Review: There have been few labels that have impressed us at Juno Download more than Strictly Flava this year, primarily due to their incredible levels of consistency. This latest drop is a fantastic way to demonstrate that as they unveil the first of the 'Strictly Flava Allstars' series, with Brenz starting proceedings with a super groovy vocal mashup entitled 'Lingerie Music'. Next, Tuff Culture touches down with a big room roller entitled 'Vibrations', before the colourful melodies of Para's 'Promise' and old school LFO work of Pepe Elle's 'Fresh Pillow' roll out. Finally, we find ourselves with a really original piece as Sensa lays down some refreshing sub work, alongside smart vocal assists on 'Let It Go' to polish this one off with some serious finesse.
Review: As a solidified bass music imprint, there's nothing more important than making a good start to the new year. Its safe to say that the responsibility was left in more than capable hands as Development team up with Tuff Culture for a weighty three tracker entitled "Time Away". The collaboration occurs on "Harmony" which is a straight 4x4 skanker, demonstrating very original bass synthesis and crisp drum processing blended with well sampled vocal sprinklings. Following this "Time" is a futuristic 2-step anthem, utilising creative vocal processing over skippy drum arrangements. The EP is then rounded up perfectly with "Away" which combines the themes of both previous, but repackages them for the dance with a classic UK bass breakdown. Fantastic stuff all around on this one!
Review: Born and raised in Croydon but now residing in the musical hotbed of Brighton, Purple Velvet Curtains is becoming a strong force in the underground house bass scene. PVC manages to intertwine sounds that pull from house, garage, hip hop and jazz. PVC is sure pushing boundaries. Starting off with the deep and dusty jack of "Get Dirty" filled with some analogue blips and blurbs galore, then be prepared for seriously wonky bassline house on the explosive "Bounce"where he's joined by Tuff Culture. Finally "Side Chick" goes for stadium sized EDM crossing over into dubstep with its Skrillex style bassline: absolutely massive!
Review: If we were to give an award for label of the year based entirely on consistency, it would be hard to see Four40 not running away with it as they finally round off what has been an untouchable year with one last killer compilation. Royal Flush takes the role of compiler on this one, pulling in some scorchers from the likes of Soulecta, ZeroFG, Jack Junior, Tuff Culture, Earthnut and of course Royal Flush himself. There are a couple of tracks here we feel really hold their own amongst a stacked line up, with Pavv's classic sounding '3210' being one of them, alongside 'Guilty Twitches' from Ozwald and the choppy vibes of 'Love Is Coming' from the legendary EL-B.
Review: We thought it was going to be the case that Four40 kicked up another storm before the year was out, and we have been proven right as we jump into this top notch compilation project, primarily assembled by the UKG legend that is Smokey Bubblin B. We can see this one's quality just by perusing the tracklist, as we see top names such as Mistakay, Kastle, Mind Of A Dragon, Royal Flush and more all make their way onto the project. It in fact covers such a wide range of garage music it is difficult to define simply, from the minimal, skippy designs of Perception's 'You Make', to the more futuristic bass instrumentation and design of Tuff Culture's 'Carbon', with Doctor Nick's inspired remix of 'Mind Slip' by SMOAD being a particular stand out.
Review: It's very exciting to see the return of Tuff Culture on this brand new selection as he lands on the ever-ready GS Dubs with five weighty creations, packed with sunshine flavour. We begin with 'Nobody', an incredibly vibrant link up with Hans Glader, linking up catchy vocal pitch ups with nostalgic chord runs for a real dancefloor favourite. Next, we are joined by old school organ lines and sassy drum grooves on 'Classic Roller', alongside the sweeping bass synth textures of 'Empty Words' and unpredictable rhythmic explosions of 'Space Trip'. Finally, SG gets involved on 'Good Vibes', delivering a super original sounding creation to round off yet another top quality project from one of the hottest names in UKG right now!
Review: It has got to the point where we are more likely to see a new Four40 drop each week than not and yet they somehow never seem to diminish the quality of their output. Here, they let loose the colourful designs of Tuff Culture for the sixth edition of 'Elements'. We kick off with the expert vocal inputs and stripped back bass tones of 'Away', followed closely by the bouncy designs and breaksy inputs of 'Babylon' and the unpredictable rhythmic manoeuvres of 'Letters' alongside Sampladelic. From here we dive into the smooth sub roles and groovy drum shakes of 'Polarity' before rounding everything off with 'Subtraction', a super choppy finale, alternating between different vocal slices, marinating amidst a warm, fuzzy sub-line below. Wicked work!
Review: We have been very much enjoying the run that Four40 have been on of late, constantly putting together top notch releases from some of the most exciting faces in the UK bass and garage scenes. This latest offering from Tuff Culture is a perfect example of that as he unveils 'Elements V: Boron', a wicked compilation, kicking off with the old school delights of the title track 'Boron'. Next, we engage with some wicked 2-step chord combos in 'Cosmos' before the more futuristic spacey layout of 'Explanations' arrives on the scene. We finish up with another two crackers, the nostalgic drum work and smooth vocal work of 'Laws Of Attraction' landing first before we round off with subtle organ melodies and punchy percussive layouts of 'Senses'.
Review: As one of the true underground legends of UK dance music, we were thrilled to see a return to the incredibly consistent Four40 for Tuff Culture, an artist who continues to impress with every release. We are gifted five tracks of groovy spice, kicking off with the crunchy drum work of 'First Choice' and the nostalgic bleepy melodies of 'Neutrons'. Next, we the fantastic vocal slicing and old school rhythmic chops of 'Nice & Slow', along with the slapping grooves and constantly evolving 'Parallel', before finishing up the pleasingly rustic garage movements of 'Universe'.
Review: We are very excited to see the vibrant sounds of Tuff Culture return here as they unveil a very exciting three track project alongside the legendary Four40 imprint as the third edition of their 'Elements' series. We are blessed with three high energy UKG rollers, the first of which goes by the name of 'Molecular', packed with jig-inducing rhythms and chord stabs. Next we dip into the more random shuffles and glitchy twists of 'Quarks'. Before finishing up the project with a dive into the silky tones and wavy textures of 'Electrons', which adds an additional touch of class to an already stacked EP project.
Review: The ever-dependable production prowess of Tuff Culture returns to the infamous Four40 imprint here for three lethal creations, under the title of 'Elements Part 1'. We kick off the party with the laid back, subtle aquatic bass sounds of 'Forte', before twisting the deck right up on the more grizzly sub tones of 'Carbon'. Finally, we finish up this powerful selection with lo-fi creations of 'For Real'. As a composition, this one boasts some highly original designs, focusing more on the quirky, dungeon-esc tastings of the atmospheric bass combos put forward. Excellent stuff!
Review: No one can contest the fact that Birmingham's Tuff Culture is waving the flag way up high for the Midland's bass connection. Back on Four40, as per regular, the producer launches this new EP with "Feels", a hybrid track that's powered by swinging garage drums and gnarly wobble-step bass. "Glitch" is the virus in the system, a hard-ass bass mutant with some mean snares, while "Movie Script" opts for the jump-up flex thanks to a bouncy cascade of vocal samples and snappy two-step drums. Party weapons, right here!
Review: Last spotted edifying the masses on Four40 last summer, Tuff Culture returns with four more unique blends. As with previous releases, his balance of shades, musicality and production dynamics is precision: "Easy" rolls with a tightly-plucked guitar riff before pushing you deep into the warped-bass sludge, "Lust" takes big early 90s synth hooks and a diva vocal and wraps them around a bassline that, in any other context, would be pretty harrowed while "Not Alone" does a similar meltdown with a piano hook and more of a jacking 4x4 bassline chug. Each cut really bringing fresh influences together, Tuff Culture's got a sound like no other right now.
Review: Midlands bass hero Tuff Culture likes to challenge the expectations of what the genre should sound like, and for his latest missive he's looked to 1980s cop show Miami vice for inspiration. However he's stayed with a very UK sound for the EP. The title track marries Ocean Drive synth pads and bleepy melodies with a bit of rough edged bass. "Need Me" is messy UKG with punchy snares and cut-up loops and "Wanna Be' ends with a hard and heavy 4 x 4 slammer. Moony also appears to give the title track a deliciously deep 2-step makeover too.
Review: From Four40 to Project Allout, UK bass scientist Tuff Culture has shown us many sides of his artistic persona. If we want to keep things topline, this guy can make just about any form of UK dance music; he's given us dubstep, a little trap, some house, and now two new garage-leaning joints. "Take Me" is deep and pensive, but once the main hook drops it's an infectious drum affair with a growling, penetrative bassline. "I Don't Care" is a more typical garage tune because of its twisted, dusty drum pattern, but the sounds within are anything but what you'd normally expect from a 90's garage track. Wait for that switch, too.
Review: Midland's bass troubadour Tuff Culture recently explored his feminine side with the recent emotional Solar/Desire release. Now he's back with "Edification" and although he has returned somewhat to his 'tuffer' side, he has retained some of the softer, melodic touches he learned along the way. "Asia" begins proceedings with a fluffy 4 x 4 bounce, with quirky melodic interludes and raw ragga vocals. Next, "Midnight Safari" is just that - all dark, nocturnal jungle percussion and spooky breaks. Lastly "Tell Me", is smooth and moody bass with choppy hi-hats and all kinds of synthy atmospherics. Top drawer tunes!
Review: Midlands bass hero Tuff Culture doesn't normally show his feminine side. Having taken ages off to perhaps contemplate this issue, he's now returned with this emotional new two-track jam. "Solar" features cascading, flowery sonics, with smoky late night harmonies and velvety smooth orchestration. "Desire", meanwhile, sees him toughen up his act somewhat, adjusting his collar and knuckling down to produce some harder garagey beats. Before you know it, the menacing future step bass mangling kicks in and it's business as usual. Two different takes on bass from a top producer.
Review: Back on the ever faithful Project Allout, Midlands bass master Tuff Culture, has dished up 6 sizzlers for the #Bass EP. The production levels and grooves are solid throughout, but our current faves are the sleazy afterhours grind of "Fall", the cruel but cool 4x4 pounder "Used To Be" and the 2-step-goes-trance fizz of "Every Night".
Review: Midlands-based bass hero Tuff Culture has appeared on a variety of labels but keeps returning to the one he calls home, Project Allout. This time he's rustled up three more sizzling takes on all things bass. "Destiny" kicks things off by fusing piano house with gritty basement 4/4 beats, and "Questions' sees blissed-out synths blended with urban vocal samples and intricate orchestration. Finally "There's No Comin Back" expertly marries a jazzier, mellower vibe with percolating bass growls.
Review: Formula's F2 off-shoot follows up PVC's grimey debut with two show-stopping UKG cuts from the fast-rising Tuff Culture. "It Could Be" treads a fine line between sexy and sassy with its polished keys and honeyed vocal sample and utter filth with its growling bassline. "Close", meanwhile, goes on a My Nu Leng flex with strutting 4/4 drums and an array of ghostly bass tones. Gutter business.
Review: Hot on the heels of "Artillery" on Four40, Birmingham bass-buster Tuff Culture delivers an equally dark and distinctive cut on Project Allout. A strutting 4/4 garage joint coded with sacks of space and slinky subs, it utilises gangster-style synth horns with a subtle funk effect. Remix-wise Enigma Dubz takes us back to the dubstep source where those horns sounds even more aggy and dramatic while Dr Cryptic lets rip with a firing, uptempo 4/4 cut that sits somewhere between bassline house and juke. Hench heaven.
Review: With momentum gaining on every bass-heavy release, the Tuffster steps up to the currently on-point Four40 with "Artillery". With a dark-but-not-dangerous UKG silky finish, it belies its militant title and offers something that lends itself well to a much wider audience beyond the front row murkers. Hybrid Theory's remix, meanwhile, is straight up toxic trap business. If you ain't thugging by the end of it, you need to take a long hard look at yourself.
Review: The vocal sample from Tuff Culture's "Africa" will be familiar to any Chemical Brothers fans out there who know the track "It Began In Afrika" (originally sampled from Jim Ingram's "Drumbeat"). The lead cut here is a great tune which combines baile funk with splashes of dubstep and skipping house. "Bye Your Side" is the standout garage track on this EP, while "You & Me" and "Touched VIP" are deep, bass driven and flecked with flashes of cooling chords.
Review: Having just celebrated their 100th release, L2S have now secured four of the most sought after tunes by this sizzling Birmingham bass producer as the follow-up! Tuff Culture's music is bursting with an ambition not usually heard in a scene largely focused on bangers. "Can't Stop" blends fuzzy electro keyboards with Y2K 2-step beats and angelic female vocals, "Voices Of Neptune" features almost choral vocals over a slick MJ Cole-style future garage backing, "Voices Of Saturn" (we think there's a theme here), is dirtier, bassier stuff and "Voices Of Mercury" wraps things up with widescreen orchestration and melancholic breaks. Essential.
Review: We are always very happy to see fresh Tuff Culture hit the shelves, as we are always guaranteed a bag of originality. For this one he teams up with the angelic vocal presence of Sophia Lee for a super vibrant bass track, pushing forward explosive sub bass patterns and pleasingly clicky percussive lines to great effect!
Review: Well, it seems to be every week that we welcome a brand new drop from the Four40 team this year, however this latest drop is something truly special as the veteran imprint celebrates nine years of activity with a scintillating selection, showcasing some of their most important roster members over the years. The tracklisting is vast, featuring a colossal 51 tracks from the likes of Vital Techniques, Mistakay, PVC, Enigma Dubz, Tuff Culture, Earthnut and more. With such a stacked release, picking highlights is pretty tough, but for us the two stand outs boil down to super spooky drum twists and moody textures of 'You Or Me' from ZeroFG, alongside the classic Skepsis remix of 'VIP', originally featuring Hybrid Theory and Trilla.
Review: Over the last six months we have seen the Four40 team excel to a different degree with their releases, showcasing one of the best yearly catalogues in bass music with a heavy focus on the rebirth of UKG. This compilation, which goes by the name of 'What You Call It Garage?', appears to me a compilation pulled together to celebrate those awesome releases, featuring a bag of heaters from some of the scenes finest, including the likes of Pavv, Royal Flush, ZeroFG, Limita, Moony, MKII, Deadly Habbitz and more! For us, Four40 have been the highlight UKG label of 2019, so this compilation is the perfect showcase!