Unknown Artist - "Just Vibe With It" - (5:21) 172 BPM
Untrue - "Your Face" - (5:19) 174 BPM
Motiv - "Walk With Me" - (4:54) 174 BPM
Review: Now in their 22nd year, Fokuz has to be one of the longest running - and certainly the most prolific - drum & bass labels to ever come out of The Netherlands. A prime spot for breaking new talent, and renowned for their glacial, atmospheric liquid sound, the label have that perfect balance of newcomers and established names which is reflected perfectly here on this reflective look-back over 2020. Highlights include Command Strange & Cnof's dusty soul delight 'Rainy Day', the twinkling cosmic funk of Maverick Soul's 'We In Here' and the shimmering soul of Askel & Elere's 'Honestly'.
Review: Fokuz release some of the best compilations in the business, in part because they have such a large orbit of artists around them but also just because the curational skills at Fokuz HQ have been honed over twenty years of releasing music. Better Days is a classic Fokuz compilation, as a blend of artists both well known and lesser so come together to celebrate all things liquid. HumaNature and Royalty are both veteran Fokuz producers and their contribution - 'Stand On Our Own' - is a lovely mixture of bouncy synthetic funk notes and smooth, rolling soul. The mighty Villem & Mcleod team up once more with regular collaborator Leo Wood and the result is once again sheer goosebumps, as Leo's serene voice floats with a hint of magic. Lovely, lovely work.
Review: Resident Dutch powerhouse Fokuz are back at it this week with the next piece of work from Sub:liminal, who has teamed up with previous label album HumaNature and Resurgence to craft something pretty special. The title track takes the cake, with a gorgeously soulful vocal that floats above a bed of gentle instrumentation, but it's the bassline that steals the show; a twisting, winding expression of low frequency force, and a lesson in how to craft something subtle yet heavy. There's more wispy ambience on 'Glass Fields' and 'With You', whilst Resurgence nails 'Stranger Tides' to finish off the EP in style.
Review: Longstanding Rotterdam vibe merchants Fokuz bring together a delectable rollcall of talents for this sunny-side V/A EP. Perfect timing for the warmer months, almost every track seems tailored and fine tuned for the season; Dreazz, Emery and Silence Groove get all spacey and introspective while Villem & Mcleod add another blissful jam to their ever-growing collaborative body of work with the gilded, Leo Wood-fronted piano-tickling roller "Gifted Lover" while Leniz & HumaNature add a touch of dusky darkness with the fittingly titled dark roller "The Switch". Finally Coop ends of the EP with the only non-collaborative track of the release "Get That". One of the summer's endless nights and heavier hypnosis moments, there's a twang of a young Bop or Phace coded deep into the mix. Take your dancefloor to a better place today...
Review: Fokuz is without a doubt one of the best labels in the game, their diversity alone places them right at the top of the metaphorical leader board and nothing exemplifies this better than their Collaborations series. Featuring a litany of artists across almost as many styles, including Molecular, ALB, Critical Event and more, putting this third instalment up there with the others. Molecular's 'What Defines' is darker than what Fokuz is known for and it just absolutely slams the whole way, a proper minimal roller with tonnes of character and more than a little charm. The first track on the album, it sets the tone for the rest nicely.
Review: HumaNature is another one of the many young, rising talents within the D&B scene at the moment and he's a producer with an undeniable capacity for diversity. First coming to the fore with smooth liquid tones, he's recently been proving that he goes darker and this EP is no exception. Teaming up with long-time producer buddies and long-time label Fokuz, HumaNature & Friends is some of his best work yet and it covers both sides of the spectrum. 'Roll' featuring Radicall is the highlight of the EP, with gorgeously vibrant percussion that injects a tangible sense of presence and a bassline that swells in tandem, a track that smacks of proper D&B. 'Xylophone' featuring Critical Event & Askel is equally weighty, with a driving back end that matches its stellar production line up. This is a top-notch release.
Critical Event & Askel - "So In Love With You" - (4:27) 174 BPM
ALB - "Using Minds" - (5:29) 174 BPM
Calculon & Dave Owen - "Ben Carlos" (feat Christina Tamayo - Zero T remix) - (5:11) 58 BPM
Smote - "Just Come Back" - (5:20) 174 BPM
Joakuim - "8am Roller" - (4:30) 172 BPM
Drumcatcher - "Feelings" - (4:35) 172 BPM
Brainwork & Mnml - "Embrace" - (5:18) 172 BPM
Review: Fokuz Recordings consistently release some of the best compilation albums around. Their pool of artists is so diverse and so top quality that an assortment of their work is always going to be special, especially when they bring in outside talent like Break and Zero T. Collaborations 2 is what is says on the tin: remixes and other collaborative projects and blimey, it's good stuff. Joakuim's '8am Roller' is the perfect example, a deft piece of piano-based smoothness that rolls out to your heart's content with sultry results, an instant classic of liquid-sized proportions. The Break remix is a welcome addition, as is the steppy yet soulful Zero T remix of Ben Carlos. Another very, very good selection of cuts from the always sublime Fokuz crew.