Review: Holy underwear, this is a huge release. Having impressed globally with his UK bass sounds for Soul Jazz, Passenger and Trouble & Bass, Baobinga gets collaborative for this new full-length set of partnerships with the likes of Xxxy, ID, Gemmy, Guido, Mensah and many more. Immediate highlights include Baobinga's own remix of Roska's remix of "Tongue Rhythm" - hard to follow we grant you, but trust us, it bangs heavily - as well as "Wang It" (made with ID) and "Bumba", the Guido hook-up which sees the Bristol pair take things to the next level with heart-stoppingly precise production and a sleazy groove. A real standout from 'Binga and co, and a highly recommended listen.
Review: And now time for a little shooter chatter. They're not the most talkative of fellows, but pistols always have the last word - this being no exception. Pensive, dramatic, locked and loaded with suspense, Rider Shafique has stern words with his heater while Baobinga and I.D ensure a riffle-like rhythm beneath. Coupled with bashy attack from Kahn on the remix -complete with chilling Detroitian synths - it's a double hit. Dark vibes continue elsewhere on the release with "Lickle Further", a cheery dancefloor tune about murderation. Militant riddims and serious Kingston flavours, put your pistols down and listen up!
Review: Turkish producer Gantz has been steadily earning his stripes on Black Box and Innamind, but now he makes a return to Deep Medi Musik with one of his most daring offerings to date. "Pseudooo" heads straight out into the kind of uncharted territory you might expect to find Ras G and Afrikan Sciences chilling in, without sounding quite like either of those artists. The title track meanwhile heads into a more low slung hip hop refrain that bleeds wonderfully around the edges, while Rider Shafique lends his dextrous flows to "Rockstar" with sizzling results. "Supreme A" rounds the EP off with a more introspective mood built around delicate string hits looping with erratic abandon.
Review: Liondub are experts at blending the heritage of drum & bass with that of dancefloor and reggae music, and there are few better MCs for the job than Rider Shafique, whose CV covers both traditions and who comes seriously correct on this EP. It consists of four versions of a single tune and it's the original which really stands out, as 'Focus' moves expertly from stepping halftime-come-dancehall sounds into more jungle-flecked territory, all the time underpinned by subway kick drums and vibrant basslines. There's an instrumental version, and then JNGL rolls out the remix into a more recognisable 174 number. Excellent.
Review: The Pressed imprint is fast making a name for itself by recruiting some top talent across the bass game. For this week's showdown, the label has recruited Medison & Ruckspin, two producers who like to do way down low when it comes to bass frequencies and percussive rolls; the lead tune "Lead Cycle" is a sombre work of beauty, a mid-tempo dubstep sweller guided by Rider Shafique's hip-hop sensibility. Quantum Soul provides the remix, and the spoken word is stretched out, stripped down and liquified amid the harsher beats that dominate the arrangement. Top marks.
Review: Long time murker and Born On Road veteran Selecta J-Man teams up with some of the best MCs in the game for his "My Style" EP. Redders joins the fray first with the purring, slinky "My Style" that's wrought in tension and dark, sleek dynamics. Rider Shafique follows, bringing his own unique narrative and tones over a scratchy, gnarly riddim that's part jump-up, part blender, all nasty. Completing the triple threat comes David Boomah who brings a sense of triumph to "Stronger" before J-Man shuts us down with two crucial instrumentals; the dark rave energy of "Kill Sound" and the steppy grizzles of "Badboy". Ruff!
Review: Few labels hit the spot like Fracture's Astrophonica. Home to breaksmithery's most innovative waifs and strays, every release writhes in those gloopy, unfathomable pastures between jungle, juke, beats and just straight up sick electronica. This sophomore edition of the label's V/A Gradients series is a perfect example as everyone from Luke Vibert to Sully lay down powerful designs. Every single track is a highlight but you'd be mad not to get mucky with Binga, James and Shafique's "Everfresh", get lost in the dubby wooziness of Groves' "Hennessy Brown", get air punchy to Fracture's technoid thumper "Dropping Yu" or get straight up sexual to BSN Posse's "No Matter How Far"... Ain't no track too steep, Gradients has every single breakbeat flavour you could need this season.
Review: What we have here is a fantastic selection and representation of the future of reggae music worldwide as the Nice Up! team unveil the fifth edition of 'Nice Up! The Session'. The release features some pretty top draw names, including the likes of Parly B, Gardna, Seanie T, Gappy Ranks and more. From the junglist flavours of Fleck's 'One Step At A Time' rethink, to the future dancehall delights of 'Bad Mi Bad' from XL Mad & Gappy Ranks, we witness the full breadth of reggae's development in 2019, with other favourites including DJ Madd's crispy rethink 'Chasing Dreams' from Rider Shafique & Precha, along with Folding City's experimental overhaul of 'My Yout' from 'Origin One & Irah'. Excellent stuff!
Review: As always with Astrophonica, we are in for a treat with this one, as they get busy with a top quality compilation selection, unveiling twenty pulsating originals under the name '20'. Whilst examining the vibes on this one, we noticed that it really does cover all the basis when it comes to high tempo bass music, from the grizzly roller arrangements of 'Hull Breach' from Fracture & Neptune to the bouncy footwork flavours of Dawn Day Night's 'Voodoo Vibe'. There are most certainly some clear standouts, with Fracture, Rider Shafique & Sam Binga pulling together for a spicy original on 'Back It Up', alongside Sully's super colourful junglist roller 'Flock' and the eerie flute work of 'Flocon' from Moresounds. A very interesting listen!
Review: As dubstep and bass music in general continues to expand worldwide, we are starting to see more and more experimental selections come together, with this fantastic 14 tracker from the Cosmic Vibrations crew being just what the doctor ordered. They deliver an hours worth of smooth introspective soundscaping, with the roster including top names such as: Biome, Congi, Occult, Ill Chill and more. The whole tracklisting just breathes originality, with our favourites including the stunning UKG designs of 'Eyes Down' from the fabulous link up of Bonobo and Andreya Triana, alongside 'Nothing', an impactful piece of stepper poetry, crafted between the wonderful Rider Shafique and the ever-ready Om Unit!
Review: As far as dubstep veterans go, Von D holds a special place in steppers history, with a long run of 140 classics under his belt. He here offers two of his more hard hitting recent originals up for remix duty and the combination of Hypho and Moresounds simply could not resist getting involved. Firstly, we hear Hypho's potent rethink of 'Hardcore Dub Music', which alongside featuring some tidy vocal work from Rider Shafique, packs a real classic steppers punch. Following this, we hear Moresounds rebuild 'Frictions' into a more march-ready roller, providing a perfect secret weapon to mash up the dance.