Review: Hello is that the police? Yes we'd like to report some multiple murderations. His name is Hexa and he's been killing us all year with his onslaught of left-of-centre, underground, frazzled-funk work-outs. He's been on Incurzion, Pick N Mix, Grid and many more and now he's on Biological Beats slaughtering us again with the deadly five track 'Wu Tang' EP. What's that? You'll be over to apprehend him shortly? Good, well watch out for the shaolin savageness of 'Wu Tang', be careful of the pure low end poison of 'Runaway' and duck when you hear the gruff bassline booms of 'Power Surge' with fellow Newcastlian Scudd. Thanks, cheerio.
Review: Look into Hexa's eyes. Not between the eyes. Not around the eyes. Not beside or beneath the eyes. Look into his eyes... And he will see to the depths of your soul. He'll have a laugh at your deepest desires to the twisted decaying rot of the title track 'The All Seeing Eye'. Then he'll sooth your troubles with jittering bass croaks 'Reassurances' and juice up those daydreams with the harmonic vibrancy of 'Submarines'. Before you know it he's probing your highest ambition, getting you feeling like Rocky to the understated grunt and thrust of 'Dismay' before getting you ready for war with the tense creeper 'Minesweeper'. The eyes have it.
Review: Everyone's favourite Welsh label are back in the game after a short time away and they've returned with what may be their best release yet. It's courtesty of Hexa and it manages to be both driven in its focus and diverse; led by minimal sounds yet not falling prey to easy trap of repetitive minimalism. 'What She Doesn't Know' is absolute genius, with a snapping percussive line that grounds a stabbing, funky, bassline that's genuinely unlike anything we've heard in a very long time. You have to hear it, really, and it's followed up by the gully roller that is 'Pandora's Box', a Gerra & Stone-esque concoction that has us wishing clubs were open. It moves onto the bubbling chill of 'Flashlight', before finishing on the deep, rolling notes of 'There's No Time', an incredibly cool four-track run that we can't recommend enough.
Review: Sex sells but Hex smells... And that's just the way we like it. A proper stinker merchant, straight out of Newcastle, he's been killing things on all the right labels in the last 12 months and this Subway Soundz release is no exception. Two tracks of pure grit, "Alive" asks all the questions while "Black Hole" gives all the answers. Subway Soundz smash it once again.
Review: A disruptor on the drum and bass scenes for a few years now Hexa makes his way to Pick N Mix, a label with a storied discography that's getting bigger by the month! Having released with other labels like Audio Addict and most recently with a contribution to Dilate Recordings, Hexa's swung minimal style surfaces in mini LP form. Drawing from woozy Wu-Tang-esque samples in between liquid rhythms, heavier bass and steppy percussions sections, you'' find that in tracks like "Vicious Cycle", "The Manchu", "The Box" and "Train" - all tips! "On Guard" introduces a heavy rave element with UKG vocal stabs alongside the bassline driven "Absence of Light". Top pick.
Review: Audio Addict don't tend to put out music that's weak, thin or otherwise not suitable for the dancefloor. Hexa's End of Line EP is a testament to that, all four cuts do some serious damage and the release overall is certainly on the sharper end of the spectrum. 'End of Line' is the best of the bunch and it's got a rough, Sofa Sound edge that injects a satisfying level of oomph into the arrangement. 'Ivory' is a close second and its incredibly unique concoction of swirling basses and gargling pulsars adds a wicked futuristic element. Top EP from the Audio Addict crew.
Review: Hexa is landing on the always consistent Pick N Mix with a full-length LP for your ears. 10 tracks long, Point of Contact blends more rolling and melodic sounds with the groaning, jump-up influenced bits that we know well from both him and the label. 'Magento' features the always good Sydney and it packs fantastic drum work, with snapping snares interlocked with shakers and big kicks to propel the vocals and bass onwards. 'The Korubo Tribe' is more massive and made for the dancefloor and it's in this area that the LP excels, especially alongside tunes like 'Cosmos' and 'Point of Contact'. Wicked.
Review: Level up. Hexa follows the likes of Skantia, Nectax and Scudd, young Hexa adds another layer to the north east's thriving drum & bass scene. And he's doing it across the board with styles ranging from groaning elasticated rollers ("Level 1") to skank-packed halftime wobblers ("Lebanon") via trippy farty little steppers like "Narcos" and the gritty revved up number with Incurzion's Caaza "Feelin'". A sharp combination of new talent and future-focused sounds, both Newcastle and Cardiff are denting the map right here.
Review: One more Toon! Gradient head north for their second release as young Newcastle guns go toe-to-toe on this gut-crippling double A. Both tracks packing punches like the clubs never closed down, it's impossible to pick a favourite. Do you go for the one-fingered salute, heads-drown drive and twisted harmonics of Hexa's 'Distance'? Or do you go for the full-on grunt and thrust and heavenly pads midway on KL's 'Game Changer'? Either way, you're going to cause serious damage. Stay connected.
Review: One of the most consistent and hardest working platforms for new-gen D&B talent in the last 10 years, DJ Hybrid's Audio Addict has a golden tracklist for breaking new names with the likes of Kumarachi, RMS, Agro, Section and Mr Hybrid himself all coming through the label. Now comes the new chapter. A new logo, a new approach with larger V/A releases that celebrate the most exciting names emerging but the same mission applies: to devastate your sets with the most contemporary and up front examples of this thing we call D&B. It starts right here with this crucial six-pack. From the moment Newcastle's Hexa opens with an electro-flavoured growler "Flourish" to the moment T Zone closes the EP with the dramatic strings and foul bassline of "Killers", this is the sound of Audio Addict kicking into a new decade stronger and more consistent than ever before.
Review: Pick N Mix head up north for some Geordie grit as another one of the Toon's fizzy D&B community shines a scene spotlight on the city. This time it's KL who serves up a six-piece of gritty harmonics and distorted, curmudgeonly bass. Beyond the epic title track, highlights include the tense, graveyard-style deepness of opener "Buzzkill", the savage, haunted groaning of "Smoke Out" (with fellow Newcastle murker Hexa) and the twisted rifle riddim and savage steps of "Radiant". Now stop: "Hammerfist" time.
Review: Pick N Mix do one thing, and that's pump out absolutely wild cuts of destructive D&B. That's their sole mission and, not for the first time, they've roped in Magenta and friends to help them accomplish it, a producer who is more than familiar with the peculiarities of dancefloor pressure and twisted sonics. 'Distress' is arguably the best cut on the EP, with absolutely wicked drums undergirding a Serum-esque display of dragged-out bass wizardry and gurgling force - the back-end on this track doesn't take any prisoners. The other tunes are trademark Magenta, with the punching stabs of 'Slave' and the stepping aggressiveness of 'Champion Style'. Big stuff.
Review: Magenta is back, using his force to compel you to pull ugly bassfaces and throw your drink with an EP that doesn't hold back. Its not the kindest on the ears but then again it's not supposed to be, it's a monograph in hard-hitting sonics and dastardly tones. It's multiple versions of 'Go Crazy' and they're all undergirded by a booming snare drum and percussive clarity, but the action happens in the steadily melodic but still raucous bassline, a pitched-up monstrosity of dancefloor proportions. The Vital remix isn't one you'll want to miss, but the VIP of the original from Magenta himself pips the others at the post for pure naughtiness.
Review: If you love expertly made drums, this will be the EP for you and although the basses are potently heavy, they rest on a foundation of percussion that's just pure vibes. It comes from Parallel on Pick N Mix, one of the best new age jump up labels, and it's a six tracker of devastating proportions. 'Man of Many Skill' is a proper roller, a track packed with sheer guts, as a movie sample spreads out above a direct, pummelling bassline that finds its excellence in its own simplicity. 'Rockers' has a fantastically infectious drum line that bursts with movement, while title tune 'Dream' has wide synth lines and an edge-of-the-seat, stepping drum line. Pitch perfect.
Twintone & Floating Point - "Riviera" - (6:17) 175 BPM
Twintone - "Cave Paintings" - (4:48) 174 BPM
Twintone - "Ocean Drive" - (6:35) 175 BPM
Review: Representing Frankfurt, Soul Brother Twintone steps up to SDD with five touching compositions fine-tuned for late night roll-outs. "Riviera" and "Buzzkill" are hurricanes of soul blown from the iciest galaxy as breezy pads do the sci-fi thing with the perfect levels of emotion. "Dakota" is a unique funk exercise with some great late 90s feels to the double bass and all-round brushed drum jazz aesthetic while "Cave Paintings" maintains the jazz spirit but with more of a Latin feel to the groove and momentum. Finally "Ocean Drive" signs off with a rushed out vocal texture, humming subs and a subtle melody in the percussion. Tingles.
Review: Feeling fine for Northern Line! Rantik and JAK's fledgling young label comes correct with their first full paid release. It's a VA and it's a beauty. Continuing the exceeding weight and exciting breadth of the sound they've built up through free downloads, these nine tracks rep the Newcastle label's parameters with deadly intent and features some very exciting new-gen names. Highlights include Hexa's pranged-out swinger 'Shanghai Knights', the volcanic bombastic bounces and blazes of Stompz' 'Funk Accelerator' and the Metal Work's gritty punisher 'Changes'. And that's just the tip of this northern iceberg. Firing.
Review: The best Welsh label in the game - as chosen by UKF this year - are back in the business with a properly sick VA LP, one which takes a bunch of the artists in their orbit and provides a platform for them to show off their untapped potential. Rantik steps up with 'Hear My Rhythm' and expertly weaves hypnotic percussive patterns around punching kicks and menacing vocal lines, a superb arrangement that's topped off by a gorgeously dark bassline with a core of solid steel. Label regular Hexa kills it with the relentlessness of 'Mirages', and 'Losing Sleep' by Division is the archetypal minimal roller. This album is stripped back, techy to its heart and a glimpse into the future of drum and bass. Special.
Review: Oh hello there Audio Addict. Celebrating their 10th anniversary in true style, DJ Hybrid's label call up some serious names to get their remix claws into many of the label's classics. Comprising the likes of Gray, DJ Gaw, K-Jah, Section, Conrad Subs, Parallel, Disrupta and so many more on-point names in modern D&B, each cut gets turbo-charged and subverted to the max. With 26 remixes, there are too many highlights to mention but you'd be mad to sleep on Disrupta's savage take on Hybrid's 'Shoot 'Em Up', Parallel's epic sweeps on Swerve's 'Massive & Crew' or GLM's cosmic take on Section's 'Perfect Space'. Happy anniversary.
Review: Pick any of the most exciting new-gen names in D&B and we bet our bottom dollar they're repping in this collection. A debut V/A from Hedex's By The Producer brand, Collected 1 is bulging with the seams with fresh talent: Hexa, Disrupta, Dreadnought, Stokka, Klay, Bruk, the list goes on. With cameos from more established Gs like Total Recall and Jam Thieves - and a deep, rumbling, futuristic contemporary mood and sound running throughout - this captures 2020 in drum & bass perfect. Agitated, dark, moody, but hungry for a better future... And not afraid to have a little fun. One of the best V/As we've seen in a long time. Get collecting.
Review: Killaz by name, killer by nature; Vital Elements and Tobie Scopes' continue to set the agenda as DJs, artists and as label owners. This third annual mix-up is certainly no exception as they plough through 59 tracks - many of which are brand new exclusives - to paint a picture of exactly where drum & bass is at right now. A thick smelly melting pot, everything is thrown into the mix: Upgrade's spine-trembling harmonics on "The Voice", ruded-out bassline badness from Voltage ("My DJ"), various jump-up hybrid creepers from Russian newcomer Ozma, brand new dark wobble lava from Serial Killaz themselves ("Rudebwoyz") the list goes on and on. This is a huge package and it comes with a superb mix too. Treat yourselves or defeat yourselves.