Review: Cold, slick and fiercely rolling, Zero T and Fierce have absolutely nailed it with "Intrinsic". Following the path of old school sounds with towering atmospheres, this tune is the sound of 1am. Head down, eyes closed, sway to the groove. It's every good night you've ever had. "Second nature" rattles off on similar rails as the rolling masterpiece before it, however it takes a swift detour with syncopated drums and unexpected breaks that drag you out of the fog, only to get sucked back in by the deep, subby bass.
Review: Serious business: Zero T and Fierce have been steadily delivering killer cuts this year that don't just tap into the late 90s neuro roots but rather dig them up and wire them directly into our frontal cortexes. Both "Always Something" and "Axis" really hit hard with that simple-but-effective construction and dark energy; The former with its 10 million volt electrified bassline, the latter for its infectious percussion elements. Mixed down for the modern era, there's no dewy-eyed nostalgia ... just reminders and references and rugged funk.
Review: They just keep on coming... Zero T and Fierce are smashing out some of the most concentrated, thoroughbred drum & bass this year. But then what did you expect from two legends of this calibre? Both bringing out contrasting sides to each other (Zero T highlights Fierce's funk while Fierce encourages Zero T's darker side) each track has been a guaranteed killer. "Scatter" punches with sky-scraping drums, classic FX and a stretched MC vocal. "Inhibitor" plays the perfect foil as the wasp nest bass takes the lead role and the drums roll gently in the background. Timeless.
Review: Zero T and Fierce continue their collaborative assault with two more reminders of proper, authentic, innovative drum & bass. "Expose" is a deep breath stepper, all lean, naked but shrouded in mystery. "Clandestine" takes us deep inside the drums as precision-tuned cymbals splash and shimmer while the kicks and snares punch with crisp energy. Watch out as the track unfolds... There's a lot going on in the subs and pads too. True craft.
Review: Three D&B titans collide on the legendary Quarantine: this is heavyweight from the spec alone. With its breezy chords and lilting elements "Going" rolls with a deeper air than you'd expect, but beneath lies a sizzling bassline charged by 50 substations that gets more powerful the bigger the system you play this on. Flip for "Profile", an unabashed hurter with pummelling industrial strength drums that are so hard they'd make Dom and his trusty Roland blush. Premium.
Review: Not just one of drum & bass's most iconic female vocalists, but also one of the most respected... Riya's work behind the scenes goes back around 15 years. As a result she's got serious reference points, a genuine understanding of proper drum & bass and a really impressive debut album that features some of the best names in D&B. Ranging from the sci-fi soars and twinkling synths of "Misunderstanding" to the out-and-out gutter slaps of "Piece Of Me" via the soul jazz jungle lushness of "Don't You Know" and the already massive lighter-raiser "As Soon As". Released at a time when a lot of female features are popping up in D&B for all the wrong reasons, Riya is the real deal... And so is this album.
Review: Double trouble: Riya's critically received debut album from summer 2015 enjoys a deluxe twist with double the amount of tracks on. As well as the album itself there are 13 fresh cuts including new originals such as the Gill Scott-style street soul pieces with Maverick Soul "Bittersweet" and "We Belong", the perfect piano-powered gospel roller "Everything" and the grizzly, groaning techy roller "Silhouette". Killer new remixes such as Pola & Bryson's subby switch of "Lost Friends", Break's spotless drums on "Confessions" xxx . Plus a few floor-melting VIPs: the relentless bass pump of "Fear Bites" and the cosmic touches to "Wears Me Down". Deluxe and demonstrative - this is a great addition to an already remarkable album.
Review: Oh gosh. Total Science ante up for the summer with this exceptional V/A EP on their CIA imprint. Kicking off with a crucial new remix of their classic "Nosher" by their new hybrid gang comprising themselves, DLR and Hydro, full breadth and variation abounds as we dip into the gilded soul of Zero T & Phase's "Talk To Me", the gnarled grizzles and dubby danger of their own "Devil's Gate" with Scar member Script and the grand finale; a heavyweight purring roller from two of the most respected newcomers in the game right now: Ill Truth and SATL. Each one a persy for different chapters of the night, any further information is classified.
Review: What a year it's been for Shogun Audio: albums from Spectrasoul and Rockwell, new signing Karma, the epic Point Of Origin collection and killer singles from every artist on the roster. Here they wrap up the year with 34 bangers, blissers and blunderbusses. If you've been following the label you'll know just how heavy this weights in bass gold. If not, it's the best possible place to play catch up. From the Jenna G-fronted Submorphics chiller "The Divine" and the gospel-level heaven of Spectrasoul's "Shelter" to the much darker, thunderous slammers such as Friction and Icicle's "Crucifix", Fourward's "Exile" and Calyx & TeeBee's gamechanging remix of Spor's "Aztec", this is a spotless sonic calling card for the label and its many multifaceted talents.
Review: Shogun Audio don their shades and stare into the blisteringly bright future of drum & bass with a brand new series; Point Of Origin. The idea is to represent some of the most exciting names (old and new) with an open mind to the many sub-sub-genres drum & bass seems to have right now. As a result we excitingly flicker from lush emotional jazz (Ed:It's "Centre Suite") to unruly sheet metal neuro in the space of a track (Posij - "Shieldbreaker"). Much deeper into the set we hit icy vocal soul from the likes of Need For Mirrors and Liz-E, we get flattened by Zero T's tribal thunder drums and experience a blissful rolling lullaby from Karma. This is the tip of the Point Of Origin iceberg, though... A must-check for all future-focussed junglists.
Review: CIA are bringing out the big guns with this intense selection of stone cold classics and fresh new sounds. Not content with already leading one of the finest talent-led subgenre revolutions, Computer Integrated Audio have brought together some of the biggest names around to lay out the future of drum and bass for all to see. From Smyla & Script's massive floor destroyer "Stockpile" to the unforgettable "Soul Patrol" from the men themselves Total Science and featuring acts like Enei, Spy and Riya, Serum, Break, Digital and Nymfo along the way, it's a thing of wonder to behold. Don't get caught out.
Review: A time for reflection: Total Science closes down their 20th year of C.I.A case files with another precision reflection over past conquests and gully accomplishments from their collection of labels. Ranging from one of Calibre's first ever cuts (the raffish, wonderfully unkempt "Tempo Dub") and Bad Company's stupendous grime-funk twist on "Champion Sound" to Break's 2012 gritty slapper "Rare Earth" and Digital's life-changing, amen-smashing bassline slammer "No Reality", Spinback and Quiff have dug deep through the ages for some absolute gold here.
Review: From seminal YouTube damage to worldwide events and all sorts more, UKF continues to spin its own distinctive low-end yarn. Having made its presence known beyond the dubstep and drum & bass worlds in the last year or so, Bass Culture 3 acts as a pivotal release and shows the channel is far from genre-specific. Amidst the massive bangers that the brand is known for - TC - "Get Down Low", Must Die & Mantis - "Culture", Mob Tactics - "The Answer" - there are plenty of other corners explored, too. From the 808 allure of Buku's "No One Does" to the angular jacking of Three Bar's "Everybody" via My Nu Leng's unavoidable "Masterplan", this album represents some of the most exciting examples of bass behaviour in all styles of electronic music.
Review: Double decade business: Total Science celebrate their label's big two-oh with an on-point collection of ageless constructs from friends old and new. Naturally, everyone arrives to the party in their sharpest finery; Break's cheeky rave references on the juiced up "Unified", the ugly undertones and system-melting weight of Total Science, Digital & Spirit's incredible "Apply The Pressure", Calibre's cosmic ping-pong jam "The Trot", Nymfo's dreamy harmonic heaven "Game Of Love", The Invaderz swashbuckled drum session "Be Around"... Not one player has tailored a shabby garm, ensuring well-suited jams for decade to come.
Review: Most labels celebrate their 50th or 100th release but Fokuz have never done things by convention, which is what's made them such a unique success story in drum & bass for 17 years. Here we find them celebrating their 80th release (and neatly referencing the work of Quentin Tarantino) with their biggest project to date that stretches two albums, over 30 tracks and some of the biggest names in D&B: Break, Calibre, Technimatic, BCee, Need For Mirrors, the list goes on. If you know Fokuz's output you'll already be on this. If you don't, just jump on the velvet sub rolls of Calibre's remix of Impish, Lenzman's hurricane soul twist of Random Movement or Dreazz & Stal's percussive frenzy "Ethiopian Jungle" and you'll know exactly what's going on right here.
Review: 21 years old. How about that then? Some of us were barely out of nappies when London Elektricity first launched the imprint, some of us remember like it was yesterday. Either way, we are all united under the big flouro H and right now they're celebrating their coming of age with a humungous 70 track collection. Yes, 70! Each cut handpicked to represent the London imprint's constantly evolving but always soul-touched and groove-laden sound are 24 exclusives such as Urbandawn's insane version of Reso's "Taiga", Fred V & Grafix's titanium colab with Metrik "Tension", Serum & Inja's already-massive "Blow Dem" and Whiney's remix of TC's chop-slapping "Storm Brew". Massive. Happy birthday Hospital!