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.
Review: Two names we are extremely fond of link up for this one as we see Phossa land for another solo outing on the incredibly consistent White Peach Records, giving us four system-ready slaps. We kick off with the title track 'Touch', an emotive ball of chiming melodic lines and sharp drum work, followed by almost R&G hybrid vocal slices and unpredictable percussive explosions of 'Lotus'. Next, the euphoric lead synths and crunchy drum designs of 'Untitled' provide us with more emotional harmonics, with the more mysterious arpeggio-based structures and super-swingy rhythmic layouts of 'Static' rounding off the EP in style!
Review: Jamaica's Equiknoxx have spent the last decade re-inventing dancehall for the 21st century, delivering a swathe of releases that look further afield than Kingston for inspiration. Bird Sound Power is, somewhat surprisingly, their first appearance on vinyl, and sees them pop up on Demdike Stare's experimentally-minded DDS imprint. Featuring a mix of brand new cuts and previously released - but largely unknown - jams, it's a set that impresses with both its' rhythmic dexterity, and its' obvious inventiveness. Their 'riddims' veer from the punchy and rolling to the weird and out-there, with cute electronic flourishes, IDM influences, ambient chords and trill birdsong all adding to the humid, thrill-a-minute mood.
Review: The Glue EP by Irish power duo features two new tracks embodying the same dramatic and evocative vibes from their recent, highly acclaimed self titled album. The title track here unashamedly explores rave nostalgia, with its tough breakbeats, euphoric chord progressions and gated vocal samples taking you all the way back to '92. "Metro" uses phased acid house style drum patterns with roaring rave synth leads on this slow burning but heavily building dancefloor destroyer. Finally "DLR" soundtracks those divine moments of truth loved up in the chill-out tent, with this emotive ambient house cut with a nice tint of 303 acid for good measure that's reminiscent of classics by Orbital et al.
Review: So at this point in time, it's hard to imagine Alix Perez making a stale tune, as he lands here on the wonderful 1985 music for another twisted collection of heaters. We kick this one off with a look at the spooky overtones and warbling synthesizer growls of 'Ravana', before the shivering LFO designs and glitchy melodic plucks of 'Lifeline' stutter into play. Next, 'Post-Mortem' arrives with more lethal reese bass action driving the stripped back drumwork forward in a blaze of system energy, before rounding off with the catchy arpeggiator flexes of 'Ends' alongside Headland. What a project this is!
Review: It's been a little while since we last heard from Mikey B, but what a way to make a return and kick off 2020 as he lands on the illustrious CruCast for a spicy four track selection. The first track that rolls into view is the title track 'White Lies', which alongside the fantastic vocal lines of Paige Eliza sees Mikey unleash an awesome display of original niche flavour with flavoursome synth melodies and choppy vocal prowess, followed up gnarly bass tones of 'No One Else' and catchy harmonic slices of 'Highs & Lows'. Finally, we finish up this wicked selection with a look at 'Commander', a grit-heavy 4x4 roller, designed to turn any dance to a ruckus. Excellent stuff!
Review: Rightly so, Paul Woolford sees his Special Request project stamped and approved by R&S with this fully sick Spectral Frequency EP. Lifting the title-track from the Zero Fucks compilation Woolford released last year, this insane banger of experimental jungle comes backed by a sidewinding beatless version in "Inverse Frequency". The EP sees two new numbers in the bassline driven bliss of "No Other Way To Say It" and the uplifting arpeggios of "Family Doggo" that offers some respite in techno from the bonafide mad breaks of "Spectral Frequency". Undeniably good. Tip!
Review: It's that time of the year again as we welcome back the wonderful Night Bass crew for the 10th edition of their 'This Is Night Bass' series, featuring some of the biggest and most popular names the scene has to offer. The tracklist boasts a fabulous combination of established talent and newcomers, as we see the likes of Taiki Nulight, NuBass, Dommix, The Sponges, CAPOZZi, Sage Armstrong, Sqwad and more join forces to create a sumptuous collection. Our highlights have to include Riddim Commission's super smooth 'In My Soul', alongside the groovy horns of 'Funky Soul', from Nicky Genesis, Jace Mek's techy influxes on 'Bring It Back' and the stripped back debut of Tengu with 'Bad Girls'.
Review: Next up from Breaka we see a return to the home imprint known as Breaka Recordings for a fantastic three set release, showcasing a fantastically refreshing set of originals. We begin with the super bouncy drum work and pleasing harmonic structures of 'Liquid Gold', combining subtle break inputs with catchy piano riffs and encapsulating vocal drives to create something wonderful. Next, 'Ease Up' links together punchy drums with shimmering rave chords and smooth subs to bring us something extremely different, alongside the super fresh pad designs and sweeping atmospheric feelings of 'Steeze Flex' to round us off with a dash of finesse.
Review: Honing in on, most specifically, a sound associated with a "160bpm" tempo, Through These Eyes for some five years now have pushed at the outer limits of footwork, jungle and half-step. This Omega release presents the label with its first compilation taking in tracks from more established acts like Sun People, Champion Sound and Digid to a cast of fresher faces like POLO LILLI, GPS Tony or Bassrael. Find some off the hook percussion in Yoofee's "Arrival" to the tearout bass and mechanical glitch sounds of ILL_K's "Persecution". Our tip: "Resilience (feat T-Man)" by Noh Vae.
Review: The Project Allout wave continues to gain in momentum as they welcome back the incredibly consistent Joedan across four tracks of highly energetic and flavoursome dancefloor beats. We kick off with the post-funky influences and niche-style bassline influxes of the title track 'Impending Doom', before 'Chest Plate' strips things back for a carnival-ready drum roller. The vibes then switch up into a more experimental display next as the unusual bass manoeuvres of 'Lift Off' arrive to add some serious differentiation, before rounding up on tribal-sounding percussive influxes and simple melodies of 'Turned My Back', making it the perfect sign off!
Review: At this point, whenever we see Pinch's name appear on a forthcoming list we buckle in for a long, explorative ride into the science of sound, with this latest album on Tectonic entitled 'Reality Tunnels' being exactly what the doctor ordered. Over the course of 10 stunning originals, we see Pinch flex his veteran production muscles with some of the most interesting and original creations we have heard this year, from the post-jungle designs of 'Entangled Particles' alongside Emika, to the space-age soundscaping of 'Back To Beyond' and post-dubstep marches of 'Returnity'. For us there are a pair of clear highlights, with the haunting vocals of 'Inezi' on 'Change Is A Must' sending shivers down our spines, alongside Killa P's war-ready vocal additions on 'Party'. Amazing work.
Review: Well this sure is a combo to get excited about as the futuristic production stylings of MungK find a home on the super consistent Instigate Recordings for three weighty new originals. We kick off with the very well named 'Acid' a moog-heavy pulsating thrill ride of synthetic experimentation over swampy, pulsating 140 drum work. From here, 'Glitch' arrives with a fabulous display of floaty pad textures and grizzly 808 bass kicks topped with distant rave chords, followed up by the interesting drum designs and bubbling synth melodies of 'Modular' to round off another impressive body of work from all involved.
Review: For this latest tasty link we see Nova land on Plantpower for a selection of super nostalgic dubstep jams, channeling the more introspective ends of the genre into two potent original creations. We kick off with the glittering percussive inputs and breezy chord pushes of 'Caffeine Dub' which casts images of early Anti-Social Music sets into our minds with it's delicacy and subtle delights. On the flip, we dive into a much more percussive design as 'Reincarnate' brings forward bouncy congas and choppy rhythmic maneuvers to inject some OG dubstep energy into the dance! It's a fantastic two tracker and a top quality tribute to dubsteps origins!
Review: It's common knowledge at this point that Bicep really is a generational talent when it comes to production. The impact of 'Glue' was off the scale and it's clear to see he has no intention of slowing down as we dive into another monumental single, this time taking the title of 'Atlas'. As ever, we witness pure melodic mastery as we are greeted by an array of spacey, emotional pad textures floating around the background, whilst popping arpeggios and shuffling drum beats breathe effortlessly across the front of the mix. When this is then coupled with pulsating sub lines and stunning vocal switches drenched in luscious big room reverb units, we sure are in for an absolute treat.
Review: A/T/O/S stands for A Taste Of Struggle, and it's safe to say that Amos and Truenoys have certainly put their backs into this project. The duo were originally picked up by Mala back on 2014, and haven't looked back ever since. This is their second LP to date and, much like their debut, it touches upon many different elements of the enlarged dubstep continuum. There's plenty of tunes on here that'll liven up any dance, but this is very much a pensive and meditative bass affair. Much in line with Mala's pioneering 'deep' dubstep, it's clear that the Deep Medi head honcho has foud some new, young, and like-minded talents to carry on his dynasty.
Review: Are there many better pleasures in the dubstep world than seeing a new Crucial Recordings drop? When we then see that Sleeper and Youngsta are back in collaboration, it becomes really hard to contain our excitement. We kick this one off with the jittery synthesizer pulls and spacious drum designs of 'Systematic Error', one hell of a title track and a perfect way to set the tone. Next up, the weighty sub smashes and eerie melodic moogs of 'Hello', followed closely the stunning harmonic structures and gnarly synthesizer grooves of 'Iridescence', which when coupled with subtle percussive rhythmic action provides us with the perfect outro. Lovely!
Review: Following on from an exceptional string of releases, we see the magnificent K-Lone land on Wisdom Teeth for a top quality LP project, showcasing just how forward thinking his sound is. The whole project is a masterclass in soundscaping and atmospheric processing, with a softened, almost meditative hypnosis running through the heart of the tracklisting. From the chiming melodies of 'Yelli' to the pleasing arpeggio expansions of 'Bluefin', it's just a fabulous listen. Although we would highly recommend taking this one in on long play, we would pick the constantly evolving percussive grooves of 'Cocoa' as our favourite for this one!
Review: Jim Coles' decision back in 2010 to implement a swerve in his sonic trajectory away from his hip-hop past as 2tall in favour of a more all-encompassing approach that touches on various strands of bass culture as Om Unit has paid off and then some. Subsequent releases on Exit, Autonomic, Civil Music, Metalheadz and his own Cosmic Bridge imprint have all shown Om Unit eminently capable of tempo shifting productions that appeal to fans of bass music, drum & bass and footwork alike. The latter has been explored further while the Dream Continuum collaboration with Machinedrum on Planet Mu and his Philip D. Kick alias where the link between Chicago's juke heritage and UK jungle was explored. All this and more is included on Threads, a debut Om Unit LP for Civil Music that deftly collates various strands (or threads) of his production career over the past fifteen years for a cohesive 15 track set that veers through of hip hop, dubstep, jungle and even house.
Review: Bass badboy Swindle rocks his way back onto the Butterz catalogue, a label he hadn't visited ever since his first releases four years back, after numerous outing on the mighty Deep Medi Musik and Planet Mu, among others. Peace, Love & Music is his first full-length work, and it's also the most diverse piece of music that he's put out so far. The opener "Gotta Do" is a true introduction of his skills, where strange instrumentation travels beneath radio edits calling his name, but every other track on here contains a wide range of sounds and influences, from jazz to R&B and even drum & bass, all coated in a familiar layer of bass to comfort the corner dwellers. It's a smacker, check it!
Review: As debut EPs go, Yves Thomas's first outing - on Rekids, no less - is not only rather impressive but also notably expansive. Over the course of seven varied tracks, the London-based, Bristol-raised DJ/producer/vocalist fully turns his hand to enveloping, slow-burn ambient ("Brain Dead"), spacey and dreamy breakbeat-house (the superb "MA1"), more robust and bass-heavy - but no less melodically detailed -dancefloor fare (the raw and weighty "River"), hypnotic late night fare ("Elephant & Snake"), jazzy intergalactic broken beat ("Callout FM"), drowsy electronica/synth-pop fusion ("Pilot") and immersive, acid-flecked deep-bruk business ("Birds of the Barbican").
Review: 2019 was a massive year for Pets Recordings with an impressive late run of releases from artists like Truncate, Mathias Kaden and Psychemagik. Belgian producer Beton opens the Polish label's 2020 account with this Dockside single, some three years after his debut opus via Pets Recordings back in 2017. Launching his own label Trek U that same year, with a release on Twin Turbo in 2018, too, Beton resurfaces with the sound of breaks and nostalgic rave in "Dockside", with its raw kick drum and liquid bass a super combi alongside playful synths and melodies. "Transmodal" on the flip looks towards old school trance and breaks again with touches of acid and cathedral atmospheres in this snare-heavy trip through the abyss.
Review: Despite their incredibly consistent catalogue, it feels like Roska Kicks & Snares as an imprint has become even more special over the past year or so, with every new release levelling up the labels output. For their next selection, we see them welcome MOTU for a vibrant 8 track selection simply entitle 'Motu Collection', showcasing his quite frankly outstanding skillset, jam-packed with rhythmic gems left right and centre. From the wavy bass manoeuvres of 'Screwball' to the more carnival style drum work of 'Yeah Riddim' and stripped percussive magnificence of 'KCU', MOTU well and truly has UK funky covered. We also wanted to send a nod to the vocal collaborations on this one, as Nico Lindsay returns in fine from on 'Have To Know' alongside Killa P's electric performance on 'Tek Weh' and the mega collaborative flavours of 'Move', featuring PRM Project, DJ Polo, Roska & Blase Vanguard.
Review: It's been an exciting ride for both group and listeners alike since Dark Sky first emerged some four years ago on Black Acre, with ever more impressive musical feats getting signed up to ever more respected labels, and now well and truly in the Modeselektor fold on both 50Weapons and Monkeytown, they offer up their debut album. It's an expansive listen, from the rich synth orchestrations of the title track to the catchy band-in-the-room groove of "Vivid", with the focus very much on home-listening interest over club dynamics. There are still some kicking moments such as the rushy arpeggio drop of "Odyssey", but on the whole this is an album of carefully composed melodies and finely chiseled sounds to accompany you in more personal, introspective moments.
Review: Two years on from an impressive first appearance on Lobster Theremin, Luz1e transfers to Shall Not Fade and notches up another rock solid label debut. She hits the ground round running with title track "Ridin", a bustling chunk of ghetto-house influenced breakbeat deepness full of warm chords and cut-up vocal snippets, before joining the dots between two-step garage, breakbeat and drowsy deepness on the arguably even better "Hyperfunk (Deep Break Cut)". She reaches for the alien, acid style electronics on the dreamy ghetto-tech rush of "Damn Boi", while "Early Reflections" is another ear-catching trip into woozy, glassy-eyed breakbeat territory complete with glacial pads and redlined analogue bass.
Review: All the aspects you could possibly want from two London legends of the scene here in Paul Woolford's Special Request mixes of Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve, Erol Alkan. This extra special suite follows previous remixes of the same single from Mano le Tough, Matrixxman and Machine Woman of Alkan's latest solo release for Phantasy Sound. Like the aforementioned, Woolford's Special Request project opts for the synthesized rave chords and deeper melodies of "Spectrum", with the 'Kaleidoscope' mix plunging deeper into bassline territory while the 'Double Vision' mix goes hard on the phasers for a stripped back dub version of hissing snares and white noise. Arpeggio heaven.
Review: Having struggled to find his niche during the early part of his career, things started looking up for Randomer when he popped up on Numbers back in 2011 with the bombastic blends of acid house and techno that made up his impressive Real Talk EP. Since then, he's impressively flitted between techno and bass music, and here delivers an all-out techno assault for Clone's occasional Basement Series. There's a real no-nonsese feel to the relentless kick-drums and cut-up vocal samples of "Stupid Things I Do", which comes in "New School" and "Old School" mix formats (the latter including some looser techno breakbeats, and thus being our pick). The EP also includes two formidable percussion workouts, which deliver driving drums and booming basslines.
Review: As we've enjoyed watching Livity Sound mint an array of new artists to its label like Forest Drive West, Laurel Halo and Leif, it's also been fresh names like Toma Kami, Two Shell, and now Kouslin, that are keeping Livity's undercurrent in motion. Given a full debut, Kouslin emerges from the 2010s with 2020 Vision, supplying Livity Sound with four shaded bassline dubs, diving into various forms of sub-aqueous melody, tribal rhythms and far-flung, trippy percussion. Find touches of rave, trance and bleep culture in "Ice" with more references to dubstep and streetwise Bristol spook in the EP's lead track and "The Beast Of Bolsover". Clear.
Review: It's pretty clear that Vital Techniques have not let the lockdown period slow down their inspiring work ethic as they get busy sourcing four explosive remixes to their vibrant collaboration with MC Pean entitled 'Bun Up The Ting'. We kick off with J69's old school niche bassline rethink, adding extensive wobbly bass designs and high energy drum runs into proceedings, followed by Soulecta's nostalgic UKG flip, perfect for the sunshine. Next, Danny T & Tradesman switch it up with a crunchy grime recreation before Sublow Hz sends the acapella into the jump up blender for the final overhaul, giving this project a fantastic amount of variety from start to finish.
Review: Benjamin Damage returns to 50 Weapons for another ripper and he means business on this one! Aqueous melodies, dubbed-out beats and just the right level of bass feed into a strong techno backbone; "Up" is a warehouse banger with seductive loops, and "Acid Bath" is a straight tool bumper for the peak hours, but it's "Splash" that really impresses, finishing things off with some much needed - albeit subtle - jackin action.
Review: Be prepared for this one, most certainly not for the faint hearted as Dutch hardcore producer Nosferatu drops his much anticipated album on Be Yourself Music. Holland has long been the breeding ground for the worlds biggest hard dance talent with the likes of headhunterz and Wildstylez. Raw and vicious are two words the label use to describe the 25 tracks, which is a fitting summary.. that said there is plenty of clever melody work and the production is massive. There are plenty of MC / hype-man vocals throughout and appearances from the likes of Evil Activities, The Playah, and Ruffneck. If you like it hard, fast, and crazy, then don't waste anytime in grabbing this. Prepare for the walls and windows to shake and shatter!
Review: London's Modern Ruin hadn't been messing around since their first release, and now the label are back with a hot collaboration between Slime's BSN Posse, and newcomer Stayhigh in what could possibly be one of the label's most soulful and seductive slice of bass weight, as of yet. The opener by BSN Posse, "All My Dreams" is a gorgeous bit of sliding drums and placid vocals, and the follower by Stayhigh, "You're Not Alone", follows in a similar vein except there is more energy and more of a rise in momentum. Check all these cuts out; the moral of the story is that these guys are just simply good at making sidewalk bass music with an elegant, maybe eve jazzy edge.
Review: ONEPUF are back at it again, bringing us yet another super tasty breaks inspired original as they employ the talents of Private caller for two super crunchy original creations. We kick off with a look at 'Let Me Know' which combines an organ driven, reverby introduction with lethal 808 drones and shimmering vocal scatters on its breakdown. On the flip side, the tempo is dramatically decreased to allow the hardcore influences of 'Want Me' to shine through in serious style, with scatty chord stutters and subtle breakbeat lines shimmering away, bringing a touch of nostalgia to this wicked two track selection.