Review: Manchester mandem Sola rally up the troops for their label's largest VA to date - the 'Fresh Music Annual 2022'. Emphasis on the word fresh; the tracklist reads like who's who in new-gen D&B from Shayper to Vektral to Perplex to Nvrsoft to Plasmator and many more in between. Complete with some wise and slightly older sages in the game such as AJ Mutated, Dilligent Fingers, ESKR and K Jah, the album packs a powerful punch and does an excellent job reflecting the whole spectrum of the genre from tear-up dancefloor danger ('Crank It') to cosmic ('Surgical') to emotional and funky ('A Bad Feeling') to classic late 2000s hurricane soul music ('Slow') A beautiful snapshot of a vital scene in the best health right now, big up Grand Theft Audio.
Review: Keeping things Bristol, keeping things raw and rugged, the long-standing Ruffneck Ting imprint welcome local up-and-comer Fryday for this savage five-tracker. Three originals deep, Fryday goes in with sizzling basslines and big anvil-like beats. 'Invasion' is all about the drama, 'Jack It' comes with a high voltage sizzling bassline while 'Pull' tears the place up with the squelchiest bassline this side of the River Avon. Throw in two massive remixes from K-Jah and the Ruffneck boss herself Dazee and you've got yourself an epic EP!
Review: Birmingham badness meets Hounslow heaviness: K Jah steps aboard the mighty Dread with six absolutely savage slammers. All big basslines and necksnap breakbeats, each cut taps into the true essence of jungle; the big broad-shouldered swagger of 'Easy Living', the classic vocal sample and laser lashing basslines of 'Jumping & Pumping' and the utter filth and grizzles of 'Doctor Red' are just a few of the highlights at play here.
Review: You've tasted Turkish Delight and Angel's Delight, now chow down on these sweet beats... Midlands veteran K Jah explores his dancefloor roots on 'Ravers Delight', a killer debut album on Natty Dub. Cashing in over 20 years as a raver (a good 10+ years of which he's also been a producer) K Jah rattles and slaps his way through timeless jungle dnb work-outs. Highlights include the percussive Skeptical meets Hazard tear-up vibes of 'Ominous', the stripped-back bounce and hoover stabs of the title track 'Ravers Delight', the jazzy feels and sudden operatic flare of 'Aria' and the old school Playaz / Zinc bumps and bounces of 'Different Things'. With a strong 90s / Bristol / hip-hop vibe running throughout, there's a consistency here that you don't always hear on an artist debut. The long game always pays off. Big up K Jah.
Review: Following their massive compilation to raise money to protect and save the Amazon rain forests, Masterpeace return with this turbo charged VIP collection. Six tracks in total, some serious 2021 juice has been poured into each of the tracks. VIP highlights include the sledgehammer dynamics on Sikka's 'Check Yourself', the epic switch and riotous Amen fills on DJ Direkt's BRASic' VIP' and K Jah's disgustingly sludgy and twisted take on Ly Da Buddah's 'Lemon Punch'. Massive, as they say in the jungle.
Review: This various artists release from Born on Road is packed full of twisted sounds for you wrap your noggins around, and there's a sick blend of aesthetics and styles amongst all the filth. 'Turbulent Times' by Gray and Rider Shafique is wobbly and rolling, it packs all of its energy into the sub-bass and just flows out with style alongside some wicked MC work. 'Pieces of Eight' by Trex is a monstrosity of energy, with a superb drum section that packs more character into the arrangement than you can wag a finger at, whilst Bruk edges in over the top with 'Waps', showing what a hefty dose of technoid energy can bring to the beat. Big.
Review: Natty Dub Recordings always deliver tough, urban-edged sounds that don't prance around or act fancy, they just get down and dirty. K Jah has delivered exactly that here, with a two-track single of moody tones and no-nonsense drum lines. 'Life Support feat.Vytol' is a perfect example of said drums, with impossibly clean hits and a clear sense of space and progression, its bass stabs are almost shadowed out. 'Ominous' is the most futuristic, with a deep back end and seriously cool synth spasms that lend it a techier feel than the other cuts on the EP but one which is still grounded in roughness. Another unreal piece of work.
Review: K Jah kicks the doors of 2021 down with the launch of debut album Ravers Delight. This is the first sampler and it sets the scene perfectly. 'In Love' takes a classic vocal snippet and wraps it up all sassy and sweet around a harmonic bassline that nods respectfully towards the likes of Sir Clipz and Professor Serum. 'Status Concrete' digs deeper into a dark, moodier sound. Tension in those big drone basslines and full command from Natty D's vocal, it's very clear K Jah's door kicking is going to continue for some time to come. Delightful.
Review: The second chapter in Deep in the Jungle Anthems 7 is upon us, and there is yet another cacophonous blend of fractious jungle riddims inside. Drawn from artists across the scene both old and new, this LP is the second leg of a journey that's pull you deep through the spiky, rough edges of a the jungle. The crashing force of K Jah's 'Quest' is a good example, as repetitive breaks needle their way into your soul amidst a wobbling sub and jazzy samples. Bish is on remix duties for label boss DJ Hybrid and his tune 'Badboy', which samples possibly one of dance music's most iconic film lines and does so amidst a relentless, rolling instrumental. Sick - there are over 30 tracks inside so get involved.
Review: Natty Dub never fail to rouse us out of our stupor, no matter how bleak things look outside. This two-track tear-up from Vytol is of course no exception. 'Sell Out' is a stern slab of rollage with a Heavyweight-style bassline that grunts and growls its way through the mix with clarity and venom. 'Morph' meanwhile pays homage to every UK 80s/90s kids favourite plasticene hero with a little help from fellow Natty regular K-Jah. Pure bassline squelch business, this one is for all the artists out there. Harty on dudes.
Review: The second sampler ahead of Deep in the Jungle's 7th Anthems album is here and gives us another glimpse into what is sure to be a superb collection of vicious jungle weapons - they always are. This one features Crossy on remix duties for Epicentre and Diligent Fingers, and he's turned 'Run Up' into a vibrant track with a gorgeous set of hi-hat studded drums and a luscious, deep bassline that packs plenty of attitude. 'Run Dem' by Hybrid is stepping in its percussion and lands with a seriously heavy amount of downwards pressure, whilst Bish remixes Hybrid's 'Badboy' to great effect. Toby Ross and K Jah both kill their tunes as well, and to say we're excited about this album would be an understatement.
Review: Coming to the table with their potent blend of modern drum & bass sounds and ragga vocal vibes are South Central Recordings, who have roped in a slew of acts to remix K Jah's singles 'SoundBwoy Weaponry' and 'Have Some Fun'. The first, from Crossy, features Natty D and Daddy G, whose vocal overlays sound extra menacing above the bed of fluctuating bassline textures that Crossy has constructed, their joint talents coming together to make a moody club banger. The flip is in a similar style and also features bad boy vocals, this time Crossy opting for a number of breaks-based interludes that spice things up drum wise and make the roll outs that more tantalising. Excellent effort.
Review: With comic book-esque artwork gearing things up with a funky aesthetic, Coastill is rolling out with abandon on Ruffneck Ting and he's joined by several of his mates: K Jah and Bass Antics, who both provide two remixes. It's a dirty expression of dancefloor pressure and things stay that way throughout, as title tune 'Casino' sets the tone with gruff, almost-tech stabs that squish and ooze their way through the range. Famed actor Burt Reynolds makes an appearance in name only on track two, another wobbling pacer that bounces almost as much as it bangs. Bass Antics nails things to the wall with his remix of 'All Clear', and 'Peeping Tom' rounds stuff out in rough and tumble fashion. Big.
Review: Northern scene legend Adam Wigglesworth sadly passed away on April 3. This is how his friends responded... By compiling one of the biggest tribute albums drum & bass has ever seen. Just look at the amount of talent on here: Pyxis, Euphonique, Nvrsoft, No Concept, Exile, Euphonique, Dawn Raid and so many more artists have contribute to this 45 track album of which all proceeds go to Adam's family. From the blazing bass riff of Sappo's late 90s style neck snapper "Hannibal" to Exile's turbine bass growler "Symbiosis" via Sl8r's jazzy, almost Detroit style vibes on "The Mill" and various bits from Wiggo himself, this is a heartfelt salute from the entire scene to a man who'll be sorely missed.
Review: Hocus Pocus might be a phrase associated with magic, but there's no other worldly forces at play with the Masters of Illusion Volume 3 EP. No, it's something much more exciting: well engineered, well curated, exceptional dancefloor drum & bass. It features four different producers and in different ways they all bring a bit of themselves into the equation, starting with 'Cretins' by Dawn Raid, which snaps and crackles its way through a stepping arrangement and tangled basss nodes. K Jah is deep in the hood on 'Deep in The Hood', urban samples litter the arrangement and the vibe is one of a concrete jungle: hard, with nowhere to hide. Unparalleled.
Review: This single from South Central Recordings is all about the remix vibes, as Coda and Euphonique step up to remix two different tunes from K Jah, Dilligent Fingers and Cheshire Cat. The first - Dutty Like a Bumbo - is from Coda and it's a gargled, rough and ready tune which sounds like an old school Mampi Swift tune with its simple but powerful bassline, and its hypnotic vocal lead. Euphonique steps up for the b-side and it's even dirtier than the flip, with another naughty back end that twists and turns in on itself with powerful ease. Banging.
Review: Squad up! Natty Dub celebrate 50 releases with this absolutely stinking set from some of their nearest and dearest, closest and bro-sest. Firing from all cannons, every track is a thumper; Saxxon gets his squelch on with "Brockley Fox", T>I is all screams, wriggles and giggles on "Pointless Torture", Sikka delivers one of his best tunes to date in the funk-fuelled form of "You Know", Suv and Mood give us a Bristol kiss with the slinky, hip-twisting "Mambo" and Jaxx nods his cap at the wild west of the mid 90s on the percussion heavy "Hurdles". Timeless, authentic and full of dirty funk - Natty Dub are one of the most true-to-the-core labels doing it right now. Bring on the next 50!
Review: Sound system culture is getting a nice dose of representation on this single from South Central Recordings, featuring K Jah on productions with MC Daddy G and MC Natty D. 'Soundboy Weaponry' is laden with tough vocal lines and resonates nicely with MC traditions in the UK, drawing upon reggae and ragga-jungle for this funky, bassy little number. 'Brass Knuckles' is tougher and darker, with a pummelling drum line that bashes you on the face the whole way through, its wobbly bassline following in quick succession. Big single.
Review: Hazardous Muzik always tend to put out music that rests on the foundations of UK underground, the cross-over influences of soul, reggae, jungle and D&B. it's always a fresh sound and it always brings up connotations of Boomtown, free parties and sunny afternoons. The DJ Vapour remix of 'Chill Out' by Jamie G and Papa G is the best of the lot, with a bright and cheerful jungle introduction that's flipped into a wobbling, subby number with oodles of energy and momentum. The Serial Killaz remix of Lion.UK and Paga G's 'Clash' goes down a more rolling direction and is packed full of punchiness and sharp edges - banger. This is a top collection of a tunes for a label that is celebrating 10 Years in the game, so as such is well worth a listen.
Review: From true jungle to the real jungle: new Bristol label present their first V/A and it comes with added weight and meaning as all profits will go to charities helping preserve the Amazon Rain Forest and its communities. A serious mission requires a serious rollcall so tracks come from the likes of Conrad Subs, Veak, K Jah, Vital Elements, Sikka and of course the label headhoncho Mixjah himself. Highlights include the raw warping wobble bass of Ly Da Buddah's "Lemon Punch", Jumanji's tunnelling jungle romp "Da Skillz", the classic Bristol-flavoured minimalism mischief of Vytol & Mixjah's "So Many Heavens" but that's just the tip of a massive - and highly worthy - iceberg.
Review: K Jah lands on Ruffneck Ting with a jungle-influenced journey through D&B's rougher side. Ruffneck Ting doesn't have a reputation for being a label that'll hold your hand and this is clearly evident throughout Mad Flavour, none more so than on the title track. With a barebones, stripped back approach that's reminiscent of Digital or Spirit, K Jah combines old-school sampling with a distinct rawness to emphasise the track's low-frequency weight. This style is replicated across the other tunes to varying degrees but there's one constant: unadulterated sounds with the aim of serious dancefloor pressure. If that's your thing, then this EP is certainly for you.
Review: The name of this release - Have Some Fun - is reflected in the colourful and playful artwork. You can tell from the off that this is a release which doesn't take itself too seriously, part of that nonchalant approach to music that stresses having a good time over chin-stroking analysis and perfect mixdowns. The title track is a rattling junglist stepper with a powerful undergirding of low-frequency pulses and tones, there's a slick little vocal over the top and it all comes together very nicely. The flip is a roller with a naught sub and a classic hop-hop sample. Yes mate.
Review: Fifty tracks from Ghetto Dub. We'll repeat that; FIFTY tracks right here from the Bristol badassery stable! Fresh from the stashes of SR, Kumarachi, Aries, Vinyl Junkie, Conrad Subs, Octo Pi and many more on-point junglists across the generations, many of these tracks are brand new and all of them are heavier than a night down the Weight Watchers. Highlights include Conrad Sub's skanky groaner "Good As Gold", Jaguar Paw's utter filth session "Southside", Jay Aftermath's gnarly tech/soundsystem hybrid "The Jungle" and the pure rave purrs of Vinyl Junkie & Sanxion's "Outlandish"... But that's not even touching the sides of the fifty track attack. Dig deep and get rolling.
Review: Comrads in bass: Dubsoul rallies up the soldiers for its first V/A collection since 2017. Packing pure exclusives from a whole gang of on-point rollersmiths and stepper surgeons including Kumarachi, RMS, Epicentre, Conrad Subs, Veak and more, expect nothing but trouble... The drums on Kumarachi, Veak & RMS's "In Spirit" will slice bones in two, Conrad Subs "Inglorious" will have you on such a heads down hypnotic trip you'll think it's 97 all over again, Epicentre's "One Eight Seven" is a total murderation station the second that Micky Finn & Aphrodite-style bass juice oozes out of the speakers while Veak's idea of alternative medicine isn't so much as homeopathic but psychopathic as the steppy kills drill into the deepest corners of your soul. And that's not even half of this epic EP. Solidarity!
Review: In terms of legendary status for labels over on the jungle/jump-up side of the scene, it's pretty hard to beat Serial Killaz. Run by the duo of the same name, the imprint has arrived with the second instalment of their mixtape series and it's unsurprisingly good. Full of big tunes from guys like Serial Killaz themselves, Vital Elements and Upgrade, it's the latter of these guys that takes the cake with 'Steel Drum'. You've probably heard this one doing the rounds and it's actually already been released, but oh boy what a tune this is: a screaming, siren-lake mash of grating metallic synths and punching drums all come together to make an unstoppably good piece of music. Don't sleep on the rest of these tunes though, and a special mention goes to DJ Hybrid's 'Beatbox' - naught jungle vibes.
Review: Behold Dawn Raid's latest magic trick as they and three friends will change an EP into an entire festival before your very ears. The Manchester label owners cast the first spell as "Bela Moca" conjures up sunset vibes so strong you can smell the campfire while Nian Dub charms us deeper into the night with "Glow Stick Riddim" where soulful vocals and strident Quadrophenia style rave stabs. K Jah's sonic potion us into the cheekiest of hours with some all out jungle ruff on "Power Of Darkness" while Margaman casts the final incantation as he sends us off to bed in the dawn haze with a slithering snake like bassline. Abracadabra and all that.
Review: Bun your diet brands. Scrap the low calorie plan. K Jah's packing some of the creamy goodness and ain't nobody leaving without second helpings. "Full Fat" slaps with a classic bulbous Bristol funk vibe where a chunky Die-like riff, "Furious Funk" with put fire in your belly with its low gurgling turbine style bassline that rises with mechanical menace while "Reputation" is riff-flexing six course banquet of pure unfettered gully. Last but not least "Don't Play Games" serves up pudding. All slimy, sticky and loaded with fatty subs, it will drive both dancefloors and cholesterol levels crazy.
Review: Bristol's Mixjah and Birmingham's K Jah for two sweet and sassy skank-ups; it's a match made in jungle heaven. First the pair go toe-to-toe on a loose drum soul shaker "The Righteous & The Wicked" where breezy pads ease and wheeze behind some very tidy breakcraft. Meanwhile on "Babylon System" K Jah takes Mixjah's original and adds a whole new layer of feels with deftly placed chords and precision step hits. Wicked and bad.
K Jah - "Deadly Isotopes" (feat L Rock) - (5:37) 175 BPM
Dawn Raid - "Come Get Yours" (Nian Dub remix) - (6:02) 175 BPM
Erbman - "Long Rizla Blues" - (5:05) 59 BPM
Dawn Raid - "One Brick" - (5:23) 175 BPM
Rawtee - "Higher Ground" (VIP) - (3:45) 58 BPM
K Jah - "Turbo Royale" (VIP) - (6:23) 58 BPM
Review: And now for their next trick, Manchester's finest murk magicians compile some of their finest moments since their last Vanishing Act album, hurl them at you at a rate of 175BPM... And your life will disappear before your very eyes. Authentic D&B jungle rooted in the past but flexing in the future highlights hang off every neck snap beat and gully bassline: the electrifying sizzles of Fire Syne's "Equinox", label bosses Dawn Raid's rave hymn "Amnesia", the frazzled trippy weirdness of K Jah's "Deadly Isotopes" and the venomous viciousness and reverse warpery of Rawtee's "Higher Ground" are just some of the many killer jams on offer here. Here's to another five years of black magic... Bippity boppity BANGERS.
Review: DJ Hybrid, Jaxx, Cabin Fever, Feline and K Jah... Now that's a modern junglist rollcall you can set your watch by. Every player involved is packing serious heat here too... DJ Hybrid unleashes a rumbling understated groaner, Jaxx gets all jittery and data-glitchy, Cabin Fever get all jazzy and soulful over a massive subby wobble, Feline adds an Original Sin style widescreen brashness to the mix while K Jah takes us back to Bristol for science class detention. Five absolute jammers right here, Natty Dub don't muck around mate.
Review: Get that radar of yours and whack Dutty Bass Audio on it. A brand new jungle label from Toronto who are launching with this serious statement of V/A intent. Featuring some of the most exciting names to come through in the last few years, K Jah vamps up the force with a brutal homage to the old school, RMS lets us loose with a groaning ode to the mid 90s (with added 22nd century bass groans) and Too Greezey slaps us silly with a widescreen break and expert reverse wobble sitting obesely underneath. Other highlights include Konz' stripped back slinker "Breathe", Brockout's breezy cosmic roller "The Note" and the savage neuro finale that is Skaylz & The Junk-e's "Off The Grid"
Review: It's a Birmingham / Bristol Jah-off as long-established Ruffnecker K Jah adds a little twist to young Bristolian newcomer Mixjah. "Soul Survivors" sees the two Jahs go toe-to-toe with a beautifully simplistic bassline groove while on the remix-front "Send Some Riddim" enjoys a beautiful makeover with an elastic bassline stretching around some jazzed-out keys and "Purple Music" goes ultra-violet with its understated minimal bassline roll and cool showers of dusty organ. Comes complete with a killer original from K Jah where the perfect balance of agginess on "Crowds Just Go" guarantees instant mix gratification. Don't mess around.
Review: Trustworthy source of killer jumpy jungle for some time now, Ruffneck Ting affiliate K Jah is jamming out some crucial vibers on Natty Dub right here. Not just a clever pun in the title, "All Rhodes Lead Here" flips between a heavenly Rhodes hook and a straight-to-business Serum-style waspy bass groove. "Destination" comes from the Warhead school of thought with its shifting bass sweep and insistent and distinctive percussion, "Heavy Hitter" has an A-Sides-style bounce and funk to it while "Get Out Of My Life" climaxes on an all-out badboy jungle brock-out. Serious business - join K Jah's on the rhode to victory.
Review: Any jungle is festival jungle when dropped at the right time, but if you're looking for out-and-out skanky bumpers that guarantee arena meltdowns look no further as Vinyl Junkie and Rachael EC have selected 48 (yes 48) cuts that promise to raise all kinds of bodily temperatures, noises and movements. Serum's wobble-funk "Rat Trap VIP", Rob Blaze's system-slaying "Sound Boy", DJ Hybrid's Headz-style drone bass snake-wrestler, the iconic rave vocal emotion on Vinyl Junkie & Sanxion's "Ninja Bizznizz", Billy Bunter's chaotic dancehall skanker "Killa Sound".... We could list the highlights for days on end. An epic collection.
Review: Junglists unite. Euphonique's Sub Woofah hits another new height with its best remix package to date. Returning to K Jah's 2014 EP with four heavyweight remixers, each cut is brought up to date with ease and class.... Aries adds crisp drums and refocuses the vocal loop on "Dub Dun Already", DJ Hybrid adds a little Dread magic to the rolls of "Fix Dem", Gold Dubs retains the classic detuned piano hook of "Bad Vibrations" while adding a whole new bassline that's much more jungle than jump-up. Finally "Can't Think" whisks us back to 2013 as Junglord rebuilds an even earlier K Jah co-lab with superbly polished breaks and some twisted edits. No messing around here.
Review: He's back! After a brief secondment on Natty Dub, K Jah returns to his spiritual home Ruffneck Ting with a firing five pack of ageless jungle jump up skankage. "Got To Have It" deftly references a classic Hijack rap over a bounce-licked bass arrangement, "Born In NYC" kicks like a New Yorker but kisses like a Jamaican while "Get It On" and "Rugged Over Loops" are reminders of when jump-up was exciting and not full of high-pitched screeches. Finally "On A Mission" is a fantastic trip back to the late 90s Moving Fusion/Bad Company style of D&B with a bassline that rolls and rolls and rolls with funk.
Review: Having caused ruckuses galore on Ruffneck Ting, K Jah makes his Natty Dub debut with five straight-up trouble tunes. "Street Trends" taps into the classic Urban Takeover style where a funk-minded bassline is countered by a catchy hip-hop vocal sample. "Down By Law", meanwhile, rides with a hornet nest bassline that persists with midrange mischief and "Got Me" rubs majestically with a jazzy bassline that wouldn't have gone amiss on V back in the day, "Shine Like Gemz" celebrates the importance of atonal bass textures and their paranoid impact while "Now Or Never" closes the show with a clever spoken word sample and a bassline that nags so much and so hard and persistently you could write a whole book of mother in law jokes about it.