Review: Part two of the Nuusic anniversary celebration, and the halfway point is just as good as the first instalment. It's more of the label's most standout tracks from the last three years, and Conrad Subs' 'Little Vibey Thing' is right up there with the best of them, a swing-heavy vocal-led jungle number that's formed of swelling bass touches, crunchy drum lines and a nonchalant gem of a vocal, one that's halfway between hip-hop and soul. Margaman's 'Teach The Roots' is a masterclass in simple vibes, with a clean percussive centre and edges that wallow in bassy reggae, all of which is deliciously built into a crescendo with a superb build-up. Proper dancefloor stuff.
Review: Bang! 30 Sub-liminal tracks deeply dug from every corner of the Brighton label's vaults, all packaged up in a new VA concept album: On Air. Perfect for filling a few gaps in your collection, or new ears who've only just experienced the power and gritty funk of Agro's label, every cut is a highlight or a heavyweight. Warhead & Dutta's grizzly 2018 slap-about 'Don't Test' still melts your skin, Leaf's 2020 wonk-out 'Erby' still hit with high grade 23rd century funk, Pyro's 2020 'Tick Yes' will still blackmail you and your family with its sinister undertones. And that's just a mere tenth of this solid collection. Cop it.
Review: Liquid Lab are coming into your ears once again with more lovely music, this time it's with Motiv, who has been in the game to know how to craft a proper liquid number. All five tracks on this EP rest comfortably within the funkier, more atmospheric end of the liquid spectrum, and they make ideal late night or early morning listening. The title tune is quintessential, with bubbling celestial synth lines that rest gingerly alongside a wonderfully subtle, rolling bassline that strolls along with the serious grace and decorum. 'On the Verge' features up and comer Charla Green on vocals and it has a main piano riff that's just superb in its soulfulness, a common and tangible theme throughout this release. Lovely stuff.
Review: Fokuz are coming into your ears once again with more luscious deepness, this time around courtesy of Motiv, who has been around the block enough times to know how to craft a proper liquid number. All four tracks on this EP rest comfortably within the spacier, more atmospheric end of the liquid spectrum, and they make ideal late night or early morning listening. The title tune is quintessential, with bubbling celestial synth lines that rest gingerly alongside a wonderfully subtle, rolling bassline that strolls along with the serious grace and decorum. 'Orbit' links directly to the space theme present on this release, and it has a low end that's just superb in its soulfulness, a common and tangible theme throughout this release. Lovely stuff.
Review: Sub-liminal take a moment to look back over almost six years of hard graft at the future talent coal face. Having been responsible for so many bangers from so many now household names, it's a mean feat boiling it down to this mere 50 heavyweight highlights. All the label's key names are on board; Guzi, Dreadnaught, Nick The Lot, Too Greezy, Kumo, Version, Vital, Pyro, Motiv and many more dust off their past heavers, hurters and head-slappers to reflect on everything Sub-liminal has stood for and encouraged so far. From the deeper, more subtle bubblers (Sam Harris - 'Coffee Machine') to the most outrageous funk-ups (Warhead - 'Cranked') this EP has everything. When the Riddim hits you, you can't say no...
Unknown Artist - "Just Vibe With It" - (5:21) 172 BPM
Untrue - "Your Face" - (5:19) 174 BPM
Motiv - "Walk With Me" - (4:54) 174 BPM
Review: Now in their 22nd year, Fokuz has to be one of the longest running - and certainly the most prolific - drum & bass labels to ever come out of The Netherlands. A prime spot for breaking new talent, and renowned for their glacial, atmospheric liquid sound, the label have that perfect balance of newcomers and established names which is reflected perfectly here on this reflective look-back over 2020. Highlights include Command Strange & Cnof's dusty soul delight 'Rainy Day', the twinkling cosmic funk of Maverick Soul's 'We In Here' and the shimmering soul of Askel & Elere's 'Honestly'.
Review: Celsius is an offshoot of the famous Fokuz and it's a space for the team to release a wider range of sounds from artists you might not have heard of yet, and this VA ep is exactly that. It brings liquid and other flavours to the table and reminds you why Celsius is so often a platform for artists to move onto other things, as all those involved come with a signature rolling style. HEFT keeps it wispy and pure with 'Choice', whilst Mystific darkens things up in style with the forceful sounds of 'Anymore'. A great EP for those looking to expand their horizons.
Review: Reload and come again: our 'Juno Download Selects' edition with the mighty US dnb HQ Liondub International continues for another session. Once again featuring an A-list rollcall of now household names, it's another reminder of how much heat Liondub International have cooked up over the years, supporting artists from their earliest moves. Highlights on this set include the turbo slammage and necksnap switches on Jayline's 'Anglo Saxxon', early hurly burly from the man like Macky on 'Black Widow' and the always-devilish bubbles of Motiv's 'Vultures'. And that's just three of 15 crucial example's of Liondub International future-focused benchmark. Get to know!
Review: Motiv recently released a gorgeous liquid single, but this time around his outing on Original key is made of decidedly tougher stuff. Break The Spell is balanced nicely around rolling beats and choppier territory, and its title tune blends aggressive, stretched out bass work with precisely laid down percussive foundations. 'Doomed' is similar in the drums but more spacious and deeper in the low frequencies, its title accurately reflecting the sense of foreboding you'll be certain to feel. 'Mayday' rolls out with abandon, whilst 'Valves' is yet another expression of serious dancefloor intent. Super stuff.
Review: So it doesn't feel like we've had much of a summer this year. It also feels like the arts are being hung-up to dry right now. But at least the good folk at Sub-liminal care for us.... To mark the (albeit raveless) sunny season, they've put together a 50 (yes, fifty) track collection from some of the most exciting names in the game. From Dunk to Xav, RV to Warhead, Agro, Guzi, Shayper, Damage Report and so many more, this is the 'Summer Selection' we all totally need and deserve right now. Highlights include the Remarc levels of badness on Guzi's 'Area 51', the tension and staggered creepiness of Yatuza's 'Clich?' and the broadsword swathes of Motiv's buzzy bumper 'Necroplasm'. And that's just three out of 50. Thank you Sub-liminal. We need this more than ever right now.
Review: Doe, a deer, a female deer. Ray a drop of golden sun. That's The Sound Of Music, circa 1965. Boh, a banger, an absolute banger. Whey, a drop of golden gunfingers. That's the 'Sound Of Nuusic', circa right about now as the Manchester based label let rip with their third V/A experience. Now an annual thing for the label, it's their biggest collection yet as it's super-charged with blaze-ups from the best in the new-gen game. From Sl8r's opener to Conrad Subs' grand VIP finale by way of cuts from the likes of Teej, Sola, Kuma, Epicentre, Kumarachi, Motiv, Selecta J-Man and many more on-point future headlining names, this isn't just the sound of Nuusic, it's the sound of now.
Review: Coming in hot with an EP that's positively deadly, Motiv lands on Calypso Muzak in stunning form. Hypnotize is aptly named because it's just that: hypnotic. There's a rawness, a depth, to its elements and every inch of the package feels carved out of urban, rough-edged stone. 'Turmoil' is the highlight of the release, with a tantalisingly good drum line that tumbles ove ritself in eagerness to mess you up, its bassline companion not far behind and just rippling with force and movement. The title track samples the classic Biggie tune and puts a junglist spin on it, whilst 'Taking Lives' rolls out with abandon and 'Last Breath' is a cheeky, cheeky growler. Top notch.
Review: Northern scene legend Adam Wigglesworth sadly passed away on April 3. This is how his friends responded... By compiling one of the biggest tribute albums drum & bass has ever seen. Just look at the amount of talent on here: Pyxis, Euphonique, Nvrsoft, No Concept, Exile, Euphonique, Dawn Raid and so many more artists have contribute to this 45 track album of which all proceeds go to Adam's family. From the blazing bass riff of Sappo's late 90s style neck snapper "Hannibal" to Exile's turbine bass growler "Symbiosis" via Sl8r's jazzy, almost Detroit style vibes on "The Mill" and various bits from Wiggo himself, this is a heartfelt salute from the entire scene to a man who'll be sorely missed.
Review: Two years after Valiant Emcee's original "Ronin" series dropped, now comes this mammoth remix package. Featuring the likes of Will Miles, DJ Hybrid, Conrad Subs, DZire, Sikka, Diligent Fingers, KC and many more, vibes run the full gamut like VE's bars do. From the darkstepping drama of "The Ronin" (with Anastasia) to the rolling breezes of "Mic Check" (with DJ Hybrid) by way of absolute stinkery (Sikka's remix of "The Ronin", the subaquatic deep dream vibes of Diligent Fingers' "Drifting" remix) Dutty Bass have represented every shade and style to fit the Canadian MC's bars perfectly.
Review: Motiv is definitely one of the better up and coming producers out there and, with previous releases on a host of other labels, his aggressive sound is back with a vengeance here. Packed with harsh, barking tones and a stripped-back, industrial aesthetic, Motiv doesn't waste any time in laying out the rules: there are none. '40hz' is one of the heavier cuts, with a punching back end and an obstinate feel of solidness that reflects down all the way onto the rest of the tune. 'Warzone' is the title tune and you can see why, with a KoTR-esque approach to drawn out basslines and tough sonics that's underpinned by lovely metallic drums.
Review: Holy moly! This is how you smash open a new decade; a 50 track album absolutely drenched in stinkage. Now a tradition for DJ Hybrid's label, this anthem collection is one of the biggest to date with names and vibes across the spectrum. Epicentre, Kumarachi, Conrad Subs, Stompz, Veak, RMS and many more all bring their fieriest artillery with highlights bursting from the seams. Every single track slaps the dance from the stripped back drumfunk and demented mentasms of Substrate's "Throwback" to the mystic sitar twangs and heavy bass bangs of Euphonique's "Moksha" via ruded up Dread bass badness of the bossman's own "Lost In The Jungle". And that's not even the tippiest tip of this anthemic jungle iceberg. Don't dilly dally.
Review: Nussic are developing a bit of a reputation for spewing out some of the most venomous beats in the business and their talent for pushing some of the best artists on the jump-up spectrum is undeniable. Motiv is holding up that standard with his debut EP on the label and he's doing it in style, something clear right from the start of this EP. 'Gallows' reels you in with a lovely intro, it's upbeat beginnings quickly regressing to a really sick wall of pure energy that's reminiscent of Kings of the Rollers and insanity more generally. The rest of the release is equally aggressive, 'Fakes' being another highlight. Sick release.
Review: Liquid Lab essentially do what their name would suggest: they make deep music that touches your soul. It's one of the best small liquid labels out there and it'd definitely be worth your time to check out their stuff, starting with this EP from Motiv. This release is certainly deep, the title track kicking you off with a lovely combination of funky jazz samples and more melancholic ambience. It's a trend that repeats itself over and over, especially on 'Clap Your Hands', which has a gorgeous depth yet feels rooted right in the moment. 'After Hours' is the is all about the jazz vibes and it does this very nicely, stretching piano cords out over a rolling beat.