Review: Channeling his love of late '80s R&B productions with his futuristic production swagger, Bok Bok is back on his own Night Slugs with a slick salvo of tracks that highlight his ever-progressing skills. "Melba's Call" wraps around an impeccable vocal delivery from Kelela, firing off snappy synth hooks and sharp guitar licks with a flair that comes on like micro-boogie. "Howard" too summons the gods of electro funk, although here the Moog lines are fused with some proper UK sub busting b-lines, while "Funkiest (Be Yourself)" pares everything down to a minimal Linn Drum beat and wobbly bass. Who said you can't look backwards to move forwards?
Review: After the success of the original Southside EP last year, Bok Bok has called upon his mates to rework some of the lead cuts with results that stretch across the board. Sir Spyro has some filthy bass at the forefront of his playful reworking of "Silo Pass", while the horns get teased in the appropriate places to great effect. Vjuan Allure instead focuses on dry beats working around a UK Funky template, with only scattered effects left to fill in the gaps. Bok Bok's own remix of "Charisma Theme" piles the tension on high with dread strings and a snappy dispersal of percussion. L-Vis 1990 gets jacking with his take on "Reminder", leaving it to Helix to delve into a funky techno rut to conquer "Look".
Review: Bok Bok has played a significant role in reinvigorating the contemporary bass music scene with the unique brand of neon-tinged grime/dubstep/house purveyed on the Night Slugs imprint he runs with L-Vis 1990. It's strange then to think that he hasn't graced the NS label with any original material of his own until now, but the Southside EP delivers on the hype and expectation that preceded the release. Kicking off with "Charisma Theme", it's all swirling, hazy atmospherics and taught chiming for the first part. Immediately demanding attention, the hollow thumping kicks of the intro swiftly build into a clipped, rolling riddim with clapping beats and quirky, fidgeting melody and undulating b-line below. "Hyperpass", up next, is a much deeper, darker beast, with ominous dread vocal, a dubbed out soundscape, the sound of rainfall and urgent, insistent beats pumping out menacingly. Moving on, "Reminder" is all hissing hats and searing snares, coupled with lassoing synths and a simple, repetitive bleepy melody. Then, there's "Silo Pass" with its scythe sharpening intro, and distant voices, weighty subs and rattling SFX, before grime-infused half step smasher "Look" concludes the EP, with poised and understated prowess.
Review: As soon as you see the Night Slugs name on a new release, you know you are in for a treat, especially when you then notice Bok Bok's name following. This release is a perfect way to look into Bok Bok's ever evolving sound, as we firstly take in two alternate versions of 'Pure Shores', with the HXC mix providing an unpredictable, almost breakbeat feel, whilst the OG mix gives us a more stripped back approach. With both versions, you can almost taste the magic that has gone into making them, engulfed in stunning melodic precision and harmonic elegance.
Review: When it comes to timeless grime anthems, there are few instrumentals that hold quite as much nostalgic currency as Silo Pass. Having received countless choppy refixes and intense reworks, it remains a staple in a large selection of grime sets to this day. With this however, funky legend Bok Bok gets stuck into a sub heavy overhaul, bringing out rolling bass tones and highly inventive chops of the original melody for a half time hit. As ever with Bok Bok, this one defies genre brackets and truly stands out with a touch of finesse.
Review: The return of the Night Slugs boss has been long-awaited and this EP is set to be his most grime informed material in years. Opening track "Island Hopping" is a sweet, pop-inflected number with punchy analogue bass and rusty beats throughout. The brightest of the bunch according to a press release, it paves the way for a darker, more down-cast narrative, in contrast to the often optimistic material heard on 2014's "Your Charizmatic Self". The EP is also described as being "built with raw 12-bit samples" with tracks inspired by and intended for DJs, MCs, radio sets and sweaty, blacked-out dancefloors.
Review: The boogie is out in force in the tricky production that Bok Bok brings to his latest effort, as a razor sharp melee of stop-start beats and hurried funk licks dart out underneath Kelela's soulful croon. It's definitely got the neon gloss that all dedicated Night Sluggers will be craving, but there's a nastiness to the crafty way that Bok Bok delivers the track that sets it apart. It's no mean feat to straddle styles like this and make it work, yet the end result sounds smooth even if the track wriggles and writhes with abandon throughout.
Review: Bok Bok is back in action on his own label with this sprightly two-tracker featuring fresh-faced collaborator Sweyn Jupiter who is making a debut appearance on this record. The "Club Mix" of "Papaya Lipgloss" is a plush affair that revels in the sweetest chimes of melody that linger in mid-air surrounded by a pleasantly sleek rhythm section. It's a joyous affair that keeps an upbeat mood without reaching over into banality, instead letting subtle but impressive flairs of production shine through in the simple surroundings. The "Sour Mix" doesn't actually loose any of that sweetness, but rather deploys it in a more staggered, playful mix that revels in more broken drum patterns and dramatic pauses.
Review: DJ/producer/engineer/artist DJ J Heat from Newark New Jersey is up next for London bass merchants Night Slugs. This guy has collaborated wth Brenmar, remixed Baauer and M.E.S.H. and really brings it on this killer EP entitled Jersey Transit Systems. Starting off with the stripped back low end assault of "Transit", he's into some dark side future beats on the brooding "Stalker Ha" (J Heat Remix) and some more straight up Jersey club sounds on the trigger happy roller "Transit Systems". A great effort by one of the scene's most promising producers in the second generation of it's scene.
Review: As footwork and juke continue to grow in popularity and appeal, we are starting to see more and more established labels start to turn their head towards the genres to give them a real push. This latest Night Slugs release therefore sees DJ Phil do what he does best as we kick off with the emotive, hardcore rhythms of 'Can You Feel It', featuring Rashad. This is chased up by the drum-heavy punches of 'Break4Luv' alongside Manny, the spacey vocal harmonies of 'Vivid Dreams', the skippy break chops and clap slaps of 'F-Train' and high energy vocal layerings of 'Deeper Love' alongside Moondoctor. Manny then rejoins the party at its finale with some additional vocal work on 'See You Dance', rounding up everything nicely.
Review: Focussing on "raw material aimed straight for the dance floor", Club Constructions returns after three years of hiatus with newcomer DJC, and whether the artist is a Night Slugs member in disguise or a complete debutant is still a mystery. That doesn't matter, though, because we a tune like "Capricorn" is so rough and banging that we just want to beat it, not thinking too much about where it from or why; "Native" is the perfect tool to follow on from it, and its broken shreds of drums are a delight when hear loud. "CC101" is perhaps our pick of the lot - but it's a close call between all of them - as we're just madly into that sort of slowed-down Detroit-style techno funk, but "CC102" is nothing short of spectacular, and would easily go down a storm in DJ sets from Theo Parrish, all the way to Ben UFO.
My Life Is Vivid, My Eyes Are Open - (3:21) 140 BPM
A.C.R.R. - (5:31)
Review: Dave 'Egyptrixx' Psutka has been an integral part of the Night Slugs family since the label was launched, providing them with their second EP in the shape of The Only Way Up and their debut album with Bible Eyes. Contributions to Night Slugs from Egyptrixx since then have been intermittent at best but Psutka returns here with an eagerly awaited new album in the form of A/B til Infinity. Keen Night Slugs followers will no doubt have already checked Egyptrixx's recent contribution to the label's ongoing mix series which was described as a "self-defined scrapbook of ideas" for this new album and the dark tone of that mix is certainly present here at times. From the first few listens in the Juno office, the suite of tracks from "Bad Boy (reduced)" to the Rrose does Night Slugs sounds of "Water" had us very impressed!
Review: Canadian Egyptrixx drops his debut release on Night Slugs. Treading the line between house, techno, dubstep and experimental, "The Only Way Up" features some seriously twangy keys which are pulled and groped in every direction yet somehow emerge as a beautiful melody. "Everybody Bleeding" meanwhile takes the twang factor to new extremes, building a catchy hook from the key stabs - pure genius. On the flip we are treated to a remix from Hyperdub golden girl Ikonika, who transforms the title track into a melodic afterhours jam exuding sweetness and hope, while Brooklyn DJ Kingdom turns "Everybody Bleeding" into a serious dubstep workout with some serious R&B vibes and sub bass.
Review: Commonly regarded as the centrepiece of Night Slugs first year as a label, Girl Unit's incendiary ode to dirty south hip-hop is pretty much the epitome of a track that needs no extra embellishment. However we guess you can relent when Dirtybird deity Claude Von Stroke reveals an interest in tackling it. Thus Night Slugs present two of three Von Stroke remixes of the track - expect the third "Fully Dressed" version to appear on a forthcoming remix compilation. Strains of both the "Undressed" and "Butt Naked" remixes were heard several times over the Sonar weekend, and the titles lend some clues as to the stripped down nature of the results. The former slowly reveals an 8bit soaked variant on that distinct synth refrain over skeletal drums which explodes into brilliant colour at just the right moment. The Butt Naked remix is a far darker affair but no less potent.
Review: After breaking through with some powerful EPs on Night Slugs, Girl Unit is back to continue what he started. Interestingly, the grimey element in his earlier output has been replaced by a screamingly loud electro influence, positioned in the kind of snappy funk favoured by EDMX and his Breakin Records posse. From "Ensemble (Club Mix)" to "Plaza", the sharp edges of the synth work chafe against crisp drum machine workouts, leaving six cold crush bangers in their wake. It's something of a departure for Girl Unit, but he's absolutely nailed the target sound with tracks that will absolutely tear up the dance.
Review: Despite having a moniker which sounds like an all-female pop outfit from the 90s, you'll be glad to hear that Girl Unit, is, in fact, nothing of the sort. A house aficionado of the highest calibre, the South London based producer blends elements of UK funky, 2-step, house, garage, Chicago juke and shades of dubstep with an iconoclastic irreverence for genre boundaries. Appearing on Bok-Bok and L-Vis 1990's label, Night Slugs, the I.R.L EP marks the third release for the burgeoning young imprint, which was established earlier this year. The EP - incidentally one of the most hotly tipped records around at the moment - begins with the title track. A dramatic, cinematic intro (rather reminiscent of D&B producer Rockwell's "Noir") initiates the proceedings with a thumping statement of intent and screechy, sliding synth embellishments. A hollow, clip-clop beat underpins the track, moving from dark, moody moments to more mellow, Mount Kimbie-style sections with masterful ease. DVA takes things down a tougher, rougher street with the tapping, grinding synthetics and raw industrial edge of his 'Hi Emotions' remix, whereas Young Gunz crew member, French Fries tunes in to a funky vibe, with shuffling rhythms, a nod to soca and lashings of sun-drenched tropical exoticism.
Review: Last year, Night Slugs' longest-serving artist, Philip Gamble AKA Girl Unit, returned to action with a debut album nine years in the making. "Song Feel" was rightly proclaimed for its colourful collection of synth-heavy future R&B and space-pop gems, which made great use of top-notch guest vocalists and some distinctly off-kilter rhythm tracks. The genius of Gamble's backing tracks is the focus of this follow-up release, which - as the title makes clear - gathers together instrumental versions of the album's vocal moments. Amongst the highlights are two contrasting versions of "WYWD" (a languid, loved-up downtempo take and a gently upbeat, tropical and humid "Instrumental House Mix" that's worth the entrance fee on its own), the bass-heavy, grime-influenced filth of "Pull Up" and the grinning, piano-heavy rush that is "24 Hours".
Review: Helix aka Beau Thigpen has been one of our Nught Slugs favourites since the time he started banging out technoid bass anthems back in 2012. Since then, he has given us nothing but fire, touching down with abrasive dance gems that work EACH AND EVERY TIME. This is the Greatest Hits Volume 3, and it kicks off with the almost hummable bassline of The Lyot Remix - an total winner from the get-go! "Pulse Tech BBL" is equally effective, except here Helix lays down some dirty industrial beats that take this form house to full-out techno UK styleee and "Spin Me Round Break V2" drops us in a weird and wonderful world of hypnotic sonics and muscly low frequencies. Warmly recommended!
Review: Helix returns to Night Slugs with his first release since 2013's "Club Constructions". Still as vital as ever, this is the first part of a trilogy of "Greatest Hits" collections. All new, all vibey; highlights include the deep-bleep radar techno stomps of "Tainted Love", the sheet metal soul of "Beat I Made In Miami", the soft-focus filtered ripples and staccato dynamic of "Fbm Flip" and the dizzying cavernousness of "DX Crowd". Great times lay ahead for Night Slugs, this sets us up very nicely for the label's 10th anniversary; Helix hits the spot.
Review: Girl Unit's alter-ego did some serious damage with the fifth volume of Night Slugs' Club Constructions series back in 2013, and now Hysterics gets reanimated for another four brutal attacks of spine-tingling drum alchemy. "Club Life" wastes no time in spelling out its physical intentions as it pushes and pulls with industrial clout and techno dexterity, whereas "HTRX9" takes a more unusual route through highly strung synths into a spaced-out abstraction of tech house. "Eye Mask" equally places the synths at the forefront with some dazzling juxtapositions of clashing tones atop the supporting beats, while "Empty" makes for a more conventional but equally enchanting sojourn into blissfully soulful deep house territory.
Review: Still the Night Slugs series of floor-wrecking singles continues unabated, this time given over to Hysterics - a more floor-focused moniker of Girl Unit - who wastes no time in throwing down an industrial tinged malaise of the most banging quality. "Pleasuredrome" moves through various rasps and grunts of drum machine hits, all focused around a strict staccato thud and coming on like and Art Of Noise jack track. "Code Switch" may reach for some similar sound sources, but there's a more skewed purpose at work as defined by the hyped up crescendo of percussive pulse rising rapidly in pitch. The "Club Mix" of the track is a thoroughly different beast that loses itself in a dry-ice fog of atmospheric noise, with just snatches of the original making it in to this marginally steadier version.
Review: Having already bolstered the Night Slugs mission across an EP and occasional other appearances, Kingdom returns to his neon-lit home with more of that R&B flavoured business. "Let You No" rides one of those quintessential clean, precise dubstep beats that the NS crew love so well, while the melodies fall thick and bright around a decisive vocal rip. It's immaculately produced, while "Stalker Ha" manages to eke out more of an edge with some wild samples and hits over a more punchy UK Funky beat. "Dreama" sees Kingdom exploring his sound more, slowing the beat down to let his imaginative synth work fly free. Check it.
Review: Serious Baltimore business right here. KW Griff and Pork Chop's dark, chopped up club rider rolls with beefy kicks and a classic break. Released last year it's been picked up on by L-Vis 1990 who's gone ahead and given it a royal Night Slugs makeover. Subby, stripped back and munching its way through 808s, all that remains of the original are the vocal snippets and the same authentic sense of edge Griff and Chop conjured up in the first place. Heavyweight stuff.
Review: After the shimmering pop tendencies of his recent album and accompanying single, L-Vis 1990 hits up Night Slugs with five downright nasty slices of stern-faced jackhammer material. Whether it's the whumping bass of "Workout", the grinding hats of "Video Drone" or the more restrained techno of "Hard Drive", this is clearly a statement on how to make cruelly effective floor tracks with the DJ in mind. For a no-frills approach to tools, you'd be hard pressed to find a selection that slots in between the current mess of genres in clubs as easily as these grim rippers.
Review: Always a tricky customer to get a handle on, just when you think you know where James Connolly is headed with his release arc he swerves back the other way, from chart-testing pop-inflected jams to raw club destroyers. On this latest march on his Night Slugs stomping ground, Connolly is definitely looking to rock the dance but he's not holding back on the musical elements either. On "Not Mad" there's plenty of boogie flavoured synth flares to inject some colour into proceedings, while the title track gets into an almost Autechre-styled disposition with it's mechanical warmth conundrum. "Signal" manages to conjure a powerful blend of electro funk dynamics and sci-fi moods that it's very hard to argue with.
Review: As ever with Night Slugs, it's safe to expect the unexpected as they hear invite the futuristic grooves of Leonce into the frame for a six track showcase of his super unique sound. We begin with the shimmering, super panned noisey smashes and shimmering chords of the title track 'Tripwires', which is chased up in style by the epic drum-heavy melodic progressions of 'Shutter Down' and the super suspenseful sweeps of 'Quantanoir'. Next up, we leap into the rapidfire metallic percussive smashes of 'Extrapolation' and the pumping drum bounces the lead the way within 'Shade Incarnate' which features some fantastic vocal additions from Ash B, who puts the finishing touches on yet another stunning body of work for the Night Slugs catalogue.
Review: The unstoppable march of Night Slugs continues apace as their Club Constructions series starts to take shape with these three cuts from Lil Silva. Unlike L-Vis 1990's starkly functional jackers in volume 1, it's not quite apparent what sets these tracks apart as specific "club constructions", but no matter, they hit where it counts. "Quest" rolls with a mean sinking bassline, while the beat jerks and snags. "The 3rd" is the real standout track though, grating on a maddening groove programmed from way out in leftfield, keeping things sparse and angular but most noticeably twitchy. Boundless joys await in watching people try to dance to this one.
Review: This one is a release we were really excited to see announced as new Night Slugs recruit: Neana gets involved for a full length project entitled 'Evaser'. The entire project is a percussion driven masterpiece, most notably on the fluid cowbell rolls of 'Tell Her' and 'Cruz Control' which was officially unveiled via the Complex platform a little while ago. Following this, 'Fidelity' takes a depthy delve into futuristic house music, incorporating fluid rhythms and aquatic synthesis. To finish off, we have 'Neans Anthem', which draws its funky influences from carnival drums and highly energetic rolling claps. Night Slugs have scored a winner with this one!
Review: London's Night Slugs are back with their class of 2016 and if this is anything to go by, it's going to be quite the graduation party. Be prepared for some bass driven, street level, low end theories as per usual. There's Bok x Sweyn J featuring Semma on the sexy future R&B of "Good 2 U", Helix with some superb hyper-riddims on the explosive and syncopated "Funky 1irst", while label mainstays appear too, rest assured. There's Jam City with the brooding and powerful rhythm workout of "Direct Drums" and of course L-Vis 1990 with the sultry vocals of Ronika on the late night noir thriller "Sweet Spot".
Review: With an ever-strong commitment to their very unique brand of modern electronic dance music, the Night Slugs posse are rounded up once again for a stocktake on the follow up to the successful Night Slugs Allstars compilation. It's only with a chance to reflect such as this you can appreciate the range that falls neatly into the Night Slugs remit. At one turn you can be doused in the blinding sunshine of Girl Unit's cheery electro as on "Ensemble (Club Mix)", or at the next be confronted with the staggered stab frenzy of Helix's somewhat ironically named "Drum Track". Try reaching them without being thrown by Bok Bok's 31st century grime madness or Lil Silva's hyper-kinetic throwdown of mechanical psychedelia and you might have a chance of getting a handle on the label as a whole.