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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
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: Landing on the prolific Original Key this time around is a Veak and Bassface Sascha, with the former providing an original single and the latter coming in on remix duties. Veak's original draws upon the reggae aesthetic in its sampling and title, and the drums of babylon are throbbing hard in this moody, sub heavy escapade. Bassface Sascha ramps up the drums significantly and opens things up, with a louder mixdown and jump up stabs peppering the top of the range. Lovely.
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: 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: Veak, not content with releasing one big EP, has a second bit coming on Original Key and has opted for a single perfectly suited to our current bout of excellent weather. Featuring Natty Campbell on vocals, Big Bad Sound is a ragga jungle stepper with floating attitude and serious vibes. The drums are crisp, the sub is booming and Campbell's vocals provide the accompanying dose of heady hedonism ideal for curing some lockdown woes. There's also a dub version if you prefer things stripped back, so get involved on this one.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Veak can very often be found blasting out the nastiest jump-up around, but this time he's on Original Key for a full, 11-track long album of strictly jungle proportions. Original Key are the every grateful hosts and we can see why, as Midnight City leaves the screechy synths behind and opts for a much more rugged, raw approach that blends rippling reese basses with diving sub wobbles and much more. 'Murdering Sound' exemplifies the approach, with an absolutely banging reese that flutters into life and collides in the mix with punchy stabs, underpinned by a rattling breaksy beat. Wicked album from the team.
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: 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 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: 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: Vital Elements is a long-time stalwart of the rougher side of the scene, the side of the scene that perhaps doesn't get as much flashy publicity but that day-in-day-out plays host to raves, bedroom hang outs and after parties up and down the UK. Vital Elements is that guy who'll be at the party, spinning tunes and having a good time and this single encapsulates that no-nonsense, fun-at-all-costs approach. 'Mass Projection' is a bouncing leviathan that rests on naughty snare-action and lives up with its jagged bass notes; 'Smoke of Calii' is more of a rolling beast, it's back end stretching out and lumping you in the face. Another top release from man like Vital Elements and this big one comes in at a cool eight tracks. Lovely stuff.
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: 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 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: 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.