Review: Bryan Gee and V Recordings do not mess around. They never have in the past, they're certainly not right now in the present and judging by this highly anticipated Future album, they're going to mess around any time ahead. 25 tracks from some of the biggest, best and baddest names in D&B (Dillina, Serum, Benny L, Paul T & Edward Oberon, Roni Size, DJ Marky, Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Bladerunner, Saxxon, the list goes on) this one's been a long, long, long time coming... And it's been well worth the wait. From L-Sides massive remixes of Dillinja and Krust to Need For Mirrors super-revved "Lambo" to Benny L's incredible remix of "Days", this sums up why Bryan and his label are as influential and respected in the game as they are today. Don't mess around.
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: A true techstep titan, Jonny L continues to stealthily drop science with no fanfare or ceremony whatsoever. "Does It" is a tight weave of sinewy acid, punctuated two-steps and vast caverns of space while "Play" casts a drum spell upside your senses that's so majestic you'll quit your job and join a military marching band before the second drop. Jonny L; keeping it real for 25 years and counting...
Review: Keeping things minimal is one of Jonny L's specialities and in these two destroyers there's a lot of hard work at practice to keep all the elements things ticking over. "Invisible" takes one descending scale and runs with it throughout, using hardline drums to keep up the pace. "Synthesize" is where that talent really shines though, playing close to his chest with a severe head-nodder of a beat and techy bass that reaches out to a barely-there euphoric synth. Interesting stuff, so don't say he never challenges you.
Review: If you cross jump-up with techy drum & bass sensibilities and a whole lot of messy breaks, you're bound to come to Jonny L's latest on Spearhead. Enjoying more years in his prime on the D&B circuit than most of us have had hot dinners, his style has always been to mix up styles and sounds to create a brand new blend of ideas. Take "Twin Flame" for its bouncy synth hook and soulful lyrics, euphoric jump-up/neuro hybrid "Truss" or heavy techy roller "Founders" just for japes - three completely different tracks from totally separate eras and sub-genres, yet all sound quintessentially 'his'. Talk about owning your sound. That's what this album is about, experimentation, and it makes for a journey of a listen.
Review: A true veteran of UK's hardcore and D&B worlds, and a man who's been around since the first rave of rave, Jonny L goes for a 60s psychedelic vibe on this new single on Spearhead. "The Rave" is full of hazy, reedy vocals and spooky, choral backing voices - all the while anchored to a furious jungle beat. "Boy" is much more of a DJ favourite though, with plentiful helpings of thumping bass on the kicks and menacing glitch-textures smothered over the top.
Review: Spearhead are coming out with a huge compilation that seeks to be a statement of intent for 2020, combining a load of new tracks with some of the choicest cuts from the Spearhead back catalogue. There is old school talent like Need For Mirrors, Bcee, Carlito & Addiction & Saikon, as well as recruits from the new school like Whiney, Black Barrel, Monrroe and Walk:r, all of whom have done a wicked job walking the Spearhead stylistic line between hard and soft. Need For Mirrors' 'Zxana' is the ideal example; it's stripped back and minimalist in its percussion but expansive in the low-frequencies, with a hypnotic feeling of movement and a seriously solid piece of sound design. The rest of the LP is typically epic as well, so shout out to the Norwich crew.
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.
Alix Perez - "Down The Line" (feat MC Fats) - (6:27) 172 BPM
JO - "R-Type" - (5:51) 174 BPM
Subwave - "Think" - (5:58) 175 BPM
Shogun Audio Presents: The Classics (2004-2017) (continuous DJ mix) - (57:08) 174 BPM
Review: When a label as consistent and as well rounded as Shogun Audio announce a 'Classics' release it obviously sends shivers around the drum & bass community. It's hard to imagine condensing thirteen years of dominance into a minimized box of thirty classics, but just looking at the tracklisting is awe-inspiring. We see classic reappearances from the likes of Friction, Spor, Break, Icicle, Rockwell, Spectrasoul, Alix Perez, Camo & Krooked and that's not even half of the names involved. To break it down simply, this compilation summarizes why Shogun hold such a legendary status within the scene, through incredible consistency and magnificent diversity of sound.
Usual Suspects - "Tribute" (A Personal Tribute To MC Kendo R.I.P) - (7:14) 170 BPM
Loxy & Ink - "Shine V.I.P" - (8:21) 170 BPM
Jonny L - "Part Of U" - (5:27) 180 BPM
Marcus Intalex & ST Files - "My Soul" - (5:11) 175 BPM
Sonic & Silver - "Innacorner" - (7:10) 170 BPM
Klute - "Unwind Yourself" - (6:40) 173 BPM
Spirit - "Solitaire" - (6:23) 173 BPM
Hidden Agenda - "Relentless" - (7:31) 174 BPM
Teebee - "White Venom" - (6:50) 170 BPM
Total Science - "Screwball" - (5:12) 58 BPM
The Invaderz - "Revealed" - (6:54) 170 BPM
Review: Reviewed by Klute: Well this brings back many memories for obvious reasons and its nice to listen and think back to this time. In the early 2000's Metalheadz moved its Sunday sessions over to the Limelight at Cambridge Circus in London and I remeber going religiously every Sunday around the time this LP was being compiled, so we all heard most of these tunes being tested out in the club. Great times. Stand outs for me are Jonny L, Marcus intalex, Spirit, Total Science, myself of course and most of all The Invaderz masterpiece Revealed. Still to this day my fav ever tune from them. Great compilation.