Review: Fun loving Party Breaks and Beats label Bomb Strikes serve up a retrospective collection curated by label bosses Mooqee and Beatvandals. With 31 full-length cuts plus a one-hour DJ mix, there's no faulting the VFM as we move through breaks, funk, hip-hop and the occasional gnarlier nugget. Standouts include Andy Cooper & The Allergies' rework of Run DMC's 'Mary Mary' and Beatvandals & A Skilz's 2007 cut 'Sunshine', which mashes up Roy Ayers and Indeep. But the one we keeping back to is Mooqee's 'Supacat Police' (2006), which makes devastating, ragga-fied use of chunks from a certain KRS-One classic that we won't insult your intelligence by naming!
Review: This six-tracker from Lis Sarroca opens with the classic Peech Boys "come with me, tonight's the night" vocal sample that Altern-8 used on 'Activ-8', making clear from the outset the strong appreciation of dance music history that's evidenced throughout the Barcelonian producer's canon. Tracks here range from the discofied 'Hi Montana' to the fierce, driving acid of 'La Neta', via the dreamy small-hours deepness of 'AX' and the more accessible, peaktime vibes of 'Round & Round', but whatever house style Ms Sarroca turns her hand to, the production's always polished and Da Funk is always in full effect.
Review: Following fine outings from Fort Knox Five, the Allergies, Smoove and Marc Hype, amongst others, Bomb Strikes' reliable Funk N' Beats compilation series returns with rising star X-Ray Ted at the controls. In keeping with the series' heavyweight, funk-fuelled style, the Bristol-based DJ and beat-maker has gathered together a killer collection of soul, hip-hop and funk club cuts, with a smattering of more laidback numbers to keep things fresh. Highlights are plentiful throughout, with our picks including the boom-bap brilliance is Aldo Vanucci's tidy remix of 'All Down' by Mr Doris and D-Funk, the dancefloor jazz heaviness of Nostalgia 77's 'Changes', the cut-and-paste craziness of Double Dee & Steinski's 'Jazz' and the disco-funk masterclass that is X-Ray Ted's own 'Party Time'.
Review: Some excellent all-star action here, as Amberoom (AKA Manuel Tur and Adrian Hoffman) join forces with scene stalwart Blakkat and LA artist Babygirl for a first joint single on Crosstown Rebels. In its' original form, 'Forces of Nature' is attractive and intoxicating in original measure, with soulful lead vocals riding bubbly synthesizer lines, undulating synth-bass and a stripped-back rhythm track. The headline remixes come from Radio Slave, who delivers two 'New Age of Love' reworks. The first is dreamy and loved-up, delivering a 21st century update on the funky breakbeat house sound of the early '90s, while the second is a hip-hop tempo take that's every bit as alluring. To complete the EP, Blakkat and Lucas Forta re-invent 'Forces of Nature' as a deep, Latin-tinged chunk of jazz-house hedonism.
Review: Discobeta bring us two very solid nu-funk workouts that are served up in a total of seven mixes to suit various tastes. 'Down The Block' itself foregrounds the classic 1979 Spoonie G "one for treble, two for the time" sample (as used by Grandmaster Flash on 'Adventures...' a few years later), and comes with re-rubs from Fort Knox Five (pacier and jazz-tastic) and Ross Go (cut-ups and scratches galore). As for 'Yoobie Doo', the first three rubs are mostly aimed at hip-hop/funk-hop floors, but if wigged-out funk with a hint of jazz is your bag, head straight for the Pecoe Remix - it's a killer.
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: Matt Edwards departs from the script for his latest Radio Slave material. Taking influence from old school hardcore and a cut and paste production approach, on "Stay Out.." he delivers twitchy, good-time break beats that are full of hip-hop and soulful vocal samples. It's quite a departure for the creator of linear techno tracks like "Grindhouse" and "Another Club". On "Wait A Minute", Edwards returns to the techno realm; while still containing a repetitive vocal sample that intones the track's title, the rattling percussion, tough kicks and driving rhythm all come together to form a deadly effective big room techno track.
Review: The Aphrodite Recordings crew are back it once again, this one delivering one last bomb shell to put an end to 2020 with. They welcome in A-Zone alongside Aphrodite and a host of incredible remixers for 'Calling The People', a big room breakbeat epic, jam packed with good energies and intense bassweight. We kick off with the Freestylers 'SoundClash' remix, pushing pulsating subs and super rhythmic drum shakes, before Bladerunner sends the track to the jungle jungle chopper, unleashing high energy breaksy action alongside more powerful bass expressions. Following this, the '2020 Jungle' mix gives us a much more updated and high energy version of the original, which also gets a full re-record. The release also features a dub mix for the Freestylers rework, alongside instrumental and 170bpm remixes of the jungle recreation. Wonderful stuff all around!
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: It's a great sign of the state of music when the tenth installment of Tru Funk's Tasty Beats series, which normally features about five tunes, boasts 21 fresh new cuts! It's a veritable feast of party mash-up bangers, with something for everyone. Highlights include the funky Khia/Snoop blend of "Gangsta Lick", the cut-up electro-funk of "Golden Ass" and the hands-in-the-air Stevie Wonder madness of "Party Like We Do".
Review: Chopshop mark the completion of their first decade in the game with this 17-track compilation of funk n' breaks nuggets from the label vaults. Groove Armada and Situation both feature, but generally the emphasis is on less well-known names, who serve up a mixture of cheeky bootlegs, re-edits and original material. Dave Gerrard samples the Average White Band on 'Drop The Pieces' and George Kelly & DJ S's 'Movin' To The Groovin' takes Wild Cherry to the breakbeat party, but the majority of the tracks draw on less obvious sources of inspiration, with standouts including the big beat/lounge-y vibes of Senior Citizens' 'What A Body' and the ghetto disco groove of Appo's 'Getaway'.
Review: Alexander Lay-Far is undoubtedly one of the most talented house producers of his generation: an artist whose love of expansive instrumentation is matched by a keen sense of what works on the dancefloor. His first outing on Marcel Vogel's Lumberjacks in Hell imprint is typically impressive, though the artist's liberal use of hip-house style breakbeats is a surprise. This being Lay-Far, they come laden with intricate musical details on both 'Good Thing' (think saucer-eyed female vocal snippets, deep sub-bass and poignant piano motifs) and 'Up We Go' (dusty jazz piano, funky jazz-funk bass and colourful chords). Elsewhere, 'Heavy' is a rave-ready fusion of broken beat and breaks rich in old school stabs, while closing cut 'My Reflection' adds US garage swing and UKG bass to jaunty jazz-house musicality.
Review: The Scotch Bonnet team are known for their fantastic innovation within numerous different areas of sound, headed up by the Mungos Hi Fi team. This latest combination sees the likes of Gardna & Catching Cairo join forces with the Glaswegian sound system champions for a wavy new single entitled 'Back In The Dayz'. It's an interesting blend of influences as the hardcore-infused production provides the backdrop over which Gardna & Catching Cairo are able to deliver a nostalgia inducing blend of lyrical content and old school flows. It's a pleasing one for sure!
Review: A confirmed presence within the landscape of UK dance music for the best part of 15 years, Hypercolour has cultivated its own constellation of artists while becoming a port of call for those hitting their peak within pseudo-mainstream house music. It's Patterns compilation series has always offered rare cuts and remixes from its roster of artists and from the get go here a lesser known Zodiac impresses out of the blocks with a banging dub techno joint "GhostNet". Sebastian Mullaert & Boelja go hardcore Swedish bleeptronic in "Who Are You Really?" with FRAK also included with an old school and lo-fi 909 workout "Berga Magic". Roman Flugel hits a sweetspot as usual next to some lowly jackin tracks by London Modular Alliance, a vocal breakbeat number of classical drum and bass refrain by Mathew Herbert to some tongue cheek rave by Luke Vibert and much much more! Approved.
Review: Honkey Phonk founder Jayl Funk outta Germany brings his cards to the table with this Four Aces EP, turning to disco as an inspiration for the most part with a sweet touch of samba in "Together". With a rocksteady groove and blaxploitation funk backing the horns, vocals and extra piano rolls of "Feel The Heat", it's the filtered strings of life and roller disco decadence of "Something" that accompanies the '80s-pop elements, spaced-out vocoders, and undeniable dancefloor vibe of "Fantastic Sunshine". Four of a kind.
Review: Welsh deep house hero Harrison BDP is back on London's Phonica with this nifty new four tracker. The Easy Tiger EP is yet another impressively crafted release, as the label best described themselves, packed full of his idiosyncratic take on several styles. Serving up some emotive late night mood music on the title track, which is in that classic Stateside '90s style, to the undeniable UK flavour of "RIP Ralph" with its snappy broken beats and garage motifs. He switches gears on "One For The Club" up next, a glacial and cavernous expression in dub-infused tech house, before delving deep into the afterhours on the heady minimal house groove of "Snake In The Grass".
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: Next up from the Bona Fido camp, we find ourselves indulging in a very tasty creation indeed, as they welcome back the sounds of Bush Doctors for a wicked new pair of remixes for 'The Spell'. We begin firstly with Jem Stone's recreation, as we are greeted by a hard hitting link up of grizzly drum textures and delicate percussive plucks, with a steadily progressing compositional feel woven throughout. We are also given the Rennie Pilgrem remix, which takes a much more stripped back approach, focussing on drifting chord progressions and subtle vocal additions, all adding the overall feel of this vibrant two tracker.
Review: Bringing a select bevvy of the best Bombstrikes tracks the label has released in 2020, it's enjoyed an explosive year of tunes from Krafty Kuts, Jet Boot Jack, Lack Jemmon, Shaka Loves You and more! They feature here with "Blow Your Whistle", a funked-out "Let's Move" and the lowdown swing-track "I'm A Boss". Other highlights include the Cypress Hill style hip house track "Stir It Up Sister (feat K MI & KDS)" to Prosper & Stabfinger's squelchy, space bubble cruise down mainstreet: "Down In The Basement (feat Awoke)". With some tear-out bass, horns and synths coming out of Ninjulas' "You Know I Like It", check out some lo-fi and slamming funk, disco and house from X-Ray Ted's "On The Floor'' alongside The Nice Guys' Godzilla-themes "Turn It Out" and Jet Boot Jack's strings in "Straight To My Head". Boom!
Review: As always with the Breakbeat Paradise team, we are in for one hell of a ride with this spicy new selection, exploring a selection of high intensity remixes for the latest Mined & Forrest project. We begin with a raucous intro from Jack Lemmon, who gives 'Funk Toxic' a lick of paint, followed by BadboE's funkadelic rethink of 'Gimme The Best'. Next, Beat Le Juice sends 'Rock It' to the blender with a bass heavy sizzler of an overhaul, followed closely by both B-Side's oldschool chop of 'There It Is' and Mr Bristow's, post D&B recreation of 'Fire Back'. Finally, Mined & Forrest get busy themselves with an explosive VIP mix of 'Coming Through', putting a final glisten on a fantastic body of work.
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: From a listener's perspective, the most exciting thing about Sneaker Social Club's constantly evolving catalogue is that you genuinely don't know what's likely to arrive next. This latest four tracker from Mani Festo is another prime example of that, with the first track 'Close Proximity' being a booming fusion of housey drumwork and breaksy percussion. Next, the excellent sample work of 'Shunt' sees us engage with sharpened breaksy drum sounds and eerie pad textures above, before the catchy melodic plucks and bouncing rhythms of 'Eraser' takes us down a different direction. FInally, the jungle-inspired arrangements and beatskips of 'Hyperion' gives us possibly the most relatable creation on the project, tying things up nicely!
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: The Cuttin' It Fine team seem to be so damn consistent when it comes to selecting futuristic, forward-thinking breakbeat originals, a theme continued by Bright Idea here with this spicy four-track selection. We begin with the aquatic yet tight percussive crunches and uplifting melodic structures of 'Good Good', before the moogs take a leading role in 'Listen Up', a hip-twisting display of groovy fun. From here we continue our listening journey into 'Hold It Down', which takes a much more scattered, almost hip-hop like approach to it's drums, topped of with glittering funk-like synth leads, before 'Break It Down' delivers the most heavy-hitting original of the bunch, combining breathy drums with crunchy bass synths below. This makes for a great long-play in the sun.
Review: Now this most certainly is a treat as we jump into a fiery new compilation and mix project from the Hot Cakes team, who invite the sounds of Lady Waks inside for a feature length exploration into breaks and bass music. It's a truly all star cast for this one as we dive into original creations from the likes of Stanton Warriors, Jay Robinson, Them&Us, Benny Page, Deeklike & Ed Solo, Origin8 & Propa, alongside many many more. Featuring fifty-nine outstanding breakbeat epics alongside a full length studio mix from Lady Waks, this is a perfect showcasing of the breaks and D&B sound in 2021, with highlights including the smooth soundscaping of Firestar Soundsystem's 'Pressure', the intense vocal pressure of 'Trigger' from Phibes and of course the nostalgic drum rolls of 'Boom Baby' from Slip 187 & Rax. Incredible stuff!
Review: The fourth installment on Objekt's self-titled label has been one of the most eagerly awaited releases of 2017. So is it worth the wait? "Needle & Thread" is an atmospheric, mesmerizing stepper, with the UK producer's lithe, snappy drums underpinning swirling synths, hallucinogenic keyboard squiggles and deft filter action. However, "Theme from Q" is the track that has been praised by all. A tribute to the now shut Basement Q club, it sees TJ Hertz set a dinky house keyboard line to hiccuping drums, pressure cooker builds and a meaty bass to create the most distinctive break beat techno track since Kevin Saunderson's Reese project. On this rare occasion, the hype has been justified.
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: 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: Following searing drops from the likes of Borai and Tamoshi, Vivid come correct once more with this blistering EP from Yosh. You may have spotted Yosh elsewhere, such as with the formidable One More Night EP for Timeisnow, but now they're back on familiar ground for more of that head-tweaking breakbeat science. There are more ragged ructions like lead track 'Destruction', and dreamier fare such as the blissful 'The Source', but throughout it's the diversity in drum palettes and needlepoint editing skills that make Yosh's tracks so vibrant and deadly. Miss this at your peril.