Review: Madcap and the late Andy Skopes' Trouble EP on Dispatch exemplifies why this label is so legendary, and why Andy's premature passing was such a tragic loss for our scene. His music is living on, however, and him and Madcap have rolled out a true piece of dancefloor precision on this one. The title track is pure magic, a ducking and diving number that drops to effortless depths in its quest for low frequency excellence, a vision aided along by MC Fats' typically deft vocal work. There are superb breaks on 'Scatter', and fractiously deep jungle tones on 'Empty Soul' that's paired with a hauntingly melancholic vocal sample. Unmissable.
Review: With the vinyl pressed and sold out, Stretch's AKO Beatz unleash their "Unknown Elements" on the digital realm. Mantra takes the lead with a Rupture-ready amen shaker "Powder Of Life", FDB Project and Madcap tap into the heady spirit of 94 with the ageless jungle tonic that is "Nema", Verb ensures our focus is fully squared on the paranoid, crying bassline and the iced out Headz mentasms in the background while Antidote closes the show with AKO Beatz darkest jam to date. Terror jungle vibes aplenty, handle with care and attention.
Review: Madcap is back, back again and he's landing on Fokuz for a fearsome, junglist EP that smacks of the old school but appeals to the new. We especially like the sense of cleanness in the arrangement, all the elements are disparate but synergistic and there's a real feel of raw vibrancy combined with modernist programming and spot-on syncopation. 'Pressure' is our favourite, with an almost hypnotic vocal sample that pulsates, ebbs and flows throughout the tune with wicked effect. The drums are in point, the basses equally so. Wicked stuff from the Fokuz crew.
Review: Don't be fooled by the name; sounds as silky as these are far from Madcap. But that just adds to this young London producer's integrity. In keeping with the previous outings on the US/UK D&B imprint, the emphasis is on the rolling groove as Madcap keeps our toes chiselled with tight percussion and a careful balance of light and dark. From the Marky-edge euphoria of "Mind Adventures" to the Total Science planet-gazing iciness of "Watching You", there's a reason he's appeared on the likes of Mac 2, Celsius and Fokuz in recent times. Join the adventure while there's still time to catch up.
Review: Nice one track release here from the Criminal Digital label, with the Cabin Fever remix of Madcap's "Everyday" ripe for the tail end of an epic D&B set. The bass line hums like a swarm of distant insects, the percussion is frantic but measured, and the vocal adds a coat of melodic gloss to proceedings - nice work all round.
Review: As one of the scene's leading perpetrators in swooning, lyrical jazz and soul-influenced drum & bass, Jazzsticks Recordings have played a blinder with this pairing from burgeoning breakbeat obsessive Madcap and rising Austrian D&B star Paul SG. Rolling in with vintage sounds straight from drum & bass' heyday, Madcap runs things with a deep groove and plenty of hi-hat smashing breaks. "Toxic Cloud" follows the pace with jazzy percussion and dub-influenced sampling to create a bouncing unique sound. Both demand big, bassy systems and the largest of nights.
Review: Mac 3 2 Digital is the online only wing of Randall's famous imprint, and his ineffable taste is stamped all over this slick collaborative release from Madcap and Ricky Force, who have come together to produce four slices of barebones jungle and drum & bass. The vibe on this one is strictly heads and 'Original Strut' by Madcap manages to sound both nostalgic and relentlessly fresh, with a wave-like sine bass that swoops in to grab your attention with pure finesse. The dark and dusty vibes of 'Morality' by Ricky Force are also deserving of attention, with rusty drums and eerie, retro ambience. Wicked.
Review: Hot on the heels of his Subtitles debut last month, Ill Truth's Myth gate-crashes the CIA party with four more certy heavers. Proper back-to-the-roots Bristol-flavoured bassline business, each cut smacks with timeless grit and funk. Highlights include the wild fluctuating wobbles on "Pathological" and the big diva vocal snippet and high voltage bass snarls on "No 1 Else" with Madcap. There are no limits to this man's gulliness.
Review: It appears that the Ghetto Dub Recordings team has assembled one hell of a roster for this one as they unleash the fully unmixed version of the Dubz: ReRubbed album project, allowing us to enjoy each and every tune in its full majesty. We find the perfect balance of high intensity dancefloor danger and more stripped back rollers throughout the compilation, from the Phibes remix of Wrecked from Vinyl Junkie & Sanxion giving us a gritty, synth lead smackdown to the much more junglist inspired recreation of Java's 'Screwface' from Aries. There are a few standouts throughout this eclectic selection, including Epicentre's monstrous sub-driven rework of 'We Up There' from Bill & Ed, alongside Veak's neurotic overhaul of Subcriminal's 'Mack 10' and the system rattling recreation of Flat T's 'Proceedings Closed' from Durban. What a selection this is!
Review: This VA is jam-packed with some of the scene's best liquid maestros, and it's of the movement for Liquid Drum & Bass 4 Autism, a group which seeks to raise awareness and money for those who have autism. Low:r, Furney, MsDos and more have gotten themselves involved, and the result is a lovely, serene walk through some of 174's most nonchalant moments. 'Eyes Closed' by Low:r is especially gorgeous, with his trademark organic sound fluttering in the wind of his creativity like usual. Changer is characteristically deep with 'Only To Be', and it's just the iceberg of what is a brilliant album for a brilliant cause.
Donovan 'Bad Boy' Smith - "After Party Vol 2" (continuous mix By Donovan 'Bad Boy' Smith) - (1:13:40) 178 BPM
Review: The compilations that come out of the V Recordings camp are as legendary as they come. A whole host of different ideas and concepts such as Planet V, Liquid V Club Sessions and V.I.P - I could go on - have landed on the label and brought us happiness. This time around it's instalment #2 for the Afterparty series and it's an LP with more soul than God, honestly. The sultry piano riff of 'No One Can Hear You Read' will have you tingling with excitement; the dulcet American tones of T.R.A.C go perfectly with Macca & Loz Contreras' iconic sampling on 'Leaps & Bounds'; and 'Summer Dayz' by L-Side and Addiction is a pure funk roll out. Another impeccable V Recordings compilation out the way, then. Smashing stuff.
Review: The don Randall continues to smash things to "Pieces".... 16 tracks of serious rolled-out dark groove soul, it's nothing but heads down grit and uncompromised creativity with every track playing the consummate role of lead player; T>I's soul-shaking hip-twister "All I Do", Benny L's epic groaning yes-fest "Dr No", Vapour's sci-fi drama stepper "Looking Back", Trex's cosmic alien lullaby "Short Story" are just some of the highlights as we roll deep to the very end as Seba blesses the collection with a superlative re-touch on Randall, Goldie and Dego's seminal, scene-shaping bomb from 93 "The R". Randall... Still doin' it after all these years. Essential for all drum & bass heads.