Alphaze is a 24 year old drum 'n' bass DJ/producer from Southend-On-Sea, who has released on top labels like Subway Soundz, Shadow Demon Records, Eternal Muzic and Bulletproof Records. He returns to Jumped Up here to follow up the impressive Murders EP from a few months ago with "Downtown" which starts off with an addictive soul/jazz sample before throwing down the jump-up style. Equally set on the main room dancefloor is the wonky roller up next by Brad from Nuneaton aka Infrared, titled "Remember That".
Serious collab business as Simon Splice returns to his Exile alias for two big old bruisers on DJ Hybrid's Audio Addict. 'Rattle Speaker' sees him linking with the ubiquitous Manchester MC, man like Madrush for a stripped back and spiky thumper that's all gritty and growling. Deeper again we slurp down some premium uncut jungle juice as Exile links with the bossman DJ Hybrid for 'Junglist Sound'. Expect nothing but high grade bubbly subs and breezy detuned synth tones. Vibes for miles.
Boom: slapping us into the new year with some timeless foundation flavours, Ray Keith's Dubplate Dread welcomes Traumatize with this epic slab of rave goodies. 'Save Yourself' is a great lesson in pad work as most of the track is all about creating the tension and atmosphere before going in HAM on the groove when necessary. 'S3 Funk' is a classic piece of funk work with an O-Jay's style bassline and cheeky rave elements. 'Yard Plan' brings us kicking and punching into the future on a dancehall powered tank and a whole bucket of bassline crazies while 'The Witness' melts down elements of jungle and jump-up, bringing them together with eastern strings and pure kung-fu energy. Chop off the old block, wheel up and come again.
Fire in the hole! Deep In The Jungle unleash more treats from their forthcoming 'Deep In The Jungle Anthems 8' collection from a range of talented UK souls. Charlie B kicks off the sampler with the aptly titled 'Rave Up', a high energy breaks-focused banger with all ravey flavours you'd expect from such a romp. Sikka takes us much deeper with the ice cold 'Streaks & Blurs' where big pads keep things tense and crisp throughout before Bristol's Murder Most Foul shuts down the EP with a bright and springy jam that packs one helluva riff ear worm on the breakdown. Certified anthems in the making.
Warning warning warning! DJ Hazard's out on the prowl with a big bag of bassline sweeties and he's not taking no for an answer. 'Stranger Danger' slays all nonces in a 20km radius thanks to its boa constrictor bassline that writhes along all slug like and menacing before squeezing the life out of you while 'Candy Bass' keeps things sweet with a deeper bassline that purrs like Michael Knight's car Kit, giving us plenty of space to focus on those rattling drums. Yummy.
Wrapping up a serious year of heat, Hype's Playaz look back over their many releases of 2021 and brings them altogether in one place for those who missed out on the label's many big bruisers, bumpers and thumpers. Ranging from Xtrah's trippy, leftfield 'Droplets' to straight-up face-melters like Spaow's 'Amd Planet' with a whole range of fire in between from some of the label's (and the scene's) biggest and most respected names like Taxman, Voltage, Limited, Dunk and of course the mighty DJ Hazard, it's a pretty forthright reminder of just how much clout and musical muscle the longstanding label has - even when half the year was spent with the clubs and raves closed. Playaz ain't playing around!
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.