Review: Sub-Division continues pushing the new generation of artists and sounds with this epic VA album featuring a whole load of hybrids and fusions from a barrage of exciting new talent. Highlights are left, right and centre but essential picks include Guzi's twisted flip on the stepper sound with the grizzly 'Continuum', Sinexia's savage, stripped-back 'HND' and a whole range of cuts from the fast-rising Shayper including the rifle-like war talk of 'Keep In Line' (with Amplify) Elsewhere pure futurism drips off every dark nook and crannie of Guzi & Woolf's 'Intimidate', Niterider & Warhead's 'No Way In' is a raw, unkempt slab of rolling grot and Herby's 'Next Stop' is the sonic equivalent of a swarm of hornets - and its buzzing around in your brain. This is just the tip of the 'Partitions' iceberg... Dig deep and find many more highlights yourself.
Review: Sub-liminal take a moment to look back over almost six years of hard graft at the future talent coal face. Having been responsible for so many bangers from so many now household names, it's a mean feat boiling it down to this mere 50 heavyweight highlights. All the label's key names are on board; Guzi, Dreadnaught, Nick The Lot, Too Greezy, Kumo, Version, Vital, Pyro, Motiv and many more dust off their past heavers, hurters and head-slappers to reflect on everything Sub-liminal has stood for and encouraged so far. From the deeper, more subtle bubblers (Sam Harris - 'Coffee Machine') to the most outrageous funk-ups (Warhead - 'Cranked') this EP has everything. When the Riddim hits you, you can't say no...
Unknown Artist - "Just Vibe With It" - (5:21) 172 BPM
Untrue - "Your Face" - (5:19) 174 BPM
Motiv - "Walk With Me" - (4:54) 174 BPM
Review: Now in their 22nd year, Fokuz has to be one of the longest running - and certainly the most prolific - drum & bass labels to ever come out of The Netherlands. A prime spot for breaking new talent, and renowned for their glacial, atmospheric liquid sound, the label have that perfect balance of newcomers and established names which is reflected perfectly here on this reflective look-back over 2020. Highlights include Command Strange & Cnof's dusty soul delight 'Rainy Day', the twinkling cosmic funk of Maverick Soul's 'We In Here' and the shimmering soul of Askel & Elere's 'Honestly'.
Review: Stick this one up your chimney! Following releases on the likes of Grid and Sub-Division, Alex SLK makes his debut on Pick N Mix on Christmas Day so let's bun the roast and trimmings and tuck into this feast instead; 'Game Changer' is the pigs in blankets, all crispy on the outside but that riff is just so meaty. 'Pressure' is the turkey itself. Big, fat and cooked to juicy perfection. 'Concussion' are the roasties. Coated with a crunch but loaded but soaking in sleazy dark funk fat. 'Sirens' is the Christmas pudding. Rich in groove, soaked in liquid and prone to flames. 'Silk Road' is the chocolate box. A sweet ending to an indulgent day, just like a good box of Heroes or Quality Street, it's full of all your favourite flavours and you never want it to end. Bit like Pick N Mix and Christmas Day itself. Switch up your game.
Review: Over on Juno regular Sub-Division Recordings, Zoner and Alex SLK are being given the remix treatment in a really cool, well put-together single that'll please heads from all sides of the scene. The first comes from Alex SLK himself, and he's flipped the original into a brooding, creeping piece of music that feels cold, tight and packed with latent aggression just waiting to emerge. The flip wears its heart slightly more in its sleeve, as JAK UK rolls out 'The Revolution' amidst a flowing arrangement of bouncing sine stabs and carving bass patches. Wicked.
Review: Few labels are as on-point as Sub-liminal when it comes to new talent. Home to some the sharpest new gen minds to emerge in the last few years, their Myriad collections have always been a succinct snapshot of forefront D&B. The fourth annual collection is no exception as we're treated to smash-ups and stinkers from the likes of Guzi & Dreadnaught, Yatuza, Shayper, Agro and many more. Highlights include the techno rasps of Guzi & Dreadnaught's "All Units", RV's bulldozing rattler "Tell You 1 Thing", Shayper's ghostly rave groaner "Work It Out" and Agro & RV's chest-melting finale "Impact"... And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Myriad by name, myriad madness by nature.
Review: Yatuza is on Sub-Liminal with an EP that's full of minimal destruction He's roped in some of his friends for the release, including Sam Harris, Dr Kick and Aleex SLK in what is a full-throttle release from start to finish. This is clear from the off, as 'In The Dark' dives down deep into murky sonics and minimalist force for session that'll appeal to the real heads. 'Cut It Down' is a naughty roller with a disturbingly scary sub bass & reece bass combination and 'Under Control' ties up the release with more dark atmospherics - quality stuff.
Review: Last spotted on Liondub International's much-loved and respected "Street Series" collection over four years ago, Latvian junglist Kenji makes a long-awaited return with five absolute fire jams. All strictly focused on the most visceral aspects of D&B, once again Kenji delivers some serious aggy magic with grizzly bassline funk ranging from the sexy drawn out subby tones of "Next" to the much grittier grumpy shreds and moans of "Drop". "High Rollers" by name, savage rollers by nature...
Review: Pick N Mix: A place where full fat variety comes as standard and you're guaranteed to leave with a blazing sugar high and the stickiest fingers imaginable. Since launching last year they've been responsible for a whole barrage of on-point fire jams from the most exciting names in the new-gen D&B movement and for their 10th release they've levelled up the selection in a major way. 20 fresh tracks from 20 killer new talents, the vibes here are so palpable you could chew them. Highlights include the techno-like insistency and of Alex SLK's "Gorillaz", savage tear-out in the form of Vital's "The Game", Zoro's Dread-bass warp wonder session "Buss It", Magenta's MC-fronted bash-about "Purpose", the list goes on and on. Sweet!
Review: Grubs up! Twisted Individual's cooked up a feast of undead delights for the first Zombie Recordings V/A collection and everyone's invited. Chewy, spicy and full of gully victuals, across the collection we're treated to all range of flavours; the peppery aftertaste of Filthy Habits & Jeopardize's "Mind Transfer", the fruity funk bursts of Imaginary Friends' "Rooftop Jam", the gamey aroma and meaty chugs of Yatuza & Nick The Lot's "Mystic Ways" and the sweet and sour textures of Alex SLK's "Kluture" are just some of the many highlights on the menu. Gunfinger-licking good!
Review: Bou & Dutta's Diamond Audio cuts through the noise with laser like charm on their latest V/A collection. A signature since the label's launch last year, this is their most supersized batch to date as it includes more fresh names and a full spectrum of underground styles; the footwork pace of Aesthetics opener "Questions", Bou's barking groaner "Frequencies", Jeopardize's matchless trippy funk stepper "Contemporary", Leaf's wonky woodblock knocks and freaky funk on "Watch It" and MelloDrama's hospitalizing space stepper "Thrill" are just some of the many album highlights. Shiny shiny.
Review: If you only buy one drum and bass EP this week, it should 100% be this one. There is something for everyone, we tried to pick highlight but we just can't, each track is so different and so good it would be nigh on impossible to come up with a fair comparison. 'Back 2 Basics' is like nothing we've ever heard the little piano section is amazing and completely juxtaposed to the rest of the dancefloor track. While 'Freeze' is a creepy techy roller with sharp highs and waves off metallic sounding subs. 'Not Going Down' is just, for want of a better word, an absolute banger. The vocal paired with the almost vertical drop is breathtakingly good.
Review: SLK is a hotly tipped new artist who makes sci-fi R&B for people who may have loved the production of '90s R&B, but felt it's message was a bit, well flat. And also for people who think Lorde isn't weird enough. And for anybody really, anybody who loves the sound of five tracks (and a creepy intro) that sound like Roisin Murphy, Kate Bush and Aaliyah jamming at the gothiest party Timbaland never threw.