Review: Southampton's Al Pack takes us for a ride through the various, classic shades of drum and bass; borrowing equally from jungle as he does from soul and disco, calling to mind legends such as Peshay, Alex Reece and London Elektricity. Starting with the jazz infused vibes of the title track, other highlights aren't limited to the street level breakbeat science of "Ruffneck Tactics" and "Hustle Daily" while "Nimbus" or "Quarter After Two" feature the smooth liquid drum and bass vibes that LTJ Bukem or Calibre would stand up and notice. Well produced and promising stuff.
Review: The sound of Jerome Sydenham's Ibadan imprint has noticeably changed since he relocated to Berlin. Where it once bristled with African rhythms and spiritual deep house jams, recent releases have focused more on hypnotic, occasionally dark, tech-tinged rhythms. While this EP does include one life-affirming blast of constantly rising spiritual house - see Sydenham's edit of Toto Chiavetta's "Become One" - for the most part it's suitably murky. There's a genuine looseness and swing to the Martinez Brothers' tracky Dub of The Angry Kids' "Lullaby", while Sydenham and Sally's "Lady MacBeth Strategy" is a twisted chunk of acid-flecked techno designed to tease and titillate dark, sweaty after-parties. Lo Hype's "Something Special" is tasty, too, with bouncy samples and weird noises riding a shuffling, cowbell-laden groove.
Daniele Lo Presti - "Immenso - Outro Vol.002" - (2:05) 130 BPM
Review: The word 'unique' is grave danger of wheezing its last breath these days. Very few things genuinely are 'one of a kind' Especially in dance music. The crazy Italian kids at Slowild, however, are really unique. Taking hardstyle theory to the glitch and moombhaton audience, they've slowed down one of the scariest forms of music to create something really interesting. At points you'll be reaching for the record player to switch the speed up, before realising it's digital and supposed to sound this way. Oozing drama and imagination, this is the best hardstyle album you will ever hear.
Review: Often when young talent is allowed to break through the thick icy surface of the drum and bass scene, the music they produce can be put down as variants of either side of the spectrum - either soulful vocal-based liquid or seriously hyperbolic jump up forged to spin heads and destroy dancefloors. What Brazilian label DNBB have here is a gorgeous little slice of brand new talent, showcasing the inventive minds of the next generation of drum and bass. Hudik begins the surge with "Parting", a synthy swell of atmosphere that booms and dissipates into a teetering crest of breakcore beats. Newcomer Flokos brings the Brazilian soul with smoothly funky "Nu York", and Kalum, already a favourite with the YouTube liquid crowd, teams rap with smooth rolling vibes. Upcoming talent Danny Lo hangs up his usual jungle beats for RnB tinged smoothy "Special Lady" and Brazilian drum and bass obsessionist Mystific plays with warm guitar licks and static to create a vintage soulful sound. An instant classic.
Review: Lo Shea, feted for his Hope Works party and label, is the latest artist to appear on Dusky's label. Favouring a tough but funky techno sound, this four-tracker is sure to hit the right note with DJs who prefer a smarter approach to big room grooves. The title track is a case in point, with Lo Shea dropping a tranced out build over a tough, pumping rhythm. On "Ornithurae", he slows the tempo down but keeps the intensity levels up thanks to a gut-busting, pummelling bass. Recruiting NK to deliver "Higher", the Sheffield producer uses doubled up claps, firing hats and pumping tones as a backdrop for a gloriously soulful vocal mantra about being lifted higher. Completing this exemplary EP is Peder Mannerfelt's rave-influenced, visceral take on "Iterations".