Review: Sealed with an X: Flexout Audio continue to celebrate 10 years of deep underground dynamics with label founder Bassi's curated X collection. Featuring cuts from all previous X instalments, plus the extras that all landed in the last few weeks, the 27-track strong set is a great snapshot of where both the label and underground drum & bass is at right now. If you're into that deep dark rumbling minimal futurist vibe then every track is a highlight but essentials include Visages immense 'Polarity Code', Sili's precision springer 'Gallop', the cosmic twisted synths of Wingz's 'Broken Path' and Wreckless's tense and sobering 'Don't Want To Forget How Your Voice Sounds'. X marks the spot.
Review: Oh boy... Visages back on 1985 with another massive dub that's been doing the round: if you haven't heard 'Lunar Eclipse' with the truly electric vocals from Strategy in the dance or on mixes over the last few months, you haven't been paying attention. The exceptional collabos continue as Drone joins the French gang for a samurai session on the spooked-out 140 slammer 'Hagakure'. Up next: a fusion of young and old as 'Familiarity' (with Monty) warms up with a Virus-style flavour before going full 2022 venom on our asses and 'Sunshine Mystery' closes the EP with a note of Sunday morning soul. Easy.
Review: Following up a great release by Manchester's Data 3, Flexout Audio returns this week with the X4 compilation. Arkaik gets seriously subterranean on the neurofunk of "Boxed In", Creatures takes you directly to the darkside on their techstep jam "Audio Poetry" and GROUND go out all guns blazing on the stern steppa "Blueprints". Flexout Audio is an independent, underground drum and bass record label established in 2011 by Tom Bassi who still runs things to this day.
Review: Time flies when you're meddling at the forefront of bass innovation... While the label still feels so new and fresh, it's already been five years of dark soul gold from 1985. To celebrate, bossman Alix Perez has curated these exceptional remixes from the gang that span from Sam Binga's slick and sexy UKG twist of 'Melodrama' to Skeptical's sub aquatic switch of 'Trinity' via Monty's cavernous space funk flip of 'ABR'. Complete with plenty more goodies from the likes of DLR, Visages and Break, this marks five years in 1985's signature high benchmark style. Here's to another five years.
Review: As always with the now infamous 1985 Music imprint, they have assembled the great and good to explore the darker realms of electronic dance music, primarily focussing on dubstep and neurotic drum and bass flavour through this fabulous new 'Atlas' compilation. The names involved are pretty mind-blowing with a roster including the likes of Alix Perez, Drone, Headland, Foreign Concept, Safire, DRS and many more heavyweight names. The entire project has a touch of finesse and musical class about it, from the beautifully processed drum clanks of 'Nibiru' from Visages to the stunning vocal processing of 'Do Me No Good' from Nymfo. There really isn't a low point to this project with the sweeping soundscapes and electronic destruction of Deft's 'Scars' original being a real high point for us!
Review: Visages has been one of the big A&R success stories of Perez's 1985 Music, and this four-track EP is the next evolution of his techy, hybrid sound. Dark Guru is titled with an absolute gem of a dubstep track, a loping 140 monster which oozes force and sophistication through waves of undulating low frequencies; a true class act that simply deserves to be heard in a club. The rest of the EP is 170, and the highlight is 'Egotrip', a devilishly sharp minimal roller that stays clear of boring tropes and instead blends guttural bassline sweeps with jagged synth stabs and biting percussive touches. 'Yalda' is also obscenely good, as a crunchy groove beds down amongst soulful vocal notes and shuddering basslines. Best in class.
Review: 1985 is undoubtedly one of the most exciting labels in drum & bass and never fails to push music that's fresh and exciting. The Folio/ series is coming to an end, but the third instalment is a worthy final chapter in Perez's four-track VA odyssey. He's roped in some of the scene's best with Halogenix, Workforce, Visages and Hyroglifics all joining Perez himself across the four tracks, and the results are futuristic, danceable and deeply satisfying. 'Unlustrous' is unique in its structure, with flowing, wobbly arrangement that builds and builds over the entire tune into something massively heavy. Hryglifics possibly has the most creative track with 'Day By Day', while Workforce's 'Simple, Positive Things' is relentlessly dark. Top class.
Review: After several appearances on compilations and the like, Visages are finally releasing their first full length EP on Perez's 1985 imprint. It's a label with a reputation for excellence, and Perez's self-designed visual aesthetic goes a long way to grounding this four-tracker into a broader, interrogable creative context. It's part soul, part grit, and the title tune gets this rolling through a cheeky nod to the former, Laville's vocals superbly stitched above a bed of pure movement. 'Amaryllis' is a relentless minimal number full of eerie vocal samples, 'Empire' feat. Skylark is restrained madness, a growling piece that always feels on the verge of something crazy, and 'Early Morning' is another slice of well-engineered, futuristic liquid. Unreal.
Review: Alix Perez's 1985 sets the bar again... Edition 3 is another instalment of their spotless V/A series which covers the label's broad range of shades. This one is a game of two halves as the first five tracks flex around the 140 region with crucial slabs from Halogenix's Lordel alias and dubstep men of the moment Ternion Sound. Meanwhile the second half flips to D&B with a whole clutch of impressive designs; Visages' "Memories" is a mournful stepper, Bredren get bad-ass with the thumpy, bumpy "Only One", Machinedrum brings some outstanding soul on "Braided Leaves" and Perez delivers three of his finest. Bring on Edition 4.