Review: Here's something to celebrate: a studio hook-up between regular sparring partners Break and Mako, and fellow Utopia Music artists Fields and Villem. "Shadowlines" is an undeniably forthright concoction - a pounding tech-step smasher that makes great use of glitchy electronics, snappy snares, weighty sub, nightmarish textures and creepy melodies. It's an excellent follow-up to the quartet's 2012 single "Dilligence". Flip for "Found You" by former Fokuz and Formation Records artist Chromatic, who drops a typically chiming and picturesque liquid D&B roller packed with fizzing rhythms, warm chords and hazy female vocal samples.
Review: Let's jump right in: DLR and Mako together on first track "Your Mind" is a beautiful thing. Waves of old school breaks move effortlessly under a calming wash of sound and bass playfully bubbles beneath the surface. This is next level D&B. As lovely as it is to hear Dirty LeeRoy making peace with the world though, it's also fantastic to hear him get down and filthy in huge tunes like "10 Steps" and "Sense Of Wanting". Mako returns for the lush and dubby "Outbound" and finally Rider Shafique joins the clan to add sultry speculation onto dark, dubbed-out "Seek Knowledge", which itself is a beautiful collection of skittering snares, breathy brass and scraped, scarred synth impacts. A stunning release.
Review: Manchester's own Mako returns to Hot n Heavy recordings with a startlingly good collection of tunes. Featuring the eccentric vocal talents of Truthos Mufasa and Alaina Gabriel, there's more to his brand of bass-driven post-garage and house than meets the eye. Mako's original approach to production is what gives each track a unique spin, from the slippery chopped up vocals of "Take A Chance" to the old-style dubstep and hard techno of "Roll Out". It's an exciting and strangely endearing run through genres and sound experiments.
Review: More frequently spotted on his own Utopia imprint, Metalheadz or Warm Comms, Mako lays down his hypnotic charms on Samurai. It's a perfect fit; "Let The Truth Be Heard" hums with vibrant Vangelis-style synth blasts before dropping into wriggling waspy alien basses. "Forbenji" is a more physical affair with juke-style drum shots, crazy pitched snares and melodic, head-turning twists. Hey Mako, 2039 called... They want their future back.
Review: If you're the type of person who prefers old school vibes that roll out on a danger flex, you're going to like this EP. Goldie's choice set-closer leads the release (oh, so that's where you've heard it before), and it's not hard to see why: "The Narrator" has everything you'd ever want from a drum and bass classic. The only thing missing is the 25 year maturation - this one's straight out of the barrel, no messing. There's not a man on the planet that can mould a beat like Mako and this is going to transform him from cult hero to ruler of the free world. Just saying. Get your stake now and lead the way.
Review: Mako is the latest name to arrive on the Hot N Heavy imprint, bringing his own brand of intricate bass music. The sparse title track focuses in on weighty 2-step kicks, wrapping all manner of subtle melodic riffs and vocals around its complex percussion. "Hurt Me" is more explicitly UFK, rolling forward on a rhythmic flex of funky snares, reverb heavy vocals and filtered synths, while "Good FiRday" shows the producer to have a knack for crafting boogie infused hip-hop beats, combining neon saturated 8-bit melodies with weighty organic beatwork. A hefty remix package is also offered; Almostt turns Tropicality" into a moodier, snappier cut, "Shouts" swathes the track in rippling dub effects while, Huffaker Park transforms "Hurt Me" into a precise piece of swung 4/4 house.
Review: Utopia bossman Mako steps up with three outrageously on-point cuts for the Metalheadz label. Each one slapping a different cheek of the dancefloor, we're flung from tearingly ugly rollers like "The Gully" to unique broken beat/jungle hybridisms on "Ju Ken" which comes with added input from the man like Throwing Snow featured. The main draw, however, will be "Tell Me Something" which sees Mako team up with Detail. Lush sense-popping synths blast spine-chilling chords and deep bass gurgles in every direction as it runs amok on a meticulous drum arrangement that never sits still. The truth is out there for those that seek it.
Review: "Do You Feel The Same" rampages onto the scene with an intense blast of syncopation and darkness, before moving into a more impressionistic sound - and then back again with a militant onslaught. "All We Can Do" offers up less of a rampage and provides a relentless push instead, taking apocalyptic sound-bites and minimal tones that creates something only nightmares are made of. "Too Broke To Get It" is the release's lighter touch, still tinted with danger through hints of a howling basslines, however brighter musicality shines through in an old school fashion. It's a shapeshifter. Do not miss this release. You need it.
Review: Mr Utopia returns to his spiritual home with four more forward-thinking sermons: "The Gully VIP" sees him giving 2015's underground thumper a toxic halftime treatment, "String Section" is a stark stepper with nary an orchestra in sight, "By Firelight" rolls with a really spacious design and polished bass textures that are reminiscent of a young Photek while "The Need In Me" counterplays big jazz washes with drum edits that are twisted on a Paradox level of detail. Crisp.
Review: This is a special release. It's the last piece of music ever to be released via Soul:R, as the label is closing its doors after a long, rich history. It's fitting that Mako is the one responsible and he's done an amazing job at encapsulating the gritty, upbeat and vibrant sound that made the imprint special within a single EP. 'Come Down' is desperately steppy and full of texture; 'Message Music' features Marcus Intalex and that trademark Intalex tendency to drawn out an intro with perfect progression. All four tracks are special and all four pay homage to a truly iconic record label.
Review: It's another Headz special! Bristol's finest Utopian, the man like Mako, delivers his debut solo album and it's every bit as deep, detailed and sense-slapping as you'd expect it to be. From the spacious drums and grizzly bass on the opener "Heartstone" to the rave-melting halftime switching "Flip It" via the bouncy harmonics of "Hoxton Home" and the depth plunge bassline and Subtitles-style rawness of the stripped back arrangement on "Offline", like all Metalheadz albums - and indeed Mako productions - this is a properly considered, thoughtful and detailed body of work. Essential.