Review: Outer Edges: One of 2016's best drum & bass albums just keeps on giving. First came the whopping remix collection from some of the biggest and best names in the game. Now come rubs from the top cats themselves (plus a few classic VIPs thrown in for good measure)... "Voodoo" gets the 172 treatment with a snare-slapping bashment riddim, "Dead Limit" is torn to pieces by a gurning halftime switch-up and "Surfaceless" enjoys a new industrial strength coat of arms. Beyond the outer edges we have 2011's classically-trained "Tommy's Theme" getting deaded 2017-style and "Diplodocus" finally rising from dubplate status in all its gritty, sheet-metal-bending glory. Five slices of serious remix toxicity. Essential.
Review: Seriously - seriously - before any more words are said, just get your mitts on this LP. A seminal piece of work, it charts a decade in the life of Vision Recordings, the label at the foremost terrifying edge of neurofunk and beyond. Sharing the strobes with Black Sun Empire, Phace, Spor, The Upbeats and Calyx, and Teebee, it's hard to imagine what on earth drum and bass sounded like without these guys tearing a hole in the space time continuum every time they dropped a new EP. Black-hearted excitement from the darkest recesses of Europe. Don't pretend you don't need to hear "Diplodocus" one more time.
Review: Dutch drum and bass lynchpins Noisia clearly believe their latest release Dead Limit, a joint effort with irregular collaborators The Upbeats, is something special with a limited 12" double-pack edition featuring a poster and t-shirt. Those who prefer their Noisia in binary form will not be disappointed with just the music as these four tracks find them in rip-roaring form from the very off. The title track does that special Noisia trick of starting off quite calm before swiftly unleashing all manner of sonic hell, whilst "Inverse" deftly weaves between intense soundscapes and tightly wound beats. "Omnivore" is the type of track you deploy when you want a dancefloor to explode whilst "Mouthbreather" is the sonic equivalent of encountering a hungry great white shark in a bad mood.
Review: Maximum Obsolete Medium: Rockwell returns to his burgeoning label with a bunch of pals and sacks full of fire. Antipodean arsonists The Upbeats join the fray first for the hair-scorching sizzler "Level". All rasping, high voltage sizzles and singes, if this doesn't have your dancefloor on their knees begging for mercy you're in the wrong line of work. Similar exclamations can be made about "Block" as Rockers heads to Germany for a grizzly, off-beat raffish tet-a-tet with Phace. Up another level...
Review: The Upbeats, after an initial two singles, are releasing the third full instalment in their No Sleep 'Til series: New Zealand. It's the pair's home and as such they've teamed up with New Zealand natives Tiki Taane and Shapeshifter, as well as the UK's Workforce, for a damn cool four-track EP. You can hear Workforce's contribution on CTK4000, a gritty roller that skips out over a punishing percussive section, and The Upbeat's cross-tempo talents are exposed on the crunchy halftime beats of Nautilus. Aotea is an atmospheric down-tempo number to finish and it rounds off a quality bit of work.
Review: Having delivered their De-Evolution album over the course of three EPs over the last year, New Zealand's gnarliest bass slappers The Upbeats have now asked some of their mates for the all essential revisions. And they haven't gone in half measures as Malux, Rockwell, Annix, Agressor Bunx, Black Sun Empire, Memtrix and Emperor all deliver fresh chapters.... Empire's subversion of the depths of "Prism", the overwhelming emotional rush on Memtrix's take on "Say Go" and BSE's almighty thrashes and bashes on "DOOM" are just three examples of how epic these versions are.
Review: We're unsure how many parts are in this series but, reading between the lines, this could well mark the start of a new album from The Upbeats. Five tracks of raffish, stripped back sweatiness, there's no holding back: "Dr Kink" takes sonic surgery to dangerous new levels, "Pharaoh" sees them colliding with Ivy Lab to show their deeper, rolling, pensive side while "Dungeon" and "Doom" are straight up slap-fests of the highest neuro order. The hazy, soft-focus textures of "Elevator" provide the soft cushion as we crash back to reality. Looking forward to part two... And maybe even part three!
Review: Upfront drum & bass behemoths The Upbeats smash into the public consciousness like a meteor through the roof of parliament with their fourth LP. Seemingly convinced their previous works just weren't loud or complex enough, this album is an exploration of not only how explosive the duo can sound, but how their sound has changed since their early days. Even with the techno and grime influences in "Again I" featuring Armanni Reign, chiptune in "Falling Into Place", dark, dread-dripping haunted rhythms in "Alone" with vocals from Tasha Baxter, minimal bass noodle-ry in "Castles", hard-hitting neuro and jump-up run straight through this release like an electric heartbeat. Fans have enough meat to satisfy their subwoofers, newcomers and naysayers can sink their teeth into the deeper cognitions and apparitions. What's not to love?
Review: New Zealand neurofunk outfit The Upbeats continue to impress with their awe-inspiring productions as they come at us with a tonne of bassweight on Noisia's Vision Recordings. First up is "Diffused" with its dramatic intro full of building tension which drops into a low-slung growler with whispering vocals, while "Undertaker" is another jaw-dropping moment with epic hook and stabbing beats. Next S.P.Y transforms "Diffused" into a slice of deep, polished prowess, while Opiuo shakes things up with raw, industrial abandon, twisting things up and taking it to the next level.