Review: Edinburgh-based production duo Capitol 1212 (AKA producers Professa Fresh and Fly T) has been offering up reggae, dancehall and dub-influenced club fodder since the tail end of the 2000s. Here, they present their first album for Irish Moss Records, a self-proclaimed "tribute to soundsystem culture". In effect, that means a festival-friendly sprint through straight-up reggae, reggae-jungle, dubwise breaks, carnival-bating dancehall and booming reggae-influenced hip-hop. It's not subtle, but it is a whole heap of fun, with a stellar list of guest vocalists - MAD, Tenor Fly, Million Dan and Daddy Freddy included - swinging by to add to the celebratory, Boomtown-friendly vibe.
Review: Vienna has always been a hub for alternative music, and two of the Austrian capital's veterans, Hans Platzgumer and Gerhard Potuznik, are behind Phlox. That the label's first compilation has a Throbbing Gristle-style title already suggests that it won't be full of Ibiza-friendly house. The glitchy ambience of Dmitry Mazuro's "Nostromo" confirms this, but it would be wrong to assume it is full of gloom-laden experiments. Both "Aint Gonna Love You" by GDX and Dibek's "Thick Carpet Of Leaves" are beautifully atmospheric, melodic tracks that unravel to disjointed breaks and dubby basslines, while GDx's "Want You" is a gloriously melancholic UK garage workout and Otzim Lee's "La Routine" is a techno groove based on swelling chords. . On this evidence, it sounds like Vienna's still a hub for the weird and very wonderful.
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.
Review: Time for an update on a real drum and bass classic. DJ Randall's "Strictly Business" came into being in 1997, right in the heart of the drum and bass wonder years. Packed with legendary tunes that have been heard in every reputable club since 170 bpm became the place to be, this is an 18-track lesson in how things should be done. Offered up originally during a time when DJs like Dillinja, Grooverider and Goldie were enjoying an uprising in underground dance music, this LP was a revelation, providing off the wall beats and intriguing musical textures as well as hard hitting bass. This deluxe edition offers each track separately as well as a full continuous mix - just like the original release.
Review: K7's DJ Kicks compilation series is given a new makeover with their latest juggernaut from London-based electronic deviant, Actress, who gives one of his rare appearances out of the live format and onto the decks. As expected, the techno shape-shifter puts through a diverse mix of 20-plus tracks spanning old-school Chicago house to more contemporary experimental techno and ambient-filtered dance music. This continuous DJ mix includes vintage Detroit techno from Reel By Real, distorted outsider disco from the Shit & Shine crew, Gherkin Jerk's "Red Planet" and a new cut from the man himself, "Bird Matrix". It's safe to say that this mix is comprehensive of the current state of affairs in the techno world: cuts ranging from the distorted house of Breaker 1 2, golden era electronica from Autechre, TTT's Zennor, Germany's STL and even PPU affiliate Moon B! An essential collection of music from 2015, highly recommended, of course!