Review: Two of the scene's most established producers and a pair for whom Metalheadz is a familiar friend, John B & Digital are back on the label with a joint single. This one is proper business and although the elements used are basic, the results are spectacular and prove once more that vibey drum & bass is best left simple, raw and full of energy. That description aptly describes the B-side to this, as Digital and John roll things out amidst a flurry of hats and snares, topped off by an archetypal bassline that stretches its legs in satisfying fashion. The A-side is almost liquid in its lounging atmosphere, but it too has a naughty kick to it that reminds you just what label you're on. Superb.
Review: There are few intros as iconic as that of John B's 'Up All Night'. It's the tune which launched the career of drum & bass' glitter adorned, pop fusion superstar, and what a way to make an entrance. Featherweight flutters and foreboding stabs aside, this three-tracker presages a broader 25 Years of Metalheadz release that will surely be one of the year's best, a part-nostalgia, part-future looking release that charts the history of drum & bass' most seminal imprint. 'Up All Night' gets a 2021 remastered relick, whilst Data 3 step up and flip proceedings on their head with a deeply techy, superbly engineered dancefloor remake that's been blowing up the virtual and physical dance for some time now. Finally, John's 'Epic Mix' stretches out the intro and amps up the suspense, as clattering breaks cement his place in the history books. Utterly superb.
Camo & Krooked - "Loving You Is Easy" - (4:51) 191 BPM
Camo & Krooked - "Atlas" - (7:22) 175 BPM
Review: As if Camo & Krooked couldn't sound any more epic... Now their best tracks can be heard played alongside a full-on orchestra. An audacious task even by the Austrian duo's standards, Red Bull Symphonic was a year in the making and two nights in the execution and it's every bit as dynamic, dramatic and rich in layers of musical references and skillishness as you'd expect. From the bombastic opening intro chords and segue into "Embers" right through to emotional finale of "Atlas" all the way through incredible renditions of tracks such as "Numbers", "Set It Off", "Kallisto", this is a unique clash of centuries of musical disciplines and it's yet another reminder why Camo & Krooked are absolute craftsmen of the modern game. Classic.
The Vanguard Project - "Is This Love" (feat Lucy Kitchen - Dexcell remix) - (4:59) 172 BPM
Review: Spearhead Records - which was started by Bcee in an internet caf? - is hitting its 100th release and celebrating the fact with a huge compilation of brand new tracks, including contributions by Calibre, Technimatic, LSB and Bcee himself. Staying true to the label's origins, it's pretty much all gorgeous rolling liquid and we're very much into it. One of the highlights is the Bcee refix of his seminal 'Back to the Street', which has been given a revamped bassline and a fresh veneer of bassy purpose. It's not just the old on this album, though, and Walk:r lays down the gauntlet with 'Wallflower', a sublimely subtle, pacey piano tune that rolls out in delightful fashion. Wicked stuff here from one of the best in the game.
Review: These are the breaks! Super-longstanding D&B bastion Drum&BassArena unleash their first EP in over 10 years with a special dedication to the driving drum fusion that's powered all our favourite jungle jams: The breakbeat. It's an all-star cast too... Bladerunner does his thing with a classic subby wobble and skippy breaks, Shimon gets his bouncy skank on with Darrison on "Believe It" while June Miller, James Marvel & MC Mota flip the breaks into a steppier, more fractured dancehall/jungle/madness switch up on "Don Dada". Those in need of a hardcore injection of rave purity should seek and support John B's ruthless "ENERGY" and A.M.C & Turno's glacier-blasting tech-jump melter "Ice Cold". Dedication's what you need.
Review: Drum&Bass Arena: The longest-standing, and one of the most respected, platforms for all things jungle D&B celebrates an impressive 20 years in the game with this ridiculously hefty document that pays respect to the genre's every twist and turn. From scene-shattering megahits ("Tarantula", "Feel The Love", "Rock It", "Afterglow") to unarguable historical underground scene-smashing megabangers ("Machete", "Aztec", "Nasty Ways", "The View", "Champion Sound", "Turbulence", "Up All Night", "Deadline", Ram Trilogy's remix of "Pacman") by way of tracks that may have slipped under the radar ("Defcom 69", "What's Wrong", "Song For Lovers") the whole album is loaded to the lips with some of the most important records the genre's enjoyed in the last 20 years. Time to get nostalgic, time to fill those holes in your collection, time to educate your dancefloor. Here's to another 20 years!