Review: Champion of dark, tough and considered dubstep, Distance provides the latest instalment in the much loved Dubstep Allstars mix series. It's fairly typical fare from the Chestplate boss man, with tough steady rhythms underpinned by that particularly distorted kind of bassline. There are a number of highlights, most notably Commodo's "Surveillance" which has a rolling break woven into the mix. Cyrus' "Looking Back" also impresses as it purrs away with a gorgeously warm, rich synth line. The biggest surprise is probably Distance's own remix of trance bods Above & Beyond. It's certainly as 'big room' as you'd ever imagine Distance getting!
Review: Coming in hot on DLR's Sofa Sound, the duo of the moment that is Ill Truth, fresh off the back of their Flexout EP, are landing with a proper stomper. Combining the Sofa Sound mantra of hard hitting, funky beats with their own tendency for low-frequency oscillation, Jay & Haden have smashed this one out the part. The title track features DLR & Gusto and is excellent, but it's on track three 'The Syndicate' that the release hits its peak, as riotous percussion murders its way through bars of pure energy to hit its optimum conclusion. No doubt this one will be getting played a lot across the airwaves.
Review: Joey Negro's Z Records have a remarkable knack for knocking out vintage compilation after vintage compilation. Here though, they've really discovered a rare niche of unmined gold courtesy of Nuphonic's David Hill who acts as selector. As Hill explains "gospel music has often followed trends in secular music" and this album captures 24 attempts of gospel getting on the disco and boogie trains. Highlights include the hiNRG longing of "I Need You", the electro-soul of "Love Is The Message" and the piano & strings frenzy of "Awake O Zion".
Review: As a notable name within the modern drum & bass circuit, we were super excited to sit down and get into this brand new project from Ill Truth who take up residence on Soul Trader for a standout two tracker. We begin with Villem's official neuro remix of 'Hollow Game', an inspired original collaboration between Ill Truth and Michael E.T. On the flip we are introduced to a brand new original collaboration alongside Bluejay, who lays down some smooth original vocal lines on the title track 'Bristol Dawn'. A solid piece of work here from a very exciting link up!
Review: The rule of three... In maths it describes the way of finding a number in the same ratio to a given number as exists between two other given numbers. In writing it's a structuring principal that leads to a more effective message of punchline. In drum & bass it means a sick new EP on Total Science's CIA. Ironically it's a from a duo and it's four tracks long but that hasn't stopped the Bristol pair running amok through the styles; the bubbling, Bingo Bass style funk of "So Addicted", the creepy graveyard funk of "Ghouls", the spine-melting break-ravaged "Bounty" and the tunnelling dubby synths of "Rule Of Three". Rules are made to be broken.
Review: DLR's Sofa Sound imprint has been taking the D&B world by storm the last year or so, his penchant for rough sounds and deep scene links making him the perfect curator for a vision of his own. Helping him out in this endeavour are a range of artists, many of whom are on the forthcoming Sofa King Sick LP which this single is giving you a taste of. Ill Truth step up with 'Catch A Break', a weirdly futuristic track with a bouncing, bubbly bassline that feels submerged yet powerful in all the right ways. Finishing off the sampler is the dream team - AKA DLR, Black Barrel and Hydro - with 'Things Change'. This track is off the chain good, with snapping drums and a distorted yet precise back end. Just go listen to it.
Review: Josh Butler is a tech house hero from the north of England with releases on Rejected, Defected and Kaoz Theory among many other heavy hitters. His flourishing Origins label readies its first various artists EP where he hands the reins over to some of his favourite picks. South Shields' Mark Jenkyns gives us the slinky and melodic tech house of "Peanut Butter", Truth Be Told's "Somniac" gives you your fix for rolling main room tech house (in the vein of Gruuv or Saved) while Naples rising star Stefano Esposito gives us the uplifting classic house sounds of "Believe", channeling the spirit of the legendary Lil Louis.
Review: Joey Negro's Soul Of Disco series has always been a great source of forgotten disco gems for those who like their dance music rich, stringy and soulful. This third two-disc selection from the Z Records boss is no different. For disco diggers, there's plenty to enjoy, be it the rich, horn-drenched instrumental grooves of Board Of Directors' "Hanging Tough", the raw, clavinet groove of Loi's "Body Contact" or the wobbly synth bass and perfect percussion of Phenomenal's "One Two Three". With a smattering of bonus re-edits from Joey Negro himself for those who like their grooves a bit more DJ-friendly, The Soul Of Disco 3 is nigh on essential.
Review: This second full-length from London-based producer Soloman 'Silkie' Rose - the follow-up to 2009's City Limits Volume 1 - further develops a deep and melodic take on dubstep that should appeal far beyond the genre's underground stronghold. With bright melodies, jazz chords, ear-catching synths, sampled horn stabs and future garage style vocal cuts aplenty, City Limits Volume 2 has far more in common with, say, the far-thinking two-step exploits of Phuturistix or Hospital Records' genre-bending Outpatients series than most dubstep full-lengths. But it's these qualities that make it such a rewarding, enjoyable and essential release.
Review: Oh gosh. Total Science ante up for the summer with this exceptional V/A EP on their CIA imprint. Kicking off with a crucial new remix of their classic "Nosher" by their new hybrid gang comprising themselves, DLR and Hydro, full breadth and variation abounds as we dip into the gilded soul of Zero T & Phase's "Talk To Me", the gnarled grizzles and dubby danger of their own "Devil's Gate" with Scar member Script and the grand finale; a heavyweight purring roller from two of the most respected newcomers in the game right now: Ill Truth and SATL. Each one a persy for different chapters of the night, any further information is classified.
Review: New Zealand trio Truth come up with a superlative contribution to one of the premiere dubstep labels, Deep Medi Musik. In the same vein as DMZ, Kryptic Minds et al, "Amnesia" is a half-stepping nightmare vision full of psychological twists, vintage film samples, ominous atmospherics and crackling SFX. Perfectly poised, it maintains the intrigue right until the end, unerring in approach. "International" on the other hand, kicks off with a more jovial tone, featuring rattling breaks, xylophone beats and curious jungle flavours, the rallying reggae sample calling out above the beats. A fantastic release and an essential for die hard dubstep fans.
Review: Truth steps up with two superlative half-stepping riddims on the Tempa imprint, which really put the dub back into dubstep. First up is the evocatively entitled "Dreams" featuring a gloriously enticing wailing vocal from Yayne in the intro. We are sucked into the main tune as if hypnotized by the warm, murmuring bassline and clip clop beats and bubbling SFX. "Last Time" continues in a similarly dark and mysterious vein, but with more snapping snares, clipped sounds, rolling atmospherics and an insistent drive throughout the track. Utterly excellent from start to finish.
Review: Rewind: it's the summer of 2012 and Kiwi duo Truth make their Artikal debut with a weeping, mournful paranoia piece "Babylon London". It becomes a deep dubstep anthem of the season. Back to the future: Artikal founder J:Kenzo flips the vibe for a 172 jungle makeover. Maintaining the cries and soars of the original, but adding a whole new sense of energy and activity in the drums and basses, it's an exemplary lesson in contemporisation. Massive.