Review: Like some kind of Human Traffic soundtrack to 2020, Hospital's annual House Party VA has arrived. Fresh for a summer of social distancing, house parties and clandestine diversions, it's a soundtrack that will get any D&B head through the lockdown status, BBQs permitted. Top and tailed by the poppy, liquid, sample based and acoustic sessions of both Villem & Leo Wood's "We Had A Sing" and Whiney's "Better With You", find playful aggro in MC LowQui's "Middle Finger" to some hyper fresh material in Degs' "Pressure Cooker". Aggy half time once more in tracks like "Saturn's Strings" with gnarly basslines in Voltage's "The Prophet" and Logistic's "Playing With Fire" bringing the heat.
Review: Bristol's baddest drum & bass crew are back on the road and back releasing fiercely naughty music that's just packed to the rafters with urban-edged attitude. DJ Gaw has been honing his craft for some time and the work put in is evident in Hand Sign, five-tracker that starts off with a bang and doesn't let up for one second. 'Signal' is superb, as Gaw samples the great David Rodigan, creating a wicked ambience which is then cut through by sharp-edged breaks and bouncing, wobbly stabs. The jungle destruction continues on 'Hand Sign', Joe Burn lays down the bars on 'Hyper' and Disrupta finishes the job with a feature on the superly gruff 'Rasta'.
Review: Conrad Subs has been teasing his next album over the last few weeks and finally it's here, courtesy of Nuusic, and boy what an LP it has turned out to be. Conrad Subs is very confident when it comes to constructing break beats and so it should come as no suprise that they make up a large part of Tides, to excellent effect. 'On a 90s Tip' is an especially potent track, with that classic rave piano sound driving an inch-perfect set of drums and a rolling reece bass. 'Obese' is yet more spectacular stepping sonics, whilst 'Little Vibey Thing' blends R&B vocal infuences with juddering drums and punchy, unforgetablly catchy bass stabs. It's a raw, gritty album and not one to be missed.
SoundBwoy Weaponry (feat Daddy G + Natty D - Crossy remix) - (5:14) 175 BPM
Have Some Fun (feat Megatron - Jinx remix) - (5:38) 175 BPM
Review: Coming to the table with their potent blend of modern drum & bass sounds and ragga vocal vibes are South Central Recordings, who have roped in a slew of acts to remix K Jah's singles 'SoundBwoy Weaponry' and 'Have Some Fun'. The first, from Crossy, features Natty D and Daddy G, whose vocal overlays sound extra menacing above the bed of fluctuating bassline textures that Crossy has constructed, their joint talents coming together to make a moody club banger. The flip is in a similar style and also features bad boy vocals, this time Crossy opting for a number of breaks-based interludes that spice things up drum wise and make the roll outs that more tantalising. Excellent effort.
Review: A disruptor on the drum and bass scenes for a few years now Hexa makes his way to Pick N Mix, a label with a storied discography that's getting bigger by the month! Having released with other labels like Audio Addict and most recently with a contribution to Dilate Recordings, Hexa's swung minimal style surfaces in mini LP form. Drawing from woozy Wu-Tang-esque samples in between liquid rhythms, heavier bass and steppy percussions sections, you'' find that in tracks like "Vicious Cycle", "The Manchu", "The Box" and "Train" - all tips! "On Guard" introduces a heavy rave element with UKG vocal stabs alongside the bassline driven "Absence of Light". Top pick.
Review: It's mid 2020 and we're all feeling a little distressed right now. Nothing to do with the current world situation, we're just feeling "Distressed" because it's such a banging EP. Jando's first big EP for Eternal, naturally he's sweeping us off our feet at every musical opportunity. Highlights include the skittering drums and big paranoid groans of "Shook" the intense euphoria and gully drop of "Distressed" and the eerie tones of the finale "Vigilant". This ain't no time for calming down.
Review: Following the slabs of drum and bass Dreadnaught has released in "Rig Killer" and tracks that made their way to compilations for labels like BYTHEPRODUCER, Virtuous and Within The Woods - Nasty Piece Of Work marks the producer's full debut. Issued by Sub-liminal Recordings out of the UK, Dreadnaught weighs in on the bass, inflicting numbers like "Villian" with murderous dubs vibes that hit the spot alongside subtle tips of UKG buried within the dub of "No Love" and bass of ""Syndicate". Crackly ambient and textural atmospheres float like a dream underneath the jungle rhythms of "Drugs" with stepping rhythms and razor distortion tearing at the tweeters in "Overtime". Straight up street poetry in Dreadnaught's "Blazing The Fire" remix too.
Review: If you love expertly made drums, this will be the EP for you and although the basses are potently heavy, they rest on a foundation of percussion that's just pure vibes. It comes from Parallel on Pick N Mix, one of the best new age jump up labels, and it's a six tracker of devastating proportions. 'Man of Many Skill' is a proper roller, a track packed with sheer guts, as a movie sample spreads out above a direct, pummelling bassline that finds its excellence in its own simplicity. 'Rockers' has a fantastically infectious drum line that bursts with movement, while title tune 'Dream' has wide synth lines and an edge-of-the-seat, stepping drum line. Pitch perfect.
Review: Drippy, trippy, slippy sounds from man like Kontakt on Serial Killaz right here. Having previously appeared on the label's albums over the years, this is his biggest release on the label so far and it showcases his full-flavoured, high energy style in the broadest, baddest way. Instant impact is felt from the soaring industrial strength bass of "Disassemble" before we're hurled into a maze of total gully. "Planet 9" has a touch of trippiness to its melting textures, "Grave Yard Shift" is a minimal twisted piece strictly for the spaced out 6am weirdos and "Entropy" digs a fast track tunnel directly to the Devil's bedroom. Finally he closes the EP with "Witness This". A collab with Serial Killa Vital Elements, it closes the EP on the wonkiest, skankiest groove possible. Get slippy...
Review: Deep in the Jungle have emerged as arguably the biggest standout new jungle label in recent times and, off the back of their growing family of artists, they've decided to try and represent both where the label and the genre are in 2020. With artists from DJ Hybrid, to Conrad Subs and beyond, it's a statement of intent from the imprint. The music reflects that intention as well, with jungle sounds throughout but punctuated with that modern, sharper edge that we've come to expect from our newly revitalised scene. DJ Hybrid's 'On A Riddim' is the best example, as a punchy bass note streams out of a bedrock of clattering breaks, whilst we're seriously digging the rolling reece's of 'The Rhythm' by Conrad Subs. All of these are proper percys.
Oli Lewis & Teej - "Soundboy's Dead" - (4:26) 175 BPM
Review: Fresh from his appearance on the Weapons Of Choice Wild Bunch compilation, Oli Lewis steps up to Sub-Division with his biggest release to date: the six track heavy "Too Hot" EP. Instantly rattling cages with the ludicrous bassline on "Jeroboam", Oli gets to work on us limb by limb; "32 Papers" nibbles at all our digits as we pull furious gun fingers, "I'm Feeling High" eats us at the knees thanks to its wriggled-out bassline and endless twists and turns, "Too Hot" goes right for the jugular with its ominous hollow tones while "The Fog" scoops out our brain like ice cream with its high frequency bass groans. Last but not least we see Lewis team up with Teej for a full bodied feast on the slinky-but-sinister "Soundboy's Dead". Sizzling.
Review: Maji's Sweet Tooth brings the puddings two courses early with this massive collabo release as the label boss goes toe-to-toe with one of the label's most prolific and influential artists Nu Elementz for "Never Forget". Laced with the star-gazing emotions of vocalist Jessica Luck, it's a deeper cut than you'd expect from both acts, and it hits the spot with lingering poignancy and barbed soul. Complete with original and slightly heavier remix, this will go down as a pivotal release for the label in years to come. Always remember "Never Forget".
Review: Pick The Lock continue their ongoing rise to the top of new age jump-up with this single from Diskrete, who has come out the blocks with something seriously special that looks certain to be on repeat for some time. It's 'Harmless' that really shows things off, a bassface-inducingly spacious roller that's infectiously bouncy in the drums and disturbingly potent in its bass constructions. It's rolls, flicks, stabs and knifes its way through and it makes absolutely sure that you know about it. The flip is equally big, a bit steppier in the drums and even more aggressive in its punchiness. Wicked stuff.
Review: Biological Beats are a chemically proven entity for the production of venomous music and they're in full flight once more, this time acting as the agar jelly for Telekom, whose villainous sounds are up to their most criminal of behaviour. It's a four-tracker and it kicks off with 'Bong Juice', an already heinous substance made all the more dirty by this tune's tear-down approach to bassline construction and its peppered drum lines that sit high in the mix and roll out with abandon. The highlight, though, is 'Villains', as a wickedly funky sample works in the intro smoothly but then flips on the drop into a knife-edge display of stabbing, jump up energy. Big.
Review: Across the full spectrum of bass music, you will be hard pressed to find a more dedicated and hard working MC and brand owner as Bru-C. Alongside the fantastic response to his new single with Charlie P, he teams up with CruCast here to unveil four fantastic rethinks of last year's summer smash: 'You & I'. First up, Bou arrives on the scene for an atmospheric roller-inspired rethink, before Notion steps up for rave-rejuvenating 4x4 overhaul. From here, Shapes gets involved with a seriously nostalgic organ-led garage incarnation, with a very unexpected acoustic version of the track seeing us out in time to tick all the boxes. Excellent work as per from the Nottingham native.
Review: Landing just in time for his album on Low Down Deep, Vital takes the reigns for the second Criminal Minds edition on Liondub International. This time soundtrack the vicious work of one Pablo Escobar, Vital rifles us through his most fully-charged packets. "The Creeps" is a screamer, "Road Rage" is the aggy piece, "Alternatives" is the gritty sweaty comedown paranoia while "6 Million" takes a very well known sample and wraps it round a tree in a state of pure paste psychosis. Not to be sniffed at.
Review: Sex sells but Hex smells... And that's just the way we like it. A proper stinker merchant, straight out of Newcastle, he's been killing things on all the right labels in the last 12 months and this Subway Soundz release is no exception. Two tracks of pure grit, "Alive" asks all the questions while "Black Hole" gives all the answers. Subway Soundz smash it once again.
Review: Long time murker and Born On Road veteran Selecta J-Man teams up with some of the best MCs in the game for his "My Style" EP. Redders joins the fray first with the purring, slinky "My Style" that's wrought in tension and dark, sleek dynamics. Rider Shafique follows, bringing his own unique narrative and tones over a scratchy, gnarly riddim that's part jump-up, part blender, all nasty. Completing the triple threat comes David Boomah who brings a sense of triumph to "Stronger" before J-Man shuts us down with two crucial instrumentals; the dark rave energy of "Kill Sound" and the steppy grizzles of "Badboy". Ruff!
Review: Satl is the Polish producer who is now firmly established in the top echelons of liquid, especially so following his sumptuous outing on the North Quarter last year, and his tendency to opt for longer projects is seeing its next iteration on 4Lyfe, an eight-track extended player on Artificial Intelligence's Integral. It's yet more dreamy, wispy music and Satl is one step closer to mastering the art of element-light but vibes-heavy music, a potent style with a long legacy in AI themselves, as well as Lenzman or Calibre. 4Lyfe spans both light and dark, with the soaring vocal notes of 'So Much Better' touching heartstrings, whilst 'Yin' is a furiously stripped back rattler that gets things done on the darker end. Genre defining stuff.
Review: The influence of jump up's modern iteration is clear on this release from Helix and Substance, as the latter has crafted three disturbingly devastating tracks which rely not on an over-saturation of elements but a precise, stripped back arrangement. 'Scatta' is the highlight, as a wonderfully light snare drums clicks beneath its flurry of penetrating stabs and rhythmically tight percussive line. 'Real Murdah' is a foghorn banger with a powerful build-up, matched by an eerie vocal sample on the drop and the resulting explosion of low frequency energy. It's a pattern introduced by track one 'Stand Between', and we're certain it's set to be a winning formula.
Review: Pick any of the most exciting new-gen names in D&B and we bet our bottom dollar they're repping in this collection. A debut V/A from Hedex's By The Producer brand, Collected 1 is bulging with the seams with fresh talent: Hexa, Disrupta, Dreadnought, Stokka, Klay, Bruk, the list goes on. With cameos from more established Gs like Total Recall and Jam Thieves - and a deep, rumbling, futuristic contemporary mood and sound running throughout - this captures 2020 in drum & bass perfect. Agitated, dark, moody, but hungry for a better future... And not afraid to have a little fun. One of the best V/As we've seen in a long time. Get collecting.
Review: As ever, it looks like the legendary Shy FX is out to cause a ruckus in the raves as he unveils this brand new remix project, inviting some of the most talked about names in D&B to get involved with official remixes for for last year's 'Raggamuffin' project. From start to finish we are greeted with a pretty monumental roster, as we see the likes of The Sauce, SPY, Kings Of The Rollers, Breakage and more get involved. It's a mark of Shy FX's untouchable status within the scene to see just how well put together this project is, from the gnarly, rolling subs we find within Bou's remix of 'Warning' alongside Gappy Ranks, to the special acoustic version of Maverick Sabre's 'Call Me' collaboration. The whole selection just oozes class, with our highlight having to be Skeptical's on point remix of Balaclava, which see's him rework MC Spyda, D Double E and Frisco's catchy vocal runs into a dark & dangerous piece of dancefloor dynamite. Amazing work!
Review: Conrad Subs has been doing his thing for quite some time and ahead of his latest album, this time on Nuusic, he's dropping samplers, and this is the second. It's a superb effort as well and he's joined in said effort by Redders, an MC known for his work with Sam Binga and others, and who is on top form here. 'I Got Somethin' rolls out with a heavy dose of attitude, Redders' urban-tinged style dredging up touches of hip-hop as well as funk and dancehall and he sits expertly above Conrad's bouncing, moody beat. The flip is classic jungle and Conrad excels on this terrain, his penchant for breakbeats shining through amidst a stabby rendition of broken dancefloor pressure. This album is going to be immense.
Review: The next forthcoming release on Alix Perez's 1985 Music comes from French producers Visages, a quartet of considerable talent, and with this single featuring Laville they're trailing a soon-come four-tracker. If it's anything like About You this EP is set to be fantastic, as Visages absolutely nail 1985's signature style, with powerful sweeps of synthetic soul that roll over the top of one another amidst a flurry of tumbling hats and fluid ambience. Laville steals the show, his vocal coming in at the perfect time to inject this tune with an added dose of energy. Superb.
Late Night Connection (Benny L remix) - (4:57) 174 BPM
Review: The instantly recognisable sounds of NYC's T.R.A.C (one of the US's most important contributions to D&B MC culture) enjoy a reboot from man like Benny L. Part of a series of killer remixes from T.R.A.C's 2017 album Life In Motion, here we find Benny maintaining that bouncy, slightly ravey uplift of the original Serum collaboration while adding more of his signature south London grit and grumble. Savage, just like all Benny L joints.
Review: Do as he says, not as he does... Number one father for justice Voltage lays down the ground rules with this stinking slab of parental heaviness. You thought lockdown was bad? Just wait until you see what happens under your new poppa's regime: The groaning bassline on "Space Station" will ground you for a week, the pace, tension and growls of "Gyal Chat" will stop your pocket money for three months and the gruffness and ruffness of "Cold Air" will send you to bed with no tea every night for a fortnight. It's not all punishment and gunishment, though; "Spare You" (with MC Bassman) shows Voltage's kinder, softer fatherly side and he lets you drink cider and stay up till 3am watching horror films. Way to go dad-dad-daddio.
Review: Liondub are experts at blending the heritage of drum & bass with that of dancefloor and reggae music, and there are few better MCs for the job than Rider Shafique, whose CV covers both traditions and who comes seriously correct on this EP. It consists of four versions of a single tune and it's the original which really stands out, as 'Focus' moves expertly from stepping halftime-come-dancehall sounds into more jungle-flecked territory, all the time underpinned by subway kick drums and vibrant basslines. There's an instrumental version, and then JNGL rolls out the remix into a more recognisable 174 number. Excellent.
Review: Fresh D&B in the house courtesy of newcomer Jak! Having only previously appeared before on Welsh label Incurzion through a collaboration with Concept One, Jak's solo debut for Audio Addict brings with it two extra collabs with Nautika and bossman DJ Hybrid. Receiving some personalised cover art in the process, Jak opens with the skippy, almost fidget-touched, half-time rave number "Back Around". Deep atmospheres enter the void when the first drop hits in "Dubplate Pulse" (and "Spawner") with the humming edge of Jak's basslines turning into something of a roar in the ambient pastures of "The Lion". Bouncier dub and reggae vibes in "Bun It Up" too matched by "Obstruction" only to be stripped back for some extra jungle percussion to make its way to the front of the mix.
Review: Encrypted Sound haven't been around for that long and this is their fourth release, but the maturity is already evident in their selection and what better way to show that off than with a twelve-track VA LP. Joining the fray is a range of artists including Able,Teej and Toby Ross, the latter of whom has smashed it out the park with 'Sinister', a stripped back and infectiously bouncy tune that nonetheless hits beautifully hard, it's kick drum perfectly placed to add that extra lift off. Teej has been killing it on labels like Co-Lab recently and he does so once more again, with 'Erasure' resting on an inch-perfect snare drum that provides the base for its choppy main bass. Top work from the whole crew here.
Review: Heist's forever consistent Co-Lab invite Warhead and Teej over for a bit of musical mischief. Two of the most exciting new names to emerge from the underground in recent times, naturally they hit the spot with two link-up tracks and two solo originals. "Activate" packs a heavy punch with a bassline sludgier than quicksand mixed with treacle while "Eclipse" is a heads-down gritty one with an almost techno flavour to its bass warps and loopy percussion. Elsewhere Warhead goes full-on rudeboy with the savage "Rasclart" while Teej hurls us into a dank slimy-walled dungeon with "Osiris". If you can find a more on-point new-gen collabo this month we'd like to hear it.
Review: Dutty Bass never fail to deliver and right here they've surpassed themselves with these two bumpy treats from new artist Wrekka. Two sides, two vibes, two chances to knock people sideways: "Addict" warms up with shimmering housey synths before dropping into a nice toxic sludgy roll-out while "Badboy" takes a classic Cutty Ranks vocal and smashes the nan out of it. Wrekka by name, wrecker by nature.