Review: Perez has always been ahead of the game but he is doing some serious bits right now. Following his Shades album (with Eprom), the bruising "Haunted" plus the consistent future shocks his label 1985 have been giving us comes this breath taking four tracker; "BXL" opens with high voltage textures that sizzle at 1.21 gigawatts while "Slink" closes on a subdued emotional tip with introspective vocals and a purring bassline. In between we have two absurd collaborations; Monty helps Alix turn bass into toxic treacle on "Caligo" while Icy joins the fray for a heavyweight droning roller laced with classic ravey vocal stab on "Live With It". Deal with it.
Review: Joe Ford is one of those producers who manages to tie up sound design with hard-hitting beats to create the type of noise that'll rip through the fabric of existence. Exclusively signing to the biggest cult label in the business, Shogun, in 2013, Joe has made it his mission to produce increasingly heavy UK neurofunk since his early days at Bad Taste and Med School. This EP shows just how many bad habits he's picked up while touring with Noisia. If nasty's what you like, this little beauty is right up your darkened nightmarish alley.
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: 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.
Review: We see here another for fantastic drop from Icicle, a name who has been synonymous with well produced bass music over the last few years, be that in the drum & bass sphere or on a slower, more stripped back flex. We begin the with a title track 'Raising The Dead', which combines a selection of demonic synth movements with grizzly sub textures below and shuffling hats. This is followed by the intensely metallic drum designs and ascending bleeping melodies of 'NT', before the stompy bass growls and subtle breakbeat inflections of 'Shout Me' take ahold. When then finish off on a more relaxed tip as the crunchy yet spacey tones of 'Noughties Riddim' close the EP off perfectly. Very slick stuff!
Review: Besides cameos on Shogun's 100 series with Proxima and Sotto Voce with Spor, this is Icicle's first full body of work since his critically celebrated sophomore Entropy. Four tracks (and one instrumental) deep, it's loaded with all the meany mannerisms and characteristics we know and love the Dutch scientist for... Tasha's Bjorky delivery on "The Nothing", stark techno loopery and FX on "Differentia", the electrified robot romp of "Ego" and the unforgiving halftime badlands of "Push Back". No one does it like Icicle.
Review: Three years on from his debut album Under The Ice, Dutchman Icicle commits another long player to the Shogun Audio cause in the shape of Entropy. Bass weight meets sound design on this ambitious 16-track set as Jeroen Snik offers a compelling argument for his personal development since Under The Ice. What sets Entropy apart from most D&B long players at the moment is Snik's willingness to weave different stylistic elements into his productions with genuinely thrilling results. See the relentless, grime flecked nastiness of "Isolation" and the downbeat "Superimposed" for evidence, though there is still plenty of science fiction indebted bass futurism to satisfy the heads.
Review: One of drum & bass' most unconventional producers, Icicle has repeatedly re-written his own rules when it comes to forging his own sound and this time around he's chosen to ditch the dubstep for cut-throat political verses in "Problem" from Salford's own master of the vocal dark arts, Skittles. Twisting back into contorted bass and synths for "The Edge", a dirty, electrified stomp and step through the Icicle mainframe. It's good to be challenged every once in a while.
The Outside Agency - "Asteroid Belt" - (5:01) 175 BPM
Neonlight - "Wormhole" (Entering Part 1) - (4:12) 174 BPM
Neonlight - "Wormhole" (Leaving Part 2) - (3:30) 174 BPM
Review: Let it Roll is the biggest D&B festival in the world and it takes place twice a year out in the Czech Republic, a hedonistic outpost of pure 170bpm madness. It's also known for its no nonsense approach to the opening show and the collection of built-for-purpose, novel tunes are coming out on the festival's label and, long story short, they're wicked. Hybrid Minds and Insideinfo team up for their second release of 2019 and it's a percy, with Grimm on vocals adding the soul and a gritty, sweeping bassline adding the force. There's plenty more force to come on the rest of the EP as well, as Abis, Icicle, Neonlight and Th Outside Agency all contributing ridiculously heavy Neurofunk tunes. Oh yes.
Review: Critical Music has long been known as the home of impeccable and innovative drum and bass, but this time they've played their ace card. Mefjus producves some of the most cutting edge neuro around right now, and on Critical there's no stopping the madness. Collaborating with Icicle for "Contemporary" is another masterstroke, taking the Dutch perfectionist's pinpoint production and melding it with Mefjus' mad scientist beats to create something completely off the spectrum. Not for the faint hearted.