Review: Cementing its position as one of D&B's most essential labels with this round-up of the year's biggest tracks, Shogun Audio has outdone itself. From Rockwell's bafflingly precise electronic meanderings to Icicle's considered approach to minimal bass and drums, Technimatic and Spectrasoul's beautiful synergy of sound and feeling and newcomer Joe Ford's unique slant on experimental soundscaping, this is an unashamedly outgoing collection. Shogun has been running the gauntlet for some time now, focusing all the experimental energies harboured by its own terrifyingly impressive host of signed artists. As always, it's been worth the hard word. An essential release for an exceptional year. Long live Shogun!
Review: Want to hear something that'll blow your complacent brains out? Get a load of this: Icicle and Friction have been in the studio together and created the sound of two planets colliding in the form of "Crucifix". Luckily this meeting of minds has been fully documented by Shogun Audio and packed up nicely into a perfect two-piece release. On the other side, Friction joins the ever inspirational Technimatic fellas for "Floating Frames", a tune so sweet it could bring entire civilisations to their knees. So it's fair to say this release has all aspects of universal domination covered.
Review: What is there to say about Shogun Audio that hasn't already been said at length directly into your ear at 3am? Friction's brainchild has become one of the scene's biggest, most successful and perhaps most importantly one of the most highly-regarded labels in recent years. A decade might not be a long time in D&B talk, but 10 years has been long enough for Shogun to put its stamp on almost everything making its way from the underground and into the blinding light of day. From the experimental sounds of Alix Perez, Rockwell and Icicle to the spellbinding Technimatic, right through to the chart-bothering escapades of Camo & Krooked, this is a flip through the highlights of Shogun's life. In case you forgot, it's been a brilliant one so far. Roll on the next 10 years.
Review: With some massive Metalheadz dubs causing hype this year, Phaction super-charges his golden vein of form with this powerful package on Bcee's Spearhead. It's an all-star cast, too; the equally unstoppable Bristolite Charli Brix links in for the dreamy title track, Riya adds her gilded tones to two tracks - the subdued waves of "The Fall" and the skippier sunshine charms of "Obsession" with Hugh Hardie. Elsewhere we go deep on "Cherished One" and sign out with an exceedingly naughty take on Technimatic's 2013 Spearhead jam "Mirror Image". Premium dude, premium.
Review: Random Movement's remix of Technimatic's gorgeously smooth "Vermillion" has just the right touch of everything. From the perfectly balanced vocals from Jayma ringing clear against a deep wavering sub to the glimmers of light created by glittering keys up in the top end, this is a beautifully composed track, pure and simple. "Dropping The Chips" offers Technimatic a chance to turn the tables and sees the two acclaimed producers remixing Random Movement's massive 2012 smasher. Affording an extra-large rolling bassline and chilling the mother out of the original, this remix EP really is something special.
Review: Shogun dream duo Technimatic's third album is here. Without a doubt one of the biggest and most hotly anticipated releases that 2019 is likely to see, Through The Hours is another herculean collection of rolling liquid cuts, atmospheric jungle and slower, steppier numbers. It's vintage Technimatic, basically, and 'Through The Nightfall' featuring Jono McCleery is the perfect example: luscious, deep, smooth as can be and so, so well produced. 'Goodbye Kiss' takes the cake for us, though, with a stereotypically euphoric introduction that drops down into sublime D&B - this is the genre at its best. Make sure you check this - you'd be stupid not to.
Review: Shogun soul soldiers Technimatic unleash the parts to some of their best tracks and share them with kindred rolling spirits. The results speak for themselves... Break adds a little dark Brizzle magic to the lads' already on-point west country homage, LSB flips "Parallel" into a seven minute rising feels-lifter while Perez licks up a little switch in the kicks on the bluesy Jono McCleery-fronted "Hold On A While" and Fracture tears "Parallels" a new one with his cutty/shutty break-rattling refix. Complete with two heavy VIPs from Technimatic themselves on red marbled vinyl and you've got yourself a winner.
Review: Talk about best man for the job. Charlie Break, while not Bristol by birth, represents the exciting sound and energy that still emanates from one of the UK's most exciting cities. Loose, rattling, rolling with a latent funk and jazziness - Break has consistently delivered the vibes Technimatic were celebrating with the original tune. Naturally he's done them proud with a switch in the lower end hook and a rugged set of drums. Precision reversion.
Review: Exactly two years since their debut album Desire Paths, Shogun duo Technicolour & Komatic dish up their sophomore and it's even slicker and consistent than the first. With a finely honed signature that's unmistakeably their own, no other act do liquid in this way. From the cloud-bouncing floatation session of "Parallel" and raw string power of "Clockwise" right the way through to the final salvos of the soulful mourns of "Hold On A While" and the halfstep dreaminess of "It Must Be", every track here has a purpose without so much of a hit being chased or a vocal being added for feature's sake. Authentic and unashamedly deep.
Review: Their first new material since their evergreen debut album Desire Paths, Shogun duo Technicolour and Komatic deliver four breezy rollers in time for the warmer months. "Secret Smile" is all about Lucy Kitchen's arresting delicate vocal while "Dirty Hands" takes us deeper into Reese territory with its surging bass and ghostly vocal echoes. Deeper again we hit the title track "Flashbulb", a reflective halftime stepper with another instantly infectious vocal texture. Bringing us to sweet, string-soaked steppy finale, "Remember You" pushes us further into the D&B cosmos with a timeless, almost progressive feel that wouldn't have gone amiss around 10 years ago. Stunning through and through; Technimatic can do no wrong right now.
Review: In their official biography, Technimatic describe their particular take on musically rich liquid D&B as "hyper-coloured". In many ways, it's an apt description. Certainly, there's a baggy vibrancy to this belated debut album, which is gloriously breezy and deliciously soulful from start to finish. There's an almost horizontal feel to the duo's classic blends of vintage jungle rhythms, drifting vocals - most notable on the beautiful "Looking For Diversion", featuring the folksy voice of Lucy Kitchen - twinkling pianos, undulating strings and sun-bright chords. This kind of liquid jungle is always eminently listenable, but Andy Powell and Peter Rogers' particular take on the style is more cultured and mature than most. As a result, Desire Paths is an impressive and hugely enjoyable body of work.
Review: Technimatic (Technicolour and Komatic, for those who've been sleeping under a rock) have been a jewel in the Shogun crown for nearly two years, pushing the boundaries of soulful and rolling drum & bass. Unlike their peers, the focus with these two UK-based producers is to create beauty as well as dancefloor-ready anthems, giving the scene a much-needed lift and crucially, making those hands reach up to the sky. Featuring both the original and radio edits of "Night Vision" and the gorgeously slow-burning beauty of "Chasing A Dream" which drops into a deeper-than-deep roller. These guys never disappoint, grab this now.
Review: Everyone's favourite collaborative duo Technimatic - Technicolour and Komatic in case you hadn't heard - have returned to Shogun Audio to release their latest of their heart-soaringly beautiful brand of D&B. "Like A Memory" has legendary vocalist Pat Fulgoni crooning a heartfelt love song while rolling drums and a big, woozy Reese works its magic on the low-end frequencies. "Like A Memory" takes a fresh approach with crisp, erratic drum patterns and bright, sparkling atmospherics above clipped vocals and big piano vamps. A totally gorgeous release that every self-respecting drum & bass fan and secret romantic needs to own.
Review: 12 years deep, 100 releases strong, Friction's Shogun imprint continues to spread the strong words with what's shaping up to be a very exciting series of exclusives. For the first EP we hit paydirt from the off as Ulterior Motive play the consummate robot charmers on "Radian". Cousins in crime Icicle and Proxima follow with a dagger-sharp tete-a-tete two-stepper while Technimatic provide essential contrast with the rainbow soul "Transference". Finally Alix Perez returns to Shogun for a cheeky minimal twist of Friction and Fourward's "Battle Scars". Gold on gold on gold, Shogun aren't messing around with their 100 series.
Review: Spearhead are back with another compilation featuring some of their music from the past, as well as a handful of brand new cuts. The final track on the release - The Vanguard Project's remix of 'We All' by L.A.O.S is the highlight, a brand new outing which rolls out a euphoric string section to great effect, a hands-in-the-air anthem which will make want to be in the rave. Phaction's remix of 'Mirror Image' came out last year, and we've been in love with its cascading drum section and adrenaline-fuelled vocal magic ever since, a truly wonderful number that's bright, shiny and full of pure vibes. Wicked compilation.
Technimatic - "The Nightfall" (feat Jono McCleery) - (4:30) 174 BPM
Document One - "Holy Moly" - (4:41) 174 BPM
Ed It - "The Ticket" (feat Pola & Bryson) - (4:34) 172 BPM
Monrroe - "Everywhere I Go" - (4:50) 174 BPM
Technimatic/Matt Wilson - "Holding On" - (4:56) 175 BPM
Document One - "1964" - (4:13) 174 BPM
Ed It - "Generally Speaking" - (4:53) 175 BPM
Gerra & Stone - "Feels Like" - (4:33) 174 BPM
Review: Having just celebrated their 15th year with one of their best ever collections, Friction's Shogun Audio look back over a strong year of sonics. Flexing a stellar rollcall of all the label's talents - Ed:It, GLXY, Technimatic, Pola & Bryson, Monrroe, Document One, Koherent and many more - there's an exciting energy to the label's collective and this collection captures that vibe. Highlights include Ed:It's fast-lane percussive roller "So True", the deep dream manoeuvres of Koherent and Charli Brix's "Voices" and Document One's epic electrified shredder "Holy Moly". These are just three of 20 reminders of why Shogun have had such a great year in 2019.
Review: It's been 15 years since Shogun Audio burst into life on the South Coast and under the watchful eye of Ed Keeley AKA Friction, as well as K-Tee, it's grown and grown into one of the best labels in the business, without a doubt. From the classics like Perez's seminal 1984, to more recent, futuristic numbers from the likes of Koherent and Document One, the label is truly diverse and that's represented extremely well in this 15 Years Of compilation. Featuring a litany of acts both old and new, including Technimatic, Pola & Bryson and Friction, this one is for the proper fans. Document One's 'Vibration' is a favourite of ours, with a stupidly cool, distorted bassline that packs a tasty hardware edge, undergirded by a click-and-snap drum line. Pure quality right here.
The Vanguard Project - "Is This Love" (feat Lucy Kitchen - Dexcell remix) - (4:59) 172 BPM
Review: Spearhead Records - which was started by Bcee in an internet caf? - is hitting its 100th release and celebrating the fact with a huge compilation of brand new tracks, including contributions by Calibre, Technimatic, LSB and Bcee himself. Staying true to the label's origins, it's pretty much all gorgeous rolling liquid and we're very much into it. One of the highlights is the Bcee refix of his seminal 'Back to the Street', which has been given a revamped bassline and a fresh veneer of bassy purpose. It's not just the old on this album, though, and Walk:r lays down the gauntlet with 'Wallflower', a sublimely subtle, pacey piano tune that rolls out in delightful fashion. Wicked stuff here from one of the best in the game.
Alix Perez - "Down The Line" (feat MC Fats) - (6:27) 172 BPM
JO - "R-Type" - (5:51) 174 BPM
Subwave - "Think" - (5:58) 175 BPM
Shogun Audio Presents: The Classics (2004-2017) (continuous DJ mix) - (57:08) 174 BPM
Review: When a label as consistent and as well rounded as Shogun Audio announce a 'Classics' release it obviously sends shivers around the drum & bass community. It's hard to imagine condensing thirteen years of dominance into a minimized box of thirty classics, but just looking at the tracklisting is awe-inspiring. We see classic reappearances from the likes of Friction, Spor, Break, Icicle, Rockwell, Spectrasoul, Alix Perez, Camo & Krooked and that's not even half of the names involved. To break it down simply, this compilation summarizes why Shogun hold such a legendary status within the scene, through incredible consistency and magnificent diversity of sound.
Review: 21 years old. How about that then? Some of us were barely out of nappies when London Elektricity first launched the imprint, some of us remember like it was yesterday. Either way, we are all united under the big flouro H and right now they're celebrating their coming of age with a humungous 70 track collection. Yes, 70! Each cut handpicked to represent the London imprint's constantly evolving but always soul-touched and groove-laden sound are 24 exclusives such as Urbandawn's insane version of Reso's "Taiga", Fred V & Grafix's titanium colab with Metrik "Tension", Serum & Inja's already-massive "Blow Dem" and Whiney's remix of TC's chop-slapping "Storm Brew". Massive. Happy birthday Hospital!
Review: From Prolix to Technimatic, Total Science to Was A Be by way of Icicle, Joe Ford, Fourward, Spectrasoul, Phace, Ed.It and many more, Friction's label digs deep from the genre's most innovative corners and eras. As we prepare to close off 2016, they've taken a detailed look back over the last 18 months of crucial output to not just represent where the label is at, but the genre itself. An ideal opportunity to fill any holes in your collection cuts such as Fourward & Linguistics demonic stomper "Storm", Was A Be's rudeboy-slewing halftime damager "Blind" or Break's sparkling "Emerald" and complete with a journeyman mix of the tracks themselves, this rounds up yet another serious year at the very forefront of drum & bass.
Review: Drum&Bass Arena: The longest-standing, and one of the most respected, platforms for all things jungle D&B celebrates an impressive 20 years in the game with this ridiculously hefty document that pays respect to the genre's every twist and turn. From scene-shattering megahits ("Tarantula", "Feel The Love", "Rock It", "Afterglow") to unarguable historical underground scene-smashing megabangers ("Machete", "Aztec", "Nasty Ways", "The View", "Champion Sound", "Turbulence", "Up All Night", "Deadline", Ram Trilogy's remix of "Pacman") by way of tracks that may have slipped under the radar ("Defcom 69", "What's Wrong", "Song For Lovers") the whole album is loaded to the lips with some of the most important records the genre's enjoyed in the last 20 years. Time to get nostalgic, time to fill those holes in your collection, time to educate your dancefloor. Here's to another 20 years!