From the holy to the moly with all levels of WTF and crikey along the way; Gradient have just levelled up with this turbo-charged VA that celebrates how exciting the new generation of drum & bass is right now. So many talents, not enough time or space to list; just press play, dig deep and you'll find untold bangers for days. From Harley D to Warhead to Amplify via Nick The Lot, Jenks, Scurrow, Flint, Fanatics and the bossman Metal Work, this is a huge collection that's right on the cutting edge of the club D&B sound. Fusing elements of jump-up, tech and good old fashioned dancefloor bangers, these are the sturdiest foundations from which future careers will be built on.
Catch us up, catch us in, let us begin; StillZ is on Pick The Lock and he's laid down so many disgusting flavours it's a sin. Highlights across this stinky six pack include the opening grizzler 'Vibe Catcher' (with kindred spirit Metal Work), the tense groans and scratches of 'Cold Caller' and the euphoric tease of the build before hurtling into classic harmonic mid 2000 style hookage on 'Send The Details'. Complete with a collab with Master Error, it's an epic spread that provides for all chapters of the night. Catch you on the flip side.
If you count his albums as Spectrasoul and his debut LP as Workforce ('Late Night Soundtrack') then this is Jack Stevens' fifth artist album. But in some ways it's more like a debut album as it's definitely his most considered and sculpted body of work. Featuring ongoing themes and samples of consciousness and the trippy sax textures of Leroy Horns, the album is able to explore the vast, sprawling D&B vista while remaining consistent. Working like a set or journey that's fully playable on the dancefloor yet whisks you into a unique universe, very few drum & bass albums dig as deep or are as articulated as well as this. Fifth album or debut - it's definitely his best, which is saying something.
Brand new artist name Western Curriculum arrives on DJ Hybrid's Audio Addict with four slabs of total bassline dynamite. Each one flexing a different party flavour, we slide and glide across the spectrum as this mysterious artist takes us from the ragga-flecked 'Chatter' (with Mad Sam) to the AudioPorn style bassline growls on 'Immortality' to the stark drama and tension of 'Chemical Warfare' all the way to the venomous stepper 'Trust Issues'. Nuff to chat about here.
It's been a busy old month for man like Vital as he's appeared on Invicta, Murky, Drum Lab, Lickwood & Gunshot and NWS Digital in the last two months alone... Now he crashes down into the Dutty Bass HQ with three total steamrollers. 'The Chosen One' says it all - a Benny L style slap-about with an array of bass textures to chow down on. It's backed by more fire flavours; 'Killa' is a grizzler that shoots first and asks questions later while 'Time Lapse' plucks the harp strings to lure you in before hitting you hard with alien bassline spasms and cosmic flurries. Choo choo choose this!
Exactly a year after the inaugural volume, NC-17 drops the third part of his immense 'Most Violent Year' series. One of the most prolific yet intensely considered bodies of work Dispatch have ever released, each album has gone in on the details and celebrated the whole span of D&B generations while remaining fully future-focused. This collection might well be the most wide-armed as the Canadian artist flips between vibes like the technoid Renegade fire of 'Blood Warden' to the grungier bassline stink of 'Punk Drunk Love' within the first two tracks. Complete with collaborations with the likes of John Rolodex, Exile, Philth and Logam and explorations ranging from Loxy-style percussive grizzlers ('Wolfen') to the wide-armed swagger of 'Romeo Is Bleeding', NC-17 has completed a unique truly special trilogy right here.
About Drum And Bass: The history of D&B is a history of fusion. Born out of London's melting pot in the early 1990s, D&B represented the next evolution of jungle music, itself an early amalgam of dub, reggae and hip-hop. The divide has always been blurred, however, and no true fan would ever proclaim jungle and D&B to be mutually exclusive. After all, Origin Unknown's 'Valley of the Shadows', a seminal D&B track by Andy C and Ant Miles, has a distinctly jungle flavour yet crosses over into more recognisable D&B with an effortless elegance. Whether it's jungle at 170bpm or rolling drums at 175bpm, this is the period in which the genre came to be characterised by an unmatched level of speed and intensity, with breaks all over the shop and a deep commitment to pulsating basslines. It is called Drum and Bass, after all.
It's this historical basis that sees the genre now reaching possibly an epoch in its popularity, diversity and ingenuity. Innumerable labels are releasing an uncountable blend of tones and moods for an ever-wider audience, from the attitude-packed jump-up of Serum and Benny L, all the way through to the halftime of Ivy Lab and the Neurofunk of Eatbrain and Blackout. A now truly global phenomenon, the youngsters in the scene, artists like Klinical and Koherent, are touring the world earlier in their careers than their predecessors and they're spreading the genre as they go. When you catch the infectious enthusiasm for speed and adrenaline you never lose it, and it’s this unique ability to get people moving and smiling that makes D&B so damn good.