Review: It wouldn't be summer without every house label under the sun releasing an Ibiza-themed compilation. To be fair to Dave Lee's long-running Z Records imprint, they've been delivering White Isle-themed collections every summer for many years. Given that their sound - a blend of funk-fuelled grooves, soulful house, tech-tinged anthems, disco re-edits, boogie revivalism and classic US garage influences - is well suited to sun-drenched alfresco parties, it's little surprise to find that Z Records Presents Ibiza 2015 is rather good. While much of the standout material comes from Lee himself under a variety of guises (check, in particular, the Doug Willis jam "Crystal Lover"), there are also top-notch cuts from Sean McCabe, Opolopo and Fibre Foundation, whose cover of disco/boogie classic "Weekend" is simply superb.
Andy Pain & Z Connection - "Outsider" (VIP) - (6:00) 172 BPM
Review: Demand has smashed 2016 with its "Selects" series. Giving both us and the artists a chance to explore their sound more, each EP has been a clear picture of what the artist is all about. Russian Andy Pain is no exception as he reveals a widescreen vision across five tracks: the stripped-back space jam stepper "Emptiness", the denser early Subtitles-style iciness of "2517", the futurist feels and deeper sonic vapour trails of "Mrak", the electro-neuro tightly sprung funk of "Magnetic Storm", the list goes on.
Review: From their base in St Petersburg, Andy Pain & Z-Connection have been crafting some of the most forward-thinking D&B of recent times, and this new split single for Diffrent shows their two very different sides. First up is Andy Pain with "Take It", an combination of abstracted, stuttering half-step and symphonic strings, a track whose cut-up vocals add a footwork edge to an otherwise emotive experience. Z-Connection's "Horizon" is a much more straightforward club weapon, pushing forward on a cloud of rapid breaks and revving bass. Absolutely essential stuff.
Death On The Balcony - "Imagination Of Ourselves" - (9:11) 121 BPM
Rui-Z - "Random Noise Generator" - (6:51) 123 BPM
Review: 20/20 Vision offshoot 20/20 Editions inaugurated the New Editions series this time last year, primarily to champion producers the label thinks will be doing big things in the weeks and months to come. Think of this second volume, then, as a primer for 2018. Austin Ato kicks things off with the lo-fi drum machine bounce, acid bass and drifting late night chords of "Restless Snare", before Salvione doffs a cap to early noughties 20:20 Vision releases on the bustling tech-house/deep house fusion of "Champion Sound". Scene stalwarts Death on the Balcony impress via the layered percussion, rising organs and restless low-end chug of "Imagination of Ourselves", while Rui Z channels the spirit of David Morales' early '90s Red Zone remixes on EP standout "Random Noise Generator".
Review: Serious War are back with a double header of their aggressive , banging bassline-fuelled dubstep. 40z N 9z's "Cops Can't Stand Me" combines a churning synths with huge, deep basslines and a killer vocal. Bodie is on the b-side with the epic "Drop It Out". Full of drama and with melody sewn into the backbone, this tune blasts forward with a huge bassline and distorted synths. This will shake the floor!