Review: One of the savviest axis-flexors in the D&B / jungle game, DJ Hybrid has an all seeing eye across the soundboy spectrum with his two labels and mixed-style signature. Here the full focus is on his flagship label Audio Addict with his first exclusive-powered mix album that covers all the crucial corners. Every track rattles and shakes with energy and subversion: the jungle chaos of his own "Mix & Blend", the iced-out atmos and toxic drop of Swerve's "Massive & Crew", the gunshot bass holes caused by Lost Dynamics "New Funk", the jaw-dropping ruthlessness of Ray Keith's take on "Badboy", the list goes on... DJ Hybrid levels up once more.
Rose Hart - "Gonna Be Alright" (Atlantic Connection remix) - (4:58) 174 BPM
Unknown Artist - "The Other Side Of The D&B Game" - (4:48) 174 BPM
Review: And now for a stepper and a roller of a different type, Focuz dip into their fresh artists roster to pick up two tasty soul-influenced beauties. "Gonna Be Alright" is equal parts stompin' and groovin' with funky guitar and beautiful vocals from Rose Hart. Second track "The Other Side of the D&B Game" takes a smooth, soulful approach, with rich brass and an R&B feel. Velvety. Take a chance if you've not heard of these guy before and pick this up - both tunes are stunning.
Review: Madcap is back, back again and he's landing on Fokuz for a fearsome, junglist EP that smacks of the old school but appeals to the new. We especially like the sense of cleanness in the arrangement, all the elements are disparate but synergistic and there's a real feel of raw vibrancy combined with modernist programming and spot-on syncopation. 'Pressure' is our favourite, with an almost hypnotic vocal sample that pulsates, ebbs and flows throughout the tune with wicked effect. The drums are in point, the basses equally so. Wicked stuff from the Fokuz crew.
Review: Deep house out of the top drawer is the order of the day on this reissued four-tracker from Vibes Ltd, which first came out back in 2012. 'Black Patina' is a pad-y, late-night jam with a (non-Peech Boys) "don't make me wait" vocal sample, 'If My Love' is a more downtempo cut bordering on leftfield/slo-mo territory, 'Blue Velvet' marries heavy, thudding drums to the kind of deep, dreamy vibes Italian labels Irma and Antima used to specialise in back in the early 90s, and finally 'Higher Ground' is another one for those post-club, melting-into-the-sofa moments. And if you dig this, there are another nine EPs in the series to collect!
Review: Fokuz's Unknown Artist is back for their latest outing on the imprint and, as per usual, it's an EP full of non-bootleg bootlegs, as the Dutch label continue their somewhat cheeky but nonetheless highly appreciated talent for sourcing recognisable samples. 'Just Vibe With It' is beautifully smooth, its back end just rollicks with soul and there's a deliciously swing, eyes-closed sensation across its arrangement. 'You Know How To' is the other standout, with a set of sumptuous samples that scream samba Sundays, all placed over a funky 174 beat. What more could you want?