Review: One more Toon! Gradient head north for their second release as young Newcastle guns go toe-to-toe on this gut-crippling double A. Both tracks packing punches like the clubs never closed down, it's impossible to pick a favourite. Do you go for the one-fingered salute, heads-drown drive and twisted harmonics of Hexa's 'Distance'? Or do you go for the full-on grunt and thrust and heavenly pads midway on KL's 'Game Changer'? Either way, you're going to cause serious damage. Stay connected.
Review: One of the many sick soundboys to emerge out of Newcastle these days, KL hits the bullseye once again, this time on Fatman D's Young Guns. It kicks off with 'Cast Iron', a fun-times roller with a playful Zinc or Serum style air about it and some cavernous effects on the bassline. It's backed by plenty more incendiary buzzers: the pitched up vocal and screaming bass moans of 'I Need' and the steel-edged grizzler 'Impossible' are both highlights. Tough stuff. Don't cast stones, cast iron...
Review: This EP from KL is aptly named - Desolator - because that's exactly what it's aimed at doing. There are no frills or gimmicks to be found here, just purely heavy dance music laid out over a range of different tempos and beat patterns. We especially love the jagged halftime of 'Let Go', which feels torn out of a different dimension, yanked from its place for our distorted listening pleasure. There's more rhythmic creativity on 'Desolator', which takes the normally pacey drumline of jump up, slows it down and swings it out to create a naughty stepper that'll turn you on your head. 'Scissor Kick' finishes things off with a final burst of momentum encapsulated in its spaceship of part-jump up, part-neuro dimensions. Brilliant.
Review: Pick N Mix head up north for some Geordie grit as another one of the Toon's fizzy D&B community shines a scene spotlight on the city. This time it's KL who serves up a six-piece of gritty harmonics and distorted, curmudgeonly bass. Beyond the epic title track, highlights include the tense, graveyard-style deepness of opener "Buzzkill", the savage, haunted groaning of "Smoke Out" (with fellow Newcastle murker Hexa) and the twisted rifle riddim and savage steps of "Radiant". Now stop: "Hammerfist" time.
Review: Sunny side up: Saint Petersberg's Sunner Soul returns with another exceptional, groove-kissed selection. Taking the lead with four of his own works, we're treated to lavish strings on "Feel So Good", our trousers are charmed off by the sultry jazz feels of "Soul Liberty", we're drowned in soaking wet filtered finesse on "Swindle Mode" and teased with the lolloping conga/bass groove on his edit of "Sweet Honey". Meanwhile last year's critically received newcomer Scruscru gets busy with a delicious sample over some chunky-assed jacking beats. Can you dig it?
Review: Bag it, tag it, tell you mum about it; the B&T massive put together this 15 track collection to celebrate the label's 15th release and it's an all-out showcase of tomorrow's finest talent. Highlights fire from all sides; Ben Snow's 'Fire Iron' is a grunting staccato session of pure savagery, Refracta brings NFM-style melted bass to the fray on 'Embrace', Dunk & Teej get all mobster on us with 'Soprano', Parallel does his old school slap-about thing on 'Communications' and KL's 'Tension' is strong enough to blast us into the 23rd century. Pack your bags and your tags, you've pulled m8.
Review: The best Welsh label in the game - as chosen by UKF this year - are back in the business with a properly sick VA LP, one which takes a bunch of the artists in their orbit and provides a platform for them to show off their untapped potential. Rantik steps up with 'Hear My Rhythm' and expertly weaves hypnotic percussive patterns around punching kicks and menacing vocal lines, a superb arrangement that's topped off by a gorgeously dark bassline with a core of solid steel. Label regular Hexa kills it with the relentlessness of 'Mirages', and 'Losing Sleep' by Division is the archetypal minimal roller. This album is stripped back, techy to its heart and a glimpse into the future of drum and bass. Special.
Review: Pick N Mix: A place where full fat variety comes as standard and you're guaranteed to leave with a blazing sugar high and the stickiest fingers imaginable. Since launching last year they've been responsible for a whole barrage of on-point fire jams from the most exciting names in the new-gen D&B movement and for their 10th release they've levelled up the selection in a major way. 20 fresh tracks from 20 killer new talents, the vibes here are so palpable you could chew them. Highlights include the techno-like insistency and of Alex SLK's "Gorillaz", savage tear-out in the form of Vital's "The Game", Zoro's Dread-bass warp wonder session "Buss It", Magenta's MC-fronted bash-about "Purpose", the list goes on and on. Sweet!