Review: Wrapping up a serious year of heat, Hype's Playaz look back over their many releases of 2021 and brings them altogether in one place for those who missed out on the label's many big bruisers, bumpers and thumpers. Ranging from Xtrah's trippy, leftfield 'Droplets' to straight-up face-melters like Spaow's 'Amd Planet' with a whole range of fire in between from some of the label's (and the scene's) biggest and most respected names like Taxman, Voltage, Limited, Dunk and of course the mighty DJ Hazard, it's a pretty forthright reminder of just how much clout and musical muscle the longstanding label has - even when half the year was spent with the clubs and raves closed. Playaz ain't playing around!
Sub Zero - "Missing Piece" (feat Roxi Yung) - (4:32) 175 BPM
Annix & K Motionz - "Stutter" - (4:33) 175 BPM
Review: Playaz are rounding out this year with their first compilation for quite some time, and their 2020 roundup relies on a fairly small handful of long-term label stalwarts across twenty tracks. In this case, less is more and the likes of Annix, Taxman, DJ Hybrid and Tyke all come seriously correct in this compilation, their collective decades of experience really shining through. Taxman's 'You Can't See' is absurdly good, with wonderfully stuttering breaks which emerge from shimmering synth lines before cutting into a raucously stabbing bass hits, a proper rowdy collection of sounds which get right to the heart of the Playaz sound. Bristol trio The Sauce pop up on the label with several contributions, including 'Spooked', an eerie roller with choppiness right at its core - big stuff from the crew.
Review: Quite possibly the most consistent artist Playaz have ever known, Taxman is always there for you when you need him. After his monthly assault of tunes last year he returns with yet more fresh goods in the form of "Can't You See". Breezier and lighter than his usual sledgehammer signature, the sensual vocal, dreamy chords and subtle rave elements roll-up together with total uplift... And allow just enough space for a stinky bassline to cut through in all the right places. One for the dancefloor dreamers.
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: Taxman is one of Playaz's most reliable bass merchants, a man who consistently, if somewhat infrequently, drops music that's full of the old-school jump-up attitude that made Playaz so good back in the day. His Echo Vibes EP continues on that trend. Four slices of dirty, roughshod D&B that gives you a dirty look as it steps over your body. It genuinely doesn't care; it's not trying to be anything smart or sophisticated; it's not looking to impress you. All this EP cares about is giving you a sick night while scaring you to death at the same time and it does it fantastically. Our favourite is possibly the title track 'Echo Vibes' - not one to be missed.
Review: The Taxman has come to take your soul, you're gonna die tonight! A stark warning to any soundboys who are looking to take the crown of Dominic Tindill as king of jump up, coming in the form of three brutal digi-dubs on the Playaz imprint. Lead track "Die Tonight" features a call and response between a naughty jungle style sub and what sounds like manipulated samples of an elephants trumpet, crazy but genius! The ominous roots reggae "You will die tonight" hook and the iconic jungle "Warning" sample will surely give any sucker soundboy the chills. "Radar Jammer" again goes heavy on the call and response baselines but this is an altogether more untameable beast. This is peak time rinse out sounds for especially rowdy dancefloors; one of those beats that make the MC start rhyming an octave higher when it drops. Hectic! Taxman switches gears for "NTS roller", perhaps inspired by the cult radio station, this one is a much more sophisticated affair; airy vocals, slick drum fills and square-waves. 3am vibes!
Review: Three things are certain in life: death, taxes and Taxman smashing your sensory organs with every remix he ever delivers. Here we find him in fierce form on last year's mischievous one-note dungeon hummer "Mysterons". Adding that signature scratchy high pitched grainy texture to the A of every bassline Q, this is Taxman at his most savage and playful. Elsewhere we find Professor Greezey cooling us down with "Heroes". A much more stripped back bassline shaker with subtle-but-strong jazz undertones and blissful keys, it's the perfect foil to Taxman's obscene remix.
Review: Considering Taxman typically sends out a key release once a year, the fact this has landed so soon after his "Amended" EP is already a blessing. The fact that the sounds on here are properly next level takes us into bless overload..."Scanners" has a unique rolling looseness thanks to some addictive shakers (and an elephantine bassline), "Wonky Riddim" lives up to its name with a strange trippy sci-fi feel while "On The Wire" is a classic gutter-chomping riot piece with an array of stretched bass textures. "Chameleon" plays counter to the ruffage with a cool cosmic funk vibe that's kinda reminiscent of J Majik's early 2000s work while "TDK" goes even further back to the jungle foundations with some head-melting drum edits. As with everything Taxman releases - this is serious business from start to finish.
Review: Time flies when you're a junglist... Reflecting the bossman DJ Hype's all-style signature as a selector, Playaz output covered the spectrum in style last year. You want sun-dappled soulful fire? Look for Potential Badboy. You want dirt munching gully? Look for Annix. You want leftfield stripped back surreal dark funk? Look for Bass Brothers or Jam Thieves. You want to get knocked the heck out? Look up Taxman, Prestige and Tyke. So many corners covered they smashed walls down to create new ones, Playaz killed it in 2016... Here are 25 reasons why.
Review: Fewer things are certain in life: death and Taxman delivering outrageously sick bangers. Here we find some of his biggest and most reggae-licked cuts dating back to 2006 amended and revised by either the big man himself of his peers: his own twist on the perennial "Too Bad" is worth the whole EP alone thanks to its level-shredding bassline that could melt entire villages. Elsewhere Upgrade adds a few spikes to the mix of "Nightshade", Bass Brothers add a fresh bounce to "Original Ninja" while Taxman shuts down the show with a twisted new bass texture on "Creepshow". You know say this is ruff.
Review: Creepshow sees the welcome return of Dominic 'Taxman' Tindill with his first new material since last year's fine debut album Synthetic Visions. Once again issued through Hype and Pascal's Playaz platform, the six track release sees Taxman wearing his influences on his sleeve when it comes to the title track which takes both its name and ample sampleage from the 1982 horror classic Creepshow and will please fans of Tindall's classic sound. From here, "Reprazent" goes deep into a kaleidoscopic jungle groove with some nice steppy rhythmic touches whilst "Billy Big Bollocks" lives up to its title, and dukes it out with the VIP version of "Falling Up" for our favourite cut on the whole EP. Welcome back Taxman!
Review: Since his grand entrance into the scene via Hype's Playaz, Taxman has been shoving high energy D&B out of speakers the world over. Regarded as one of the top producers of jump-up around right now, this nifty selection of remixes comes as a little bit of a surprise. It's neither nasty nor ravey. What it is, is a beautifully crafted roller backboned by soulfully majestic vocals from Diane Charlemagne. For those still needing a hit of the hard stuff, a "hard mix" is included, pushing the track to its limits with trademark Taxman wind-up bass and explosive energy from all directions. A gorgeous track with tons of dancefloor potential, you definitely need this.
Review: The Playaz label has contributed some of the scene's most iconic tunes so rest assured that this "Playaz Digital Vol 5" album is absolutely jam-packed with treats a-plenty. D&B heads prepare to don your raving shoes, this one will have you more than excited! Ranging from Sub Zero's tear out jump up mayhem in "Spin Doc" to a remix of DJ Zinc's legendary "Ska", via Pascal's "P-Funk Era" and Hazard's raw and wobbly movie-sampling "Killer's Don't Die", no stone is left unturned across this excellent compilation. And for those who thought that Playaz was all raucous jump up, make sure you listen to Sub Zero's deep, murmuring "Protection" which flips the proverbial script. Something for everyone here!
Review: Jump up boys and girls prepare yourselves for a party; Taxman is back with more badness on the Playaz imprint. Get ready for a couple of killer cuts as Taxman goes in hard in title track "Cool It Judy", which gets its title from a vocal snippet, and is all bleepy, descending bass tones, gritty mid range and pummeling drum beats. A dramatic midway breakdown adds to the tension and anticipation. Awesome from the offset, this is another classic in the making. As if that wasn't enough "Mega Death", its even more exuberant counterpart, ups the ante yet again with punchy snares, grating synths an enticing jump up energy that makes this an essential purchase.
Review: A superbly executed EP here, with VIP re-works from some of the key bods from the Playaz camp - the ineffable don of wobble jump up, DJ Hazard and his cohorts Erb N Dub, Legacy, Original Sin and brother Taxman, plus Friction and Nu Balance and newcomer Jaydan. First up is a delectable re-interpretation of massive 2011 hit "Food Fight" which draws out the vocal and juxtaposes it with grizzled bass. Next is "Alaska (VIP)" which is a glorious, fast-paced explosion of sound, and special mention must be made of the wonderful "Casino" VIP by Original Sin plus mid noughties classic "Robocop" which is updated by Taxman. Jaydan rounds things off in rowdy fashion with a VIP of "Driller Killer". An expansive package and a must buy.
Review: The creator of such bonafide jump up classics as "Too Bad" and "Scan Darker" comes back in full force with two of the gnarliest dancefloor monsters we've heard from the Playaz camp in a long time. "My House" kicks off with a simple 4/4 beat and synth, developing slowly into the more recognisable Taxman we all know and love; cue pummelling drum rolls, croaking SFX, cheeky vocal snippets and gritty b-line pressure. The unsung hero of the release though is undoubtedly "Thr33" - an immense piece of darkside craftsmanship with eerie, sci-fi movie sample intro, it swiftly falls into an infectious anthem with juddering drumbeats, pounding bass and rolling synths. Beastly!
Review: Pascal and Hype's Playaz label storms into the digital world with their fourth instalment of their Playaz Digital selection. Taking it back to the mid noughties with iconic Taxman cut "Too Bad" and seminal G Dub classic "Tink Ya Bad", before accelerating through some influential moments in Playaz history from the core crew - Hazard, Original Sin and Taxman - it's brock out business all the way with rollicking basslines and grizzled synths. Along the journey of rowdy jump up and wobble-tastic party bangers, we have old favourites like "Selector" and "Scan Darker" before moving into more recent territory with "Harry's Revenge" and "Bubbles". Big, bad and heavy.