Review: Synthesis is the fourth Digital album and it might be his most ambitious undertaking yet! The album's sixteen tracks see the UK producer working alongside a swathe of high profile contemporaries. The danger with projects such as this, is the lack of cohesion and binding theme but its clear Digital conceived Synthesis as a display of all that's good in the current scene. Exceptionally well produced and engineered, it's nigh on difficult to pick out a highlight here with the likes of Om Unit, Nomine, Villem, Spirit and the mighty Klute excelling in their bass science explorations alongside Digital. An album to really sink your teeth into.
Review: Twisted's Grid launches a new series dedicated to the deeper, introspective moments in life with five seriously respected artists at the dials. DJ Limited continues to show how versatile he is with the clanking, wobbling, slurring "To Be The First", man of the moment Need For Mirrors gets his slinky step on with "Such A Thing" while Damage Report gets his dancehall neck brace on with the hardest, snare-snapping jam of the set "Took You So Long". Elsewhere Dexcell add pace and grit to Mutated Forms' space-hopping bleep shock out "Duct Tape" and Raz brings down the curtains with a hurricane snare rattler that's laced with bone-chilling textures and rises. One for the heads...
DJ Chap & C.A.B.L.E. - "Be With Me" - (4:25) 176 BPM
Murdock - "Raw Power Moves" - (5:14) 174 BPM
DJ Andy - "Acid Reflux" - (4:33) 174 BPM
Chromatic - "Footprint" - (4:58) 174 BPM
Need For Mirrors - "Go Easy" - (5:23) 174 BPM
Peshay - "Nitro" - (6:43) 175 BPM
DLR - "Dafunk" - (5:55) 175 BPM
Bailey - "Computer Life" - (5:10) 174 BPM
Simplification - "Therapy" - (5:18) 172 BPM
Alibi - "Machine Head" - (5:36) 174 BPM
Nymfo - "Warrior" - (3:49) 170 BPM
DJ Limited - "Love Is Blind" - (4:12) 58 BPM
Jumpin Jack Frost - "Chronicles" (continuous DJ mix) - (1:08:09) 178 BPM
Review: Chronic is a sub-label of V Recordings that's specifically for rolling, rapid and rough tracks, the ones that are too naughty for the main label yet too good to throw out. Jumping Jack Frost as curated this latest compilation for Chronic and it's simply too good, with a wicked mix of vibes. From the snarling funk of Philth's 'Sanctuary', the wobbling energy of 'My Flava' by Command Strange or the rough jungle on Bailey's 'Computer Life', this LP injects the old-school vibe into new-school clarity. Arguably the stand-out though is DLR's 'Dafunk, a combination of stuttering drums and upbeat samples wrapped up in typical DLR-esque fashion.
Review: It's not often a true legend delivers the goods long into their career but MC Fats is still delivering the goods as this LP proves. Filled with collaborations and remixes from the MC Fats Collective and beyond and pushing his unique sound to the next level. Huge names like Calibre, Basher, Total Science, SIN, Lynx and Dom & Roland move in to attack their own slices of the action, taking what could simply be an outstanding LP to cult status and beyond. It's no surprise that a man of his experience could wrangle in some of the biggest names in D&B for his album - what is surprising though is that none of the input is an afterthought. Each contributor has given their best and it shows.
Review: Metalheadz are on devastating form right now and they happily slam down the gauntlet with this superb EP. Continuing in the same vein as the previous "Genesis" instalments they present a selection of fresh, upfront drum and bass which simply refuses to adhere to any template. The much heralded Need For Mirrors kick proceedings off with the deadly "Lofar" which sets the tone perfectly before Dutch maestro Nymfo follows with the dark stepper "Conscious Minds". Mikal's "Epic" is the standout track here, a pure streamlined aural assault and finally Critical Impact & Komonazmuk wheel out the Amens on the seriously heavy "Translation".
Review: Playaz just keep on bringing the mayhem and the fourth installment of the already epic "Flavours EP" is no exception to the rule. Compiled of six superlative bangers from artists as wide ranging as Majistrate, Shimah, Optiv & BTK, Annix, Potential Badboy and Need For Mirrors, variety is the spice of life here. First up is "Losing Control (feat. Alicia King)" by Majistrate which ups the raw, rugged jump up flavours with jarring metallic synth work; next we have Shimah's "Shadow Of The Ba" with its uplifting trance-like synths and tense, ticking patterns. Then onwards through Optiv & BTK's "Feelings" it's a neuro-infused ruckus until we reach Annix's "Late Maoeuvere". Potential Badboy is up to his usual tricks in his VIP of "Sound A Sound" before Need For Mirrors bring the EP to a classy close in the rolling "Albatross".
Review: In manner of "New Blood, "Critical Sound" and so on, Horizons comes up with a various artists compilation showcasing the fresh new up-and-coming talent on their label. Whilst some names such as June Miller, Cause 4 Concern, Data and Spinline, others may not. Highlights from across the selection include Cause 4 Concerns murky, moody roller "Under Forever", Amoss' "We All Grow" with its politicized lyrics and warping dubbed out b-line and fidgety Rockwell-esque edits and Data's opening cut "Formless", with its clicking beats and growling b-line. A nice taster of what we can expect from Horizons in the future.
Review: Shogun Audio don their shades and stare into the blisteringly bright future of drum & bass with a brand new series; Point Of Origin. The idea is to represent some of the most exciting names (old and new) with an open mind to the many sub-sub-genres drum & bass seems to have right now. As a result we excitingly flicker from lush emotional jazz (Ed:It's "Centre Suite") to unruly sheet metal neuro in the space of a track (Posij - "Shieldbreaker"). Much deeper into the set we hit icy vocal soul from the likes of Need For Mirrors and Liz-E, we get flattened by Zero T's tribal thunder drums and experience a blissful rolling lullaby from Karma. This is the tip of the Point Of Origin iceberg, though... A must-check for all future-focussed junglists.
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.