Review: Spearhead are back with another compilation featuring some of their music from the past, as well as a handful of brand new cuts. The final track on the release - The Vanguard Project's remix of 'We All' by L.A.O.S is the highlight, a brand new outing which rolls out a euphoric string section to great effect, a hands-in-the-air anthem which will make want to be in the rave. Phaction's remix of 'Mirror Image' came out last year, and we've been in love with its cascading drum section and adrenaline-fuelled vocal magic ever since, a truly wonderful number that's bright, shiny and full of pure vibes. Wicked compilation.
Review: The North Quarter is rounding out their 2020 with the first in a new Various Artists series: NQ State of Mind. We're assuming this name is a hat tip to Jay-z and Alicia Keys' NY State of Mind, and the focus on urban funk comes through clearly across this album's 10 tracks. It starts with the long-awaited Tokyo Prose remix of 'All My Life' by Satl, and Tokyo has stretched out Steo's incredible vocals over an elegantly simple piano riff and solid percussive basis, a timeless sound that gets right to the heart of what makes this label so good. Zero T gives his 2017 album cut 'Slightest Moment' the remix treatment, taking it up from hip-hop tempo to full drum & bass to form a rollicking, nonchalant roller which skips along with such purity of spirit you'll forget where you are. There's a superb original contribution from Redeyes with 'Original Soul', a stripped back remix of 'Late Night Jam' from Lenzman, and a dirty old school roller from Sam Binary. What an album.
Review: Lenzman's imprint serves up its first V/A right here with Quarter To Quarter. Featuring exclusive tracks from the likes of FD, LSB, Total Science, Kyrist, Tokyo Prose, Break, Zero T and so many more, it's a full spectrum representation of the label that ranges from sublime, sun-kissed soul such as Redeyes' "Lust", Atlantic Connection and Steo's "Night & Day" to bouncy, vocal high-vibe affairs such as Break's remix of "In My Mind". Along the way expect stunning strident, cosmic hypnotic workouts (Tokyo Prose - "Rescue"), dubby dreamers (Kyrist - "Untrue") unlikely rudeboy slappers (Total Science - "Killa") and every other authentic, genuinely crafted D&B sound you associate with the label. Quarter To Quarter ... No half measures.
Review: Total Science's CIA take a moment for reflection as they look back over the decades of hard service they've done and cherry pick a few old gold favourites. As with previous Select Files collections, the range is widescreen and full of authentic, timeless, honest D&B. You want highlights? You best start going through every track... Everything from Calibre's 2009 snarling bongo-buster "Understand" to some of S.P.Y's earliest cuts such as "Dark Age" and "Magic Hour" and the VIP of Total Science's evergreen ballistic rave weapon "Defcom 69" still hits the spot like they did the first time round. Get selective.
Need For Mirrors - "Speedy Boarding" - (5:12) 174 BPM
Alexvnder - "Continuity" - (4:55) 174 BPM
DJ Ransome - "Arctic Blizzard" - (5:41) 174 BPM
Review: One of the most iconic and prolific labels in the D&B scene, Fokuz Recordings manage to simultaneously show off the best in the game whilst supporting new talent and the results are fantastic. This album - a recap of 2018 - exemplifies their approach. It's full of big names and bigger tracks, including S.P.Y's remix of 'Always Yours' by Macca & Loz Contreras, Artificial Intelligence's remix of 'String City' by Lenzman and Calibre's remix of 'Forward Thinking' by Satl. Whilst these are obviously great, the bigger story lies in the lesser-known participants and their ability to pull at your heartstrings. DJ Ransome, Edlan, Soligen amongst others all come seriously correct on this LP, turning it into a seriously good release.
Review: Vandal's Modern Soul compendiums are now a summer essential. Writhing in the softer focus hazier feels of their family's output, it's a chance for guys who usually roll out, roll up instead. And no one's rolling looser than the fast-rising Shield who's "Skippy Vinyl" is a horn-squeezing, day dreaming neo soul, bottom-heavy jam of the highest order. Lenzman, meanwhile, adds a little Dutch magic to "What She Wants" by re-focusing the vocal and adding a little more weight behind the harmonies. Good for the soul.
Review: Following the hugely successful launch last summer, Lenzman delivers another album-sized trove from his new brand The North Quarter. Once again he's in generous mode as eight tracks (including an intro skit and versions) flow like fine soul wine. From the silky dynamics of "In My Mind", where Manchester singer IAMDDB really flourishes with neo soul allure to the darker late night drive of the Jubei-featured "Park Hill" via the delicious smoky piano-lingering haze of the Steo-fronted "Tender Love", this is the sound of Lenzman in his element, relishing in his sound and vision at levels we've never seen before. The North Quarter is shaping up to be something really special.
Review: A cheeky teaser ahead of his second maxi-EP chapter from The North Quarter, Lenzman lays down another delicate soul sermon. "In My Mind" is a salubrious roller sprinkled with deft keys, pinned by a treacle-thick sub and coated with a velvet vocal that's delivered with a cool off-beat jazz-like way courtesy of Manchester's rising neo-soul star IAMDDB. Following in the spirit of his huge Children Of Zeus remix, it's yet another crisp, heart-warming original from the Dutch craftsman. Bring on the full EP.
Review: A time for reflection: Total Science closes down their 20th year of C.I.A case files with another precision reflection over past conquests and gully accomplishments from their collection of labels. Ranging from one of Calibre's first ever cuts (the raffish, wonderfully unkempt "Tempo Dub") and Bad Company's stupendous grime-funk twist on "Champion Sound" to Break's 2012 gritty slapper "Rare Earth" and Digital's life-changing, amen-smashing bassline slammer "No Reality", Spinback and Quiff have dug deep through the ages for some absolute gold here.
Review: Drum&Bass Arena: The longest-standing, and one of the most respected, platforms for all things jungle D&B celebrates an impressive 20 years in the game with this ridiculously hefty document that pays respect to the genre's every twist and turn. From scene-shattering megahits ("Tarantula", "Feel The Love", "Rock It", "Afterglow") to unarguable historical underground scene-smashing megabangers ("Machete", "Aztec", "Nasty Ways", "The View", "Champion Sound", "Turbulence", "Up All Night", "Deadline", Ram Trilogy's remix of "Pacman") by way of tracks that may have slipped under the radar ("Defcom 69", "What's Wrong", "Song For Lovers") the whole album is loaded to the lips with some of the most important records the genre's enjoyed in the last 20 years. Time to get nostalgic, time to fill those holes in your collection, time to educate your dancefloor. Here's to another 20 years!
Review: Leiden's Lenzman reps his Dutch section with a brand new label dedicated to the more soulful fringes of D&B and its rich hip-hop roots. Starting as he means to go on, the debut release weighs in at a hefty 10 tracks ranging from hurricane soul such as the beautiful vocal-flecked "Don't Let Go" and "Down For Whatever", restrained jazzy rolls ("Grateful") and potential tune of the year business with his own remix of Children Of Zeus's "Still Standing". With a cheeky serving of skits along the way, too, it's clear Lenzman is in his element right here.
Review: Following Etherwood and Fred V & Grafix, S.P.Y is the next to step up to the "Hospital Mixtape" series with a walloping 31-track mix of which almost half has never been released before. As you'd expect from the bazillion dollar Brazilian, the range is wide with tendencies to gully. Essential exclusives you'd be an absolute madman not to check include his deep-swing twist on Digital's seminal "Deadline", the insane sub bass slipperiness on Random Movement's incredible "In Space No One Can Hear You Funk" and the "Up All Night" style late 90s slap down with his brother Unreal "Enduro". A proper mix and a previously unobtainable selection that's yours for the taking... What's not to love here?
Review: Golden age... The title says it all. But don't go getting too dewy eyed and over-nostalgic, Lenzman beats have been timeless since his debut way back in 2007. Rooted in stripped back, soulful dynamics, this EP reminds us why we got into both D&B and Lenzman in the first place. From the star-gazing coded hope of "Never Enough" by way of the lilting jazz flickers and space bass of "Homie Don't Play That" to the vocal double-up of Dan Stezo and Steo on the title track, Lenzman has laid down an EP of album proportions here... And we guarantee it will still sound great in 10 or 20 years time.
Review: Loved and respected by those in the know as one of the finest purveyors of silky-smooth soulful drum and bass with the delicate touch of a producer who knows how to kick it hard too, Lenzman now has the privileged position of being given his very own remix release. Featuring showstopping amendments by Ivy Lab, LSB and DBridge amongst others, this is no normal remix EP. It's a combination of legends
Review: CIA are bringing out the big guns with this intense selection of stone cold classics and fresh new sounds. Not content with already leading one of the finest talent-led subgenre revolutions, Computer Integrated Audio have brought together some of the biggest names around to lay out the future of drum and bass for all to see. From Smyla & Script's massive floor destroyer "Stockpile" to the unforgettable "Soul Patrol" from the men themselves Total Science and featuring acts like Enei, Spy and Riya, Serum, Break, Digital and Nymfo along the way, it's a thing of wonder to behold. Don't get caught out.
Review: From seminal YouTube damage to worldwide events and all sorts more, UKF continues to spin its own distinctive low-end yarn. Having made its presence known beyond the dubstep and drum & bass worlds in the last year or so, Bass Culture 3 acts as a pivotal release and shows the channel is far from genre-specific. Amidst the massive bangers that the brand is known for - TC - "Get Down Low", Must Die & Mantis - "Culture", Mob Tactics - "The Answer" - there are plenty of other corners explored, too. From the 808 allure of Buku's "No One Does" to the angular jacking of Three Bar's "Everybody" via My Nu Leng's unavoidable "Masterplan", this album represents some of the most exciting examples of bass behaviour in all styles of electronic music.