Review: Calling all DJs and getaway drivers alike! Prolific groove wizard Zero T continues his rich vein of form with 'Off Broadway' and there's a strong twang of 70s New York underworld to a few of the tracks. 'Drama' set the scene with little jazzy echoes and a groove grubbier than Giuliani. It's backed by plenty more dramatic moments; 'You're The One' is a sultry lesson in restraint, 'Something Got Me' tickles the 4 Hero spot with its slinky double bassline and dubby beat effects, 'She Moves' is pure summertime spring while 'This Condition' is a whirling cosmic dervish. And that's not even the whole EP. What happens 'Off Broadway' stays 'Off Broadway.'
Review: Zero T is back on CIA, a label he's worked with frequently over the years and an imprint which is well suited to his blend of light and dark sounds. MYWRLD is exactly that, and contained within are pointed breaks, rolling basslines and luscious atmospherics, the full Zero T package that we know and expect. The title tune is a dagger of a jungle cut, with expertly crafted drums which chop and change, flipping the momentum over and over to create a superb percussive basis. 'One More Chance' is more rolling, with an excellent diving bassline that goosebump-raising in its subtle low frequencies, and 'Radical Step' is an inch-perfect stepper with crispness at its core. A wicked three-tracker from the Irish master.
Review: This compilation arrives with a rich heritage of V Recordings compilations behind it, and Planet V has for a number of years been the flagship series for Bryan Gee's label. Edition four comes to a whopping 73 tracks and includes a mix as well, and all the familiar V faces are present, from Alibi to Paul t & Edward Oberon. All of the tunes have already seen the light of day in a previous form, and Disrupta and Duskee's 'Deep Thoughts' is one of the standouts, as Disrupta lays down a minimal yet funky beat for Duskee to rap lyrical over, something he does with serious presence. New gun SL8r makes several appearances, including on the excellent 'What U Need', which bounces along in a synthscape of serious depth and texture, its funky nodes nodding to the beat of a vintage blend. Crossover outfit Think Tonk also shine with 'Tom & Heavy', an offering unique in its stepping, breaksy percussion and one which oozes soulful class. There are dozens more to have a gander at, so take your pick.
Review: Zero T has returned to Lenzman's The North Quarter imprint for his second full release on the label following Baby Grand several years ago, and he's doing so with a serious sense of purpose. Made up of five tracks that he wrote in order to capture the breadth of sounds he loves in the genre, Former Self starts off on a liquid tip with another gorgeous Steo collaboration, followed by a melancholic yet hopeful remix of Lonely Night by Mango x Mathman. Things then take a turn into tougher territory, as the Irish producer lays out an almost-jump up slew of force on 'I Want More', before rounding things out in true Bristol style with 'Clash' featuring Myth. Exceptional.
Review: DLR's Sofa Sound label has become a pillar of the scene in barely a handful of years, and this week they're following up their previously successful Sofa King Sick compilation with a second edition, this one equally packed to the rafters with both new and old school talent. It's a tour-de-force of the tough side of the genre and it's exemplified by 'Baja', courtesy of Scepticz, a Belgian producer who knows his way around the controls and who proves it once more, as jagged synth lines cut across its snapping, two-step arrangement with all the force and subtlety of an underground train. Kodin makes an appearance on the superbly gruff 'Chronic', whilst The Sauce get deeper than usual on 'Ultrasonic'. Quintessential drum & bass that makes for essential listening.
Review: Total Science's CIA take a moment for reflection as they look back over the decades of hard service they've done and cherry pick a few old gold favourites. As with previous Select Files collections, the range is widescreen and full of authentic, timeless, honest D&B. You want highlights? You best start going through every track... Everything from Calibre's 2009 snarling bongo-buster "Understand" to some of S.P.Y's earliest cuts such as "Dark Age" and "Magic Hour" and the VIP of Total Science's evergreen ballistic rave weapon "Defcom 69" still hits the spot like they did the first time round. Get selective.
Review: Bryan Gee and V Recordings do not mess around. They never have in the past, they're certainly not right now in the present and judging by this highly anticipated Future album, they're going to mess around any time ahead. 25 tracks from some of the biggest, best and baddest names in D&B (Dillina, Serum, Benny L, Paul T & Edward Oberon, Roni Size, DJ Marky, Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Bladerunner, Saxxon, the list goes on) this one's been a long, long, long time coming... And it's been well worth the wait. From L-Sides massive remixes of Dillinja and Krust to Need For Mirrors super-revved "Lambo" to Benny L's incredible remix of "Days", this sums up why Bryan and his label are as influential and respected in the game as they are today. Don't mess around.
Review: Cor blimey governors! Zero T and Beta 2 don't muck around when they get together, do they? Last spotted on a collab flex on Dispatch last year, here the pair lay the foundation smack down on Headz with this massive six track EP. Tapping right back on the classic deep jazz sound the label has always celebrated and championed as the much as heavier stuff (think Hidden Agenda, Sci-Clone, J Majik) each of these cuts will whisk you away to places you didn't even know existed. The gilded Rhodes on "In My Head", the slinky, lithe bassline of "Misdemeanour", the star-gazing poignancy of "Stacks", the list goes on. Yet another exceptional EP from the mothership.
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: Hot on the heels of Phil:osophy's latest treasure trove comes another bounty of bliss from Artificial Intelligence's Integral. This time with old friends Zero T and longstanding vocalist Steo. "Can't Hide" is pure soul heaven; delicate layers of Steo's harmonies arranged softly over a spacious beat and lilting pianos, it's T and Steo at their most evocative and feel-heavy. "Make Time" kicks with more urgency as techno-like synths stab hypnotically, balanced by Steo's falsettos and gently rising instrumentation. Elsewhere the unstoppable Monty gives their evergreen 2016 soul-out "Too Close To See" a bittersweet twist. There's no hiding from this one.
Right Stuff (feat Need For Mirrors) - (5:00) 174 BPM
Let It Rain (feat DRS) - (4:53) 174 BPM
Feel The Need (feat Colonel Red) - (5:01) 66 BPM
Lazybones (feat Lenzman) - (5:15) 174 BPM
Tears (instrumental) - (5:18) 174 BPM
Let It Rain (instrumental) - (4:52) 174 BPM
Review: For this one, drum and bass revelations Zero T and Unitsouled join forces on a smooth, liquified composition entitled 'Baby Grand'. The guys at The North Quarter have struck gold with this one as luscious chords are dual wielded with precisely layered subs to form a perfect high energy harmony.
Review: Zero T and Steo: collaborations don't come any more soulful in D&B than this. Steo's delicate vocals complement Zero's cushion-like keys and soft sub bass. Restrained and understated - at a time of ballistic bangers, it's the perfect anti-anthem. Ever one to tell a deeper story, Zero T follows it up with an iced-out Krust-leve burner that slowly evolves from dark to light and back again with grace. Finally "Overdue" winds us up with a perfectly tuned drum set, a unique roomy halftime arrangement and basses so unforgiving you'll need a new wardrobe by the end of the night. Sweet dreams.
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: Zero T and Fierce on Metalheadz: Few words are required, we all know we're dealing with uncut premium kit here. "Bonesmen" is all about the dark tech groove, the way the drums switch with subtlety, the persistent sub and classic Headz FX rotate through the spectrum. "In Circles" flips the vibe with a lighter tone in the pads, a sweet deep dream atmosphere on the blink-and-miss breakdown and chirpier, looser, funkier drums. Two cuts, both true to the craft.
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: 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: 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: Zero T, LSB, FD and Tokyo Prose... Talk about soulful heavyweights! Each player representing with a sublime slice of rolling gold, this is - without question - one of the best "Fourfit" EPs we've seen to date (and, let's face it, they've all been amazing) Zero T brings the shimmering ivories, Tokyo Prose gets dreamy, FD unites the dusky vocals of Collette with the rusty dynamics of amens while LSB gets his timeless jazz on. When it comes to authentic deep, rolling, soulful D&B, this EP is a gnat's nads from perfection.
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.