Review: Next up from Breaka's own: Breaka Recordings imprint, we see something very special as he unveils four collaborations of the highest quality with the likes of both Frazer Ray and Bakey. We begin with Frazer's two contributions, kicking off with the charming moogy subs and scattered drum rhythms of 'The Loudest Woiioii Ever', combining funky rhythms and futuristic compositional designs. Next, 'Phone's Ringin' gives us a much more minimal yet euphoric style of experimental dance music, before we take the pace up a tad on Bakey's first collaborative input on 'Club Dynamics'. This track sees us explore the delicacies of new school breaks, before 'Pro Perc' unleashes choppy 2-step-style rhythms atop a heavily laden percussive field to give us the perfect send off.
Review: When we are discussing the modern greats of electronic music production, there's no way we can have that conversation without Calibre's name coming into the mix and blend. This brand new album via the team at Signature takes the title 'Feeling Normal' and is a straight up masterclass, from the stunning breakbeat-driven soundscapes of 'Barren' and 'Man Got Sandwich' to the colourful post-garage designs of 'Feeling Normal' and 'Time To Breathe' alongside Cimone. It has a touch of everything and the quality levels just don't seem to dip, regardless of whatever genre or style we are hearing. There are also some serious highlights, with 'Badman' alongside DRS being a somber, post-dubstep homage, 'Has To Happen' being a sumptuous, emotive roller and 'Predictable' being a futuristic steppers delight. Incredible work as expected!
Review: The Dansu Discs team have assembled a killer selection for our enjoyment here, from the one and only Bailey Ibbs, unleashing six tracks of UKG flavour. We begin with the softened chord maneuvers and crunchy drum processing of 'Gurl', a worthy title track, which is closely followed by the much more breaks-driven influences of 'We Run' and luscious, bubbling soundscapes of 'What's My Chance?', giving us a super-wide sounding selection of originals. On remix duty, we see three parties give 'Gurl' the once over, with Groovy D giving us a throwback 2-step rethink, Denham Audio sending the stems to the junglist chop shop and AK Sports combining gnarly, acidic basslines and hardcore drums to take it somewhere completely different.
Review: We are absolutely loving the direction that the legendary Alix Perez has been taking recently, driving his uniquely techy production style into the dubstep scene with fantastic results. This latest project on 1985 music is the perfect showcase of just how good it can be, kicking off with the eerie atmospheric sweeps and gnarly bass excursions of the title track 'Last Rites'. Next, the engulfing subs and classic vocal fx sampling of 'Deep Six' burst onto the scene before the stripped back bass tones and impactful reverberations of 'Spooked' touch down. The project is rounded off with a dive into 'Melodrama', a track teetering with emotive energy and rolling sub tones, driven by it's unique, Burial-like lead vocal line.
Review: It's been a short while since we last heard from Kotei, but he is back in full force with this spicy new single 'ICHI'. As always with Kotei's production, this one is as crispy as they come, taking a strong theme of eastern-style melodies and plucked strings. This of course opens the door to some fantastic remix additions, with Glume & Phossa kicking us off with a regal sounding refit, jam-packed with lethal bass punches and unique percussive expression. Next, MOREOFUS delivers a typically grimey rethink, stuffed with eerie synthesizer drones and choppy drum slaps, before Dakan takes us to the swamp with his squelchy overhaul. Finally, JFO delivers a stripped back finale, focussing on intense drum processing to round off the project with a classy touch!
Review: One of drum & bass' most talent breaksmiths makes a return to 1985 with his second EP on the label, and boy is it a banger. Velocity touches upon the breadth of styles we've come to expect from Fracture, as 'Shada Shada' lopes along with effortless groove and sophisticated bashment flow and Nah Eto puts on a shockingly good performance in the vocal layer. 'Avian' is more considered drum & bass spaciness, with celestial synth nodes and a breezy atmosphere that reminds us of Exit Records. 'Latee Killer' is the slammer of the bunch, with off-kilter drum work and a might kick drum that'll follow you into your sleep, and 'Biscotti' is a stab-laden, frantic roller with plenty of attitude. Big ups.
Review: Eprom is not only a close production partner of Alix Perez, but he's a reliable source of slower yet possibly even heavier sounds for his label 1985 Music. 'Dangerous Sound' gives you a hint what it's about from the name, and this tune is a halftime monster of frightening proportions, a glitched out and messed up number that has one goal; to blow up the dance. Basslines cut through each other, synths overheat and the overall engineering is on another level; typical Eprom and vintage 1985.
Review: He may be a prolific producer, but the standard of Ejeca's releases remains impressively high. His high-quality threshold is clearly apparent on Free From, the Irish producer's latest EP for Kieran Williams' Shall Not Fade imprint. Across the five original cuts showcased on the EP, Ejeca confidently struts between neo-trance/high-octane techno fusion ('Stoke It'), rave-igniting, warehouse-ready stompers ('Faith', 'Free From'), deep and intergalactic electro ('The Basics') and warming, sunrise-ready deep house headiness ('Looksee'). Also worthy of your attention is Cinthie's superb remix of 'Free From', which re-casts it as a late '90s style Chez Damier deep house bumper.
Review: On their second EP of 2021, Session Victim is back to doing what they do best: namely combining warming live instrumentation with contemporary dancefloor beats. The best of a strong bunch is arguably opener 'Two Crowns', a dense and energetic broken beat affair in which pots-and-pans percussion hits, mellow Rhodes chords, starry electronic flourishes and late-night deep house stabs cluster around thickset synth-bass and hot-stepping drum machine beats. On 'Guidance' they deliver tactile and dreamy deep house complete with raw analogue bass and breathy flute solos, while 'Village Youth' adds jazzy broken beats to an extremely immersive blend of tactile synth-bass, enveloping electronic chords and lilting, late-night melodies. In a word: delicious.
Review: Emerging back in 2014 for pioneering German label Project Mooncircle, Yip Wong aka Deft, later hooked up with 20/20 London for a trilogy of releases that culminated in Deft's 2019 debut album Cracks. Exploding into 2020 furthermore, Deft arrives on the newly established Hooversound Recordings for its second release. A booming and bombastic four-track exploding from all sides, this is serious stuff; from the epic orchestral strings and wiley flexin vocals of "ESKILUSIVE" to the snapping, future Detroit electro of "BURNA". Frenetic rhythms with heavy hitting staccato beats conjure up a storm of roughneck percussion in "NEW YORKS FINEST VIP" with a funkier, more liquid dubstep number landing firm in "KOOVER IN '92". Relentless and uncompromising club music. TIP.
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: Sully's latest swansong has been stimulating murmurs of excitement over the last few months, the type of hype that you get rarely enough to know it means something special. Swandive has landed on Fracture's Astrophonica and the result is a four-tracker of potent creativity, a crashing jungle release that blends the genre's recognisable core with a heady dose of experimentation. Its title tune is the best example; a fractious melee of elbows and knees, a perfectly judged progression from spacey pads to all-encompassing percussive persuasion. It's really hard to describe this track as it's like nothing else you'll have heard before, but it lays down the law for the rest of the EP and 'Werk' is especially good as well. Unbelievable Jeff.
Review: Having been granted his first cut on the Breaks 'N' Pieces Vol.2 various artist compilation last year, you would never know the sounds of Nicolas Duque in fact find themselves coming outta Columbia. With a sound knowledge for UK garage, house & UK rave clearly presented here - the Bogotan producer makes his full debut! Keeping it real with a soundsystem culture tip to kick things off in "UK To G" there's some pure R&B inspired sweets to revel in "Just The Way". "Moshpit Rave" goes deeper into drum and bass/jungle territory with some slick use of some classic sampling in "2you" alongside some pure bassline bliss in "Bristol Love". Never been to the UK? Take a tour with Nicolas Duque!
Review: As we now dive into this fabulous new four-tracker from q100 alongside the Bass372 team, it's safe for us to say that dubstep is in a very strong place indeed. This project kicks off with a serious slap as 'Fake ID' delivers a combination of spacey atmospheric designs with powerful, punching synthesizer action to really set alight the EP. Next, 'Bojack Riddim' unleashes a sizzling wall of sub, topped with syncopated wonky rhythms and some serious sidechaining, before the emotive melodic structure and shifting percussive drips of 'N-gon' take the EP to a completely different level. Finally, 'Platypus' gives us a subtle finale, with yet more fantastic bass design and clear, precise snare work working some real magic.
Review: Under the Ejeca alias, Gerry McCartney has regularly delivered retro-futurist singles that draw inspiration from vintage UK house and techno. This album, his full-length debut, takes this approach even further, delivering a non-stop, sweat-soaked journey through brand new rave and UK hardcore-inspired productions recorded in Southend-on-Sea last December. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the almost overwhelmingly loved-up opener, 'Rainfall', and the skittish, US garage-influenced breakbeat hardcore haziness of 'Need You', to the piano-powered happy hardcore hedonism of 'My Love', mind-melting 'Variant' and rushing 'Tell Me'. Also superb is closing cut 'Sunrise', a fittingly titled conclusion tailor made for sound-tracking sun-up moments at remote mountain raves.
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: The Denham Audio team have been in incredible form of late, dropping a tonne of heavyweight releases with the latest in that run being this potent three track selection on the fabulous Sneaker Social Club. Their unique approach to future-breaks is made very clear right from the off as 'Top Buzz' delivers a vibrant shake up of percussive precision and overpowering sub pressure, before the more choppy slicing of 'Rubadub' gives us a more heads down, subs up experiment. Finally, to finish off we see Borai get involved with the party on 'Pocari Sweat', a euphoric breakbeat masterclass, sampling heavily reverberated chord lines for that dash of nostalgia we all love.
Review: Breaking through on to DJ Die's Gutterfunk label are the hyper-fresh sounds of Yung.Raj, a beatboxing synth chemist to emerge from the sub rosa of India's beat scene. Based out of Hyderabad, Yung.Raj's music had made it onto a few hyped mixtapes (including DJ Die) which now lends itself to a full release on the Bristol label (following Addison Groove and Nuff Pedals). Arriving at five-tracks large, Yung.Raj pays homage to the woozy, lo-fi and crackley sounds that his home city might share with the neighbourhoods of LA. Sultry rhodes and summery vibes shine through in "Stormy Monday" and the title track, with more euphoric, beat centric and experimental funk gettin' down in "Reality Sandwich" and "Cant U C". With an additional downtempo jamsto boot in "Oofie", Yung.Raj's soundworld ain't dead but kickin'.
Review: Client_03 appears to be a new act, but as Hope Repeater is out on Fracture & Neptune's label, it's clear that the quality level will be high. The title track is a hypnotic stepper that resounds to lithe rhythms and layered, atmospheric synths."1nce Again" sees Client_03 pick up the pace with a clanging metallic bass, while "Interest Reset" is an acid-led affair that rides a steel-plated rhythm. It's only on the title track that Client_03 reaches a drum'n'bass tempo, but by this stage the swirling acid and niggling rhythm will have mesmerised even the most exacting audience.
Review: For many years now, TSVI has been putting on a fantastic showcase for the more experimental areas of electronic dance music. This latest selection sees him join up once again with Nervous Horizon for six sizzling originals. We begin with 'Modulatrum', a powerful roller, focussing on pulsating drums and eerie synthesizer flutters, followed by the almost moombahton style drum chops of 'Sospiro Sospirando', already adding some serious variation. Next up we take a dungeon-ready twist as the powerful drum pulses and reverberated arrangements of the title track 'Sogno' deliver a system-shattering punch, before the minimal, percussive-lead crunches of 'Disturbo' wade into view. The two collaborations then arrive in style as Randomer first unleashes a gnarly run of tripletted, dancehall style rhythms on 'Reflex', before we round off with the twisted electronic distortion and half-time arrangements of 'Compos Mentis' alongside Seven Orbits. Amazing work all around.
Review: The Seven Four Two team are known for their creative dives into the numerous different realms that breakbeat covers, with today's drop from Acid Man being another fantastic addition to their already impressive catalogue. We begin with the super acidic bass rolls and nostalgic breaksy drum sampling of 'Are You Ready', followed by the more engulfing sub bass structures and delicate rhythms of 'Network'. To follow, we are taken to cloud nine with the airy pad textures and industrial breakbeat slicing of 'The Manifesto', before those tasty acidic textures make their way to the forefront again with when hell of a closer in 'Frequency Modulation'.
Review: Metalheadz's march towards twenty five years continues, as does their revisitation and exploration of back catalogue classics, with a twist. Episode number three takes the furious sounds of Kaotic Chemistry's 'Drum Trip' and 'Jupiter' and reworks them, with production courtesy of Detboi, Madcap, Wheeler and Kaotic Chemistry themselves. Madcap's take on 'Drum Trip' is clean and precise, with a rolling drum break that builds through a gorgeous reece line for an instantly classic sound, one that's tied with the Metalheadz aesthetic both past and present. Detboi makes two contributions, and it's his Low Ends and Amens take on 'Drum Trip' that impresses most, with the rhythmic diversity he's become known for on full display, and Detboi sprints through downtempo breaks, stuttering claps and rusty percussive textures in his quest to create something with moodiness at its core. Finally, Kaotic Chemistry themselves turn 'Jupiter' into a fractious version of its former self, one which perfectly straddles the divide between jungle experimentalism and modern toughness. Seminal.
Review: The Shall Not Fade team have assembled something pretty special here as OTIK delivers five tracks of stunning soundscaping ability, kicking off with the beautiful arpeggio stutters and glistening vocal flexes of 'Night Visions'. From here, the title track 'Zero-Sum Game' unleashes some vibrant percussive lines atop pounding sub layers, before the soothing sitar action of 'Silhouetta' slides into play. The pace then quickens significantly with the shuffling rhythms of 'Falling Forward', with 'Neuron Blossom' providing the perfect outro through some icy harmonic mastery.
Review: Now many have guessed that this one has been in the works for a while, but that makes us no less excited to unveil this tasty new album projct from J:Kenzo, who returns to his home imprint of Artikal Music for 'Taygeta Code'. From start to finish, the album is a true exploration into electronic music, primarily of course focussed around 140BPM. It's got bass pressure on 'Desired State', it's got acidic originality on 'Hoodwinked', it's even got a weighty guest vocal from the legendary Flowdan who returns on Kenzo's Darkside VIP mix of 'Like A Hawk'. This is an excellent showcasing of J:Kenzo's ability within a crowded dubstep scene.
Review: In its almost 10 year history Sneaker Social Club has brought us records from the likes of Horsepower Productions, Basic Rhythm, Filter Dredd, Appleblim to Bassclef, 2 Bad Mice and Seekersinternational. In 2020 Sneaker Social Club do their bit to add to the perpetual motion of what's sometimes known as the hardcore continuum via Evident Ware Pt 02. With the likes of Dead Man's Chest & Sonic's dusty and dubbed out "Sneaker Rhythm" included alongside find some future-bassline driven euphoria in Konx-Om-Pax's starry, vocal-laced "Shibuya Sunset (Hardcore mix)" it Anz's closing number that really takes us back to the early-'90s. More atmospheric, jungle vibes coming out of Horsepower Productions' "DREAMWITHINADREAM Pt 2", with some rough and tumble beats in SHD & Shed's "Drop", undeniable breaks and subbass from Soundbwoy Killah, with some touches of dub techno by Appleblim in "Limbic Riddim". New school, old school, always 'ardcore.
Review: As always with the fabulous sounds of 1Forty, they have treated us to another high profile compilation, with this being the sixth installment of their highly converted 'Bass' series. We kick off with the niche-inspired LFO rolls and crunchy drum switches of Palize & Killa P's sizzling original 'Duppy Them', which most certainly kick-starts the EP with a powerful slap. That old school flavour continues with 'Bap Bap' as J69 provides a super mucky instrumental for Breeza to provide some laid back party-lyricism. We move into two cracking instrumentals next as Burt Cope steps up firstly with the warbling wonders of 'Cellar', giving us a rave-ready feel, before the more tech-influenced bass processing of 'Pure' sees Badger have a fantastic 1Forty debut.
Review: A little known project of pioneering UKG producer Roska is his Bakongo alias, a project that up until Livity Sound's calling had released just the two records; one for Conch Records and another for Ramp Recordings sub-label Brainmath. With a focus here on metallic, subsonic and percussive club-styled drums, this 3 X 2 EP is all about beat and bounce. With distortion and phase action added to the gritty sequences of "3 X 2", things clear up somewhat in "Grainy" with its tailing synthlines and sparse, syncopated beats. Add some breathy vocal snippets and thunder drums to the dub techno of "Tribal Warrior" and you're left with a third percussion concussion in "Oww".
Review: Two Shell's debut record is an unusual mixture of sounds. Inspired by London's 2-step style of the late 90s and the more typical contemporary style of Livity, it sees them deliver a unique EP. On "Heart Piece" and "Contactless", the optimism of that late 90s scene seeps through with vocal snippets and a bubbling groove prevailing on the former and a deeper chord-heavy sound on the latter. In contrast, on "Run" the approach is markedly different, as a percussive stepping rhythm shows that the pair have an intuitive understanding of what works on modern dance floors, while "Sync-2020" is a deeper, brooding affair.
Review: The latest release from the Glaswegian imprint adds a further sheen of excellence in a year where Numbers has really knuckled down and concentrated on a schedule of multi faceted releases. Such has been the demand for Mosca's debut on the Numbers imprint, the London based producer cheekily took to touting advance DJ copies of Do Me Wrong via Facebook. Both tracks here are fully poised for the floor, priming a throwback Bassline / UK G swing dipped in a nowness from Mosca that's been evident on drops for Night Slugs and Fat City. Unusually, it's the B Side that's garnered the most attention, which is odd as "Done Me Wrong" is excellent, reigning in vintage female hollerations over clipping rhythms, swamping basslines and parping synths that pay homage to the classic "RIP Groove". Flipside, the more celebrated "Bax" is a dual assault on your senses, murky sub bass jabbing at your ribs, whilst the sweet cooing vocals whisper sweet nothings in your ears. All this is underpinned by a skipping mid 90s flex heavy on the neon stabs that has warehouse jam written all over it.
Review: The Dreamers are an Italian label based out in Turin, and their sound is one of the coolest around right now. Never afraid to switch thing up and fuse genres together in bright flashes of technicolour light, The Dreamers are experts at taking sounds you recognise and distorting into fresh textures, and Audio Gutter has accomplished precisely that with this single. 'Spooked' is a garage influenced halftime cut with oodles of space for the bassline to foment in, its percussion is tightly packed and the entire track stinks of proper UK urban dance music, the product of cross pollination from dubstep, garage, jungle and more. Unreal.
Review: There is always something weird and wonderful to look forward to when the Local Action team is in town. This latest drop from Baltra continues that experimental energy as we are gifted two very original creations. We begin with the super-colourful percussive arrangements and constantly expanding rhythmic designs of the title track 'Baltra', which deploys some serious carnival energy with it's incredibly well stacked up drum sections. This is a showstopper to say the least, which always happens to complete with a fabulous extended mix, once again showing just how valuable the Local Action imprint is to the world of underground dance music.
Review: In all honesty, we feel that the musical successes of Al Wootton have gone somewhat under the radar, with his consistently impressive productions always leaving us with a smile on our faces. This brand new four track collection alongside the team at Trule kicks off with some interesting percussive work on the vibrant sounding 'Baccata', before 'Alder' combines more fluttering drum designs with a steadily shifting sub-bass pattern below for a really eerie feel. Following this, 'Maenads' feels like the evolution of the previous track with a lot of similar rhythmic patterns being deployed, this time with an overall punchier feel, before slowing the pace significantly on 'Ashe', a downtempo display of introspective calm to round us off in style.
Review: On 2012's Luxury Problems, Andy Stott delivered his most rewarding work yet - an impeccable exploration of the twin attractions of lightness and darkness that was near impossible to pigeonhole. Faith In Strangers, that album's belated follow-up, is similarly minded. Peppered with audible references to his many inspirations - field recordings, found sounds, dub techno, IDM, ambient, post-dubstep and trip-hop, in particular - it's a set that quietly drifts between sludgy dreaminess and pin-sharp late night horror. As such, it's an inspired set, with Stott's use of odd instrumentation and the evocative vocals of Alison Skidmore significantly enhancing the experience.
Review: The London-based Modern Ruin Records label arrives with a mission statement to showcase some of the most talented and innovative artists making moves on the juke and footwork scenes around the world, and the label's first EP gets things off to an incredibly strong start. Pawn kicks off with "Do U", a dancefloor destroyer melding footwork textures with punishing D&B-influenced rhythms and bass, while The Renegades' "The Warmup" offers a jazzier number which places deft amen breaks throughout. On the flip, Sideswipe's "Be With U" offers a gospel-influenced, funky take on footwork with its vintage sample, but it's Vorres' "One Of These Old Days" that takes the crown, with delicate 808 rhythms fluttering across more soulful vocals. Essential stuff from a label to watch.
Review: It's been a long wait but like an epic trilogy we thought we were never going to get, Andy Stott delivers a third record related to the ground breaking Passed Me By and We Stay Together EPs. Nothing stops the rolling onward lurch of "Versi" with "Take" a sort of houseir counterpart in rhythm that's given huge bassline pulse of Intelecto reminiscence. Epic Modern Love Sounds. Jus like in 2011, all reference points of genres heard here are contorted, abstracted and blown up to a full scale of subsonic fidelity. Tracks like "0L9" transmute house to a whole new degree of sunken deepness, while amid light footwork numbers and the harmonics in "Promises" and throughout "It Should Be Us", the record is a huge hello for dub music, club culture, tempos and convention.