Review: The North Quarter is rounding out their 2020 with the first in a new Various Artists series: NQ State of Mind. We're assuming this name is a hat tip to Jay-z and Alicia Keys' NY State of Mind, and the focus on urban funk comes through clearly across this album's 10 tracks. It starts with the long-awaited Tokyo Prose remix of 'All My Life' by Satl, and Tokyo has stretched out Steo's incredible vocals over an elegantly simple piano riff and solid percussive basis, a timeless sound that gets right to the heart of what makes this label so good. Zero T gives his 2017 album cut 'Slightest Moment' the remix treatment, taking it up from hip-hop tempo to full drum & bass to form a rollicking, nonchalant roller which skips along with such purity of spirit you'll forget where you are. There's a superb original contribution from Redeyes with 'Original Soul', a stripped back remix of 'Late Night Jam' from Lenzman, and a dirty old school roller from Sam Binary. What an album.
Review: The North Quarter have their first full label VA coming very soon and the third sampler preceeding the launch is here, featuring liquid giants Submorphics and Pola & Bryson on a collaborative tip, the result of which is 'Albion Road'. This tune is simply gorgeous, with fluttering drums that perfectly underpin its idyllic blend of atmospheric pads and tentative, caressing piano chords. It's a soulful number to say the least and presages a fantastic LP from the label.
Review: US-born, Netherlands-based soulful D&B nomad Greg Submorphics takes away to sunnier, more wholesome climes on this immaculate debut album. Gilded synths, hazy feels, stacks of woozy warmth, just the right balance of nostalgia; every cut ripples and flexes with a timeless liquid feel. The dusty horns on "Memories Of You", the velvet boogie, silky synths and syrupy dulcets of Big Brooklyn Red on "Daydreaming", the dreamy bounce of "Faded Images", the list goes on. As you'd expect from The North Quarter and Submorphics, everything about this album hits the spot. Close your eyes and think of better times...
Review: Two stone cold classic Calibre remixes get a digital reup on Fokuz this month. His take on Submorphics' "Organ Grinder" takes us back to 2013 with that instantly distinctive dusty jazz sample those purring, swooning chords in the background. His more stripped back, darker take on Impish's "With You", meanwhile, harbours one of the most emotional breakdowns you'll ever find on Fokuz. As timeless, rolling, loose and soulful as ever, if you don't have either of these in your collection yet then now is a perfect opportunity.
Can't Get Over You (feat Lenzman - instrumental) - (5:26) 172 BPM
Weather It Out (instrumental) - (4:29) 172 BPM
Review: Lenzman's The North Quarter smashes it once again with another XXXL soul dispatch. This time Submorphics is at the controls. Best known for his work in SGN and Hospital, here he takes a deeper dive into the soulful sound across hip-hop ("Hot Ish"), dreamy early AI-style power liquid ("Don't Be So Cold") sensual hazy steppery ("Watchudo" with the one and only T.R.A.C) and all-out gutsy vocal gold ("Can't Get Over You" with Big Brooklyn Red and Lenz himself) Loaded with interludes and instrumentals, it's another ridiculously on-point collection from the hottest soulful D&B label in the game right now.
Review: What a year it's been for Lenzman's North Quarter. Putting the extension back into extended player, every release has been a gold mine of drum & bass, hip-hop and soul. Following the label boss, FD and Redeyes comes LA's Submorphics with mate Satl flexing an equally shimmered shaker. Wavy jazz-tinged chords, woozy backing vocal licks, a loose, restrained drum arrangement and a killer flow from man of the moment T.R.A.C, it's yet another precision piece for TNQ... And, we suspect, is likely to lead to another full-strength EP imminently. We can't wait.
Review: Eighteen months and two cameos on Headz and Hospital since his last SGN:LTD soiree, west coast soul merchant Submorphics returns with four more moments of deep drum & bass clarity. The lead track that has that dusty sample feel that rolls with a loosely hewn restraint very similar to early 2000s Makoto or perhaps Calibre cuts. "Stratospheres" sees him team with US MC of the moment T.R.A.C for a cool roller that wouldn't have gone amiss on any Progression Sessions album. "Arcata" shows Submorphics's darker side with a S.P.Y-style cosmic stepper while Christian Tamayo brings serious soul and sensuality to the swooning synths of "Lost In The Lights". Think Riya and you're on the right track.
Review: What a year it's been for Shogun Audio: albums from Spectrasoul and Rockwell, new signing Karma, the epic Point Of Origin collection and killer singles from every artist on the roster. Here they wrap up the year with 34 bangers, blissers and blunderbusses. If you've been following the label you'll know just how heavy this weights in bass gold. If not, it's the best possible place to play catch up. From the Jenna G-fronted Submorphics chiller "The Divine" and the gospel-level heaven of Spectrasoul's "Shelter" to the much darker, thunderous slammers such as Friction and Icicle's "Crucifix", Fourward's "Exile" and Calyx & TeeBee's gamechanging remix of Spor's "Aztec", this is a spotless sonic calling card for the label and its many multifaceted talents.
Review: Whatever the world throws at you, you can always count on San Fran-based Submorphics to take the hurt away with his deep flows and soulful vibes. Smooth and shimmering, "The Divine" featuring Jenna G is everything that's good and peaceful in the world of liquid rollers. Proper soul food. Effortlessly moving through hip hop stylings, old school breaks and thick, rumbling basslines, no matter your musical taste, there will be something here for you. A standalone piece of drum and bass beauty. Treat yo'self.
Review: Bryan Gee's bumper Club Sessions series continues like the drum & bass juggernaut it is with volume five. Since appearing on the scene back in 2005 with an album packed with exclusives from Roni Size, Fresh, Calibre and dBridge, the label have come back stronger than ever with their latest instalment. Featuring modern heroes Need For Mirrors, Peshay and Eveson alongside fresh talent from the likes of Pennygiles, Duoscience, Atlantic Connection and Flaco, each track is a reassurance that drum & bass from the Liquid V corner of the scene is still going strong. At 28 tracks plus two mixes featuring MCs Stamina and TRAC, how could you say no?
Review: Innerground continues its reign over the soulful and jazzy D&B world with a storming collection of shining new music from some of the scene's finest. Arguably the greatest liquid collab duo in history Marky & Makoto pair up for not one but two massive tracks, heading up the EP in 'we mean business' style. Also featuring their love for jazz funk are Austria's own RoyGreen & Protone, blasting that groove with a lush, retro feel, as does Brazilian newcomer Level 2. Liquid veteran Submorphics drops by to reveal a sweet summer anthem in "Hazel Street" and rounding off the comp is newcomer T>I with a hypnotic delve through nasty electronic percussion. A true indication of where DJ Marky's label is right now, if you're a fan of the genre you'd be foolish to miss out.
Review: Not content with putting up with a winter that's outstaying its welcome, Innerground have begun to piece together a work collective that shows off the sundrenched atmospherics of the Brazilian drum and bass scene. Headed up by DJ Marky and S.P.Y, the first track is of course "Yellow Shoes" but with a twist; adding that classic Calibre warmth to drum and bass' ultimate summer anthem tones down the glare, making it much more accessible to those of us bleached by a thousand months of rain and sleet. "Summer Soul" is far less accommodating however, and as the title suggests, it's a Submorphics-flavoured roll through the bassy summer days and soulful vocals that have become a staple of the Brazilian scene. A perfect excuse to ramp up the heating and crack open some Brahmas.