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: 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: 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: With a huge range of fans including Jawkob, Whistla, Mistajam, Untold and Skream, Milan's Aquadrop is bound to gain even more followers with this excellent collection of frenzied, futuristic garage-inspired beats on L2S. "Soul" uses a kaleidoscopic range of short vocal samples and wraps them around deep string pads, punchy bass hits and high-pitched drum hits. "Evolution" follows the same formula, but this time the effect is less garage and more warped Italo/boogie, all arranged with a down-low swagger to the beats. It's an absolute gem, and combined with the darker thrills of "King Of The Jungle", all adds up to a hugely impressive EP.
Review: An exclusive to Juno, Beatloafe drops two debut tracks of sweet, honey-tinged breaks and mushed-up garage on L2S. With a vaguely tropical pattern to the drums, its all about the twinkly leads and slow-release pads on "Citizens Rights", while "Smudge" is ruff and a little rude - with a tricked out drum set that throws in renegade cowbell hits to make the rhythm gloriously unpredictable. L2S are great at seeking out new talent and Beatloafe's debut is certainly one to get involved with.
Review: Long Island in New York isn't exactly the first place you think of when you listen to Blind Prophet's latest release Skeleton Key - the tight rolling 2-step and deadly bass lurking underneath the title track, lost in a haze of smoky synths, sounds like something to come out of London's garage scene ten years ago. However, both this and "Got Me Thinking", rich in shimmering electronic melody bring to mind fellow city-dwellers FaltyDL and Policy. Remix support comes from Unknown, who turns in a growling dubstep refix of "Skeleton Key", maintaining the loose rhythms of the original while beefing it up with some fat low end, and HGLDT, whose remix of "Got Me Thinking" contains rhythms so free-flowing it recalls a jazz improvisation at times, with a kosmische synth backdrop that highlights the dreamy quality of the fine original.
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: Famed as a DJ on UK's Sub FM and all over Europe's bass-loving clubs, Belgian star BunZer0 makes his debut on L2S with this three-track EP, exclusive to Juno Download. Very much in keeping with the house style, "Bring Me Home" (featuring Juakali on vocals) is a mix of eerie, echoed textures and whip-smart future garage beats, while "Toof Toof" carries on the momentum, almost serving as a dub of "Bring Me Home". The orchestral, bass-busting march of the impeccably funky "Dub It" is also here and is a must for fans of shimmering yet gritty forward-thinking bass music
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: 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: 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: 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: Often dubbed 'The Mighty Clueless' (or so he says), this producer was there on the frontline of the future garage wars a few years back. He takes his time mind, you wouldn't want to be expecting more than a couple of releases a year from him, but when he does drop a new tune, everyone sits up and listens. Last year speakers were banging out his sultry VIP mix of "Secret Love". Now L2S have commissioned a string of new mixes including some scattered, icy beats from Whistla, dubby 2-step from Lojt and some warm fuzziness from Pledge. Safe.
Review: One of the most progressive champions of the genre known tenuously as future-garage, the L2S label has championed a phalanx of upcoming producers over the last two years and now celebrates its 50th release with this, their first full-length album. 2-step masher Clueless delivers a masterclass in beats 'n' bass here - just check out the heavy snares and jumbled acapellas in "Bruksteppa" or the effusive Detroit-in-space pads of "Phuture" to see what we mean. With the paced-up, old-school speed-garage of "Jazz Lick" also proving a favourite, Clueless has delivered that rare thing - a dance album that is all killer and no filler.
Review: A tune that debuted on Creep's mix for FACT a few months ago, London's Dark0 finally drops the wistful, ghostly 2-step of "Hyli" on L2S this week. With heavily reverbed vocals sitting over crisp garage beats and subtle synth drones, it's a tear-flecked delight and a nicely ghostly counterpoint to more over-produced and unsubtle beats out there. An extra VIP is also included on the single, wherein Dark0 flips the beats up into a half-step whilst boosting up the plucked arpeggio melodies of the original for extra depth.
Review: Didz steps up with the "Rum 4 Cover EP" on L2S Recordings. Kicking off with "Somewhere Out There" it's all choppy, distorted female vocal, euphoric rave chords and shimmying percussion for the main part. Don't rest on your laurels though as Didz switches things up in "Special Ting", up next, which builds from a sultry, subdued intro into a disorientating main part with muffled vocal and hissing hi hats. "G Party" changes the pace and changes the style once again with a tense, bleepy intro it becomes a slick, R&B-influenced venture, before "You Don't Hear Me" brings the EP to a close with a more stripped back finale.
Review: After getting a huge response via Whistla's show on Sub FM, L2S finally drop these two future-garage nuggets from London producer DLVRY. "These Words" alone is worth the excitement - a madcap series of twisted arpeggios that usher in a fierce 2-step rhythm and some punchy walls of bass. "Downtown" Is more of a twisted, sci-fi beast that settles into a breaks-like melody whilst still sporting some incredibly tough 2-step kicks and snares.
Review: Debuting on the always-vital L2S label, Perth's DYP keeps the beats as crisp as hell over these four modern garage beauties. Title tune "Every Day" is simply stunning, with a looped vocal hook that's truly anthemic and a minimal synth rattling away nicely in the background, while "All You Need" is a tight, sub-sporting melange of disjointed drum hits that DYP melts together thrillingly. With the grimey "Vocall" and the dreamy "Desire" also included, this is a hot debut for DYP.
Review: A follow up to his first release for L2S (the Every Day EP), Australian producer DYP returns with four new excellent future-garage blasts including the astral bounce of "Mystic", the fiery 808-bounce of "Call To Arms" and the classic piano styles of "Prayin'". L2S head honcho Whistla also revisits "Every Day" with an excellent remix that shows off his trademark stuttering beats, layered under a delirious chop-up of reverbed samples.
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: There's been some releases of late brandishing the title "Back To The Future". However, they've tended to be more literal, 80s-themed productions. Here though, the emphasis for Enigma Dubz is very much on the future part. Deep, luxuriant and carried by smooth 2 step beats, the thinking behind the release is perfectly captured by MC NR who explains "Lets make future garage...a new soundwave for this music, planning". Elsewhere "At Home" conjures up memories of Ayia Napa circa 2001 and "Airglow" is similar to the kind of mood-step that Burial et al have been rockin' lately. Safe.
Review: Breaking from their heavy wobblin' dubstep sounds, Fused Forces drop this pair of forward-looking garage beats and it proves to be a welcome change in direction. With the drums pitched up and swinging in a classic garage style, they slowly bring up a Joy Orbison-styled medieval organ on "Long Weekend" that ebbs and flows in the background along with some delayed vocal shots. "One Two Bop" backs it up with a slightly tougher, less melancholic beat bolstered by some punchy sub bass. A successful shift in sound from Long Weekend and an excellent example of future garage.
Review: More known for dabbling in the heavier side of dubstep, UK duo Fused Forces play an unexpected blinder on their new EP for L2S. Going for a crisper, sharper 2-step sound, they mix itchy hats with blunt, Pearson Sound-style kicks on the endlessly enjoyable "Diamondz" - even working in a smart, unexpected half-step break into the middle to keep dancers on their toes. On a slower but equally vital tip, "Mind & Matter" uses shifting Detroit chords perfectly over another 808-riddled beat while "Nocturnal" allows the pair to get moody with some slowly rising pads over more razor-sharp beats.
Review: A neat remix swap here between Fused Forces and M2J on L2S Recordings. First up is the M2J remix of "Skuffle Shuffle", which is all warping, swirling atmospherics and tripping beats underpinned with razor sharp snares and disorientating SFX. It's a superb effort from M2J which is guaranteed to light up the dancefloors til the early hours. Then it's on to the Fused Force's interpretation of "Silent Running" which focuses on chopped up, reverberating vocal snippets with hollow, pattering breaks and distant groaning atmospheric sweeps. A classy couple of cuts here.
Review: There's something oddly brilliant about a forefather of UK garage music dropping a release on the L2S label - typically home to ace first-release future-garage artists. The man who dropped 90s anthems such as "It's A London Thing" hits home with the vocal joy of "U Could Be" as well as the speak 'n' spell jazz of "F.U.T.U.R.E.G.A.R.A.G.E". "Want 2 Be' is just as hot, sporting an enormous bass line and some crisp drums, as well as a commanding, Detroit-style narrative vocal. We're unwilling to say that an old master has learned new tricks, but this is an unexpected and hyper-modern EP of new-school garage warmers.
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: Newcomer producer Troy Gunner joins the L2S camp with a pack of future garage strapped firmly to his back. Inside is a whole heap of serious sub bass pressure, soothing synths and pared down beats. First up, "No More Tears" chops up sinuous beats with a lilting vocal and velvety b-line; "Sworn I'll Forget" meanwhile adds a more sonorous, chiming element with Joy Orbison syle patina. "Association" takes us on a mellifluous trip down 4/4 lane, with clicking beats and bleeps and a minimal sonic palette before moody "It's Not You" concludes the EP.
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: Hooking up with future-garage label L2S for this debut release, UK producer Jonas LR steps up in style with four tunes of spaced yet focused astral 2-step. Where "Morning" is upbeat and dreamy, "Lacuna" gets gritty thanks to some sick bass stabs and reverbed textures, Best of the bunch though is the distantly-vocalled "Apple Juice", which rides a galloping snare rhythm over an electro rush of bright chords and pads.
Review: The L2S juggernaut rolls on, destroying UK garage's more sanguine exponents with its dancefloor focused canons of justice and scattergun basslines of truth. This time round, the man at the wheel is Jup1ter, who delivers a wonderfully varied collection of cuts that should see heavy club rotation. There are four varied slabs of UK funky/UKG action on offer, each ticking a different box - presumably with a fat marker and a cheeky grin. There's some deep two-step vibes in the shape of "Open Your Eyes", a snappy breakbeat piano-jam ("Alien Warhead"), a two-finger rave salute ("This 1"), and even a proper ruffneck rinse-out ("Asteroid").
Review: Russian garage-head Mark Krupp continues his run of great singles with this new pair of tunes on L2S, led by the booty-quaking joy of "Light Anthem". Switching between bouncing bass charges and sleazy sax solos, it has a retro 90s vibe to it but will still destroy dancefloors with ease in 2010. "Badman In Chicago" comes with more bruk-out fire, with time-stretched vocals and brilliantly brutal drums really setting the tune off just right.