Review: Dial up, dial in, let us begin... The unstoppable Manchester primate Chimpo flexes his raviest muscles right here on 'On The Dial'. Bright, breezy, wrapped up in lush euphoric pads, each of these cuts sits somewhere between 92 - 2022 and between hardcore and D&B. The result is a collection that will appeal across the spectrum; 'Rig Doctor' is mischievous breaks action, 'Luv NRG' is a cosmic stepper for the ages, 'Buzz Army' prangs out with its wonky synths and darker textures in the bassline while 'Broad' closes on a creeper vibe - all spooky and shoulder hunching. What an EP; big smiles for the dials.
Review: Omura sees Fracture and Sam Binga explore the futurist sounds of electro, and are said to have taken influence from acts such as Drexciya and The KLF. The LP is the result of 72 hour studio sessions and virtual collaborations, between their respective homes in Bristol and London. Feel the brooding sci-fi beats of "Advisory List", icy and glacial dub techno aesthetics work their way into "Lake", then bounce along to the dystopian ferocity of "Termites" or the nefarious computer funk of "Conditional".
Review: This latest two track drop from the team over as Astrophonica is a spicy little number indeed, welcoming the sounds of Darmian's Ghost inside for a euphoric two-track dive into futuristic jungle drums and hardcore arrangement. We begin with 'All I Remember', a sultry roller, given life by a thunderous bassline below well processed and carefully sliced drum breaks, tied together with an eerie sense of atmospheric pressure through the pad textures above. On the flip, those pads are back and in even more intensity as 'On The Mist' delivers a glittering combination of more rave-style melody with slightly quicker drum slices for another gorgeous episode. Fabulous work.
Review: When we explore half-time D&B and its surrounding cousin genres, the most important thing for us is the uniqueness in sound design and sonic structure. That is an area in which both Astrophonica & Moresounds are able to thrive, with this latest EP showcasing mastery in both attributes. We begin with the metallic snare slaps and bulbous bass bounces of 'Show Your Respect', which give the track instant body and a wicked sense of energy without ever getting too intense to enjoy. On the flip, 'Forward' fuses a combination of jungle themes and dancehall drum patterns with grizzly sub-bass designs and sweeping atmospheric textures for an absolute whirlwind of a creation. Both of these originals will cause serious dancefloor damage!
Review: Bangers in the key of L: Astrophonica welcome Club Glow's L Major with this walloping beat-fast 'Can't Do It'. Don't be fooled by the title, either, this young Londoner can do definitely do it... The title track instantly shows his love and ability for authentic jungle with its crafted breaks and springy drops into halftime. Elsewhere the Major orders us on a two-step UKG tip as both 'Spinning' and 'Feeling' (a collab with label boss Fracture) hit with that classic spacious late 90s UK garage charm before 'Hush' finishes the EP on a big cosmic jungle blow-out. Think Goodlooking but with 2021 cahones. Bloody L this is Major league business.
Review: With electro on the charge in 2021, Fracture & Neptun's Astrophonica label continues their support of the fresh, up and coming, and dope-as talent, Client_03. Presenting the project's fourth release since debuting in 2019, User Viewport sees Client_03 go deep, heavy and melodic in "Love & Or Hate Trigger" - the sweetest track on this EP - with the rest of the record turning in a gnarlier, more acid tipped edge. With the title-track riffing on Orwellian themes of surveillance with its unsettling vocal, "Wavefile_Dayjob" keeps it stripped back and bassline centric, as does "Protection Service Provider" only with a trippier, cosmic touch.
Review: Sully's latest swansong has been stimulating murmurs of excitement over the last few months, the type of hype that you get rarely enough to know it means something special. Swandive has landed on Fracture's Astrophonica and the result is a four-tracker of potent creativity, a crashing jungle release that blends the genre's recognisable core with a heady dose of experimentation. Its title tune is the best example; a fractious melee of elbows and knees, a perfectly judged progression from spacey pads to all-encompassing percussive persuasion. It's really hard to describe this track as it's like nothing else you'll have heard before, but it lays down the law for the rest of the EP and 'Werk' is especially good as well. Unbelievable Jeff.
Review: Largely the port of call for the drum and bass of Fracture & Neptune, Astrophonica's discography has seen curios like Machinedrum, Sully and Om Unit, otherwise known here as Philip D Kick, make an appearance over the years. As We Continue presents Om Unit's second release as 'D Kick' on Astrophonica, which may leave you wondering, do electric sheep dream of dubstep? If there ever was an answer it would most likely be "Drip", while for some uptempo, future bassline house look to "Clouds". With space age soul meeting the frenetic UK rhythms of jungle and bit-graded rave in "The Riveria" this EP moves from woozy ghetto house and footwork in "Summer Modes" to some Drexciyian electro motifs in "160909313", not to mention the post-post future dubstep of "Funk 160". You may pass, totally dope.
Review: What more can you ask for when it comes to half time link ups? For this saucy little number are thrilled to see a top quality link up between Fracture & Sam Binga, who combines their incredibly precise production styles to deliver a top quality two track creation on Astrophonica. The A-side takes the title 'On Right Now' and boy is it it a party starter. We are greeted by stunning synthetic arpeggio lines which glisten away above sizzling sub textures and flicking hi hat patterns to bring us a fabulous bag of grooves. On the flip-side, 'Chessington' delivers a secondary punch, built around a much more jungle-inspired set of rhythms, this one boasts meaty sub lines and a cheeky selection of melodic inputs, making it the perfect energy injection for any selection!
Review: Badass vibes coming outta Client_03 again for Fracture & Neptune's Astrophonica label which delivers the artist in mentions second ever release solo. Landing somewhere between purist electro and grey area dubstep with tracks like "Input Reflector", its five productions weave through sci-fi atmospheres, distortion and squelch with hardcore drums, break beats and deeper rhythms. Seriously headsy stuff you'd imagine hearing at a Ukranian rave in an abandoned outpost somewhere to the mean streets of the UK or Berlin's edgier underground. At your disposal.
Review: For this new two track piece from the Astrophonica imprint, we encourage you all to open your minds to the pure brilliance of Client_03, who has put together two incredibly well designed pieces of digital soundscaping, with names as raw as they come. Firstly, we check out the moogy bass rolls and constantly evolving rhythmic layouts of 'Testbed_Output_01 A' which most certainly hits home. On the flip, the pace is quickened as 'Testbed_Output_01 B' ups the tempo with a more footwork style rhythmic design, incorporating vinyl scratch lines above and bouncy 808 bass drums below for maximum rave energy.
Review: As always with Astrophonica, we are in for a treat with this one, as they get busy with a top quality compilation selection, unveiling twenty pulsating originals under the name '20'. Whilst examining the vibes on this one, we noticed that it really does cover all the basis when it comes to high tempo bass music, from the grizzly roller arrangements of 'Hull Breach' from Fracture & Neptune to the bouncy footwork flavours of Dawn Day Night's 'Voodoo Vibe'. There are most certainly some clear standouts, with Fracture, Rider Shafique & Sam Binga pulling together for a spicy original on 'Back It Up', alongside Sully's super colourful junglist roller 'Flock' and the eerie flute work of 'Flocon' from Moresounds. A very interesting listen!
Review: Four-to-the-floor, let us hear you roar... Fracture's Astrophonica goes into techno overdrive with this crucial collection of 4x4 inspired jams. With cuts from the bossman himself, Lewis James, Addison Groove, Moresounds, Sam Binga and Om Unit (under his Philip D Kick alias) all running rampant at around 160BPM there's a heavy stench of hardcore rolling throughout this unique collection. Highlights include the acid funk frenzy of Addison Groove's "Redeye", the ghettotek badness of Binga & ONHELL's "A Mighty Quest" and the late night 23rd century car chase vibes of Lewis James' "Kit5000". These are just a handful of examples of the truly unique fusions on offer here. Astrophonica are way ahead of the game right here.
Review: Client_03 appears to be a new act, but as Hope Repeater is out on Fracture & Neptune's label, it's clear that the quality level will be high. The title track is a hypnotic stepper that resounds to lithe rhythms and layered, atmospheric synths."1nce Again" sees Client_03 pick up the pace with a clanging metallic bass, while "Interest Reset" is an acid-led affair that rides a steel-plated rhythm. It's only on the title track that Client_03 reaches a drum'n'bass tempo, but by this stage the swirling acid and niggling rhythm will have mesmerised even the most exacting audience.
Review: Fracture's uttered many a word of wisdom over the years, but this is perhaps his clearest manifesto to date: "Big Up The Ladies" is a schizoid rave jam with more twists than a wook's hairline and more turns than a driving test. It sets the tone for the rest of the exceptional EP; "Percussion Street" is a total turbo Berghain power jam, all vicious 4/4s and outrageously sharp stabs, "Verhoeven" is a slamming breakbeat cut with a bassline like treacle while "Sci-Fi Tramp" pays homage to your dad with more stampy kicks and a menacing sense of techno grunt. Outstanding stuff, as ever from Astrophonica's commander in chief.
Review: Few labels hit the spot like Fracture's Astrophonica. Home to breaksmithery's most innovative waifs and strays, every release writhes in those gloopy, unfathomable pastures between jungle, juke, beats and just straight up sick electronica. This sophomore edition of the label's V/A Gradients series is a perfect example as everyone from Luke Vibert to Sully lay down powerful designs. Every single track is a highlight but you'd be mad not to get mucky with Binga, James and Shafique's "Everfresh", get lost in the dubby wooziness of Groves' "Hennessy Brown", get air punchy to Fracture's technoid thumper "Dropping Yu" or get straight up sexual to BSN Posse's "No Matter How Far"... Ain't no track too steep, Gradients has every single breakbeat flavour you could need this season.
Review: Philip D Kick, a name championed form the infamous dystopian fiction writer, comes through as a debutant on our charts, courtesy of the ever-impressive Astrophonica outlet...and the producer has unquestionably brought the vibes to the foray. The Pathways EP kicks off with the frantic 303 bursts of "In Formation", before turning all deep and jazzy on the jungle-leaning "Work That", and then the full-blown drums and bass of "Drown". DJ Spinn features on "Vibe Off", a minimalistic, breaks-filled glitcher, and "For Real" scatters drums hither and dither, shaping up some new forms of neo-jungle for others to catch onto. Wicked stuff - recommended!
Review: Whistle crew! Horn crew! Astrophonica crew! Whichever crew you find yourself entrenched in, "Take You" is tailor made for you personally. Piano-smashing, Italo-house riffing, hardcore-rinsing, it's the Astro bossman at his most positive and rave-evangelical. "Northbound Spiral" takes us deeper down the 1990 rabbit hole with a darkstyle energy, nagging riffy insistency and some brilliantly loose off-grid drum energy. Hardcore - you know the score.
Review: Fresh from appearing on Astrophonica's Gradients collection, Lowriding Lewis James makes his full EP debut with "Shapeshifter". The title track sets the scene with measured chill charm before "Ferro" ups the ante with a blissful pitched-up vocal and dramatic high-tension drum groove and acidic bass plunges while "Your Love Is A Power" explores more of a jungle structure with a mystic loop and a scorching vocal from Dan Dans K. Finally we hurtle back, nose-first, into this stinking planet with the gnarled-out hard-stepper "Turbo". The name gives you all the clues you need. Lewis is bang on the money right here.
Review: Fresh his Keysound D&B opus Blue, Sully returns to Astrophonica with four pristine slabs of breakbeat science. "Flock" places the full strength melodic elements over the faraway amen echoes in a way that's not dissimilar to early Good Looking. "Helios" is a much colder flashback to the darker corners of jungle's formative dance; all breathy minor key chords and vapour trails of paranoia countered neatly by a precision dub vocal sample. "Crystal Cuts" recalibrates the focus to the drums by way of broad jazz chord strokes while "Hours/Miles & Still" concludes affairs on an emotional electronica tip where the breakbeats thanks to a beautifully arresting intro. Powerful.
Review: Fracture's entrenchment in the rave foundations reaches a new depth as he revisits The Skeleton Krew's 1992 hardcore classic "Luv Ta Luv Ya". Retaining all the messy majesty of the original while ensuring it's ballsy and muscular enough for today's D&B dancefloor, it's yet another flashback without the unnecessary additional OTT production guff many old school updates have to suffer. Pure futuristic nostalgia.