Review: Bryan Gee and V Recordings do not mess around. They never have in the past, they're certainly not right now in the present and judging by this highly anticipated Future album, they're going to mess around any time ahead. 25 tracks from some of the biggest, best and baddest names in D&B (Dillina, Serum, Benny L, Paul T & Edward Oberon, Roni Size, DJ Marky, Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Bladerunner, Saxxon, the list goes on) this one's been a long, long, long time coming... And it's been well worth the wait. From L-Sides massive remixes of Dillinja and Krust to Need For Mirrors super-revved "Lambo" to Benny L's incredible remix of "Days", this sums up why Bryan and his label are as influential and respected in the game as they are today. Don't mess around.
Review: Two titans, two tracks, one ridiculously heavy release: DJ Sly takes the lead with a really icy, distorted bass groan that rips with hair-raising mischief and timely call-outs from leading MC Bassman while Serum gets his funk on with the stupendous "Chicken Head". Sprung with heavy swing and nagging Q&A bassline, it's cause for instantly dancefloor silliness. Genuinely distinctive and perfectly executed.
Review: It's all kicking off at Souped Up HQ. First they tell us Voltage is our real dad and it seems Dutta is being ousted as our naughty uncle coercing us into god knows what type of mischief with some of his most cantankerous sounds and flavours yet. "Tiger Claw" is pure drum riot funk, "Reload" (with Jakes) is insanely smooth, "Wash Away" (with Serum) packs all the raffish thrills and spills of an early Hazard joint, "Woah" is a deep sci-fi roll-out that takes off where "Trooper" left us the other month while "OG" closes on venomous growl flex. Wowzers... These will singe your trousers.
Review: Bryan Gee's label roster aren't playing games this year: V, Liquid V and Philly Blunt are all laying down the gully law on a seemingly weekly basis. For this particular outing Serum takes the reins with another on-point escapade: "Bass Switch" is a superb fix-up of Firefox & Glamour Gold's 20 year old Philly Blunt original with all the classic early jump-up dynamics still very much intact but with added modern production muscle. "Easy Does It" maintains those ageless feels with a funky, bass-led roller that nods tenderly to both liquid (with its short, sharp organic flickers) and jump-up (with its absurd bass hook). Just when you thought Serum couldn't be any more poisonous...
Review: Importance Never Justifies Anything... Unless you're chatting Inja's debut album then it justifies an absolute shock out. Ranging from classic 92 flavoured hardcore breaks (opener "Intro") to sweeping hurricane rollers ("Flow") to serious home truth heaviness ("She Just Wanna Dance"), the rapidly accelerating MC has laid down a debut album of DRS proportions right here. Complete with beats from the likes of Serum, Whiney, Nu:Logic, Pete Cannon, Anile and None Decay, this is the sound of an MC who knows exactly how to articulate, entertain and work with some of the best producers in the game. No faking; this is a contender for D&B album of the year. Props to everyone involved.
Review: Long-time label collaborator and all-round German soul warrior Kabuki returns to Bryan Gee's currently revitalised V roster with two devilish dancefloor tracks. "Heist Flick" sees him teaming up with Serum for a gritty, ruffled roller that's all heads down and pants up. "Clash", meanwhile, sees him returning to the space-aged soul he first developed his reputation in thanks to its cosmic bass riff and roomy drums. Impressive.
Review: Want to hear something out of control? The ruffians from Hype's Playaz have come out to play for the seventh installment of the now legendary The Flavours series, and good gracious is it a scorcher. Featuring a tech-heavy stepper called "Very Exciting" (agreed) by newcomer Konichi to break you in, the second track is a deep, devastating roller courtesy of big man Philth with politically charged vox from P-Fine. The rest of the EP comes on strong with heavy-hitting tunes from Serum, the ever-gorgeous Chromatic and Nu Elements as well as some hugely promising newcomers. Do not sleep on this - you've been warned.
Review: When Bassman and Serum invite you to 'The Terrordome' you don't RSVP on nice frilly paper, you don't say 'yeah defo mate' but actually think 'I'll see what else is going on before I decide', you don't ask 'who else is coming?', you don't have to get your mum's permission. You just go there and you soak up whatever hell and tarnation the two monsters are cooking for you. It might make you screw up your face, it might make you shout a rude word or two, it might make you lose your trousers but that's life in the Terrordome and you are most definitely invited. Comes complete with the equally savage tear-up 'You're Coming With Us' with Ego Trippin where Bassman reveals what theologians and philosophers have wondered for centuries... What happens when we die?
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: Selector! Jungle Cakes' Welcome To The Jungle series welcomes a bonafide legend to the controls: Ray Keith. Digging deep across the board he's put together over 40 killer tracks from an obscene rollcall: Serum, Vital, Dillinja, Bladerunner, Margaman, T>I, DJ Hybrid, Turno, Filthy Habits, Ed Solo, Deekline and many many more artists are responsible for the savage soul and badman bounce on offer as we're rattled and shaken from pillar to post. From the naughty ragga skanks and turbo reverse bass lashes of Deekline & Ed Solo's "Hot This Year" to Ray's very own seminal "Chopper" via Bladerunner's evergreen breezer "Jungle Jungle" via two mixes and 10 FX tools, this is one of Jungle Cakes' tastiest ever projects to date. Big up the Dark Soldier
Review: Always several steps ahead of the hurly-burly masses, Serum comes correct with another completely fresh sound. Please strap yourselves in and prepare for the interstellar dynamics of "Trident". Trancey, emotional, spacious and unlike anything else out there (with, perhaps the exception of kindred spirit Need For Mirrors) this is the sound of Serum looking ahead into a dark, unforgiving new future. But if you want something a little more conventional and expected from the roller king then head for "Special Brew". Grimy, naggy riffy business. Exemplary.
Review: The Souped Up crew are back in town and they have an offering, courtesy of Original Sin. It's a fiery, no-nonsense release that sits in the familiar vein of Souped Up influenced music, with an emphasis on the pummelling and the urban-edged knack that only jump-up D&B has. Remixing Serum himself, 'Earth Rot' has a punching, pitched-down back end that pulses and sways alongside its percussive cousin and to great effect - this one would go down well on any UK dancefloor. There's a genuine feel of aggressiveness here that only prooducers with the old-school credentials of Original Sin know how to cultivate, and it sits very nicely on the Souped Up release roster.
Review: VIP time! Souped Up unleash some of the bossman's biggest specials from the last year. If you've seen him or Kings Of The Rollers play you'll already know them... Especially the hype riddled Inja fronted take on "Lumberjack". "Heavy & Dark" gets two crucial treatments, too; one gurning, crying VIP from Serum and a killer version with Carasel who brings a whole new vibe and narrative to one of the biggest tracks of 2018. Essential.
Review: Finally! After what seems like an eternity, Souped Up bossman Serum unleashes one of his most long-awaited dubplates 'Lumberjack'. Often topped with a killer flow from Inja, here it is in all its hooky, ever-mutating glory. It's backed with an equally riffy wriggler "Square Root". Bleepy and weird but a hell of a lot of fun, it's like spending a night camped out in a transistor radio with some high quality rum. Serum's a lumberjack... And we're okay!
Review: Oh Serum, how many pieces have you smashed 2017 to? Our last count was a billion but we may well be looking around the trillion mark with this new Souped Up special. Funk, humour, darkness and brute force are all at play here as we're treated to three more floor-burning classic Serum buzzes: "Hunchback" takes us back to Bingo's golden age with a riff so bouncy you'll be putting stabilisers back on your bike, "Nomads" is a little darker in its texture but just as funkily persuasive while "Road Dog" takes the Bristol sound, adds a hundred barking Staffies and lets them off the lead and right in to your face and ears. Tremendous stuff that's both classic, timeless and one of a kind. Salute to Serum!
Review: Souper douper danger: Serum takes the controls for his label's second release with three more killer jams. "Earth Rot" pings and zips with a high frequency metallic rubber ball bassline while "Ripped Open" lives up to its name tears us all a new one as it stabs hard with a Mampi-style sense of focus and drama. Finally "Pulse-S" represents Serum's more leftfield sense of funk with a tin-of-bees bass buzz that wobbles raffishly off the kicks. Yet another soup filled with at least three of your five a day, once again Serum smashes it in his own unique way.
Review: Make the most of Serum's incredible output because at one point he's going to get arrested for murderation. And with this level of killer material, they'll throw away the key. "Black Metal" is the ultimate doom monger with its indecent drone texture that just groans malevolently over Serum's trademark rolling beats, "Ramparts" riffs on bag-rustling double bass while "Skeleton Key" strips the vibe right back to its essential ice-cold oscillating elements. Three more absolute killers from one of drum & bass's most respected artists right now.
Review: Serum on 31... You already know this will hurt you without even pressing play, don't you? For formality's sake, here's the 411: "Species" is a real deep swing grumbler underpinned with a brilliantly tuned moaning bassline while its VIP provides a more fluctuating take on the bass for more of an aggy twist. "Redeemer" tips a wry nod at "Shadow Boxing" with its endless sheet-like bass panelling everything in its wake and "Blood Red" is gulliness incarnate. Heads business, this.
Review: Serum isn't messing around at the moment. Not like he ever messed around before, but it's clear he's upped his game even more this year. Making his debut on Doc Scott's 31, "Species" is a rattling dark stepper with loose, swinging drums and a droning ghostly bass gurgle that groans in and out of the mix with raw paranoia. "Red Blood" continues the dark drone theme with more heads-down messages. Rocking a Jim Morrison-style sample from The Zodiac, there's a nice touch of psychedelia amid the gritty dynamics. Proper.