Review: As ever with Moonshine Recordings, they have delivered us a seriously top notch selection as they unveil sixteen tracks of sweet reggae bliss. We have one of a line up on the table as we see names such as G Roots, Frenk Dublin, Blind Prophet, Adam Prescott and more throw us contributions as rootsy flavours are given a 2019 face lift. There are some clear standouts from this work, despite all sixteen tracks being absolute show stoppers, including 6Blocc & General Jah Mikey's system-ready stomper 'Too Rude' and the euphoric horn manoeuvres of 'Enchanted Dub' from Halcyonic, G Roots, Digid & Vale. The whole project is excellent, and we are super stoked to have it available here at Juno Download.
Review: It's been a while since we heard of such a match made in heaven as this as we see Manchester's Hypho touch down on the legendary 81 UK for four tracks off pure bass-driven class. We kick off with a potent collaboration with BeatBoss champion Rakjay, who delivers some wicked vocal leads on the moody 'Round Ere', followed by the eerie bass tonality of 'Yinliao'. Next, Rakjay returns again on vocal duty, bringing poetic twists above a fantastic arrangement of subtle sub expansions and rolling drumwork on 'Graft', which is chased up by the crunchy tech infused breaks of 'Module', rounding this one up in style.
Review: Manchester artist Hypho hooks up with fellow UK compatriot Boime for a double drop of heavy dubstepping vibes for Manuka. The record itself sounds like it comes from the deep, dark and cold confines of a disused powerplant, with the lead track fizzing with alien synths, atonal keys and kick drums replete with an uncanny assortment of distorted atmospheres to boot. Tribal atmospheres make their way into "Deform", a deadly alternative for the more serious and industrial ends of the night. Not to be missed alongside Hypho's most recent Round Ere three-track for Loefah's Swamp81 imprint. Serious shit.
Review: Moderat's third album, simply tagged as III for the purpose of continuity with their previous two albums on the Monkeytown imprint, took us by the scruff or necks when it was released earlier this year, and we knew it was only a matter of time before we'd see some remixes spring up off the back of it. However, this particular number isn't quite a remix, but an edit of a remix. Yes, very much in line with the label's improvisational vibe. Tech house specialist Solomun remoulds Siriusmo's remix of the track, now a sleek and DJ-ready house anthem with a progressive tone at its core, and drenched in poppy vocals to make it an instant hit beyond the ones in control of the decks. To cap it off, there's one more remix by NGHT DRPS, a jittery, pseudo house groove drenched in vocals of bittersweet nostalgia, along with the original mix of the tune, a Moderat signature-tune, and a live version for added effect. These guys can do no wrong.
Review: Jelly Bean Farm is a new label intent on delivering all kinds of bass and techno goodness to the world. They don't mess about either, beginning life with big, hefty compilations. This, one, Jelly Bean Farm - Exit, is no different: presenting 12 of the most forward-facing cuts around. Highlights include the moody synthwork and machine gun percussion of "Locate & Destroy" by Phrixus, the spacey tech meets drum frenzy of "Dat Dat" by Loss, the deep, minimal beats of "Turbine" by Henry Greenleaf and the alt-ghetto grooves of "Facile" by Kinsman. Dope sounds!
Review: Are crucial the most cutting edge sound in dubstep right about now? They certainly have to stake a claim as they unveil yet another fire indusing four track bundle, including recordings from the likes of TMSV, Van Dam, Causa, Sleeper and Opus. We begin our excavations of this one by looking into the shimmering sub work and moody synths of TMSV & Van Dam's 'Qanum Fodder', before falling into lethal bass rolls of Causa's 'Are We'. Following this, Sleeper comes through in storming form with the subtle beastings of 'Ginger Root', before Opus sends the dance into pandemonium with his super glitchy expanse in 'People'.
Review: Russian ragamuffinski Steppa Style bumps up to Totally Dubwise with the follow-up to 2014's still-toasty See The World. Once again it's a vibrant church that's all rooted by reggae and digidub cornerstones. From the rising skanks and gutsy harmonis of "Musical Murder" to the bouncy soundsystem-primed bass of "Ready We Ready" via the rougher rapid-fire flow of "Road", he sets the scene perfect for an immense jungle skank-out for the second half of the album: the savage spitfire feels of "Raggamuffinski", the Aphordite style jumps of "Rolling Stone" and the Chopstickesque party ragga jam "Step Aside" The vibey list goes on and on.
Review: Vaun's emotional, highly musical blend of bass music reaches a new high as he delivers an epic six-track opus on Mindstep. Coming on strong like fellow Bristolian countryman Phaeleh, he treads a fine line between dancefloor weight and life soundtracking future-minded soul. Highlights include the dreamy, star-gazing almost Massive Attack-like "Sidelines" with Sarah Zed, the smoky Soulectionesque spoken word pressure of "Knowledge" and the wondrous beatless beauty of "One Touch". Vaun's skills and creativity are becoming more and more apparent by the release. Highly recommended.
Review: Straight outta Shanghai, Swimful splashes down with an album sized bounty of beats. With heat picking up on both sides of the hemisphere, his Chinese wave grime fusion couldn't be more refreshing if it shoved you under a waterfall with a mouthful of extra strong mints. As teased with his recent remake of Wiley's classic "Shanghai", the whole set is paradoxically loaded with dense melodic layers (much of which contain traditional phrases, instruments and chords) and black holes of space. The result is a narrative that ebbs and flows from sublime beatless pastoral bliss ("Fisherman's Horizon") to loopy flute-blasting purple funk ("Atop") via sexy cosmic R&B circa 3016 ("Go!"). Lap it up.
Review: It's always an exciting prospect to open up a J-Shadow release, so when we saw him teaming up with the ever progressing team at Bun The Grid, we knew we were in for a treat. This project kicks off with the incredibly techy post-grime flavours of the title track 'Embers', laced with pulse energy and sharp drum switch ups from start to finish. This is then chased up with the blippy atmospheric designs of 'The Awakening' and the bubbling junglist rhythms of 'No Gravity', before we move into two absolutely corking remixes. First up, Danny Scrilla gets busy with a very intelligent rethink of 'Embers', followed by Etch's stunning overhaul of 'The Awakening'.
Review: Following his "Moonbeam Rider" single for Nina Tune, this new instrumental EP from Greg Feldwick's alias finds the UK producer straddling the gaps between bass music and broken beat/nu-jazz perfectly. The opening title tune is a slow and spacey delight, complete with slowly unfurling arpeggios and some truly unexpected static gaps. "Whirlpool" follows a similarly astral path, while the beatless and cinematic "Dragon Drums" and the Boards of Canada-esque "Mist" are both future classic Ninja Tune cuts.
Review: Emergent chameleons Letherette are making quite a splash following their initial appearances on Ho Tep and Brownswood, and they deliver their first EP for Ninja Tune with an assured tone to their hybrid sound. At times sounding positively housey and at others locked into a fractured kind of groove, the overwhelming feeling is one of savvy pop music that reaches for all the right kind of signifiers to hold weight with the underground without fearing to embrace song structures and brief moments of anthemic bombast. There is a largely downtempo feel to Featurette even when the tracks are a touch more lively, but it binds the EP together smartly to offer a cohesive group that appeal on many different levels.
Review: If you know anything about jungle and D&B, you'll know Boomah... Arguably one of the most distinctive vocals in the game, his harmonies are so warm and genuine they pretty much hug you as they fly out of the speakers. Here we find him at his most emphatic and eclectic, covering all bass bases in true style. Highlights include the sprightly summer roller "Spread A Little Love" the classic hardcore rave breaks "Forward Ever" and the gritty, metallic dubstep joint "Unstoppable", but to be honest this is best enjoyed as the full album it's written as: a shiny mirror reflecting the most exciting sounds of bass music's never-ending narrative.
Review: Ross Birchard has been such an omnipresent figure on modern electronic music as Hudson Mohawke it seems strange to think Lanterns is only his second album. A lot has happened in the world of Hud Mo in the six 6 years since his Warp issued debut set Butter (hello Kanye) and the 14 track Lanterns comes across as a more compelling and adventurous album from the Scottish producer. Featuring some interesting guest appearances (Anthony Hegarty, Irfane, Miguel, Ruckazoid, Jhene Aiko) it's clear Lanterns is being presented as a chance for Birchard to reach the next level, and packs in a whole load of musical ideas along the way.
Review: London's shadowy bass maestro Zomby lands on the above-the-line XL Recordings with 8 hybrid tunes, a blend of pure experimentation from the lower end of the sound spectrum. "Neon" is a wonky, bleeped-out jam, whereas "Bloom" is more of a contemporary hip-hop instrumental. On the B-side, "Peroxide" takes a slow tempo and dabs plenty of gunfire over its groove, and "Xenon" prolongs that vibe into an even more melancholic bundle of sounds and beats. On the B-side, Surf I" and "Surf II" are the housiest things we've heard from Zomby, but although many producers seek to imitate the 4/4, our main man does it his own way. "Slime" is a wonky bit of stutter-house with clear grime influences, and "Acid Surf" is a bumping lick propelled forwards by gargling swirls of 303 delight. Strong.
Review: You might recall Flowdan from his recent album, Distaster Piece, but the man's style and swagger has probably been imprinted in your subconscious thanks to his part in the infamous Roll Deep cartel. The man was one of the group's long-term vocalists but, over the last few years, he's been concentrating on his own productions. This extended EP focusses on his "Grime" tune, a dancehall-flavoured gunshot riddim with plenty of aggy vocals and blaring percussion shots, but you also get an original mix of the deep and murky "Groundhog Day", a lo-fi tune with the Animai's vocals sounding more like street poetry than grime. There's a sinister remix of "Horror Show Style" from Shades, a proper bass attack that brings us back to circa '03, followed by a more tribalistic version from Telemachus. Cop it and you also get a selection of instrumental mixes, along with some juicy acappellas - hold tight!
Review: Bristol's bass supremacy is under threat from Sheffield's formidable Project Allout, who have literally gone all out by rounding up 21 heavyweight jams to prove it. With such heavy ammo who is foolish enough to try and resist? Not us, and if we really had to pick, some of our favourites would be Adam Mac's doomy, empty rainy street vibes on the haunting "Cold Side", the accelerated, pinged up, soulful 4 x 4 banger "Deep" by Deadbeat UK and the percussive dancehall infused synth bass monster, "Likkie Vibez" by Juzlo. The Allout revolution, don't fight it, feel it!
Review: Following on from a very impressive run of new singles, we are now introduced to the long awaited Flowdan album, going by the name of 'Full Metal Jacket'. In short, it is the perfect showcase of what Flowdan is all about, featuring 11 hard hitting creations with some top draw guest appearances from the likes of Frisco and Irah, the second of whom appears on both 'News At Ten' and 'Level'. For us, there a couple of immediate standouts from this project, which have to kick off with the demonic tones and harsh patois vocals of 'Deadly', followed by the hypnotic melodic experiments of 'Coldest' and the slower, more emotive instrumental flavour and vocal stylings of 'Deal Wid'. Excellent stuff!
Review: It's been a brief minute since we heard from the infamous sounds of Flowdan, who returns here to Brighton based experimental label Tru Thoughts for an extraordinary voyage into the spacey realms of 'Welcome To London'. This is Flowdan in his bag from start to finish, weaving his gritty yet insightful lyricism between spooky sub tones and shimmering reverberations, topped with distant car screeches and drill-like drum patterns. This release also comes jam packed with bonus features, including a fully-functioning acapella addition and a full version of the instrumental. Awesome stuff.
Review: When a new Deep Medi release hits the store, it's become standard procedure to become fuelled with excitement, it's only natural right? This time we see the ever creative sounds of Gantz return with a super experimental four tracker. We kick off with the illuminatory journey that is 'Fugazi' which features a trip-like musical experience, with hallucinogenic themes running wild alongside 'Elif Dikec'. Next we hear the the electronic masterpiece of 'Shivy' which features guest vocals from 'DedW8'. This is followed by 'Dying On Acid' which returns to the trippy themes with what seems like a whirlwind of sound design. The EP is then wrapped up perfectly with another guest vocal, this time from Rider Shafique who delivers a phenomenal piece of spoken word over 'Sharkeyes'.
DJ NiPPER - "Transi3nt" (Beatz mix) - (3:21) 120 BPM
Alejandro Deep - "Chill" (original mix) - (4:17) 123 BPM
Review: LW Recordings bring the heat once again with their ninth compendium of cutting edge UKG, breaks, bass and all things in between. 25 tracks in total; each one tickling dark spots you didn't even know you had, highlights include the weirded out reverse bass twists of Atom West's "Pimp Mode", DJ Nipper's low-riding halftime bubbler "Tronix", Darkzy's rave-meets-riot VIP of "Glock", Stand's piano-pumped uplifter "Drawbar" and AxLi's moody 808 smoker jam "Sand Traps". Sublime by name...