Review: Agro a-go-go.. The Sub-liminal bossman breaks down the doors of 2017 with four absolute flatteners. The story starts with "The Music" where a crisp, warm skank and vocal are soon shoved into a murky pool of low-end riffage, jump-up with added funk in the groove, this will spark up any dance in any corner. "Vengeance" follows on a meaner tip as stern bass and sudden amen flurries lick upside your senses and "Cold Roads" has one of the coldest drops Agro's ever created - sinister, moody and tubular, it is 1997 all over again. "Crush" concludes this fearful tale with the help of equally rising Leaf. Slapping and buzzing with a mild nod towards the Bristol sound and Clipz in his early prime - there's mischief in the moodiness. We'll let the music do the talking from here on.
Review: One of the savviest axis-flexors in the D&B / jungle game, DJ Hybrid has an all seeing eye across the soundboy spectrum with his two labels and mixed-style signature. Here the full focus is on his flagship label Audio Addict with his first exclusive-powered mix album that covers all the crucial corners. Every track rattles and shakes with energy and subversion: the jungle chaos of his own "Mix & Blend", the iced-out atmos and toxic drop of Swerve's "Massive & Crew", the gunshot bass holes caused by Lost Dynamics "New Funk", the jaw-dropping ruthlessness of Ray Keith's take on "Badboy", the list goes on... DJ Hybrid levels up once more.
Review: Feel the force: Macky Gee's Down 2 Earth returns with their second "Gravity" collection and it's every bit as essential as its namesake... Hizzleguy trumps the game with an 8-bit remix we've always dreamt of. Full of muscles and mushrooms, you'll be collecting gold coins for a long time to come. Other highlights include the nagging clipped harmonic bass riff on Tsuki's "Kit Kat", the coiled spring rhythm of Matzet's "Loop 95" the croaking bass and rattling percussion of Leaf's "Business" and Replicant's methodical horn-sampling roll-out charmer "Tiger Marks". Get your coats, you've (gravitationally) pulled.
Review: After an exceptionally prolific 2017, Leaf's been a little quiet this year. Most likely he's been in the lab cooking up a whole summer's worth of slammers so scorching they'll burn your whole house down if you don't keep your files in a fire and shock proof harddrive. "The Pistol Shot" is less of a single shot and more of an automatic fire, aimed straight at your senses. And don't go thinking those ice cold rave pads are going to sooth the pain. They only make it feel even meaner. "Dub Tang" is equally forthright. Boosted with some really tasty rolling breaks and subs so stupendously thick they'd be welcomed on any reality TV show, it's another authentic jungle expedition from the still-unstoppable Leaf.
Review: Bangers for breakfast, stinkers for tea... No matter what time you link up with Leaf, he's always cooking up something chronic and full flavoured. Take "Goat", a wonky, creaky weirdo of a tune, that comes complete with a little animal magic. Take those loose and spacious Die-style breaks on "Run The Riddim". Take those evocative, eerie Oriental strings on "Lucky House Grin". Take the rubber ball bass and necksnap bounce of "Hold Up", the croaky toad bass of "Save Meh" and the pranged out sci-fi funk of "Conscious State". In fact take the whole lot because it really doesn't get much better than this. Leaf is killing it right now.
Review: Make like a tree and Leaf: one of the most innovative artists to breakthrough in recent years, Leaf's left-of-centre, gutter-chomping textures and twisted dynamics have become a staple of the more underground side of D&B and a buy-on-sight situation. This EP is no exception; the distorted tubular grunt of "Glitch", the twisted strings and gammon sample in the breakdown of "Muck Meat", the offbeat harmonics and faraway soul of "Luv" and the freaky sci-fi stepper funk of "One Jah"... Each and every cut a stone cold singular thumper. Time to branch out.
Review: It's a good time to be a Leaf fan right about now... Hot on the heels of his double-whammy "Pick N Mix" EPs on Serial Killaz, he steps up to Biological Beats with six more heavers. We kick off with a trio of co-labs: Manchester mandem Bou joins the fray for a rolling skank-up on "Selecta", man-of-the-moment T>I gets mucky on the iced-out stepper "Roller Derby" while Too Greezey brings a little bass slime to the sharp and stabby "Ghetto". Leaf finalises the deal with three killer originals: the sub-stacked cymbal-slammer "Yeah Bassline & That", the grotty sniper "Woobie" and the EP's most out-there scud missile "It's A Jungle". Massive.
Review: Time to get those fingers green once again as Leaf fires off the second part to his "Pick N Mix" series. Once again, it's an all-out assault of skanks, rasps and gnarly gurning dynamics that don't just make a crowd dance but electrify it. With its excellent vocal sample and potty bass "Jah" is the definition of 'fire' and DJs should call the local fire brigade before planning on dropping it, "Riddim" groans under the bass pressure before twisting you with an array of percussive elements, "Get Down" shows Leaf at his more stripped back, steppy and crispy, "Tosh" pays homage to the don with a block-snare bashment serenade while "Inner Connected" reminds us of Leaf's more soulful side. Job done... Just like any good pick n' mix, all flavours are covered - and every single one of them is sweet.
Review: Got some shoes? Good. Got some hands? Good. Now what we need you to do is use your hands to remove your shoes and throw them directly at Leaf when you see him. Tunes as outrageously dope as these deserve nothing less. "Bumbaclart" is a severe shredder that threatens to leave you skinless, "Wu Style" pays homage to the clan in the fugliest, most toxic way possible, "Rollz" is a space-aged stepper with more tech grease than a rave in a bakery while "Hard To Find" takes the hazy dulcets of Alice Winzar and twists them through the future machine to show you how bleak reality might become if mankind continues being idiots. Shoes off, all off.
Review: With his debut releases on Serial Killaz and Kartoonz acting as the countdown, Leaf literally takes off on "Space Shuttle". Firing with pure dark matter but never over-burning, it pulls away from gravity with broadsword production and the right amount of thrust. "Bubble Wrap" leaves us floating in the ether with some deft sample work and outer-planetary atmospheres while "Killer" boots us back to reality with a vicious bump; grizzly, raw and honest, it somehow tips nods at both Full Cycle and Hardware with its attitude, groove and aesthetic. Happy landing.
Review: Serial Killaz are beginning to expand their premiership fraternity and they've picked the right man to set the agenda; Leaf's already been heard in the sets of Rene LaVice, TC, Noisia, Hype, Marky and loads more. You can tell; each of these lean constructions carries no flab... Just concentrated detail on every sparse element. The block percussion on "Monsoon", the Critical-style robofunk of "Advice", the sample savviness and pneumatic drum pressure of "Wu Style" while the bassline on "Gunman" literally barks orders over a shattered amen. There's a reason the big guys are playing his tracks.
Review: Sub-liminal savagery incoming! Leaf drifts his way back onto the ever-reliable label with two spiky pieces of straight-up dark funk jump-up. "Erby" celebrates the sticky green with a great vocal sample and the most venomous Q&A bassline Leaf's ever done (which is saying something) while "Jamaican Dub" sees Jam Thief Dunk join the fray. Following his recent slew of solo cuts, Dunk's angular, roughhouse grit is the perfect complement to Leaf's leftfield fire. The results speak for themselves.
Leaf - "Dup Up The Dance" (BassBrothers remix) - (4:06) 175 BPM
Saxxon - "Long Haul" - (4:48) 175 BPM
NiteRider - "River Monster" - (4:23) 175 BPM
Fena - "Audible" - (4:34) 172 BPM
Meladee - "Connoisseur" - (4:23) 175 BPM
Review: Niterider, Saxxon and more are landing on Murky Digital with the Wolf Man EP and, as you can probably tell from the name of the label it's coming out on, it's a seriously murky bit of work. This is obvious from the first tune, a BassBrothers remix of Leaf's 'Dup Up The Dance', which expands hugely down into the back end with penetrating force, swaying and moving as it goes. The rest of the release is powered by the same relentlessness and 'Long Haul'' carries an expansive back end that undergirds a sequence of menacing sampling, whilst 'Audible' possibly has the most creative bassline on the release in a wicked display of dancefloor heat. Sick stuff.
Review: Home is where the heat is: G13 rally up troops old and new for a straight up sesh of UK heaviness. Co-boss Rowney takes the lead with the savage "Still On It", setting the scene for the new breed to smash down. Bou, Leaf & Dutta go all jazzy and harmonic on "Waterfall", Niterider gets all low-swung and switchy with "Fire Emoji", Jammin brings the mystic pressure with "Marijuana", Salvage gets classic with the cymbal-crashing, bass-mashing grunter "Don't Stop" while newblood Tringy finishes on the spooked-out wobbler "Poltergeist". Stinking.
Review: All aboard! RV revs up the engine and invites his mates over for a cruise on Sub-Liminal Recordings. Travel buddies include the likes of Raz, Beat Merchants, Yatuza, Leaf and label boss Agro and the results have more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction. Highlights include the ice cold rave blasts of 'Bumbahead' with Beat Merchants, the pranged out bass and Break style drums on 'Can't Feel It' with Leaf and the full grunt finale 'Anytime' with bossman Agro. Friendly fire!
Review: T>I has gone from strength to strength over the past couple of years, he's put out two sick EPs on scene-leading label Critical Music and you can tell from listening to his music that his sound is being constantly refined. For this single on Murky digital he steps up with one original and one remix, and the it's the former of these two that is the highlight for us. 'Fine Balance' is just that - finely balanced. There's a tangible synergy between the bouncing yet penetrating drum line and the pulsating, subby back end that pushes down on the range with devastating monotony. T>I is a top producer - just check out the evidence.