such as "The Axe" and "Arowana" with this sublime four piece. "Nessus" surges with heavy atmospheres and an early Breakage style break. Wait for the second drop as some crucial dubby ripples enter (and consequently change) the game. Elsewhere "Departed" shoots us to the edge of the cosmos with a late 90s style two-step, "The Drift" is pure jazz with its shuffled drums and cavernous introspection while the title track closes the show with a good old fashioned 45 King tear up. There's nothing empty about these promises mate.
Review: Straight out of Ipswich, J Robinson steps forward on the dub specialists imprint 'Tribe 12' with a fantastic extended LP, focussing down on everything deep and dangerous. With a full length project to play with, we see Robinson delve fully into the expansive realms of jungle, drum & bass and everything inbetween. Our personal favourites lay in the weighty rolling tech bass tones of 'Pogo', the militarised half time structure of 'Zugu' and the more out of the box Asian-influenced instrumentation and arrangement of 'Weeping Dub' which features additional work from Carbon. Overall this is a fantastic LP and a must purchase for any seasoned drum and bass follower!
Review: What a fantastic selection we have for you here as we witness four of the most creative producers working within the underground dance music scene come together for a top notch project, courtesy of the 3024 team! We kick off course with the stunning yet minimal production stylings of Martyn, with his memorable original 'Frozen Bread Snaps', which is followed in hot pursuit by Sin/Grezlins & Jesta's tasty junglist roller: 'Door Of Guf'. Next up, Noire dives into the driver's seat for a helping of original funky with some delicious percussive power and chiming leads, followed up by Parris and the super delicate 'Dusty Glass Bubbles', a fantastic way to round this one up!
Review: Having cut his teeth on IM:LTD, Warm and DSCI4 it was only a matter of time before the ice slab bruises and shards of Quartz crashed down on the Headz mothership. And man do they hit hard. Six tracks in total (with two collabs with Survey and Gremlinz) every cut strikes the soul... The pulsating electrical current of "Hall Of Mirrors", the vicious halftime data spikes and caustic code cascades of "Oblong Druid" (with Gremlinz) and the grumbling, rumbling dungeon echoes of "Ghastly" are just three of the many highlights here.
Review: Hospital have ramped up their "Future Sound" series in a major way this year... America, Holland, Brazil, now Canada. It's a decidedly deep and techy cross-section of flavours, too: Gremlinz brings the ice with the angular fury of "Tactical Rail", Schematic delivers some mountainous vocal soul on "Learn From The Past". Those looking for a more contemporary / Manchester style halftime drum arrangement should jump on Levrige's "The Legend" while Stranjah closes the show with a timeless Commixian heads-down roller "Gideon". Powerful.