Review: Ninja Crew members Lapo and T.Kay join forces on this three-track blast of revivalist jungle goodness for Erba. Their formula - snappy old skool jungle riddims, good, old-fashioned reggae samples and booming, bowel-bothering basslines - is as familiar as a favourite old jumper, but it never fails to deliver smile-inducing goodtime grooves. "Princess" sets the tone, pleasingly getting its skank on before dropping into blistering grooves and pulsating sub. T.Kay's "Treatment Yard" is similarly inclined but just a little tighter, working the breaks around head-nodding reggae horn stabs. Best of all, though, is Lapo's "Freedom Dub", a pleasingly dubwise chunk of dub step that's a lot more dub than step, if you get our drift.
Review: Jungle meets snappy, crisp production in this three-tracker from Lapo and T Kay on Erba. Breaking right down into some serious breakbeat grooves, "Mont Zion" is a killer. Made for getting the masses to move, it's the perfect way to get things cracking. "I&I" takes it down a notch with swaying vintage reggae sounds before electronic beats punch their way through and add a futuristic slant. Final track "Words Of Wisdom" takes roots vocals and places them side-by-side with shuffle-shaking beats to make a pleasingly laid-back booty-shaker of a tune. Experimental but with authenticity, one for the roots fans for sure.
Review: The team at Numa Recordings have assembled one hell of a selection here as we see them introduce four fantastic originals as part of this brand new 'Heartless Badboys' EP project. Firstly we see the well renowned Numa Crew get busy alongside the super catchy vocals of XL Mad on 'Broka', before we jump into the super smooth yet grimey flavours of Hypergrade's 'Cabala'. Next on the menu, we tuck into what we presume is the title track as 'Heartless Badboys' ushers forth with a tonne of half-time synthetic energy, courtesy of Ago & T.Kay. We then finish up with the old school junglist twists and turns of 'Old Ravers' from Lapo, wrapping up a very clever four track piece.
Review: Don't be misled by the title: this is no thrown-together 'greatest hits' package but rather a 40-track label showcase from DJ Hybrid's Audio Addict label, coming complete (if you opt to buy the whole album) with a fast and furious, 52-minute mixed version by Canada's RMS, aka Paul Currie. Tracks come a mixture of relatively new names (Martyn Nytram, Saffire Dubz, Confusious) and more established players (LJ High, Scartip and of course Hybrid himself), while stylistically the album touches on various different D&B sub-genres, but with the emphasis always firmly on cuts that are built to tear up the rave.
Review: Who doesn't love upbeat reggae vibes? The answer should rightfully be no one, because if jazzed up guitar flicks and vibrant steel pans don't send shivers of pleasure down your spine then you're officially not a human being. It's that energy which T Kay has channelled into these two cuts, that sense of underground culture and rich urban history which always come with the reggae influence. 'Tribal War' is especially good, a chilled out reggae breakdown in the intro transforming into a 170 number in delicious fashion - lovely stuff.
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: From Span with love: South Yard one-up the dickens out their game with their first V/A album. 21 tracks heavy and packed with every skanky, bashy and rolling shade of jungle they've become known for during their three year rise so far. All the mandem present and correct, the likes of Veak, Vital Elements, RMS, Jamie Bostron and many more all join Kursiva for this major league brock-out with savage highlights hanging, swinging and leaping from every corner. Highlights include the flabby bass groans of T.Kay's "Oh! Dread", Kid Mix-A-Lot's euphoric dibby dibby dancefloor smasher "The Stopper" and Ricky Tuff & Brian Brainstorms teeth-baring tear-up "Las Teresitas". Adios amigos!
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: What we have here is a fantastic selection and representation of the future of reggae music worldwide as the Nice Up! team unveil the fifth edition of 'Nice Up! The Session'. The release features some pretty top draw names, including the likes of Parly B, Gardna, Seanie T, Gappy Ranks and more. From the junglist flavours of Fleck's 'One Step At A Time' rethink, to the future dancehall delights of 'Bad Mi Bad' from XL Mad & Gappy Ranks, we witness the full breadth of reggae's development in 2019, with other favourites including DJ Madd's crispy rethink 'Chasing Dreams' from Rider Shafique & Precha, along with Folding City's experimental overhaul of 'My Yout' from 'Origin One & Irah'. Excellent stuff!
Review: Well, what more can we say about the Nice Up! team at this point? Their roster and recent catalogue have both been incredible to watch, culminating in this, the sixth edition of their 'Nice Up The Session' compilation series. The line up is outstanding as we see Gentleman's Dub Club, Seanie T, Red Eye HiFi, XL Mad, Origin One and more return to the label for a showcase of some of their most popular releases this year. Two tracks we definitely would like to point out as interesting highlights for this one have to include 'Shards', a lethal future-bashment arrangement from Casement, alongside Champion Sound's explosive jungle rework of Turn Ya Lights On from Escape Roots & Dark Angel. Awesome!