Review: I don't think there's anyone in the world who is a good enough person to deserve the music Break gives us. We're all bad people compared to his tunes and his newest album - Another Way - is arguably his best work to date, a rip-roaring adventure through rolling beats, funk influences and UK dub culture. Featuring vocals from Cleveland Watkiss and Kyo and production features from Total Science and DLR, it's a whos-who of D&B as well as a masterclass in how to make it. 'Last Goodbye' with Celestine kicks off the LP with funk-based energy; 'Keepin It Raw' does just that; MC GQ whispers in your ear on 'Whispers in You Ear'; Total Science collab on possibly the highlight of the whole album with 'Dogs Dinner'; and 'Take Me Away' injects some lighter, liquid-based sanity. An absolutely stunning voyage through the best that D&B has to offer - Break has done it again.
Review: Synthesis is the fourth Digital album and it might be his most ambitious undertaking yet! The album's sixteen tracks see the UK producer working alongside a swathe of high profile contemporaries. The danger with projects such as this, is the lack of cohesion and binding theme but its clear Digital conceived Synthesis as a display of all that's good in the current scene. Exceptionally well produced and engineered, it's nigh on difficult to pick out a highlight here with the likes of Om Unit, Nomine, Villem, Spirit and the mighty Klute excelling in their bass science explorations alongside Digital. An album to really sink your teeth into.
Review: DLR is taking a break from his recently exclusive dwelling at Sofa Sound to come up with this, the One More Record EP on C.I.A, a three-track jungle EP which sees the Bristolian step over onto the breaksy side of things for the first time in quite a while. Label bosses Total Science step in on the first track, 'Spluurge, which packs rave-piano influences and a tightly bound knot of central percussion that drives the whole thing forward. Title track 'One More Record' is another highlight, with a slightly stripped back approach that seeks to impress, not overwhelm, a tactic that works wonders here. Top release.
Review: Player central: Not one artist on this EP doesn't command serious respect. Ed:It and Pennygiles's 2014 firecracker gets the treatment from Ulterior Motive, adding just a lick or two of shade to the already solid groove. ST Files and Response follow with a beautifully restrained deep stepper that's not dissimilar to erstwhile ST collaborator Marcus Intalex. Total Science and FD maintain the deep theme with a soulful rolling track that's not dissimilar to their Funky Technicians material. Villem and McLeod anchor the EP with a unique halftime roll that balances dark and light tighter than your nan's 1950s television. A truly spotless EP.
Review: Friction knows how to throw a party... Their "100" celebrations started in March and they're still going strong three months later! A chance for the label's artists and friends to stretch their skills and signatures, there's been some really exciting, subversion work throughout the series. This final piece in the puzzle is no exception; "Fourward" deliver their funkiest track to date, Karma gets all soulful, Total Science get all drifty and ethereal while Break simply reminds us why we love him. All four cuts glistening with long-lasting gold, Shogun can carry on celebrating their 100th release for as long as they like as far as we're concerned.
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: 20 years: time flies when you're busy being Total Science, one of D&B's most consistent banger outlets of all time. Celebrating two decades of their influential label, here they deliver four tracks that won't appear on their anniversary album; DLR provides two versions of Quiff's 93 agenda-setter "Champion Sound" while Calibre does what he does best on the piano on "Under Bars" and Total Science themselves lick up a dubby system shocker that tips a wry nod at the likes of Digital and Spirit.
Review: Not just one of drum & bass's most iconic female vocalists, but also one of the most respected... Riya's work behind the scenes goes back around 15 years. As a result she's got serious reference points, a genuine understanding of proper drum & bass and a really impressive debut album that features some of the best names in D&B. Ranging from the sci-fi soars and twinkling synths of "Misunderstanding" to the out-and-out gutter slaps of "Piece Of Me" via the soul jazz jungle lushness of "Don't You Know" and the already massive lighter-raiser "As Soon As". Released at a time when a lot of female features are popping up in D&B for all the wrong reasons, Riya is the real deal... And so is this album.
Review: Double trouble: Riya's critically received debut album from summer 2015 enjoys a deluxe twist with double the amount of tracks on. As well as the album itself there are 13 fresh cuts including new originals such as the Gill Scott-style street soul pieces with Maverick Soul "Bittersweet" and "We Belong", the perfect piano-powered gospel roller "Everything" and the grizzly, groaning techy roller "Silhouette". Killer new remixes such as Pola & Bryson's subby switch of "Lost Friends", Break's spotless drums on "Confessions" xxx . Plus a few floor-melting VIPs: the relentless bass pump of "Fear Bites" and the cosmic touches to "Wears Me Down". Deluxe and demonstrative - this is a great addition to an already remarkable album.
Review: One of the most consistent production outfits across D&B's 25 year spectrum, Total Science pay homage to the most crucialist of crucial eras: Blue Note. The lead track takes us right back to the mid '90s with cavernous space and sheet metal scrapping textures. "Soul For Sale" is a jazzier jaunt with spasmodic synth flurries and a two-step so sharp you'll lose your lobes. "Contraband" weaves such strong drum magic you could be convinced you've gone 20 years back in time while "All Massive" is a straight-up heads-down affair. Finally "Man Down" is a straight up Headz homage with all the uncompromised dynamics we know and love from the label. Noteworthy.