Review: A little-known fact about Crissy Criss is that he's jungle legend Kenny Ken's stepson, which is an interesting titbit, especially considering how different Criss' debut album - War On Silence - is from his stepdad's stylistic direction. The LP is very much aimed at the dancefloor, it's full of huge synths and basses, as well as jump-up influence in the form of Upgrade. 'Rumble' featuring Heist is the perfect exemplification and the jump-up influence is apparent here as well, the tune's distorted energy and immense force reminiscent of Heist's own productions. A top LP from a top producer.
Review: Suffolk's D-Stortion Records are back with an impressive bunch of breakbeat science upstarts that aren't messing around. Take for instance Dominator & Heist with their fierce DJ Krust influenced stepper "Trouble"; that strings section in the middle is just classic! Next up Dominator teams up with Upgrade on "Couldn't Care Less" which rolls and growls away ferociously in a purist techstep tradition. Dominator, again, shows us his skills in conjunction with Invictus; this time on the dark and suspenseful sci-fi beat futurism of "Infected", which brazenly wears its Virus Recording influence on its sleeve and we can dig that!
Review: All roads lead to Rampage; one of Europe's biggest bass tickets this season, this year they're celebrating their massive rave with an album featuring some of the best names on the line-up. Once again all bass bases are covered on this second sampler; Maduk adds a little pace to Flux Pavilion's euphoric vocal uplifter "Pull The Trigger", Current Value gets unruly with his heads-down fast lane shock-out "Cyclic" while Upgrade dons his black belt and chops our souls, legs and appendages in half with his grotty choppy stabs. Game over mate.
Review: Are you ready for some Serial Killaz-style soundboy madness? Taking their hyped-up sound to another level with the help of Upgrade, "Killa Klash" takes a huge bass vibration, whacks it through years of reggae stylings and winds up the hybrid monster of jungle, jump-up and ragga. Don't ask us how, don't ask us why, it just works, dammit. It just works! On the flip, "Gunshots" has the bouncing swagger of a tune that knows it's owning the dancefloor. Both are massive, don't sleep.
Review: Oooh you're a popular soul aren't you? Upgrade's sent you a request... What are you going to do? Do you accept within seconds and send him your demos and a few revealing photos of your set-up to the curmudgeonly growls and sudden double bass flares and heavenly breakdown of 'Base'? Do you leave him hanging for a few hours, playing it cool before gleefully accepting to the slinky subby jungle rolls of 'Function'? Do you take a screenshot and share it for clout to the rough gutter chomping grizzles of 'First Request'? Or do you wake up and realise it's all a dream because he blocked you years ago for harassing him for dubs to the subtle creepiness and strange jazzy sci-fi rolls and rumbles of 'Gangbeats'? Choose wisely.
Review: Upgrade is without a doubt one of the most talented producers to have emerged out of the jump-up space in the past several years. His sound is rough and tumble but still dark and techy, he draws upon multiple influences and, as such, has a cross-subgenre appeal. This single on Low Down Deep expresses this fact perfectly. "Trigga Finga' has the snarling stabs of jump up with the blackish fa?ade of something darker, it's still rooted in urbanity thanks to Trigga, but also packs a futuristic punch. 'The Saucer' is typically choppish, pointed synths abound and each hit and knock feel purposely placed. Top single.
Review: Fresh from his massive Ram release where he sung on his own record for the first time, Upgrade returns to Low Down Deep with two stone cold monsters. "All It Needs To Be" hits like a warped and woozy swarm of angry bees and a drunken string quartet swooning away in the background to the finger clicking hype of a heavy swinging triplet riddim. "Real" continues the uncompromised slew of grumpy bass groans and twisted funk but with the help of man like Bassman on the fills. Croaky, dark, trippy. Just how we like it. Big up Upgrade.
Review: Upgrade is one of those jump-up producers who just does stuff properly. You'll never listen to his music and wish it was slightly heavier, or slightly this or slightly that - it's always bang on and naughty as can be. 'Deluded' kicks off his latest Low Down Deep EP with a truly menacing vocal sample that has buckets of suspense, making the weighty jump-up force on the drop all that sweeter. 'All This Molly' is just more raw vibes, a blast of energy that keeps on giving the whole way through - what this genre is known for encapsulated in one tune. 'Cali Pots' is just so raucous and rowdy that you can picture the mosh pits as it lands and the same goes for 'Badness', both carrying a grating forcefulness that makes you want to something painful. Another top EP from one of the best in the jump up game.
Review: Wonkadelic' is just so bouncy, and yeah, you guessed right... its wonky! It will have you jumping around the dance like a snapback wearing kangaroo, with one leg. The track ticks of the trio of LDD staples; weird vox, check, disgustingly low sub, check and of course our favourite, pneumatic drill and tool kit sample pack, big fat check. 'Illusion' is screwface inducing business. It's been doing the rounds this summer, being dropped in neuro and dancefloor sets as well as the usual jump up dances. A pretty standard beat pattern leaves space for the long running, insanely intense body of the track. You can't miss it.
Review: They've been doing it for years, but junglists finally have an actual reason to throw a "Temper Tantrum". With all the venom of 100 online beefs and 10 MC scraps and one gentle nudge down the stairs, "Temper Tantrum" is seriously peaktime and sets the seismic tone for the whole EP. The nutty rises of "It's Possible", the hornets nest buzzes and stings of "Terrorick", the jazzy subversion and palpitating bass of "Blow" and the sinewy Clipz-style bass snarls of "Run This Again" all follow with fittingly electric results. Go ahea...Lose your tempers.
Review: The dark art of gunfingering according to Upgrade: tuck ring and pinky fingers deep into your palm, point middle and index finger, use thumb as trigger, aim skyward then listen to "Gunfingers" and pull the most screwed up face possible as the metal-striking bass riff scuffs your very soul with concentrated adrenalin. Maintain your gunfingered stance throughout the rest of the EP: "History Of War" is as murky and paranoid as the title suggests, "Transmitting" layers octaves with a riff that will shoot through your mind for months to come while "Tell Me" combines classic rave elements with Upgrade signature riff science.
Review: Following three sledgehammer EPs on Serial Killaz and Sweet Tooth in the last six months, Upgrade dents Guv's Dubz stable with two shatter-packers: "We Run It" is modern day jump-up, all staggered growls and sharp steppy drums. "Reload" shows Upgrade's deeper, rolling side with a meticulously placed hip-hop sample, velvet subs and a siren-surged breakdown. Reloads guaranteed.
Review: More fierce drum and bass stylings from Norwich's Upgrade for the always reliable Serial Killaz. Wasting no time getting started with the '80s sci-fi influenced Godzilla, he delivers another bunch of true steppers in the form of the liquid breaks of "Sixty Nine" reminiscent of early Good Looking Records material, the peak time jump up anthem "Ganja" which is sure to be a hit and closing things out with the wonky grime crossover of "Dumbo".
Review: Last seen on Serial Killaz strong-arm brand in the icy winter of 2014 with his "Killer Business" EP, South East chop-slapper Upgrade returns with another generous collection; both "Your Minds Eye" and "You Ain't Well" are balls-out sandpaper grooves with all the broken glass soul you'd expect from both Upgrade and the label. "Murderer" strip teases with a much leaner dynamic and a well known Missy Elliot lick while "Mr Lover" wriggles and tickles with a classic double-up bassline dynamic. Finally "Skunk Drunk" is a stinky, sticky wasp's nest of a track with a dagger-like middy bassline stabbing relentlessly. Pure filth.
Review: Norwich boy Upgrade has been dishing out his own brand of bass-driven pain on the circuit for a little while now and joining the Serial Killaz has pushed his name to the top of the scene's agenda ready for 2015. Pushing forth with severely snapping beats and dirty bass, there's more than a bit of minimal and even techy influence making its way into this guy's production as he continues the never-ending search for that perfect industrial sound. Featuring a VIP of massive hip-hop-styled "Gunshots" as this mega EP's finale, it's nothing if not excellent value for money, running at eight tracks total. When it's all as good as this, you'll still be craving more.