Review: Konichi and Decimal Bass: whether they're operating solo or in Annix unison, they're capable of making some of the sharpest, most forthright drum & bass known to man. Their debut album has had bass fans in a lather since they teased us with the gnarly halftime "Good For Nothing" and stompy Basement Jaxx-meets-Herve 4/4 gully stomper "Warriors". Beyond these off-piste adventures lies a whole slew of concentrated, unadulterated D&B science. From the one-punch jump-up smackers like "Low", "Afraid" and "Akshun" to the much deeper, liquid tones of "Forever" and dreamy Lenzmanisms of "Reverse Cold", this is the most detailed picture of both men's broadest abilities to date.
Review: If jump-up is your thang then you've come to the right place. Snapped up by Playaz to release this behemoth of n LP, UK newcomer Annix has burst onto the scene in a shower of accolades, and we know why. This album is straight-up bonkers. Crazed like a rabid dog with the eclectic sampling of a hyperactive child, there's method in this guy's madness, but excuse us for revelling in the craziness. From jazzy horns to trap, trip-hop to adrenaline-soaked beats, there are no half-measures here. Go hard or go home.
Review: Just as you thought it was safe to walk the streets, Konichi & Decimal Bass crash land into your grimy little universe once again... And nothing is safe. Their largest body of work since last year's album Forever, expect nothing less than six tracks of riot material; "The Dog Knows" is a barking mosh of a jam with electrified bass and a cracking sample, "Invasion" (with Vacuum) is so tightly sprung it should come with a health warning while "Cold Killer" sees them tagging up with mandem du jour Turno for an iced out shred flex. Elsewhere "Get It" wins gold in the 'weirdest bassline of the EP' award, "If I Told You I'd Have To Kill You" buzzes and snaps with a hornets nest bassline while "Maintain" kicks down your house with a roughhouse late 90s style bassline. K9 thumbs up.
Review: One of Playaz most prominent and influential acts in recent years, Annix get the revision treatment from four respectable producers: Neonlight adds a little space-age hyper speed to "Axshun", the mighty omnipotent Guv turns "Crash" into an even heavier piece of work while Majistrate gets every laser on the planet and condenses them into "England". Finally Ozma turns "Slaughtered" into a savage piece of paranoid jittering weirdness. What a madness.
Review: 2020 isn't all bad... Annix finally deliver their long-awaited debut album and every shade of grot and wonder you'd expect from one of the most influential D&B duos of the last decade. Masters at space, weirdo funk, unique sound design and the dark art of switch-flipping, it's no surprise this album is loaded with more twists and turns than an underground tube map. Highlights include the broken glass funk of "Stutter" (with K Motionz) the trippy turbine driller jam "Clapper" (with Skantia) and the curveball blast-ups like the techno-style marching title track "Tunnel Vision" and the beautiful euphoria of "Behind Time".
Review: Playaz have hit the top drawer for this latest release from the Annix likely lads - a combination of tracks from Decimal Bass and Konichi as well as "Digital", the heavyweight lead single from Annix, their combined pseudonym. So what's in store? Plenty of head mashing and neck snapping, actually, as cranked-up synth play spirals out of control in "Betrayal" and the wickedly out of control "M33". "Have A Party" trips out while samples dance around crushed up synths and "Don't' Make Me Laugh" echoes the hardcore raves of the past.
Review: A full-flavoured six-track slab of naughtiness right here from Annix and its two members. The title track steps so sharply there's a danger you may cut your ears but the moody minor piano chords and a dramatic drop make for the perfect ointment. "Take It Back" is a much skittier, switchy rave homage that jitters and jumps with a cool sense of unpredictability. Decimal Bass's contributions add further weight and range: "Battle Station" will unleash your inner ugly with a bassline that's so wild and unkempt it will genuinely sweep you off your feet while "Near Me" is a soaring vocal workout that's almost reminiscent of the Ram Trilogy material 15 years ago. Konichi's creations add further contrast: "Visions" looks towards deeper corners of the dance as it rolls with bulbous bass and Daft Punkian vocal work, while "Entrance" scuffs and growls with heady hypnosis. Truly something for everyone.
Review: Whether they playing with themselves or playing with each other as Decimal Bass, Annix and Konichi are two of the most creative minds jump up drum & bass has seen since TC came through with "Deep" over 10 years ago. Highlights include the sexy vocal sample and infectious congas of "Work It Out", the outrageously nasty hook on "England" and Konichi's complete liquid switch flicker "Those Days". No stone unturned, Annix and Konichi are at their most extensive and exciting right here. Stunning.
Review: It's been a while since the Portuguese sonic siblings last dished out a release but it's clear they've had bigger, album-sized projects in mind. Their debut long one, it's an evocative love letter to the entire scene; whipping up the genre's many fiddly little sub-sub-subgenres, this will please all fans. "Neo Babylon" rattles with Commix's "Call To Mind" era, "In The Ghetto" is a sandpaper funk jam a la Hazard, "Spiders" is a fuzzy, techy electrified stomper you could hear the likes of John B play while "Dancehall Killez" is so steppy, glitchy and unclassifiable it could make Sam Binga blush. References and comparisons aside, this is the sound of two very promising artists coming correct; the whole D&B community needs to pay attention.
Review: Portuguese powermoves: Bassbrothers return with a fat packet of bangers and twangers to keep us warm during the gloomy months. Delivered over a year after their walloping "WTF" project, the seven-track stack brings everyone up to speed. Highlights include the tongue-in-cheek sampleplay and groove ricochets of "Cowbell", the undulating tech grizzles and electric current bassline of the title track, the gnarled-out halftime toxic funker "Accents" with man-of-the-moment Shield and the jumpy dynamics and sudden eastern switches of "Badboy". Welcome back Bassbrothers!
Review: It was about time the Bassbrothers stepped up on DJ Hype's Playaz to deliver some rolling, twisted bass beats, because these two d&b deviants know how to mash it up good and proper. "WTF" itself is a pure hybrid tune, where dubstep and d&b become intertwinded, and the same goes for the tunes like "Kravitz" or "Dunno A Dead", except that the duo branch out and gather more influences, from R&B to ragga. "Pusher" delivers some of that classic Playaz sound, all bursting morph bass and dread, followed by the mean, lean stare of "Deadly Spawn". Killaz!
Review: Portuguese Playaz poison, BassBrothers have been on Hype's talent roster since late 2013 and are finally making their label debut with a whopping six-track mission statement. Riddled with creativity, sharp drums, superb execution of samples and unrelenting energy, each of these cuts justify the cross-board hype they've been enjoying lately. Highlights include the snare-snapping steppiness of "Bolivian Yeyo", the playful use of samples and well-tamed tears of "Blastin", the twisted ragga skanks and distorted bass bitterness of "Fashion" and the industrial strength nastiness of "Shut Up". A contender for label debut of the year, this amplifies Playaz' trustworthy consistency tenfold. Ludicrously big.
Review: Coming out to play with Playaz this time around, D&B's very own elusive genius Break returns with his selection of unique bass stylings in this slick double header. Showing off his love for all things jazz and dub, "Strictly Entertainment" pits rolling dancefloor rhythms with huge subby bass to create a fresh cross-pollination of sounds. "Dulcid Tones" features a smooth bassline groove whipped up straight from the heart of the '90s, dropped right into a creamy whirlpool of distorted bass and general junglist mania (and some Eastern influences for good measure). It's borderline mental, it's loads of fun and it's Break. What more do you want?
Review: Woi and indeed oi; the consistent stinksmith Critical Impact teams up with the one and only Skibs once again to build on the havoc they'd created with "Creeper" last year. This time on Playaz, both cuts absolutely slaughter the dance... As you probably already know as the dubplate pressure has been hot on these for a while now. "Bulletproof Vest" is a pure steamroller situation, flattening everything in its path while "Mr Smith" takes a much more sinister steppy twist. Bringing out the bet in Skibadee once again, we hope there'll be more from this dream producer/MC team in the future.
Review: One of the True Playaz massive and a total legend in D&B, Hazard drops four new bombs on this lively new EP. "Psychedelic" lives up to its name with a range of perfectly arranged old vocal samples that Hazard drops with style over a fun jump-up beat. "Platinum Shadows" showcases some top drum arrangements, while "Against The Clock" packs some aggressive samples into the fun. "All I Can Say" wraps the set up nicely with some low squelchy bass once again anchoring rough and wicked beats. A legend who is just getting better, the Platinum Shadows EP is a must for D&B fans.
Review: One of the most respected men in the game, Hazard returns with four blinding slabs of seismic sonics. Don't be fooled by the title, "Bricks Don't Roll" really does roll thanks to some unique drum programming, a harrowed hook and a sub that echoes its every peak and trough. Dig deeper for the head-turning, triplet-twisted hype riser "Mk Q", the subversive alien trippiness of "Death Sport" and the spacious reverberations and epic hollow-bass drop of "Meen Time". Hazard doesn't release EPs that often, but when he does the scene bricks it. This is beyond solid.
Review: The Birmingham based jump up maestro that is DJ Hazard continues to stun audiences across the globe with his signature shade of D&B. And it's safe to say that the hype surrounding "Never The Same EP" is well and truly warranted. Kicking off with the title track, the echoing vocal sample immediately gives the tune an epic, almost euphoric, quality; add grouchy bass, chiming SFX and punchy drums to the equation and you have an anthem in the making. But that's not all, no; "Air Guitar" ups the ante yet again with punishing, gritty roars and growling subs. "It's A Secret" is another wobbly jump up banger with Hazard written all over it, and then "Do Without You" twists things up with more bass-driven badness. This comes highly recommended for all D&B heads.
Review: The wobble jump up pioneer is on fine, fine form at the moment. Having torn dancefloors apart with the incredible "Busta Move" earlier in '11, Hazard returns with one of his strongest productions since the Machete Mass EP in 2008. The delectable sounds of "Food Fight" have been blazing across the airwaves for the last few months now - expect uproarious bass pressure, spot on sampling, dramatic drops and grouchy, gritty bassline business before flipping over for the equally fabulous "Proteus". Here a tense, ticking intro leads into the creepy movie sampling and swaggering, slouchy bass driven beauty that makes up the main tune. A resounding thumbs up here!
Review: A superbly executed EP here, with VIP re-works from some of the key bods from the Playaz camp - the ineffable don of wobble jump up, DJ Hazard and his cohorts Erb N Dub, Legacy, Original Sin and brother Taxman, plus Friction and Nu Balance and newcomer Jaydan. First up is a delectable re-interpretation of massive 2011 hit "Food Fight" which draws out the vocal and juxtaposes it with grizzled bass. Next is "Alaska (VIP)" which is a glorious, fast-paced explosion of sound, and special mention must be made of the wonderful "Casino" VIP by Original Sin plus mid noughties classic "Robocop" which is updated by Taxman. Jaydan rounds things off in rowdy fashion with a VIP of "Driller Killer". An expansive package and a must buy.
Review: DJ Limited is the newest signing to DJ Hype's Playaz label and he's arrived with his first full length EP on the label. Based on his debut single and his track record, this release was always going to be on the naughty side and DJ Limited hasn't disappointed. Title track 'Minefield' is an expansive, steppy number with stripped back drums and a moody attitude, each new phrase brings with it an evolution or change and the sounds are constantly engrossing. 'Don't Be Afraid' is more choppy, rough-and-tumble madness and it's another highlight, alongside the vocal-laden rolling styles of 'Soldier'.
Review: DJ Limited has been steadily making a name for himself the past couple of years as a man who crafts music rich with jump-uo energy and jungle vigour, music that broadly rests on the jungle/jump-up spectrum but which injects something new and fresh into the mix. Now, he's signed to Playaz and this is his first single, two tracks with animal names to match their respective sounds. 'The Elephant' is loud and bombastic, the piercing sounds of an elephant's call morphed into a dancefloor weapon that's reminiscent of Kings of the Rollers' 'Burnt Ends'. 'The Jaguar' is the flip, a coughing, tortured set of sounds that growl and hack over a speedy drum line, injecting a sense of movement and fluidity into the aggressive, cat-like vibe. Tunes!
Review: DJ Limited signed up to The Playaz camp a year or so ago with a pledge to bring the big beats to Hype's label, and he's come good on that pledge and then some. This single has a rework of his acclaimed track 'The Elephant' from last year on the A-side, and he's managed to craft an even more dastardly piece of dancefloor construction from the potent elements of the first version. The flip - You Got - is a stepping, punchy number with serious weigh behind it. Banging.
Review: Drumsound & Bassline Smith on Playaz.... Do we need to say any more? This is the epitome of a full strength D&B in 2015: beats so heavy they could smash tanks, bass so electrified it could power a London borough for two years flat, strings so dramatic they could get a scholarship at RADAR and well placed film sample, it smacks of everything that's great about Drumsound & Bassline Smith and Playaz. "Testify" takes the aggy-factor down a notch and replaces it with more percussive elements that build on the strong sense of funk that's already in place with the spoken sample and horns. Wallop.
Review: They're back! Following a year or so of bookings, Sub Zero and Original Sin's legendary partnership Generation Dub comes correct with two massive back-breaking productions. "Back In Business" says it all. Having been on dubplate with only these guys and Hype to play for several years, its wily riff and chop-burning bass are now available for all of us and the world is better place. "Ya Tink Ya Bad", one of their most revolutionary cuts from 2005, also gets a muscular G Dub 2017 reboot. Massive in every direction.
Review: Things get distinctly darker in the Playaz camp with the addition of US-based neuro / tech producer Gridlok's Smuggler release. Expect gnarly beats, ominous vocal samples and twisted, roughed up SFX to dominate the proceedings. First up, title track "Smuggler" promises a lot and delivers even more, with a tense intro of building bleeps and metallic flickers with vocodered spoken words adding even more sense of doom from above. The main track is full of gritty, grizzled synths, punchy drums and groaning bass. "After Midnite" sees a return to a late 90s Virus-esque sound, with epic choral-tinted intro giving way to the main tune which is all pounding drums with a raw, rough edge and classic stepper vibes.
Review: LA's Gridlock and London's Prolix come together for this surprisingly smooth slice of jump-up on Playaz which has already had support from the 1Xtra crew and DJ Hype amongst others. Leaving their excessively screwed and sinister trademark sounds behind for this hook-up, they use MC Fats' soulful vocals to perfection, giving him a beat that bangs hard but won't make a party collectively scream for mercy. "Got To Roll" appears on the flip and nudges the tempo ever so slightly higher to create an atmospheric yet thoroughly banging skanker that'll keep loyal Playaz fans very happy indeed.
Review: Sticky-icky-icky! The JTs are back from their Sao Paulo kitchen and they're packing some of the tangiest, sharpest fusions you could ever spread over a dance. Highlights across this sweet sextet include the bluesy twangs and industrial strength drums of "Next Generation", the frazzled, loose-drum space voyage with Fre4knc "3rd Dal Universe", low-blowing groans of "Get Out Of The Way" where there's not even so much room for a please and the blink-and-miss neuro twists on the rattling sub-shaking Playaz homage "Brooklyn". Yum.
Review: Two albums in six months. This could just be a world record in drum & bass. Not only that, but precision quality and serious attention to detail on both albums, too. Tailored 100% for the dance with a cool restrained, lean subtlety to each groove, each cut on Hackers shows us exactly where the Brazilian duo are at and what they're capable of. The buzzy, waspy sizzles of "Ghost Lab", the popping, clicking percussive flare and thick sub swing of "Papa Johnny", the unabashed gruffness of "One Drop". The list goes on. True DJ's producers with an eye on the funk and an eye on the gutter, Jam Thieves are smashing it.
Review: Sticky fingers Brazilians Jam Thieves have been tearing up the dance in the last few years with their subgenre-smelting dancefloor-focussed D&B. Misbehaving on the likes of Radius, Serial Killaz, and Hangar, they've found their spiritual home on Hype's Playaz where all styles are welcome as long they make you bounce... Which is exactly what these 10 tracks do. From the wild west whistles and far-out bass bumps on "The Hangman" and the Qanun twanging "Favela Funk" (with the similarly talented hot blooded Portuguese-speaking duo Bass Brothers), Jam Thieves have delivered a straight-up album of dancefloor bruisers and funkers with nothing contrived or written for album's sake. Refreshing.