Review: 2020 isn't all bad... Annix finally deliver their long-awaited debut album and every shade of grot and wonder you'd expect from one of the most influential D&B duos of the last decade. Masters at space, weirdo funk, unique sound design and the dark art of switch-flipping, it's no surprise this album is loaded with more twists and turns than an underground tube map. Highlights include the broken glass funk of "Stutter" (with K Motionz) the trippy turbine driller jam "Clapper" (with Skantia) and the curveball blast-ups like the techno-style marching title track "Tunnel Vision" and the beautiful euphoria of "Behind Time".
Review: Across the full spectrum of bass music, you will be hard pressed to find a more dedicated and hard working MC and brand owner as Bru-C. Alongside the fantastic response to his new single with Charlie P, he teams up with CruCast here to unveil four fantastic rethinks of last year's summer smash: 'You & I'. First up, Bou arrives on the scene for an atmospheric roller-inspired rethink, before Notion steps up for rave-rejuvenating 4x4 overhaul. From here, Shapes gets involved with a seriously nostalgic organ-led garage incarnation, with a very unexpected acoustic version of the track seeing us out in time to tick all the boxes. Excellent work as per from the Nottingham native.
Review: Heist: one of drum & bass's darkest forces behind so many of talent's careers, so many big producer's mixing desks and so many of our go-to bangers... Both as a label owner and producer. Here he plays the role of both as he leads an expertly-curated collection of innovative styles with a breezy vocal soul roller "Never Enough". Bringing up the rear Ceph gets sci-fi and spacious on "Solitude", Simula gets a cosmic funk on with the Lynx-esque "Truth Serum", Skore's fuses classic hardcore dynamics with Detroitian synth tones on "Roger", Metal Work charm us with delicately layered liquid keys on "Simple" and Zere & Gabriel Habit sign off with the darkest cut of the collection. Fresh and full of exciting new talent, Heist is killing it this year.
Review: Now entering their third year of Biological badness, Klip & Outlaw set fire to 2017 with this speaker-kicking five-tracker. One sniff of the grunt on "Heat From Jamaica" and you'll be hooked. Funky, forthright, vibes abound throughout - the mischievous Q&A bass on "Clash", the unruly fuzz and gritty charm of "Merk Dem", the spacey strings and almost weeping pitch bends on "Bookie" and the out-of-this-world gutter squirming bass on "Chemical Elements". Go forth and take care of business.
Review: Closure: "The End" is nigh and if this is the sound of us all leaving this mortal coil we're quite looking forward to it. A driving distorted reese leads smack bang into trippy cascading bass droplets and a seriously dramatic feel, this is one of Simula's maddest tunes to date (which is saying something) "Belly Of The Beast" continues the weirdo flavours with some deliciously wonked bass twangs before "Funky Junkie" shoots us all up with class A bass bumps then spins us around the room with blindfold on. Finally we hit "Mammoth" where things get woolly nasty (not sorry). Big drones, metallic clangs and another spasmodic tripletty signature swagger, it's another happy ending from the man like Simula. The end.
Review: Starting off with a threatening vocal sample, followed in quick succession by a time-stretched 'f**k', the title track on Will Ryan aka Simula's latest EP for Calypso Muzak shows that as always, he means business. Compounding this mood is percussion that is fired in like dum dum bullets over a tightly sprung rhythm. "Demon" is more stripped back and repetitive, but that doesn't mean that this emerging UK artist has mellowed out. Robotic vocal samples and a bass that wobbles its way up and down the sonic spectrum ensure that when it comes to forward-thinking but menacing drum'n'bass, Simula leads the way.
Review: It's ain't just Jacko who can moonwalk... Simula can too. Using the best bassline slime and grot he can muster to slide himself along the stage backwards, many would argue he's better than Michael ever was at moonwalking. So much so he's named his debut album after the move. And this is the first teaser: the sharp stepping, ruff riffing title track that's loaded with more mangled funk than your mum's last Tupperware party. Bring on the album.
Review: Simula makes his Low Down Deep debut with a gully banquet of four tasty dishes, let's tuck in... "Ravioli" hits with a sharp citrus bassline before slipping into something a little deeper on the breakdown, "Real Life Simulator" hits with similar levels of flavour as a sliding harmonic bassline slinks up and down the scales with Q&A mischief. "A Bit Naughty" flicks its biggest boogies at us by way of a savage machine gun percussive method and a bassline so curmudgeonly you'll need a defibrillator while "R.A.V.E.R" finishes with a classic elephantine groan and twisted vox from the one like Endo. Pasta la vista!
Review: Jeepers creepers Simula's on the strong stuff again. Seriously...Take one listen to the textures on "Jester" and tell us that's the work of a sane mind. Strange, innovative and unique, it's just one of the six twisted sizzlers on parade here: the rifle-snipping laser love of "Gunfire", the sinewy croaks and 1.21 giggawatt power of the bass on "Trigger Happy" and the pure venom rust of "Swamped" are just a few of the many highlights. Strong enough to turn an intro into an extro, Simula doesn't mess around.
Review: Who wants to be on Simula's enemy list? It's like being on a Christmas card list but you get potty-sonic wet slaps with rasping metallic basslines instead of pointless waste of cardboard. Everyone wins - especially your dancefloor when you pass the slap on to them. Who wants to go to the moon with Simula? He'll happily kick you there with his0 killer depth plunge bassline and anchored two-step. Everyone wins again.
Review: Simula is Will Ryan, a 20 year old DJ and producer from Milford, Godalming, UK. This release comes courtesy of Calypso Muzak, affiliated with the mighty Co-Lab Recordings imprint out of Colchester Essex. Simula throws down some seriously dark and nasty street level beats/ bass here, following proudly in the UK tradition. Highlights include the grinding and jagged future beat of "Distress Signal", the body bashing techstep of "Heavyweight" (which is reminiscent of classic Ed Rush & Optical) and the absolutely fierce darkside breakbeat science of "Stinker" which calls to mind classic DJ Die or Krust. This guy is seriously one to watch!
Review: Usually known for his heavyweight D&B, Simula drops the UKG bomb with a deep bubbling MC-fronted cut that ignites with deep house chords but soon hurls into a glitchy 4/4 strut that's not dissimilar to My Nu Leng. Remix-wise all bass bases are covered... Spookz applies the breaks, Skepsis chisels up the two-step and reverses the bass, Karl Vincent twists up the drums and busses up the reverb and roominess while K Green strips things right back on a much deeper classical garage version before dropping the gully bomb on the drop. Cheeky.
Review: To celebrate an incredible run of releases and festival stage takeovers, CruCast have collated some of their most popular releases over the last few years into one handy compilation, taking the name 'Cru100'. Now over the past few years we have seen CruCast lay down a pretty dominant release schedule, which shows in this tracklisting as we reminisce with classics from the likes of Skepsis, Darkzy, Distinkt and Tsuki, with more recent bangers such as Bru-C and Simula's 'You & I' making it onto the listing also. If you are looking for certified dancefloor ammo, look no further!
Review: With Hazard rounding up another killer year for Hype and Pascal's label with his first release in five years, Playaz take stock of 2019 with this savage showdown from all their main mandem. From the eerie gurgles and scraps of Annix & Kanine's "Jackpot" to the flabby wobbles and groans of Limited's "Soldier" to the sweet seduction twist of Jam Thieves' "Love Forever" this 25-track pack covers the entire spectrum of proper rave-primed drum & bass with all manner of curveballs and boundary-pushing badness. No compromises, a healthy balance of elder statesmen, new headliners and young talent and a sound that's distinctively theirs, Playaz are about to bulldoze into a new decade... And this is how it all begins.
Review: One thing we have noticed about the CruCast release model, is that it is perfectly balanced between their more established faces and a constant wave of exciting newcomers. This release pays homage to the first of those options as CruCast roll out the red carpet for an all-star affair as the likes of Skepsis, Darkzy, Bru-C, TS7, Tsuki and more come together for a scorching selection of brazen bassy badness. There are some tasty pieces involved, but the ones that leap out the most have to include Skue-K's colourful rework of Bru-C & D Double's 'Heater', along with a vibrant VIP mix of 'Jungle' from Nu Aspect.
Review: It's that time of year again! The scene's longest-standing platform Drum&BassArena step up with their annual flagship album and once again it's a fitting salute to all corners, all shades and all styles of the rich, wide scene. 60 tracks deep comprising absolute bangers and bliss-outs from the likes of Chase & Status, Noisia & Phace, K-Motionz, Rockwell, DJ Hybrid, GLXY and Seba, it's also home to exclusives from Kyrist, Brookes Brothers, Bou & Simula, Kanina, Kove and A.M.C & Turno. From jungle to jump-up, liquid to dancefloor and complete with three killer mixes for life when you're not practicing your double/triple/quadruple drops, Drum&BassArena continue to celebrate the widest possible scene.
Review: 2018 is the second year in a row that Critical Music dropped a surprise release for us on Christmas Day, 2017 seeing the Modified Sonics album full of VIPs and exclusive remixes. New Energy Vol.1, however, is a totally different deal and that's because it's 18 brand new, exclusive tunes from those deep inside the Critical camp and those just entering it. The whole roster is represented: Kasra, Enei, Mefjus, Emperor, Foreign Concept, The Upbeats - and so on. But, excitingly, there's new talent in the form of Bou, Synth Ethics, Simula, Kanine and more. Mefjus' remix of 'Projections' arguably takes the cake as the best tune on here - absolute murderation. This is Critical's statement of intent for 2019.
Review: Logan D's Low Down Deep imprint celebrate 100 releases with this bumper to bumper banger collection with cuts from the biggest names in the heavier end of the game; Turno, Maji, Upgrade, Voltage, Heist, Serum and of course the late great Dominator are just some of the heavyweights involved. Every tune is a highlight but mad salutes fire in the direction of Turno & Pacso with their purring harmonic bass creeper "Cosmic Funk", K Motionz' long awaited summer slamming anthem "Buckaguy" and the blissful rippling charms and outrageous subby drop of Heist's "Hawaiian". Elsewhere there's pure gully fisticuffs as Kanine has "Bloody Knuckles" and Serum has "Brass Knuckles". Either way, they both KO. Like the whole album. Get on this.
Review: As a label, Crucast have gone from strength to strength, rapidly establishing themselves as one of the premiere platforms for bass music in the UK. This complication marks that out perfectly with an astonishing selection of over 30 original creations, featuring high profile appearances from the likes of Jaguar Skills, Brent Kilner, Pavv, TC4, Inkline, Deadbeat UK and a tonne more. For us the EP highlights the strength in the current UK bass scene, with favourites being Bushbaby & Hadean's long-awaited collaboration release 'Clean Up', the monstrous swinging synths of Tengu's 'Weapon' and of course the wonky wonderings of SaidWho's 'Voices', a truly original compositional idea, focussing on rawcus bass sounds and scattered drum selections.
Hizzleguy/Klip & Outlaw - "Final Round" - (5:14) 175 BPM
Review: Fatman Dee's Biological new talent off-shoot Young Guns Recordings come correct with the first part of its mammoth Justice League collection. Ranging from raging jump-up to mechanical neuro-edged funk, the label mean business from the sound of the starter's pistol: Agro kicks it old school with detuned synths and twisted vocal elements on "Concrete Foundations", Guzi goes all haunted house with his trembling keys and spooked out bass on "Significance" while Kahlil ups the hype ante with sharp synths and a latent energy that really kicks off on the second drop. These are just a third of the album's epic array of highlights. Serious business.