Review: The man on road AKA Aries is a jungle legend in just about every corner of the UK, his touring with Kelvin 373 is legendary and from all accounts he's the nicest man alive. His album last year was spectacular and now he's back with this, a single featuring remixes from T>I and Unkut who are two producers with serious pedigree. 'Get Some More' is on the upbeat, funky side of the jungle spectrum and it features a gorgeous vocal line and some wicked sampling. The T>I remix essentially takes that and flips it into a dark, pulsating roller with serious brooding undertones and a genuine sense of evil locked away in its depths. Unkut keeps the jungle vibe but injects some more power into its low-frequency notes, making a nice spin on the original. Sick ep and one with something for everyone.
Review: Following December's all-star launch, Original Key returns with two more slices of impeccable jungle fire. Once again it's a trusted crew: veteran and super-respected junglist Aries breaks the seal with a brilliantly bouncy roller that's not dissimilar to the classic Bingo sound 15 years ago. Sao Paulo's Critycal Dub maintains the heat with "Jungle War" - an incendiary halftime stepper with bass so gully it's grown oily wings and a bright orange beak, it's arguably one of Critycal Dub's heaviest and most demonstrative tunes to date. Seriously.
Review: Sub Zero has recently been a man on a mission, his remix of Benny L's 'Monsters' got right to the top of multiple D&B charts and his trademark old-school vibe is sounding very, very good at the moment. This double remix single is in that same vein, the first cut being a pumping, jump-up slice of rolling heaviness that just keeps on giving, each new bar bringing up a fresh riot of bass pressure and surprisingly melodic piano riffs. The B-side is the self-confessed 'roller mix', which isn't that much more rolling but a whole lot dirtier, the bass sounds of the previous being switched into even more dystopic, gnarly and twisted forms. This whole release is just straight up, Sub Zero shaped fire.
Review: You can almost smell the 90s rave dancefloor when you look at the artwork on this one, which is certainly a good thing and rusty jungle vibes abound from start to finish. The opening rave vibes on 'No Ordinary Sound' quickly devolves into a rising mash of drum hits and repetitive but solid synth work, whilst 'Concrete Jungle has a stripped back percussive feel that sits perfectly alongside it's low-frequency warmth. It's the roughness, the lack of precision and the don't-care attitude that makes this release good, so if you're looking for brightness then it might not be for you -it's for the proper heads.
Review: Bungle is one of the legends of the scene. He's got bangers going way back, but 2017's Cocooned really hammered home his talent to the ever-broadening D&B audience and showed off his ability to make pummelling industrial soundscapes sound incredibly tempting and serene. Half Way is another industrial release and its harsh tones might not be for everyone. We like it though, especially 'One Shot', a driving piece of low frequency construction that bends and warps as the tune progresses, turning it into a really hypnotic experience that'll certainly impress. Big release from man like Bungle.
Review: The hyper prolific Conrad Subs returns to Original Key with a five track celebration of everyone's favourite strategy boardgame. "Risk" is a light-stepping vocal piece with slimline keys and a dreamy vocal from Lady D-Zire. It's a summer sizzler and it's backed by four more bruisers. Highlights include the late 90s Urban Takeover style jump-up homage "Bassline Kickin", the ravey slamboree of tubular bass and industrial strength breaks "Nothing Says The Same" and the smelly rolling opening track "All Massive". Take some risks today. We're looking forward to Conrad's "Monopoly" EP...
Review: Conrad Subs is a regular on this website because he releases such a wide range of music, so consistently and on such a diverse array of labels. This time he's back on Original Key, a German imprint, with a five-tracker that spans the spectrum from rolling techiness to reggae-infused, hip-hop jungle. It's title track 'Babylonians' that really caught our attention and Conrad Subs has previous in long, loping dub introductions that then flip into jungle pressure ('Leave Dem' - look it up). This time around there is less reece bass but even more percussive heat, as a flurry of stuttering breaks intertwine with your own expectations to form a shuddering bed of deeply urban sounds. Lovely.
Review: Conrad Subs. The Radster. The Subster. The man who's been thoroughly unavoidable in D&B this year. He's back on Original Key, an early label to support him on his current quest for world domination, and you need to pay attention. 'Coma' is a staccato prangy banger with trippy clipped rave tones leading the charge, 'Evergreen' is the sound of an asteroid shower happening in your head while 'Hardcore Heaven' fuses hands-in-the-air hardcore pianos and a contemporary gutter-chomping filth groove. Finally we close with 'M16' for a little dubbed-out system-primed funk. Wake up and smell the bangers.
Review: DJ Sly has spent years earning his stripes in the dirtiest corners of jump up's spectrum, and he really knows what he's doing. This is an EP ready for a rave, with 'Phantom Planet' shining as our highlight, while its main sound is the loud and aggressive ear drum damaging mass of chaos we know and love there's an unexpected influence drawn from the the sci-fi techy edge of the scene which is rarely heard in these here parts, other producers take note; it works! 'Big Trouble' nostalgically and very happily brings us back to the glory days of 08-09 Taxman, Original Sin and Twisted Individual, it's hard hitting, tongue in cheek, and completely fun.
Review: Last spotted on Original Key with MC Foxy, Sly returns with another MC ace up his sleeve... The one and only MC Det. As you'd expect from such heavyweights, it's all fire and no liar: Det does the damage on the builds and breakdown while Sly lays down a hard hitting ever-mutating one note bassline riff that pokes and prods unrelentingly and mischievously. It's a deadly combo. Bring on the drums!
Review: As we all should know by now, Original Key have been bringing serious fire for just over a year now... And now UK dons Sly and Foxy back this up with even more evidence. "Fire We Ah Bun" lives up to its name in every way; spiked-out riffage, thundering drums, guttural energy and sharp-tongued lyrical heat from Foxy himself, it's yet another original piece of jump-up drama from the on-point German label.
Review: New German label Original Key continue to fire the big guns on their third release: DJ Sly continues to chow down on the quarter pounders with another epic plunging bassline on "98 Style" that just tears through everything else in the mix (including the cheeky string sample on the fills) For the second track OKey invites fellow German titans Bassface Sascha and Feindsoul on board for a grunting, jumpy bassline-focused b-boy session. Die saga geht weiter...
Review: Dutta is the young Mancunian on a mission. Part of a broader cohort which includes the likes of Bou, Kanine and others, Dutta nails the tough, rough and urban-edged sound that's proliferated so much at the moment. This release is exactly that, a dirty expression of urban grit but one that's still pointed through with a certain element of playfulness and lightheartedness. A lot of music takes itself to seriously, not this release. The first track is called 'Nutella', which tells you all you need to know. It's a banger as well, with a swirling whisper of wobbly frequencies underpinning its stomping percussive lines. Stompz also makes a feature on the release - big stuff here.
Review: Easily one of the best newcomer labels in the game, Original Key return with two more savagely on-point shake-ups. Once again it's down to Habitat to deliver the goods. A man fast establishing himself in the same league as Voltage or Serum or Heist in terms of just how versatile and creative he is with the dancefloor form, once again he doesn't disappoint; "Gun You Down" stabs with a Charge-style riff but kicks with a Bristol touch while "Salutes & Signals" rattles with a really interesting funk that's both angular (thanks to its sharp two-step) and warm (thanks to its juicy bassline) Neither disappoint. Get in key.
Review: Original Key ain't letting up. Four releases deep and every one a peach, this time Habitat takes the reins for two junglised hooky grooves. Continuing the vibe theme set on Ruffneck Ting earlier this year, both cuts smack with a fresh energy and wily, zero-fox dynamic as "Pump Ya Fist" infects with a big bassline riff while "Warehouse" slams with a physical wall-of-sound bassline and well-chiselled old school stabs. Both absolutely slay the dance - everyone is on their A game right here.
Review: Pure D&B venom right here from the duo Lowriderz. "Skank" sets the scene with another pair-up with previous collaborator Claws (no relation to Santa apparently). Multi-layered grainy bassline bashment business. This won't just make you "Skank", it'll make you slap several elderly members of your family too. "Soundbwoy" follows the same rampaging trajectory but with more of a groan and rumble in the bassline and fractionally less attitude. Another absolute barnstormer from the Original Key crew.
Review: Original Key are back and they've returned with an armful of goodies for us lockdown'd folk, a star-studded single which moves from reggae music to jungle and back again. Lowriderz, Shiny Radio and Blackout Ja have all collaborated to create Face Defeat, a sultry and yet aggressive number that combines Lowriderz' wicked vocal lines with a powerful jungle beat and even more powerful bassline. Edgey stuff.
Review: Original Key have got a really nice little single coming your way in the shape of Timeless/You Are Not Machines, courtesy of LY Da Buddha and T:Base, two producers who definitely know how to make a big D&B number. 'Timeless' features a fat main drum line and a brass-based main melody, both of which synergise really nicely to form a slick rolling tune. The flip is more stripped back but still packs a similar roughshod drum sound, underpinned this time by a pulsatingly strong low frequency backdrop. Top top.
Review: Mad Vibes are dealing out a feocious drive-by shooting over on Original Key today and it consistents of incredibly slick, modern junglist textures. The title track is packed with suspenseful ambience and excellent sample work, preperation that comes into play on the powerfully driving drop that manages to sounds like both a club banger an an accelerating Formula 1 car at the same time. 'F You' is our favourite, though, with stop-gap drum lines and a bouncing, stabby jungle beat that just flows and flows. Awesome stuff.
Review: Motiv recently released a gorgeous liquid single, but this time around his outing on Original key is made of decidedly tougher stuff. Break The Spell is balanced nicely around rolling beats and choppier territory, and its title tune blends aggressive, stretched out bass work with precisely laid down percussive foundations. 'Doomed' is similar in the drums but more spacious and deeper in the low frequencies, its title accurately reflecting the sense of foreboding you'll be certain to feel. 'Mayday' rolls out with abandon, whilst 'Valves' is yet another expression of serious dancefloor intent. Super stuff.
Review: Motiv is definitely one of the better up and coming producers out there and, with previous releases on a host of other labels, his aggressive sound is back with a vengeance here. Packed with harsh, barking tones and a stripped-back, industrial aesthetic, Motiv doesn't waste any time in laying out the rules: there are none. '40hz' is one of the heavier cuts, with a punching back end and an obstinate feel of solidness that reflects down all the way onto the rest of the tune. 'Warzone' is the title tune and you can see why, with a KoTR-esque approach to drawn out basslines and tough sonics that's underpinned by lovely metallic drums.
Review: Original Key are back and true to form they've come out with something huge, courtesy of Mr Explicit who, with Blind Reality, has made an EP that's quite special. The aesthetic here isn't new school jump up but old school, rough and tumble tech which bounces and flows in a manner that's both contradictory yet complimentary to its heaviness. The title tune has crashing breaks, pulsing basses and eerie samples, a triage of attack that results in a fearsome dancefloor instrument. 'Watch This' is the other highlight, a punishing roller with a superbly crisp set of drums and a soaring, no holds barred bassline that is packed full of little switch ups and small details. Unreal.
Review: Summer is now officially over and we're moving into the Autumn period, but Motiv is doing his best to slow that transition down with this absolutely gorgeous remix of Razoof and Luciano's 'Do The Best You Can', which features one of the sweetest vocals you will hear this side of 2020. It's soulful, lounging and deliciously nonchalant and Motiv lays out this tapestry of soul over a bed of crisp drums and pads so dripping with warmth you'll be forgiven for forgetting this is drum & bass. It's rolling, funk-imbued and an ideal partner to a sunny drive or morning run. Enjoy.
Review: Hailing from Canada, RMS has firmly established himself over the last couple of years as someone at the forefront of D&B's re-discovered love for jungle-influences and bouncy but hard-hitting basslines. Drawing upon those influences, he's back on Original Key for a full-throated five-tracker that kicks off with 'Down' featuring Kumarachi, a heavily weighted sine-based wobbler that pushes on every corner of the range. '90s Soundboy' has thoose wicked juddering bass pulses and that recognizable sense of hardware-based rawness, whilst the junglst vibes are seriously real on 'Mi Fi Tell Yuh'. This release has overtones of Manchester and undertones of the Great White North - proper UK underground stuff.
Review: Scattyone has several previous convictions for producing dancefloor heinousness and he's back on past collaborator Original Key for a six-tracker with serious intent. This whole release is dripping in the heritage of reggae and dub, and the title track exemplified this meeting of worlds perfectly; lush vocals bring you in and let you smell the sunshine, but the drop is pure jump up and it's the blend of venom and antidote which really hits off. 'Dance Wid Me' has a wicked gravelly bassline and more sick sampling, as does 'Pull Up', and we're also big fans of the fractious jungle rhythms on 'Pure Lies'. Big stuff.
Review: Speaker Louis is an undeniable legend on the ragga side of things, and he's back to classic form with this single on Original Key. Blackout Ja is a frequent partner of his and the pair roll things out with abandon here, where vocals are sitting wonderfully on top of a sub-heavy dance floor number with plenty of funk to boot. Timeless.
Review: You know those tracks where the vocals are reverbed up all nice and sweet and there's a ghostly but alluring texture to them? Well this is exactly what we have here on "Event Horizon", a slinky alien funk groove with sharp shades of neuro and tech. Looking for a classic Bristol-style bassline roller? Look no further than "Focus", straight out of the Dope Dragon bible, there's a timeless funk to this that will mix with any tune. Stay focused.
Review: The dystopian sounds of Tomoyoshi have returned to Original Key and they're sounding as potent as ever, his ability to craft sharp-elbowed sounds undiminished by the crazy times that we're living in. On White Label, he stretches his legs across two tracks that are wildly different from one another and Tomoyoshi has done a wicked job at showing off his potential for diversity. 'Cold Passion' is gentle and subtle, a stepping tune that sits beneath a gorgeous piano riff and does its heavy lifting with very little aplomb, it's not heavy but the sparseness of its arrangements lends a certain coldness to its tones. The flipside is a classic happy jump up number, with bouncy drums and an effortlessly catchy main melody. Lovely stuff.
Original Gang Original Key (feat MC Foxy) - (5:28) 178 BPM
Philosophy - (6:19) 175 BPM
Pueblo - (5:12) 175 BPM
White Beach - (5:14) 175 BPM
Review: Tomoyoshi's Danger EP is a statement of intent. The five tracks cover a range of bases, starting with the title track featuring MC Fearless, which adds exoticism through some oriental sampling, a romantic feel that's swiftly dashed by a concoction of Serum-esque bounciness and aggressiveness. Original Gang soars out of the blocks with a sumptuous string sample and whilst MC Foxy sounds sick over the top, the main attraction is its gritty bass interspersed with sine wobbles, forming a wicked combination of jump-up and more liquid vibes. Philosophy is a smoother addition to the EP, creative layering in the intro easing in the skippy funkiness into the drum line, creating a tasty lighter number. Yet more banging drums are to be found in Pueblo, with swirling harp-esque flicks tastefully evolving into plodding bass stabs that press home wonderfully. White Beach is last but arguably the strongest tune on the release, a sweet talker packed full of luxurious textures and rolling energy. More cutting sine wobbles abound here, pitched up and down to perfection. A quality EP all round.
Review: Original Key are here with their first release of the new year, a two-tracker from Tomoyoshi with Jaybee on the remix for both. This label always - repeat, ALWAYS - bring out the goods with their tunes and this release is no different, sitting very nicely in the modern, up-to-date brand of attitude-filled D&B pioneered by the likes of Serum and Bou. 'Mad Jazz' exemplifies this perfectly, with a rough and diving bassline that will definitely sit well with the discerning D&B head. 'P' is another creative cut, its spooky bassline definitely setting it apart from others.
Review: oKey's Original Key imprint continues to deliver fresh produce as they invite Tokyoite-in-Berlin Tomoyoshi for two classically informed rollers. "Killa Soundboy" rattles and pops with a Clipz style harmonic riff and the development of big two-tone horn riffs but it's "Old Radio" that will be the pick for many thanks to its stripped back "Night Flight" style groove. With wobbling subs, dubbed out instrumental textures and all-round ageless groove, this one is not to be slept on!
Review: No questions asked: when Tomoyoshi tells you to get funky, you flipping do it... Especially when he's delivering obscenely good floor fire like this. So simple, stripped back but loaded and coded with wry groovemanship, "Get Funky" is all about the classic wet fart bass and fluttering, wobbled subs. "Mad Jazz" continues the funk with a classic Bristol-style brock-out. Tunnelling, tubular subs and a slight whiff of Clipz-style relentlessness, this is Tomoyoshi at his heaviest and hairiest... And we love it. Don't mess around with this one.
Review: Tomoyoshi is definitely one of the best producers out there and,with previous releases on a host of other labels, his aggressive sound is back with a vengeance here, as well as being cut through with some lighter bits. Packed with harsh, barking tones and a stripped-back, funky aesthetic, Tomoyoshi doesn't waste any time in laying out the rules: there are none. 'Smooth Groove' is the title tune and its aptly named, with a luscious set of pads and a real feeling of relaxation that's nonetheless underpinned by a powerful percussive set and stonking low end. Wicked.
Review: If you really like to rock the funky beat... Then you'll really like Tomoyoshi. A mainstay on Original Key and a mainstay on most discerning D&B DJ's radars, here we find the Japanese-in-Germany artist tapping into that loose-drum style of funky dancefloor D&B that was championed by Micky Finn and Aphrodite best around the mid to late 90s. Stripped back, addictive, and super fun. Somebody in the house say hell yeah.
Review: Tomoyoshi is building up a name for himself as someone who never fails to bring out the big guns with his music. It's always heavy, hard-hitting and built on soundscapes and vibes which are deeply urban. This full-length album on Original Key is no different and it kicks off with 'Showtime', a stabby roller with a bassline that stretches out over the horizon, the only constant being its grinding, coarse nature and the manner in which it constantly mutates and evolves. 'My Life' is equally as rough but less rolling and more jungley, its structure and nature constantly changes and it keeps the tune sounding consistently fresh. This whole EP is absolute vibes.
Review: This is the sampler for Tomoyoshi's album, which is just in the process of dropping on Original Key. The album is a full fifteen tracks, but for this sampler they've picked out two: 'Money' and 'Ghost'. The former kicks off with a raft of funky reggae samples, before flicking these over a really nicely put together build-up that lovers of High Contrast will recognise, which drops into a stabby number. The flip involves more top class sampling, but is altogether spookier and eerier, with an expansive, ghostly bassline to top off the sampler. Wicked.
Review: Total Recall is one of those artists with a low-key fantastic back-catalogue and after a bit of a slow-down in terms of output, he's back on Original Key with a fierce single that shows off some serious production skills. 'Closing Circles' is the A-side, an expansive, growing number that starts in small pieces and gradually puts itself together, each synth sounds wicked and the combination of all of them is next level. 'Firing Pistol' is very creative and has a unique rhythmic structure that some won't like but that others will love and regardless, it's a top-level cut to round out the release. Yes mate!
Review: This is a hell of a compilation from the Original Key crew, celebrating 3 years of being in the game. To do so, they've roped in some seriously big names including Sub Zero, T>I, Aries, Dutta and the one and only Bungle. Bungle's contribution is a powerful, rolling number with a solid drum break and swirling, hypnotic low frequency oscillation that'll have you nodding in agreement. Voltage & Nicky Blackmarket come correct on 'The Magnificent', DJ Sly and MC Det smash 'Jungle Drums, and there are many more huge tracks on here from equally huge artists. One to remember.
Review: Catch-up time! If you've yet to experience the vibes of OKey's Original Key imprint, now is the time to get acquainted... Launched in Germany this time last year, here they've put all their releases so far in one handy package. Ranging from Heist's percussion-flickering funk on "Seems Risky" to DJ Sly's horn-blazed skanky switch-up "98 Style" via Bassface Sascha & Feindsoul's badboy blaster "Sage" and Tomoyoshi's Clipz-style Q&A fireworks on "Killa Soundboy", this collection is testament to what a great year it's been for OKey... And drum & bass in general.