Review: Have Serial Killaz just dropped an essential summer anthem? Short answer: Yes. Longer answer: Yes and here's why... The legendary MC Spyda leads with a classic dubwise vocal that instantly hits the soul, the euphoric bassline is reminiscent of those big Brookes Brothers tracks around 15 years ago and the whole flow just has summer festivals written all over it. And if that's not enough of a massive summer anthem for you, check the deeper UKG style soul of 'Mind Games'. Not always known for their deeper tracks, Serial Killaz once again remind us of their talents with something very special here.
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: Everybody loves a good VA, it's just wicked getting a whole big album full of tracks from different artists - the definition of a kid in a candy shop. This one from Uncommon has a cool combination of bigger and smaller acts, from the mighty Kasra to lesser known quantities like Resist. Kasra's 'Needles' is a standout, a fiercely minimal slapper that gargles and gurgles its way straight into your brain, and for anyone that is into the Critical sound: this is the tune for you. Kanine, another rising star, hits hard on 'Searching', a tune that reminds us of the recent Klippee tracks over on Lifestyle Music. All in all, this is a very solid little VA - yes yes!
Review: Run Tingz Cru are a Bristolian outfit that specialise in uplifting, jungle influenced sonics that'll make you smile and pull a bass face at the same time. This EP is out for Valentines day and it's a rip-roaring mix of sounds and styles, with almost all corners of the scene being represented one day or another. The Dubtime Amen remix of Took My Breath featuring Solo Banton and Lady Fyah is up there with the highlights, a lovely combination of vibrant vocal tones and raucous jungle strikes, with an absolutely killer kick drum. The Jinx Amen remix of Drop Call, which features the legendary Tenor Cat, is also up there, its summery fluidity sounding amazing with a slice of darkness underneath. Banging.
Review: Aries welcomes us into a new year with a generous eight track version excursion from last year's album Jungle Style and talented refixes come from all angles; Marcus Visionary flips "Jungle Style" into a thundering breakcraft, Filip Motovunski gets his chainsaw out and carves up some sweet skanking roller pie for "On Road", Supa Ape goes breakbeat bonkers in the best possible way on "Jungle Music" while Dr Meaker gives "I & I" a beautiful bouncy take that's not a million miles away from a young Clipz. All this more, Aries road is never ending...
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: Legendary reggae / dancehall singer Da Fuchaman joins the dots with his debut excursion into jungle. He's rolling with the best company as Run Tingz have recruited a crack team of on point craftsmen for him to vibe with: Serial Killerz, Isaac Maya, Frisk, Numa Crew, Choppa, Brian Brainstorm join the Run Tingz Cru themselves as Fuchaman brings the consciousness over a menu of gully textures. Highlights include the stench like bass on "Babylon Falling", the pure fire of the opener "Jungle Love" and the classic horn waves and snaking snares of "Call The Police". A unique and vital album that celebrates fusion at its deepest melting pot roots.
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: Cor blimey, Jungle Cakes aren't messing around with their Welcome To The Jungle series are they? Hot on the heels of Ray Keith comes another stone cold OG; Nicky Blackmarket. Digging deep across the classics and sparking up a whole forest of fresh fires, it's a 40 track, 2 mix, 10 FX tool trove of pure jungle magic curated with the wide-armed style you'd expect from an originator. With classic ranging from well known such as "Incredible" and "Pulp Fiction" to cult such as "Keep It Raw" and "Gangsters" and upfront jams flexing from all the right names (Serum, Aries, Serial Killaz, Drumsound & Bassline Smith), Blackmarket has absolutely smashed this out of the mark.
Review: Instant shoe-off material: "Start The Killing" is Serial Killaz and Souped at their rawest and heaviest. An immense motorised groan that rips through the speakers with a strong pungent whiff of early 2000s, this is guaranteed to have you flinging your footwear all over the gaff. You can file "Spread Out" in your 'stinker' playlist while you're here, too. Once again armed with a droning, deep scream speaker ripping bassline but a little more of Serial Killaz' signature dubwise elements, this will spread like measles in a hippie commune. Total murderation!
Review: When it comes to skanks you can always rely on the jungle/jump-up fusioneers Serial Killaz. Two of the most prolific and hardest working men in the bass game, for their next bullet they've collided with the Ragga Twins to pop the style once again. "Duppy Man" takes a very well-known riddim, ups the tempo and beefs up the drums while leaving more than enough space for Flinty and Deman to spit their lyrical signature. Complete with a mind-bogglingly twisted dancehall remix and instrumentals, this one covers absolutely everything that's great about the fizzy cross-pollination happening in drum & bass right now.
Review: It's 2017 and you can finally have your cake and eat it. It's all down to Jungle Cakes head chefs Deekline and Ed Solo who have been working hard in the bass kitchen since the foundation days. Here we find them in five Michelin star mode as they serve up a banquet of creations both from their own and their peers' menus. Highlights across this incredible D&B banquet abound from the moment Craze and Infiltrata's (aka 12th Planet) classic "Things Just Ain't The Same 4 Gangstas" opens the collection and Firefox's (aka Roni Size) seminal "Keep It Raw" headbutts us a few tracks later. Elsewhere the Jungle Cakes dons treat us to skanked-out banger after skanked-out banger; Spyda's iconic vocals and the hornets nest b-line on "Soundsystem Entertainer", Tippa's harmonic heaven on "Pass Me The Dubplate" and one of the nastiest remixes Deekline's notorious "Don't Smoke" has ever experienced. Loaded with an array of cool FX and two continuous mixes, this is a true jungle feast. What a time to be alive.
Review: Any jungle is festival jungle when dropped at the right time, but if you're looking for out-and-out skanky bumpers that guarantee arena meltdowns look no further as Vinyl Junkie and Rachael EC have selected 48 (yes 48) cuts that promise to raise all kinds of bodily temperatures, noises and movements. Serum's wobble-funk "Rat Trap VIP", Rob Blaze's system-slaying "Sound Boy", DJ Hybrid's Headz-style drone bass snake-wrestler, the iconic rave vocal emotion on Vinyl Junkie & Sanxion's "Ninja Bizznizz", Billy Bunter's chaotic dancehall skanker "Killa Sound".... We could list the highlights for days on end. An epic collection.
Review: Jay Cunning's Sub Slayers label has now reached the fifth instalment of the increasingly respected Sub Slayers Series. He's scored a real coup here, by signing up rising 21-year old producer Toronto Is Broken to both curate the tracklist and provide an exclusive mix too. The focus this time round is firmly on garage and bass, and there are 26 bleeding edge selections to explore. Highlights include the aquatic synth pads and bottom end rumbles of Sourkrush's "Giving Me Life (Dead Belly mix)", the haunted soul-step of "Laundry Time" by Atomic Drop and the grimey dancehall of "Twinkle" by Gella.