Review: 2020 isn't all bad... Annix finally deliver their long-awaited debut album and every shade of grot and wonder you'd expect from one of the most influential D&B duos of the last decade. Masters at space, weirdo funk, unique sound design and the dark art of switch-flipping, it's no surprise this album is loaded with more twists and turns than an underground tube map. Highlights include the broken glass funk of "Stutter" (with K Motionz) the trippy turbine driller jam "Clapper" (with Skantia) and the curveball blast-ups like the techno-style marching title track "Tunnel Vision" and the beautiful euphoria of "Behind Time".
Review: Danger by name, dangerous by sound: the rising Belgian brute dents the Digital Terror discography with four more bruising steppers. Collabo-wise "Turbulence" sees him teaming up with Nightfang for a laser-shooting riot act while "Empty Space" sees him barking at the moon with Kanine with some really pranged out bass groans. Solo-wise "About You" gets sexy on the vocal element yet militant on the guttural, spiked-out bass tones and "Extinction" is a mammoth of a track, stampeding with a harmonic bass riff and a relentless beats. Warrior level: dinosaur.
Review: Kanine was one of the breakout acts of 2018, his tune The Shadows dropped in 2017 but propelled him into the big leagues the following year. He has an instantly recognisable style but one which feeds off the current boom in D&B of snarling, jump-up influenced rollers that sound absolutely amazing through a sound system. 'Dubplate Soldier' is his latest, from a forthcoming Elevate Audio compilation, and it packs a huge punch. Beginning with those classic head-nodding drums, the tune quickly flips into a gargantuan pulse of raw low-frequency energy and industrial-sounding grates and groans. One for the Instagram story.
Review: All those who heard 'The Shadows', a 2017 track that elevated Kanine from solid jump-up producer to well-known dancefloor purveyor, will understand that this guy makes pure destroyers. Kanine and Low Down Deep continue their London Underground-themed series of EPs with the Central Line and it seems like they picked arguably the best tube line for what is a wicked release. 'Ladies Night' has energy for days, a roaring rush of long basslines and fluctuating wobbles, the granite bassline making another appearance on 'Steamroller', this time in the form of a stuttering, staccato of force. Kanine is representing himself here in true Low Down Deep, head-nodding style - just listen to 'Kilogram' if you don't believe us.
Review: Kanine pulls no punches with this hefty one track wounder on Low Down Deep. Stark, spacious but riddled with an infectious riff you'll be singing for weeks, there's a latent funk rumbling deep beneath the venomous jumpy riff. Yet another one of his highly anticipated (see the forthcoming banger "Dancefloor"), "Bloody Knuckles" is another K.O from the big K. Okay?
Review: Woof woof! Kanine makes his debut on Low Down Deep with four barking mad thunder jams. "Mercy" does the foghorn bassline shake in a similar groaning way that Serum and Benny L have championed lately, "Locked Off" takes us for walkies at a heads-down turbo pace via sandpaper bassline bliss while "Signal" would give any dog a massive bone with its laserfied bass screams. Elsewhere "A31" wags its tail respectfully at the Clipz school of riff science while "Command" rips down the walls with a bass texture so toxic it could you put down. Welcome to the doghouse.
Review: Shady power moves from Kanine: Having already taken us "Into The Dark" on Twisted Beatz earlier this year, now he's trapping us in "The Shadows" and there's no way possible way to escape. Not that you'd want to escape, mind; with its orchestrated samples and drop into a dual-textured bassline that both groans and purrs, "The Shadows" has some of the best views of the dancefloor you'll ever get. "Invincible" holds us hostage even more with more of a classic brittle Belgian-sounding roughness to its grotty Q&A riff. Both kill it in two exceptional ways... You gonna bark all day little doggy?
Review: Emerging last year with a bite worse than his bark, rising UK D&B doggo Kanine has buried the game like a favourite bone, whipping up support from the likes of Andy C, Noisia, TC, Guv and many more in his wake. This Young Guns debut proves why...Big in hooks, heavy in weight, crisp in dynamic, his toxic fusion sits well across any peaktime board. Highlights include the harmonic riff devilry and Duskee's dark micmanship on "Warface", the hair-singeing spikiness of "Detonate" and the rampant fast-lane build of "Shapeshift". Who's a good boy?
Review: Barking mad beats from the Kanine kennel, this time on Subway Soundz: "Invincible" bites and growls with a razor sharp step and a range of weirdo bass textures all vying for your attention in a well juggled scattered riff style. Slipz joins the fray for the second sesh of the set "Keyboard Warrior". Venomous, brittle and charmed with cheeky amen rolls on the fills, it's so heavy and rasping with dark alien funk you kinda of want to find the keyboard slapping trolls who inspired this track and shake them by the hand for making it happen (then kick them somewhere sensitive) Soundz as a pound.
Review: VIPs in the hole! Two of Bulletproof's biggest club-shakers undergo fire updates from the men themselves. First up is barking badman Kanine who adds a whole new metallic crunch to his woofer-burning "Bad". Tsuki follows in hot pursuit with his modified "Inspector Gadget" where the lower part of the bass Q&A takes much more of a lead with a brand new twist on the hook. Deadly.
Review: Carving his sound with a cleaver and cauterising it with molten bass lava on labels such as Smoke Signal, Murky and Murda, Operate makes his debut on Young Guns and he's brought along a few mates for the ride. The range is instant and high impact from his solo stuff alone; the cosmic contrast on "Fireproof", the wonky, woozy staccato bass, dizzy drums and talkbox textures of "Shapeshifters" and graveyard paranoia of "Calysto". Co-lab wise Subsonic saddles up for the gnarliest jump up cut of the collection ("Tremors") while Kanine collides for the head-turning "Regulate" which nods at the past with a primal warhead attitude. Badness.
Review: Remix time: Bulletproof don their protective clothing for two killer versions of two recent tried and tested bangers. First up Tsuki's "Street Wars" continues to develop a life of its own. As the dust settles from the recent VIP, Premium adds a whole new layer of thugged out prang-flavoured bass. K Motionz follows with an equally suited, booted and space-funked twist on Bulletproof's second ever release - Kanine's barking mad "9 Lives". With more to follow, it feels like Bulletproof are only just getting started.
Review: Nottingham rudeboy Slipz slides into Subway HQ with four stark, steppy bassline grunters that will melt any floor this side of 2020. Kanine jumps on board for the opening shots on "Keyboard Warrior" - all metallic and rasping with venom. Elsewhere "Check This Out" rattles with a harmonic riff reminiscent of a young TC and rattling snare-heavy beats, "Massacre" creates a blood bath with its Hazard-style thick-n-fast ravaged riff while "Ha!" has the last laugh with some heady Generation Dub style grunty riffage. Don't lay off this one.
Review: Turno is without a doubt one of the big success stories from the previous couple of years and he's one of a handful of previously marginal jump-up producers to have rode the wave, a wave of their own talent as well as that of scene tastes, right into the middle of the scene. Gemini is his first full-length release on Shogun sister label Elevate and it's a banger that crosses several different sub-genre divides. 'No Chance' featuring Inja is our favourite, though, a proper foghorn number which perfectly suits Inja's famously menacing, skipping tones. It bends, swerves and bashes its way all the way through in fabulous fashion. Lovely.
Sub Zero - "Missing Piece" (feat Roxi Yung) - (4:32) 175 BPM
Annix & K Motionz - "Stutter" - (4:33) 175 BPM
Review: Playaz are rounding out this year with their first compilation for quite some time, and their 2020 roundup relies on a fairly small handful of long-term label stalwarts across twenty tracks. In this case, less is more and the likes of Annix, Taxman, DJ Hybrid and Tyke all come seriously correct in this compilation, their collective decades of experience really shining through. Taxman's 'You Can't See' is absurdly good, with wonderfully stuttering breaks which emerge from shimmering synth lines before cutting into a raucously stabbing bass hits, a proper rowdy collection of sounds which get right to the heart of the Playaz sound. Bristol trio The Sauce pop up on the label with several contributions, including 'Spooked', an eerie roller with choppiness right at its core - big stuff from the crew.
Review: As champions of the UK bassline sound, the CruCast roster continues to impress on all angles as they unleash the third edition of their 'We Are Crucast' series, showcasing some of the most heavyweight releases they have landed over the course of 2020. The roster is pretty sensational to say the least, with the likes of AC Slater, Darkzy, P Money, Zero, Skepsis, TS7, Zero, Cajama and more all making notable appearances throughout. The project as a whole is a top quality representation of where the sound of UK bassline is currently at, with our personal favourites including the techy blips and vibrant subs of MPH's '116', alongside the stripped back bass warbles of Corrupt (UK)'s 'Strange Things' alongside the sultry vocal lines of Raas. Top stuff all around!
Review: To celebrate an incredible run of releases and festival stage takeovers, CruCast have collated some of their most popular releases over the last few years into one handy compilation, taking the name 'Cru100'. Now over the past few years we have seen CruCast lay down a pretty dominant release schedule, which shows in this tracklisting as we reminisce with classics from the likes of Skepsis, Darkzy, Distinkt and Tsuki, with more recent bangers such as Bru-C and Simula's 'You & I' making it onto the listing also. If you are looking for certified dancefloor ammo, look no further!
Review: Is there a doctor in the house? Hospital kick start the new decade with another stupendously massive V/A collection in the form of its latest Sick Music compendium. An album series that consistently lives up to its name, Sick Music 2020 does not disappoint in the slightest; from the powerful soul thrust of Degs and Unglued's "Levitate Your Mind" to the deep pads and sultry kicks of Tolima Jets' "Clams" via Urbandawn's truly electrifying euphoria/gully head shock "Egregor", this one covers the full spectrum from an exciting and super diverse range of artists. Look out for some fantastic remixes lurking in the mix, too; S.P.Y absolutely crushes Kings Of The Rollers' "You Got Me" and Serum flips Todd Terry's house classic "Bounce To The Beat" with a new sense of funk and groove. And these are just a few examples; this is a fantastic snapshot into how 2020 will sound... And it sounds great!