Review: Paul SG's Jazzsticks returns to their irregularly regular Hidden Tunes series with a second instalment of restrained rollers from understated up-and-comers and friends of the label alike. If you know the Jazzsticks sound, you'll already know the sterling vibe: dusty, soulful, warm and organic from some of the sharpest talents in the game. Highlights include the big jazz whirlwind of Soul Deep founder Scott Allen's "Soul Desire", a 97-style horn-melting stepper from Decon ("Cool Breeze") and Pulsaar's dreamweaving shakedown "Room For Two". What once was hidden is now found... And will remain in your playlist until the next instalment lands in years to come.
Review: Scott Allen and Against head up this single on Fokuz. Its rattling breaks and gentle chiming intro pave the way into a lush, mellifluous main part full of swishing atmospherics, lush piano keys and snippets of sinuous vocals which are interwoven into the main fabric of the tune effortlessly. Ky and Deeper Connection step up next with "You're The Only One" - a more weighty, stripped back roller with emphasis on the bass and rolling subs. Gentle melodies still populate the track, with ethereal vocals and delicate delivery. One for the liquid lovers.
Review: Legendary soulful label Focuz lets out some of their secret weapons in this latest release. LA-based liquid hero Scott Allen teams up with Cornish bass fanatic Deeper Connection for a pair of sizzling ragga-inspired dancefloor igniters. The A-side rolls sweet and deep, dipping into the tasty sounds of dub and jungle, while "Zion Dub" brings out a techier side in the pair, as rapidfire percussion mingles with breezy atmospherics and a distant sniff of reggae bolsh. A pair of intelligent rollers hot enough to get folk moving. Get involved.
Deeper Connection & Scott Allen - "Since You've Been Gone" - (5:58) 174 BPM
Review: Watch out, it's another Soul Deep Exclusive coming at you direct from Colorado and the UK courtesy of two vastly underrated artists locked in on the Soul Deep rollcall. Mixing deep bass with bootyshaking breaks, these tunes were made for dancing. Make way for the collab on the flip; fresh sounding and full of cinematic atmosphere, it's a track that just keeps on giving.
Review: Scott Allen & Deeper Connection and Soulculture team up for a sterling collaborative EP on Soul Deep. Expect rattling breaks, jungle-inspired vocals, murming basslines and reggae samples a-plenty across the five-track adventure. "Badness" gets the party started with punchy drum rolls and reggae horns, before Soulculture's jungle riddim "No Heed Dem" kicks in, and then "Some A Dem" with its funky SFX. Scott Allen & Deeper Connection return for "Joke Smoker" with its firm beats and booming bass, and then "Run Away Soundboy" rounds things off.
Review: Fokuz bring us a five course musical dinner from D&B chef Scott Allen, who together with Deeper Connection, Duoscience and Twisted Facts, serves up some lush new flavours to cleanse the palette. "Close Encounters" is all sombre piano keys, tripping breaks and gentle liquid funk, whilst "If I Were Your Woman" goes in with a throbbing b-line and weight subs; "Street Of Gold" pairs clip-clop beats, horns and discordant keys in a smoky, sultry nodd to the jazz era. "Summer Rains" is the most straight up D&B track, reminiscent of the early noughties, and the Brother remix of "Primitive" brings the EP to a close.
Review: Scott Allen heads up this EP on Celsius, teaming up with talent such as Faible, Flame and Deeper Connection on four of the six tracks. "Dusk" provides an atmospheric intro to the Inner Beauty EP with its rattling percussion, mournful flickers and breezy atmospherics. Next, the title track is all reflective musings with murmuring bass, glistening SFX and a rose-tinted haze. The first of the collaborative tracks, "Saw Your Face" brings in Faible for another laidback slice of jazzy D&B, whilst "Drifting Away" with Flame brings in sweeping synths and more punchy drums. Deeper Connection adds a warm, cosy darkness to "The Need In Me", before "Need You" rounds things up.
Review: Fresh, rollin' breaks and roots reggae sampling signals the first track on Soul Rebel's latest signing Scott Allen's "We Nah Run". Close-knitted amens duck and weave around retro guitars as that vintage vocal moves the atmosphere into a clearer focus. A clear club banger, it's just the right balance between jungle and drum & bass to get the masses bouncing. "Toonzragga" is a more stately jungle affair, blasting those sirens and horns from the outset with dancehall beats and big soundboy bass. A mish-mash of classic effects raise a smile while the larger than life riddim keeps feet moving. Skanking crew, get ready.
Review: Working in some deep, old school vibes on "Dreaming Of Darkness", Scott Allen takes extra care to make sure his warm fuzz of a bassline has just the right level of impact. It's a cleverly created track, sounding fresh and familiar all at the same time but the attention to detail is what gets our vote. Blade joins Scott Allen for a sunnier approach with "Emotions". Hard rolling and full of soulful samples, it's the perfect addition to any liquid fan's collection.
Review: Joseph Ablett and Scott Allen team up for the deliciously languid tones of the Riviera EP on Celsius. "Goodbye Wish" is characterised by killer hats, subtle bass murmurings and a delicious milieu of gentle atmospherics and ethereal vocals. "Up Above" sparkles with twilight keys, while the title track brings the drums, which provide the rugged beauty beneath the smoky jazz samples. Finally, a raw percussive into heralds the entrance of final track "Far Away", a wistful number with a particularly pleasant titular vocal refrain, which rounds off a frankly excellent EP.
Macca & Scott Allen - "Life's Complex" - (4:33) 174 BPM
Paul SG & Carter - "Untake" - (7:45) 174 BPM
Rowpieces - "Cool Jazz" - (4:01) 145 BPM
Review: Next up and Influenza Media bring us another cracking four-track EP from Lapse, Macca, Scott Allen, Paul SG, Carter and Rowpieces. Kicking off with the title track "What Lies Ahead" its all swooning instrumentals in the manner of Hospital, rolling breaks and lilting, mellifluous melodies galore. Moving through this blissful haze to "Life's Complex", Macca & Scott Allen's collab is an infectiously fun little romp with punchy breaks and echoing vocal element. Next we have "Untake" which takes things on a slightly tougher tip with pummeling drums and booming subs, before the lovely "Cool Jazz" rounds things off in style.
Payback & Scott Allen - "Midnight Jammin'" - (5:53) 176 BPM
Review: Soul Deep, what a label. The only criticism you could level at these guys is that they release too much music, because it feels as if every single week there's another EP, or a single or an album. This week it's Payback and he's dropping Def Touch, an EP with a title track that sticks up to its name; soft, gentle and certainly deft in how an array of fluffy sampling sits above a solid drum line. 'Drop The Funk' pushes things up a notch intensity wise, with a new burst of energy coming from that jumpy piano riff and tight back end, a true bit of liquid funk. Fokuz-affiliate Scott Allen comes in on the last tune and it's as good as you'd expect - nice work here.
Review: For this one we have been gifted an absolute gem of a compilation in our new releases tray as Phat Playaz return to Soul Deep, this time for the second part of their 'The Collabs' series. This project see's the Playaz make 10 separate outings, bringing back collaborative flavours from the likes of Kasper, Payback, Deeper Connection, Scott Allan and more. For us the immediate standouts from this project have to include the jazzy junglist roll outs of 'The Hot Plate' alongside Qumulus and of course the groovy textures of 'Vindication' which sees an inspired team up with Conspire.
This Is Love (Command Strange remix) - (4:57) 174 BPM
Review: Fresh off the back of his Jazzsticks cameo, Soul Deep bossman Scott Allen finally finds time to insert his own D&B magic into his continually packed (and consistently on-point) Soul Deep release schedule. Swooning and rolling as a hazy vocal hook leans back over a weave of dreamy harps and light-footed skippy breaks, it's a straight up case of soul hypnosis. Command Strange adds a bit more of a jagged edge to the groove on the remix. Lovely.
Review: Los Angeles imprint Soul Deep has established itself as one of the hottest labels bringing quality drum and bass from the west coast and globally. Featuring a talented array of artists with a diverse sound, Soul Deep is committed to releasing timeless songs that satisfy the soul. Label head honcho Scott Allen returns with his latest offering "After All", a deep, liquid, jazzy and atmospheric number that is reminiscent of classic Marcus Intalex or Good Lookin Records stuff. Next up, Paul SG gets on the remix and thankfully its not too radical a departure; it retains all the emotive qualities of the original but with an added bounce in the bassline and heck of a lot more roll in the rhythm.
Review: Soul Deep founder Scott Allen doesn't release half as much as we'd like him to. But when he does. Magic happens. Two cases in point: the light skank and mystic charm of the rolling sunset charmer "Unite" and the sparkling pads, spaced-out vox, distant horns and elastic sub melody of "Power Struggling". The Soul Deep blueprint coded deep into both cuts' DNA, this is the sound of Scott in his audio element.
Scott Allen & Konfront.Audio - "Mixed Emotions" - (4:57) 174 BPM
Review: Soul Deep founder and LA drum & bass lynchpin Scott Allen returns to his own label with two more groove delights. Riding in the momentum of this summer's heavily played "This Is Love" comes the soft lilting glimmers and ripples of "Soul Complex" and "Mixed Emotions". The former grows and mutates subtly as the track develops while the latter (a co-lab with Konfront Audio) adds a slightly darker underbelly with the bass and flexes around some seriously sensual sax work. Divine.
Scott Allen & Blade (Dnb) - "Nobody Like You" - (5:56) 175 BPM
Scott Allen & Sunny Crimea - "When I See You Again" - (5:57) 174 BPM
Simplification & Scott Allen - "Roots Of Love" - (5:48) 175 BPM
Scott Allen & Blade (Dnb) - "Love In Your Eyes" - (5:34) 175 BPM
Review: Scott Allen steps up with his next release on Celsius. The What Lies Ahead EP is an accessible, easy listener that skirts the boundaries of liquid drum & bass with its gentle atmospherics and rolling breaks. "Nobody Like You" gets things started with an echoing vocal snippet, cooing breaks and undulating melodies - a great collab with Blade. Next Scott Allen teams up with Sunny Crimea for the equally as yearning "When I See You Again" which is full of light breaks, warm bass in a sparse, ticking soundscape. "Roots Of Love" continues to weave the narrative with Simplification - expect a soulful vocal and punchy drums before "Love In Your Eyes" brings the EP to a close.
Review: Test Press flexing, all-round deep soul man Basic Forces recruits a bench-press rollcall for his debut album. Featuring the likes of Philth, Soul Deep bosser Scott Allen, Marcus Tee, Monument Banks, the iconic vocalist Frank H Carter and many more, it's an all-star collabo fest where the focus is squared firmly on the groove. From the cosmic depths and velvet pads of "Evermore" to the gospel jazz vocal harmonies of "Mind, Body & Soul" and the elephantine sub-struck roller "Don't Want To Hurt You", not only is there some real magic weaved into each collaboration but slick consistency, too. A sublime snapshot of where Basic Forces, Soul Deep and all artists involved in this compendium are at right now.