Review: Aries 2018-released debut album Jungle Style just keeps on giving with another badass bounty of versions. Featuring a whole range of skilled breakbeat craftsmen from hyped newcomers and hidden talents to some of the best in the game, highlights hit from all corners including Saxxon's jazz-tinged tear-up on "Sundays", Kreed's dancehall stepper twist of "I & I" and Benny Page's heavily supported version of "Herbsmoke". High grade business.
Review: Authentic jungle business: Roots spark up a fat 2018 with these two bubblesome skankers. Fleck & Selecta J-Man's "Rockstone" is all about the uplift. Bouncy bass, positive chords and deft samplecraft, it's got summer vibes stamped all over it. Next up: Aries & Jack Murda raise the battle alarm with the soundclash-ready "Clash 77". Tightly rolled drums, big dub FX and precision vocal shots; slews are guaranteed.
Review: After one of their busiest festival seasons to date, Josh Lear - AKA Selecta J-Man - ramps up the Born On Road heat with this crucial five-tracker that ranges the full sound system spectrum he's become known for. "Round Here" is the centre piece thanks to an almighty bassline and the stern purring tones of man like Rider. Highlights deeper into the EP include the Bingo-style bubbling bass on "Cuss Cuss", the big euphoria pads and V-style funk of "Worldwide" and the riotous, early Clipz-style damagement of "Drum Song" with Fleck. Selecta!
Review: Destination Bristol: Run Tingz affiliate J-Man switches selecta spec for a skank-wise sojourn on Born On Road. He's rolling deep, too.... Junior Dangerous adds a real positive polish on "Party Hard". Like a young Tenor Fly, his delivery is rich and crisp. Parly B adds both bark and bite to "Cease & Sekkle" while Cheshire Cat doubles up the flow on the sunny-side skanks of "Coconut Chalwa". Those looking for a big festival smash-up should harmonise with Blackout JA's throaty sing-along. Lighter!
Review: Rewind Selecta! Bristol's J-Man goes back over his "Cease & Sekkle" EP from last spring and enlists a whole crew of killer remixers ranging from exciting newcomer to some of the most consistent OGs. Audiomission make a strong impression with their full flavoured take on "Party Hard", Lost City turn the carnival vibes up to 100 on "Cease & Sekkle" while both Origin One and Aries provide fire blend versions of "Coconut Chalwah"; the former gets his digidub wriggle on, the latter gets out his sharped amen cutlass chops. With plenty more, including a tightly coiled stepper twist from Marcus Visionary, it's another one click headshot from the Born On Road crew.
Review: Absolute remix fire from Brizzle's Run Tingz Cru as a select bounty of the label's vaults gets the treatment from a rollcall of new-gen roustabouts. DJ Hybrid takes the lead as he supercharges the already stinking KO shot from Serial Killaz, bringing a whole new energy to Blackout JA's throaty vocals. Other highlights include the immense drum work of Aries on J-Man's "Roadblock", the unapologetic roughness and energy of Isaac Maya's take on Dossa's "Rock A Dub" and P-Tay's superb scatty switches and glitches on "Crossroads". Immense.
Review: Run Tingz are a Bristol based imprint that seek to project the Bristolian sound all across the U.K. That sound is a hypnotic blend of ragga influences, jungle vibes and rolling, bassy tones of the type that blow up Bristol dancefloors on an almost daily basis. For their Best of 2018 album they've rolled out the big guns for a fat compilation featuring the likes of Bladerunner, Kursiva, Dossa and Brian Brainstorm so you know it's going to be good. 'Sound Killer' by Bladerunner is typical of this; funky, upbeat ragga sampling and sick vocals from Fuchaman with an underpinning of junglist vibes and pulsing basslines. The rest of the album is just as good - go cop it.
Review: In terms of legendary status for labels over on the jungle/jump-up side of the scene, it's pretty hard to beat Serial Killaz. Run by the duo of the same name, the imprint has arrived with the second instalment of their mixtape series and it's unsurprisingly good. Full of big tunes from guys like Serial Killaz themselves, Vital Elements and Upgrade, it's the latter of these guys that takes the cake with 'Steel Drum'. You've probably heard this one doing the rounds and it's actually already been released, but oh boy what a tune this is: a screaming, siren-lake mash of grating metallic synths and punching drums all come together to make an unstoppably good piece of music. Don't sleep on the rest of these tunes though, and a special mention goes to DJ Hybrid's 'Beatbox' - naught jungle vibes.
Review: Run Tingz is a uniquely Bristolian outlet that consistently pushes that feel-good yet dirty vibe so endemic to the Bristol D&B scene - arguably the best in the world. This LP combines the reggae-influenced jungle sound with a more edged out sense of darkness, the former of which exemplified by 'My Sound' featuring Deanie Rankin: its recreation of Curtis Mayfield's 'Move On Up' is especially cool. Brian Brainstorm contributes an absolutely fire jungle riddim that just does everything right: bright reggae sampling, hard-hitting breakbeats and diving swirl of wobbling sines and reeces. When you listen through this album you can almost see the bucket-hat donning and wavey shirt wearing Bristolian crowd going nuts - pick it up.
Review: Killaz by name, killer by nature; Vital Elements and Tobie Scopes' continue to set the agenda as DJs, artists and as label owners. This third annual mix-up is certainly no exception as they plough through 59 tracks - many of which are brand new exclusives - to paint a picture of exactly where drum & bass is at right now. A thick smelly melting pot, everything is thrown into the mix: Upgrade's spine-trembling harmonics on "The Voice", ruded-out bassline badness from Voltage ("My DJ"), various jump-up hybrid creepers from Russian newcomer Ozma, brand new dark wobble lava from Serial Killaz themselves ("Rudebwoyz") the list goes on and on. This is a huge package and it comes with a superb mix too. Treat yourselves or defeat yourselves.
Review: Can we get a 'wicked?' Jungle Cakes continue to team up with some of the biggest donnies in the game with this latest Welcome To The Jungle collection. This time curated and fronted by the General himself, as you'd expect this is a full-on jungle assault that covers every single angle and every single era. 47 tracks and one killer mix, hosted and toasted by Levy himself, this is one of Jungle Cakes most comprehensive collections to date: From the foundation-setting, historic vibes of "Incredible" through to contemporary bangers from the likes of Kursiva, DJ Hybrid, Jam Thieves, Benny Page and all things in between, everyone involved has delivered something special. Massive.