Review: Aesthetic stride into 2021 with more of that surefooted, stripped back dancefloor finery that makes them a buy-on-sight for serious minimal house heads. Relic is at the controls this time around, leading in style with the sombre keys and snappy rhythms of 'H'. 'I' has a more airy feel to it thanks to artfully sculpted atmospheric tones that linger around the crisp and shuffling beat. 'J' calls to mind some of the dubbier micro house of the mid 00s era with its sliced up, twitchy samples and nagging groove, complementing the other two floor burners on this high grade EP perfectly.
Review: Fatman D's Young Guns introduce newcomer Belgian talent Atmosphere to the world with this massive entrance EP. 'Horror' by name, sublime by nature, he instantly sets his stall out with clarity as the title track tags in the one and only Flowdan for some devilish industrial-strength dnb. Flipping the vibe from there on in, the EP covers a lot of ground. 'Run' shimmies along with barbed soul, 'Revelation' is pure glitch funk fun and the brilliantly-titled 'Nice Boom' is a twisted hybrid-style slap-about that will leave you feeling like your circuits have been corrupted. And that's just the tip of Atmosphere's macabre iceberg. We're expecting a lot more high-grade material from this man in the future.
Review: Burnski and Michael James ignited their Relic collaboration last year with a classy drop on oge, and they're back again on Constant Black with some devastatingly bumping minimal tech house. There's a hi-tech finish to this whole EP, from the moody lead cut "D" to the slippery, funkified "E". The mix is clean as a whistle and maximized for every little production wriggle and shapely bassline to cut through on any system, even in the hazier clouds of pad hovering over "F". Don't skip over the last track though - as with all the best EPs there's gold to be savoured in the crafty machine shuffle and rubbery b-line of "G".
Review: BOOM! Rocking, nu-school d&b sounds from the Chameleon Audio massive, and it's high time we'd heard some fast-moving breaks amid all the half steps and grime-leaning house. It's a family affair on this new comp, Walsall Sound, landing on our charts like a steamroller on speed. Don't get us wrong, there's plenty of darkcore bass in here, too, such as Chemist RNS' cheeky, wobble-friendly "Green Crack", or the supremely smoky haze emanating from the bass of "Duality" by S3 Dubs. Sour F4ace's "Ello" is a sneaky dubstep bullet that would have been received with copious rewinds in the FWD days, and other favourites include "Sandwell St" from MoJoe, a murky swarm of percussive fury, and Zobol's subtly electro-leaning, drum-machine charge called "Lektrojuke". Don't sleep on this lot!
Review: Arnaud le Texier presents the next series of recruits for his newest venture Children Of Tomorrow; focused on hard hitting hypnotic techno grooves with Connection Series Vol. 5. First up is the droney sonar transmissions of current scene hero Antonio De Angelis with the fittingly titled "Drone", Barcelona based rising star Marla Singer with the tunnelling and trance inducing "Naked Face" while Moteka's "Xytyru" is one of the finest tributes to the Edit Select sound we've heard in a while. Elsewhere, PVS channels the vibe of early Prologue or Zooloft on Arcadia" and Wunderblock & Relic Radiation's "Recombination" will have you surrendering to the void in no time: awash in ethereal pads, churning synth loops and endless trails of reverb.
Review: Chameleon Audio had a big year in 2016, instilling their name on our charts as regular go-getters ad quality scouts of new talents in the bass game. This is one of those leviathan compilations where even the most critical of DJs will find something to jump up about, as there is so much damn gear on this badboy! Tunes by the likes of Jacotanu, KXVU, and Policy deliver some much-needed grime lashings, while others like Strap C and Imtek's "Bubble, or even "Shakeup" by Particle, break out the London half-step riddims for the heads. From dub to house, the influences in these things are vast and unmatched. Dig through it.