Review: With a string of high profile releases across the breadth of 2018, we were very excited to see L2S Recordings' latest edition pop up in our release calendar as they bring in the sounds of Mokujin for a really expressive three tracker. With begin with the vibrant drum rolls and expressive subs of the title track 'DB6', before skipping pleasingly into the more grimey devisings of 'I & I', which lets it's growling reese synths and lively 2-step drum manoeuvres provide some rhythmic flavour. We finish up on the shuffled syncopations of 'Dub Station', a darkened broken beat epic, feeding off it's unpredictable drum energies and powerful bass textures.
Review: As the rise of UK Funky continues to sit at the forefront of UK dance music, we are being treated to more and more exceptional releases, including this brand new four track selection from Orko. We begin with the shuffling drum percussive rolls of 'Cave Dweller' before exploring a more techno inspired arrangement in 'Up/Up/Down/Down/Left/Right/Left/Right/A/B'. Next we land on a UKG inspired switch up within the intense bass stabs on 'Rockman' before finishing the EP up with 'Crazy 98's', an unusual tech hybrid, focussing in on spacey drum processing and robotic soundscaping.
Review: Whistla while you work. The LS2 kingpin returns with two more on-point displays of scope, depth and all-round UKG craftsmanship. Both cuts are the sonic equivalent of being squeezed into a NASA-level telescope and having the stars shoved right in front of your eyes - crisp, chilling, emotional and far-out. "All I Really Want" has a cosmic soul thanks to the shimmering textures and sensual vocal sample while "Deep Terrain" takes us into the far away galaxies of foundational electro with its synthetic, sci-fi introspection. To infinity and beyond.
Review: Here we have a very special release indeed, with L2S proudly presenting this unique collaboration between Berlin's Mokujin and Ohio' 'House Music Diva', Ms Tommie Cotton. Despite the international credentials, their aim was to present a 'forward thinking deep UK garage and bass' release, and boy have they delivered. It's a six-track mini LP that takes no prisoners, our faves include the relentlessly speedy doom-garage of "The Underground", the spacey and evil throb of "Steppin" and the dark alley dubstep of "Seven Sisters Road". Killer.
Review: Tinkering with genres like a crazy gene scientist, Blaq bossman Mokujin returns to L2S with three chop-slapping strutters. "Dare" oozes subtlety as jazzy chords and an insistent vocal snippet work together to create a groove and hook that nags relentlessly. "A Lickle Sumtin'" takes us deeper into jacking territory with a bigger vocal cut and a slap-happy drive that wouldn't go amiss in a Derrick Carter set. Need even more of a punch? Jump on his 'techno garage' version of "Dare". With its buried-but-beefy kicks and dense atmosphere there's a strong whiff of Underground Resistance to this, exploiting every shard of ice from those minor keys.
Review: Style hopping sensation Whistla appears to be in a very good mood indeed and it's all over his latest release. Easy to guess from the titles alone, "Love Is Joy" is crisp, repetitive speed garage soaked in luxurious deep jazzy soft goo. "Feels Like I'm In Heaven" features a jarring electro bassline, warped low vocal samples and perky synthpop top lines. Quality bass explorations!
Review: A brand new singing to L2S, Russian producer Groofeo introduces us all to his not inconsiderable talent with this new three track EP. With a heavy focus on super-slick production and deep beats, each song, from the jazzy hiss of "Melting" to the meandering downtempo pads of "Breathing The Night (vip mix) via the hauntingly beautiful "I'm Here Alone", prove that Groofeo's going places!
Review: Andypop specialises in bass music with a bit more...class (classline!). Here he delivers two more slices of thoughtful production. The title-track is a smooth, linear pounder peppered with subtle vocals snippets and weaving frequencies, whilst "Handle With Care" features trippy tropical flourishes over a mellow, arpeggiated electro shuffle. Slick!
Review: The Finnish are not exactly renowned for being kings of house music, but Bob Citrus is quickly changing that notion one beat at a time. The man returns to L2S with a tight, floor-ready two-tracker, and as with his previous outings, there's a touch of old-school jack-house in "Feels",strangely reminiscent of Jeff Mills' "Changes Of Life". "Sappy" is a little more mellow but nonetheless fun and groovy, where sweet, shuffling drums swing back and forth amid smart vocal samples.
Review: Berlin-based North Londoner Mokujin returns to L2S following impressive releases on Endless Plains and Future Grooves. The Ruff Diamond EP sees him in fine form, delivering a trio of atmospheric, deep garage cuts. Opener "If Only" sets the tone, lacing eyes-wide-shut bleep melodies, choral samples and nightmarish sub-bass over crunchy two-step rhythms. There's a little more swing and bounce to "Ruff Diamond", with cut up vocals and nagging stabs riding a rolling groove. Finally, "4 Me Baby" sounds like a garage head's take on classic West London bruk - all fluid, jazz-flecked rhythms, warm chords and hazy melodies.
Review: Slime regular SPD (aka Will Dunbar-Sheppard) has teamed up with much-revered future garage & bass institution L2S for "Insular", a sparse, paranoid production wrestling with scattershot beats for a real introverted headnodder. Elsewhere "Paved With Gold" livens up proceedings with totally tropical rhythms, crystalline synth pads and a downright lovely hint of 2-step. Finally "Sunday Morning" wraps things up nicely with some typically chilled out vibes and slo-mo, half time dubbiness.
Review: Been missing some old fashioned UKG flavoured pop tunes? Well L2S are bringing the old skool love back with melodic new signing CJ Marshall. "Hurricane" marries the honey-like harmonies of Veruska George to urgent crisp beats and washes of synth pads for a real chart botherer. Things take a more sultry turn on "Thousand Words" with Kristian Booth coming across like a breathy George Michael fronting the Artful Dodger. Quality stuff!
Review: Good to see the new material from Mokujin is still coming (he had a break for ages). "Can U EP" features three new works with "U Can" kicking things of with scattershot 2-stepy beats, minimal mood synths and looped soulful vocals. "Can U" actually goes deeper still, really layering those synth pads for a sumptuous head nodder, while "2nd Soul Kiss" wraps things up with some more uptempo house vibes.
Review: The clue's in the name here as "Asthma" is all about the pop. Italian DJ Andypop was big into his jungle but his sound has now evolved into the more bouncy, streamlined future garage vibe of this super melodic new single. In total contrast, "Ah Ah Ah Hi Hi Hi" is an off-kilter breaky ragga jam. Crazy!
Review: Aside from a stopgap remix EP, we've not heard new studio material from Mokujin in ages. Now he's back on L2S with more heavy hitters in the same vein of the post-dubstep meets garage vibes he was heard channelling last time round. "One Two" hits from the shoulder with it's slammin' speed garage bounciness. "Ain't No Way" turns down a darker corridor, with breaky drums sparring with some nasty bass, but it's really all about the main event: "Soul Searching" stays with the dark vibes but adds a scuzzy shuffle and chopped up soul vocals for maximum impact.
Review: To help kick the year off in style, L2S calls upon the talents of Dutch producer HE3Dless to deliver a swift one-two to wake us out of our January slumber. Taking its cue from future garage, "Nin-ya", mixes a warm laid back atmosphere with perky 2-step beat for an infectious head nodder. He follows this up with the blindsiding "Blankie", which with its dirty sub bass and urgent, organ-fuelled garage breaks, will sort the men from the boys!
Review: L2S are like a heavyweight boxer; delivering thump after thump in regular succession until the opposition is well and truly (dance) floored. This latest release is a particularly brutal assault - in the best way possible of course. "Leviathan" is a menacing snarling beast with glitchy, twitchy tribal beats adding to the tension. "Wrecked" is deeper, murkier corrupted garage with some wobble thrown in for good measure. However, the Rekab remix of the title track could eat the other two for breakfast - all pummelling, throbbing bass, tropical beats and distorted kicks. In other words, a TKO.
Review: Having just celebrated their 100th release, L2S have now secured four of the most sought after tunes by this sizzling Birmingham bass producer as the follow-up! Tuff Culture's music is bursting with an ambition not usually heard in a scene largely focused on bangers. "Can't Stop" blends fuzzy electro keyboards with Y2K 2-step beats and angelic female vocals, "Voices Of Neptune" features almost choral vocals over a slick MJ Cole-style future garage backing, "Voices Of Saturn" (we think there's a theme here), is dirtier, bassier stuff and "Voices Of Mercury" wraps things up with widescreen orchestration and melancholic breaks. Essential.
Review: Runcorn's very own 'shellsuit samurai', LOJT, is back to deal another sweeping death blow (or in layman's terms, he's got a new record out). "It's A Future Thing" is a searing journey to, well maybe not quite where no man has gone before, but certainly the outer reaches of musical space. It's a place where perky 4 x 4 beats thrust along with watery synth clouds gliding by and distant klaxons herald party time in vague galaxies. Lots of remixes too, the best of which include Mr Beebs killer 2step mix and LOJT own original version.
Review: It's been a while since his last release, Ways Of The Underground, which came out on L2S way back in February. Now with this new two tracker the wait is over and even a cursory listen to "Who You With?" will reveal that this guy means business. The title track is an urgent slice of future garage that's literally bristling with a thrilling menace. "Go Hmm" on the other hand is a choppy offering of the uplifting garage house variety. It's all quality not quantity with this guy.
Review: The kind of EP you wouldn't want meet down a dark alley at night, this also marks Mokujin's first release for someone other than Blaq (maybe they were too scared?). Anyway, it's their loss as we get four tracks of menacing post-dubstep - "Confessions" features stunningly haunting synths welded to a UKF frame, "I Can't Take It" is the sound of distorted discord, aka serial killer garage, "Oh Baby" is 2-step with issues and "What The" gets all heavy on the wobble. Killer stuff.
Review: Aiming straight for the upper reaches of the Kiss FM playlist, Shagos has teamed up with Jay Dizzle for this super-catchy upbeat slice of garage-pop. Things get a little dirtier on the 2-steppy dub mix, before going all digital reggaeton (with a few dubsteppy breaks) on the "From The Hood" remix. Surely a summer hit?
Review: Although hailing from Russia, this young producer's heart defiantly resides in the UK. All aspects of UK underground, from The Chemicals to UKF, are his chief musical influences and it really shows in his productions. "Love 4 U" is all UK garage swing and perky house stabs. "My Baby" takes those stabs even further and mixes in some 2-step for a back in the day Ayia Napa feel. Remix-wise it's all about the cheap drum machine assault of Lojt's 4x4 version.
Review: Of himself, Bryan Vance Hollinger aka Mr Beeb, says this: "I put weird pads on things and cut up vox". We're assuming he's talking about making music here, and speaking of which, "Sip" is a classy slice of unadulterated UKF - all urgent 2-step beats and a laconic drawl. For those of you who like their tunes with a more exclusive sheen, then step beyond the velvet rope for Beeb's own VIP mix that's as smooth and tropical as the tumbler of rum on this single's cover!
Review: Although this is technically future garage, "This Love" is what one might call Clapham house. The L2S bossman Whistla has really nailed the positive, jazzy and soulful good times vibe that has always defined the kind of dance music popular in West London. Conversely on "Future Jammin" the production is less traditional with staccato beats, trippy and repetitive organ riffs and a recurring wide-boy vocal sample that's add some appreciated edge to proceedings. Classy stuff!
Review: L2S set 2013 off to a winning start by adding Bob Citrus to their impressive back catalogue, and the man couldn't have done a better job. The title track fuses ridiculously catchy garage beats with even more seductive synth stabs and coats it all with a sweet set of vocals. "Garage 92", as the title suggests, takes us way back to the early 90s, bringing through some fine beat work and an even tastier bass line for you to nod your head back and forth to.
Review: It's fair to say that Swedish producer Totte is not one for the dark side of bass music. This is no bad thing at all though, as "Nothing Can Keep Me" is a wonderful-produced slice of prime-time, party-orientated dance pop with skippy garage beats, full, tough bottom end, bright neon synths and even some guitar power chords cleverly woven into the beats. "Late Night" is clubbier, but with its slick, soulful vocals and dreamy, soothing pads, this guy is still clearly all about fun music that doesn't stray too deep into dodgy EDM waters.
Review: One thing's for sure, Whistla is not one to mess about. Going straight in with the bold statement "On Drugs", the artificial beats and computerized voice immediately create a heightened sense of existence, with bleepy SFX and repetitive rhythms and disorientating atmospheric sweeps. There's an immense remix package to accompany from the likes of Enigma Dubz, Kanji Kinetic, Bojcot Selectah, Totte, Itchy Robot, Rude Boi Brand, Impact and Smerk which each give their own individual twist on the original. And trust - it's well worth listening to them all.
Review: Pledge pitches up on UKG/UK funky imprint LS2 for a two track foray into subterranean bass pressure. Lead cut "Coming Home" initially impresses with its smoky, clandestine atmosphere, but on repeat listens it's the skittering two-step percussion, delicious vocal cuts and organ stabs that really hit home. The same could be said of "Long Time Ago", which sounds like a late night tribute to classic British two-step; all simmering strings, booming basslines, female scat vocals and flexible beats. The whole thing sounds like it could have been made around 1999, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Both cuts are certainly impeccably produced.
Review: Brussels may not be the first place that springs to mind when one thinks of dubstep. Bunzero is all about putting that right though, and after 15 years in the game, he assuredly lays claim to being one of the biggest dubstep DJs outside of the UK. All that said, his new EP isn't strictly dubstep, it's a broader sound that often bridges the gap between Metalheadz-era jungle and future bass. First up, "Wet" has broken beats aplenty along with buzzy bass and trippy pads, while "Wool" is slower and features half-step beats and wavering synth melodies. Janner remixes the latter, and frankly it's a belter - keeping the synth pads top-line, he adds the deepest, throbbing bass notes and melancholic melodies, really sealing the deal on this quality EP.
Review: Lost lighters. For smokers there's nothing quite as annoying. Especially when you haven't left the house and no one has been around to possibly steel them. Where do they go? How do they get there? Well it seems they end up in An Expresso's pocket. Lord knows how they get there; he lives in California! Anyway, it seems they've gone to good use, An Expresso sells them for studio equipment then serves us platters of deep, woozy UKG/funky style tunes in return. Take this four-track EP; each one a truly heads down jam comprising slick, stripped back elements and a solid groove. "Hypnos" is our fave thanks to its tricky two-step and soothing pads. "Rush" is rather tasty too, and it comes with a heavy Chicago jack too. Put your lighters up!
Review: Okay, let's get this straight... Anything that uses the nostalgic 8-bit tones of Pacman deserves rather hefty props. Especially when it's been incorporated into a blistering breakbeat track as M2J has showcased here on "Pacman's Revenge": it's rave central and, if we're honest, a nice little dewy eyed moment for the older dancing crew. Elsewhere you'll find the classic angular electro vibes of "Roller Convention" (which don't sound too dissimilar to Radioactive Man if we're honest), you'll also find the endless rises and whooshes of "First Of The Summer Vibes", a track that sounds like a rocket taking off. Finally there's "Grime8", an undiluted filthy rolling breakbeat romp. Hefty props a-go-go!