Review: Champion by name, Champion by nature... Fusing UK funky with grime, bass and just a touch of two-step, the rather cheekily titled "Crystal Meth" is an MC's dream, waiting for some serious flowage to lick over the darkness. As good fortune would have it, it's also nowhere near as deadly as its druggy namesake (although it is pretty addictive). Meanwhile on the flip "Speed" is a strange affair with beats the rolls and tickles with snake-like percussion before dropping into a screw face one-finger bassline. With little to no kick drum this is a serious DJ tool to be used and abused at your leisure. Champion sound!
Review: Despite sounding like some bizarre human mash up of the two Public Enemy frontmen, Flava D is in fact a UKF producer without an oversized clock in sight. "Hold On" is an accomplished fusion of jittery, scratchy garage that is awash with dreamy synths, jazzy piano and a faintly melancholic summery vibe. "Home" on the other hand is all hyped up 4/4 action with a monumental bassline that somehow convinces the listener that they are going too fast in a slightly too flash car - even when they are sat on their backside typing on a laptop.
Review: London's Flava D touches down on the Butterz label with two rip-roaring bass cuts for the grime heads. "Home" follows Flava D's usual methods - syncopated, echoing percussion, chord stabs a go go and a whole truckload of bass - whilst the VIP re-vamp of "Hold On" gives the original a welcomed injection of yet more low-end. Butterz goin' in full throttle on this one...
Review: Murlo's got himself wound up so we can get wound down. Following a flow of vibes and fracturisms across labels such as Mixpak, Project Allout and Different Circles, he makes his debut on Butterz with this delicious one-tracker. A story-like weave of vocal textures, it's nothing but positivity as the elements harmonise over, under and around each other. Laced over some impressive steppy drums, this will please UKG and house heads alike.
Review: He's had us all wound up since teasing us with the lead track earlier this month, now for the long-awaited relief as Murlo lets us loose all over the full three tracks of his Butterz debut. "Wind Me Up" is a sprightly, springy and stacked with two-step positivity while deeper into the EP "At The End" takes us deep into a space trap odyssey with groans with pangs of instrumental grime while "Haze" brings Murlo's two sides together as a light, yearning foreground leaps and jumps over a deadly swaggering break. Time to unwind...
Review: After last year's On My Mind release with Flava D, Royal T is back on Butterz with another sure shot of grimey pressure. As well as the instrumental beats, "Shotta" comes in two versions voiced by P Money and Footsie respectively with very different results. P Money brings a fierce and fiery delivery that pushes the already-hype track into dangerous levels of liveliness, while Footsie takes a more restrained approach with no less presence in his flow. Aside from those show-stealers, Royal T gets to stretch his legs on playful garage house interlude "Limbo" and the adventurous climes of "Glacier" with its melting pot of influences feeding into a truly diverse jam.
Review: Royal T and Flava D step out with their first collaborative outing. An outing that's been so fruitful, it's spawned three different versions. Rub one is all about the classic 4/4 UKG vibes as the beats slap and tickle beneath a series of jazzy organ hits. The much darker, ruder rub two flexes back to the turn of the century when grime, breaks and garage were enjoying one of the finest three-ways UK music has ever experienced. Finally we hit rub three, all foaty, skippy and dreamy, it's a two-step journey into the most luxuriant of dancefloor pastures. What a collaboration, we've got Royal T and Flava D on our minds in a major way!
Review: Gully shots fired: Fresh from damaging the dance with both Footsie and P Money, Royal T's immovable banger gets the treatment from three of bass music's most exciting characters... Wen creates a tripped-out sensation that sits somewhere in the shadows between the industrial strength loopy psychosis of techno and the unnerving, spacey dynamics of dub. Kahn & Neek, meanwhile, get straight to the point with jaw-breaking snares and a bassline so deep and metallic you need a tetanus shot before you play it. Finally we hit a TQD remix of T's own "Limbo". Fresh from their debut "Day & Night", the dream trio of DJ Q, Flava D and Royal T strip down the beaty, LA-minded drifter and rebuild into an armoured Challenger tank. Bruising.
Review: Officially the funkiest man to emerge from dubstep, Swindle shows his sporting side with a precision-timed Latin EP. "Connecta" will draw you in with its samba drums, arresting your senses with honeyed vocals, firing horns and climactic build. "Copacabana" dons its budgie smugglers for a Rio-riddled jungle stepper while "Villa Mimosa" takes us back to Swindle's darker side with a beat that somehow rolls and steps with its instance percussion and mischievously off-kilter halfsteps. Finally DJ Q shuts the party down with his trademark twisted garage stamps. Gold medals all round.
Review: This is some big dog business, a new Butterz special that'll please the bass and grime crews alike. Swindle is the producer, a UK badman who has appeared on labels like Mala's Deep Medi Musik, and he's accompanied by the creme de la creme of grime vocalism. "Lemon Trees" is a fast, choppy bass swinger powered by funky synth melodies and D Double E's inimitable swagger, while UK hip-hop rapper Ghetts spills some truth over "Works Haffi Run". Flava D and JME go for a head-to-head battle on the house-driven dubstep hybrid that is "Mad Ting", and to cap it all of you got an instrumental each of "Lemon Trees" and Works Haffi Run". BAD.
Review: Swindle's latest jam is a total homage to the chrome and carpet dancefloors of 1980s. No one's being conned here though as there is nothing but pure love of the Minneapolis sound with this here EP including a homage to the mighty Purple One. There are four tracks in all with the title tracks being a fresh update on the early Rick James funk blueprint and "Sympathy" could be a smoochy Wendy & Lisa grind from 1987. Elsewhere the warped nu-funk "Saturns Returns" and "New Life" sounds like a stoned Maxwell tryin' out some g-funk shizzle.
Review: Bass badboy Swindle rocks his way back onto the Butterz catalogue, a label he hadn't visited ever since his first releases four years back, after numerous outing on the mighty Deep Medi Musik and Planet Mu, among others. Peace, Love & Music is his first full-length work, and it's also the most diverse piece of music that he's put out so far. The opener "Gotta Do" is a true introduction of his skills, where strange instrumentation travels beneath radio edits calling his name, but every other track on here contains a wide range of sounds and influences, from jazz to R&B and even drum & bass, all coated in a familiar layer of bass to comfort the corner dwellers. It's a smacker, check it!
Review: One of the craftiest knob-twiddlers in grime steps up to Butterz once again with the bombastic pressure of "Let Me Be The One". The production is as razor-sharp as anything Danjah has turned his hands to in recent times, ripping between string-laden sweetness and ugly flurries of drums with dexterity. Ruby Lee Ryder's delivery meanwhile rides at odds with the madness underneath, striking a perfect note of tenderness and vulnerability amidst the madness erupting around her. With an instrumental on the flip for those afraid to embrace their soulful sides, this one looks likely to blow up.
Review: For those that are in the unknown, TQD is made up of Royal T, bassline queen Flava D and the iconic DJ Q. For reference, that ain't Qu from NYC; this dude is from Scotland, he's been a legend since the 90s, and has been a monumental pillar of the house scene ever since. UKG is the duo's latest LP for the entrepreneurial Butterz label, and it's an honest, direct vision of the enlarged UK bass movement from their point of view. This sublime selection of killers spans the full circle and makes absolutely no excuses for itself; the gear is tough, floor-minded and charged by a hefty load of bass. Grime, garage and house are mashed up good and propah. Like they should be. Dopeness...
Review: Butterz is really killing it in 2015 but this latest single is quite something, introducing the production supergroup TQD aka Royal-T, DJ Q and Flava D!! Originally released to coincide with Record Store Day, Day & Night has thankfully seen a wider issue. The art direction is strong once more, but the tracks from Q, Flava D and Royal T are simply peerless as all three producers pay homage to classic UK Garage, flexing a vocal sample hard around some killer bassline manoeuvres. It's hard to choose a favourite between the Day and Night mixes - both will bump it hard in the dancefloor though the latter's sensual vibe has become a real favourite in the Juno stockroom! More TQD business please Butterz!
Review: If any label is going to wrap up one of grime's biggest years to date, it's Butterz. Responsible for the genre's best parties and home to artists from Swindle to Faze Miyake to Terror Danjah, Butterz are one of the most consistent and creative grime flagbearers of the game. Reading like a who's who in grime (Big Narstie, Skepta, Flowdan, Stormzy, Wiley, D Double E, Sir Spyro, Plastician, Kano, Giggs and loads more) each of the 40 tracks remind us (if we needed reminding) just how well grime has annotated and soundtracked the year. Gully.