Acuna - "Don't Need Your Love, Baby" - (5:12) 174 BPM
DJ Hybrid - "I Get Mash Up" - (4:52) 175 BPM
SR & Digbee - "Morning Strummer" - (4:26)
Ricky Force - "Setbacks" - (5:19) 170 BPM
Review: A truly delightful EP here from36 Hertz, "The Aztec Bass EP" celebrates a wealth of talent from the label, including such names as Acuna, DJ Hybrid, SR & Digbee and Ricky Force. Kicking things off with "Don't Need Your Love Baby" by Acuna and the spaced out intro switches into a synth driven, vocal hook and ensuing drop which is full of rattling metallic beats. DJ Hybrid's "I Get Mash Up" carries on with its bellowing bass and uplifting, polished vocal sections, before we move on to SR & Digbee's "Morning Strummer". Here things get a bit more rough and dirty on a Wilkinson-style tip before last but not least Ricky Force brings things to a close with the driving bass of "Setbacks".
Review: Starting off as a mellow techy roller, "Set Level" quickly begins foaming at the mouth and disintegrating into its own bassy black hole. Hyperactively scattered with high-energy sounds and samples and with a rainforest-themed breakdown B-complex would be proud of, it's a dance floor smasher for sure. "Stemcell" opts for the 'rolling out through space Carl Sagan style' approach, as synths rush past at hyperspeed and light years pass in a matter of seconds. Suddenly, and without warning, this interstellar journey is abruptly ended with a venture into Dillinja-influenced jungle breaks. Luckily towards the end of the track the cosmic pads return for long enough to provide a safe journey home.
Review: Get past the seriously psychedelic cover art for Nottingham-based Delphi Productions' first major label release and you'll be surprised at your rewards. Old-school breaks puncture the cooling calm of "All It Takes" as it gears up again and again for more dancefloor punishment, while "Break It Down" channels the bass 'n' breaks spirit of early noughties drum and bass with retro vibes and stacks of heavy riddims. Intelligent jump-up isn't easy to find, but with this level of accuracy and intricacy we think all your boxes will be ticked by these perky little numbers.
Review: 36 Hertz continues to fly the flag for foundation rave sounds with this welcomed comeback from Delphi Productions. "Feel U" gleams with classical Good looking synths before a hornets nest bassline rattles and ruptures the breeze with lightning menace. "Back To Kingston" is much more of a jugular-puncher where the hornets have been replaced with killer bees on steroids. Deadly.
Review: There's only one thing that can fill the craterous holes caused by Jem One's demolition session album Infinite Circle. And that's a supreme double header from Digbee. Usually running with SR, both "Red Moon" and "Good Times" see him rolling solo with two infectious jungle workouts that will leave you feeling insatiable for more. The former is all about the drum edit that's tantamount to spellbinding while the latter hits with more of a deeper, spaced-out charm where a bass melody does the driving while the brisk breaks do the steamrolling.
Review: Crisp, futuristic sounds come courtesy of UK's own J Hybrid, a producer who's seemingly more prolific every single month that passes. This time he turns his paranoid junglist sounds to 36 Hertz, and first track "Nothing Else" is a blending high-powered dancefloor filler powered by the manifestly dark thoughts that fill his best productions. "Bring It On" changes the mood completely, with sizzling horns sampled over big punches of bass and jungle breaks and as "Smash and Grab" moves into cinematic territory with widescreen atmospherics we almost forgot where we were...until the drop. "Reach" rounds this stonker of an EP up with the soundtrack to a true old school rave. Bring the energy.
Review: Raw jungle fire: DJ Vapour continues his classically trained onslaught with two more shattered slammers. As always, there's great contrast throughout: "Let Off" is very cymbal heavy while "I Want You" is much more of a snare-led drum arrangement. There's heaps of contrast within the individual tunes themselves, too; the waspy, electric mids and hair-raising highs on the former, the dungeonist groove and sudden break into synth bliss on the latter. Precision bliss/bad balance.
Review: 36 Hertz are like a dog with a bone this year. And when we say 'dog', we mean 'seriously on point jungle label'. And when we say 'bone' we mean 'loads of unparalleled bangers'. Hot on the heels of NC17's flammable four-piece comes a dangerous doublet from label founder Vapour. The hook and rowdy factor "Vicious" is reminiscent of Roni's "Friends" back in the day; all moshy sweatiness and tangible agro. "Turn Up" takes us much further back to the mid-'90s for some head-bending, cymbal melting drum fun. Think early Total Science or Digital for a flavour guide. Yum. And when we say 'yum', we mean 'banging'.
Review: Barely a month passes without 36 Hertz badman bossman Vapour blowing sonic smoke up our senses. This month is no exception as he packs two knock-out jungle punches with "Rhythm Flow" and "Bunker Buster". The former rides with a classic hip-hop vocal sample, flexing it in a similar way that Aphrodite may have done back in the Urban Takeover days, while splashy cymbals soak the breaks with showers of attitude. The latter swallows a techier pill as we're flattened by a devilish two-step and gutter-chomping distorted bass that's simple but viciously effective. Hold tight for the amens that start to rumble and shake midway. Powerful.
Review: Self-professed bassline terrorist DJ Vapour hasn't ever been one for the quiet life and when it comes to drum and bass, he's very much on the side of "the more the better". This might explain why "Iceberg Slim" is a hyperactive basher at breakneck jump-up speed, filled with jazzy riffs and dizzying atmospherics. On "Selassie Riddim" deep, dubby bass fuzzes into trebly amen breaks, adding to a feel of vintage vibes crash-landing in the future. A great pair of dancefloor fillers, well worth your time.
Review: Remember when bass-driven dance music was un-ironically laden with sci-fi references and film clips? DJ Vapour heads back to a time when raves and futuristic kill frenzies walked hand by hand over the post-apocalyptic wastelands of our cinema-addled collective imagination. The stressy neurofunk strewn all over "Into Darkness" barely covers the doomy sub-plot of the forthcoming Star Trek film of the same name underneath, building up the intensity just like good neuro used to. "Roaches & Ting" pushes forward into jungle territory with ghostly swipes of vocals and the underground rumble of dubby bass that seems to come from a party right under the floorboards. Unnerving and relentless, it's easy to see this going off late into the night. Big sounds.
Review: DJ Vapour has long championed the sounds of classic, hard hitting drum and bass, consistently referencing the glory days, of dark and tough 170 while add present day vibes, makes for a killer mix. 'Nine Four Style' showers you in a cascade of crashing breaks and darker the mood with rough, loud, heavily mutated subs, think Dillinja. 'Do You Want Me' could have been released 15 years ago, washed in white noise and brimming with snare and bells, this is a wonderfull slice of nostalgia.
Review: DJ Vapour returns to his homespun label 36 Hertz to provide the world with perhaps his heaviest beats yet courtesy of some smashing remixes from fellow brash & bass (a genre we just made up) fans and producers. Callide's remix of "Sting In The Tail" is off the Richter scale as it steps out some seriously explosive rhythms. Social Security's Rub-A-Dub remix of Natty Rocker pairs dubby vibes with junglist breaks and the out of control energy of jump up to blistering effect. Each track turns up the pressure leaving only one thing to be said - get your skanking shoes on.
Review: For some of the biggest drums you'll hear this side of 2015 check out DJ Vapour's opening track "Beet Root Juice" - then enter that huge synth. Anthemic production right there. ESP delivers the rave synths and 'y'all ready for this' vocal with some classic sampling added in "Good Times", while Suspect Chin does the same in "Miss You" - pitch that up! For a hi-octane club track which flexes its drums, spits acid and wobbles with bass look to Inidigo Virus' "Will Power".
Review: The latest release on DJ Vapour's 36 Hertz Recordings revisits the rave era with such clout and command, it genuinely feels like 1992. "Feel The Vibe" is a ruthless breakbeat cut sprung with the finest Prodigy-style detuned synths, "On The Run" comes complete with heavenly pianos, "Here We Go" attacks with rattling breakbeats and a tightly looped vocal while "Woah Iz Me" closes the show with a rich insanity riff and neat flips between between bold splashy amens and a more stripped back body-moving riddim. Whistle crew - you'd better be ready!
Review: ESP take it to the early '90s when breakbeats and acid house reigned supreme, and boy does it feel good to be back. As a first release it's a bit of a shocker - even the cover art is a spot on perfect rendition of those halcyon days - but it's authentic enough to blend into any rave collection. SR & Digbee decide to flip the relaxed feel of jangly percussion and 140 rave beats into a hi-energy D&B track. Strangely it works, much like the hardcore influences of DJ Vapour's contribution as he adds that nu-skool hard edge, keeping the big, loose beats in tact. Losing all sense of late-night chilled decorum, Delphi Productions sprawl it out for a last minute dancefloor D&B session. Now all we need is a rave.
Review: Where were you in '92? Well Berkshire's Indigo Virus was there sweating it out down the front of early Prodigy gigs and the like. He's been trying capture the essence of the 90s through his keyboard wizardry and production skills ever since. Here we get four such cuts for our listening pleasure. The speedy "Scotty Please" is all pitched up synth stabs and 145bpm mania, the happy hardcore of "Vital Signs" sounds like an off cut from The Experience and "Take You Back" is all about skittering breaks and ascending ecstasy melodies. Lastly "Shutter Us Down" is an SL2-style furious rave anthem.
Review: More 140 jungle flexery from 36 Hertz trooper Sergeant Virus. Rooted in 1993 but focused on 2023, his sound is a celebration of everything that has passed and is yet to come. "Acid Tongue" is all about the iconic detuned pads that breathe ominously, waiting for the smoke machine and strobe lightning of the drop. "Metropolis" is all about the crash cymbal-snapping breaks, each one edited to smithereens, while "Cerulean" updates a classic acid house riff with occasional switches to stompy 4/4 danger. Finally we hit "Detonate". The name really does say it all; swashbuckling drums, grumpy subs and insistent vocal rhythmic techniques, this will cause a lot of trouble in the dance. Visionary.
Review: Happy hardcore and rave in the house thanks to 36 Hertz Recordings! These four tracks from label faithful Indigo Virus sound like they could have come from back in the day; just take in the 909 hi-hats, chipmunk vocals and in your face synth action of opener "Caffine". There's undeniable rhythms and gnarly breaks on "I C 93" while "Rock The House" is a classic, straight forward raving techno. There's some deeper more introspective moments (during the breakdown) in "All Crew" - plus some classic piano sounds - and this final cut is an EP highlight. For real.
Review: 'An Indefinite Period' starts the EP with a strong shot of nostalgia, loud crashing breaks make the backbone of the track which is adorned by a host of euphoric rave samples, from airy lasers to echoing cow bells. Washed in a fuzzy cloud of white noise and with an emphasis on minor notes 'High Rise' has a sombre vibe, which is occasionally lifted by the twinkling of piano. 'Soul Within Code' has an intensive jungle vibe from the break pattern to the distant tropical bird calls, to add to the intensity there are layers of deep shimmering reflections. 'Toxin' is dark and brooding; the deep, barely there sub is the subtle star of the track.
Review: One of jump-up's most exciting new producers, Jaybee is everywhere right now. Pushing forward with his reign of terror he's dropped these two monsters, guaranteed to get the floor moving. Adding classic jungle and old school D&B to a filthy bassline is what he does best. Smashing up lightning fast breaks over massive bass, track one delivers the pain, but it's the old school flavours of "Hallelujah" that get us hot under the collar. Smooth and dangerous with cold accuracy and rolling snares, seriously, what is there not to love?