Review: Hot on the heels of a killer remix package of their 2008 anthem "MSG" Afghan Headspin release the Schwarzenegger sized "Total Recall" which blends Happy Hardcore piano hooks and chipmunk vocals with heavy breaks and trancey synths for maximum effect. Japanese breakbeat artist Eshericks drops a killer progressive breakbeat banger with a very effective breakdown whereas as Jersey quartet Schema add further to their reputation with a mid range dubstep tear out. Afgan Headspin finish off things themselves with "5 Years 10 Years" a cheeky little dubstep number with menacing bass stabs, off key hats and comedy samples.
Review: As old Grandpappy Juno tells all the staff on their first day, 'always pack a hardhat'. At first you haven't got the foggiest what he's on about... Then a cut like "Favela" crashes through the speakers, and it hits you like a slo-mo hardcore techno brick. Softened slightly by tingling rave rushes, this is hardhat-level electro at its grittiest. Rough Draft's remix, on the other hand, needs no safety headwear. In fact his funkified dubstep version is so slinky and sprightly you could jump around to this in that cracking birthday suit of yours and fear no real danger whatsoever. Hoi! finishes the set with a remix and while it's back to a hardhat level of electro energy and oomph, you can wear it at a jaunty angle as the basslines are much squidgier.
Review: Two former members of D&B trio Resonant Evil (Renegade Hardware, Moving Shadow) have branched out and found a new breaks-friendly home on Cut La Roc's Rocstar label. And boy have they got material to share: with 31 tracks included plus remixes, they've clearly been busy boys, but thankfully not at the expense of quality. "1,2,3,4" comes charging in with live-sounding drums rattling heavily, while "Wipergroove" and "The Calling" show off their deeply tech side. Unable to leave D&B tempos alone, there's even a few hyped, jump-up tunes in there too, making this an exhilarating roller coaster ride of an album, and an impressive debut to boot.
Review: Ready for some serious ragga beats? Here we go...One track, three versions, one message. Audioheed and Skilf are badmen. Producing some of the most nuts hybrid dubstep out there, coming direct from the centre of everywhere (okay, Bedford, UK). Set to tear down venues across the country, "Bad Man" is the type of track that makes a night.
Some Time (Unique 3 remix instrumental) - (8:12) 128 BPM
Review: The Beatmonkeys are largely known for their breakbeat releases but here we find them getting much more dark and carnal. With a voodoo stomp and harrowed vocals from Andy Cargill it's an introspective track that gives more on every listen. Remix-wise TMM take things on a more organic, psychedelic, Trentemoller-style trip, Cakeboy gives it an electro breakbeat shoeing and Unique 3 whisks you back to electro's original icy roots. Do yourself a favour: check "Some Time" out some time...
Review: A fun-filled smasher from Liverpool's Beatmonkeys, who chop and sample a version of "The Sheik Of Araby" and layer it among rave pianos, tough breaks and loads of club 'tude on this new belter on the Rocstar label. While the album version is more breakbeat-orientated, their extended mix is a must-have for house fans as they offer a languid piano build set off nicely against some mainroom kicks and white noise flutters. Cheeky and charming stuff.
Review: Recently rinsed to buggery on Radio 1 by Kissy Sell Out, Florida's Farace comes in hard with the itchy, half-step breaks of "Feel That Ammunition". Given a vocal boost from Trevor Rockwell on the mic, it fuses dubstep and breaks perfectly, whilst also sporting one of the meanest, longest and most insane builds you'll hear in a long time. With mixes from Johnny Dangerously and Wavewhore also included, this is one fierce release.
Innovation (feat Credit To The Nation & Gerogina Upton) - (4:33) 155 BPM
Womp Rat - (5:57) 149 BPM
Respect (feat Coppa) - (4:11) 149 BPM
Brave New World - (3:31) 143 BPM
Side Step - (5:02)
Review: Neatly hyped by his "Avatar" single at the start of the month, Rocstar's new funker-in-residence William Breakspear brings the noise on his debut LP. And what noise it is! Sitting comfortably somewhere between raw funk, hip-hop and dancefloor-driven nu-funk, Billy boy delivers in every way; even with the pun-fuelled title. With 10 sterling tracks on board, we can't list them all, but here are a few hot tips... "Mountain Fort" is a wonderfully trippy slice of deep dub, "Innovation" is a screaming slab of concentrated party fusion that features back-in-the-day legends Credit To The Nation, "Brave New World" drives us to the most darkened corners of the dance with a bashment rhythm and well textured bass tones while "Man Up" celebrates all things carnival. That's four tracks; have a buzz on the other six yourselves!
Review: There are two things you need to survive in life - music and puns. Sheer, unashamed, silly puns. Willy's got both; his chucklesome name giving birth to the forthcoming album title Bardcore. We approve. You'll have to wait until later in the month for that, in the meantime chow down on this fine album track. Featuring the syrup-toned legend from Freak Power, Ashley Slater, "Avatar" is a dreamy, squelchy nu funk nugget with instant heart-melt potential. Prime material timed perfectly for any sunshine sets you've got coming up, it's complemented by a deeply trippy rub from Jazz-Magz Avatari and a soulful D&B flex via Slim Blue.
Review: Label chief of Spanky Panky Records and a pretty mean producer as well, William Breakspear marks himself out as the bard of breakbeat on this new release for Cut La Roc's Rocstar label. With 90s UK hip-hop stars Credit To The Nation leading the rhyme charge, WB cooks up a swaggering, rock-influenced beat while singer Georgina Upton drops a teasing chorus that fits in perfectly amid the hyped verses and souped-up breaks. Truly kick-ass stuff, and a perfect addition to Rocstar's dependable catalogue.
Review: Every bass fan's favourite gateau blaster returns with four firing slices of fondant funk and fury; Both "On" and "Jib Jab" take us right back to the turn of the century big beat/breakbeat conversation, the former with bone-snapping acid stomps, the latter with stuttering funk a la JDS. "Walking In The Rain" brings us back to the future by way of sleazy mid-tempo glitch funkery and a sexy vocal from Scarlett Quinn. Finally "Supercell" takes us deep into the heart of 2007 when Plump DJs and Ils were ruling; rolling, suitably twisted and fuelled with detailed FX and samples. Hotter than a spiced cherry sponge baked by Mary Berry herself.
Funkin' Ridiculous (feat Credit To The Nation) - (4:31) 120 BPM
Blues Breaker - (5:22) 135 BPM
Vibrate The Place - (5:52) 129 BPM
Gettin' Carried Away - (4:44) 138 BPM
Banana Bomb - (5:28) 140 BPM
Skyrider - (5:30) 135 BPM
Review: A fondant funkster. A Battenberg badboy. A cupcake crusader - whatever you want to call him, Cakeboy is one of the sweetest things to happen in the breaks world for a long, long time. Baked with precision, his debut album is tasty to the very last crumb. Ranging from the gritty rolls and old school stabs of "Come & Get It" to the mechanical tripletty skankage of "Glam Sandwich" via the mind-bending bass warps and acid mentalism of "Gettin' Carried Away", each cut on this impressive album is cooked with dedicated dancefloor dynamism. Tuck in today.
Review: Few producers can boast a name as cool as Cakeboy. It's actually his real name, too; we know a funny story about him looking like an eclair when he was born. We don't have time for such frivolous anecdotes though. Not when the beats are as creamy as "Skyrider": Cakey's original bubbles between low-swung nu-funk and a more melodic, organic, star-gazing groove while JFB adds a glitchy halfstep hybrid with plenty of bass. Both are, as another big player in the cake game might say, exceedingly good.
Review: If ever there were a Great British Bass Off, master baker Cakeboy would win hands down. Here he presents two new layers of musical sponge, gelled together with some top musical cream and jam. "Weapons" mixes old skool synths with manic ADHD breaks and build-ups. "Rockin'" lays the subby icing on good and thick over scattershot breakbeats, cowbells and frenzied crunchy funk. The timer's rung, the cake's cooled down, time to get stuck in.
Review: Having appeared on William Breakspear's album last summer, Credit To The Nation bolster their return again with this spiked out slammer from Cornish firestarter Cakeboy. Running amok with an electro-charged riff, Cakey's provided the ideal bed for CTTN's rapid-fire conscious spittage. Not feeling the vocal? Jump on the instrumental version "Funkin Marvellous". Tasty!
Review: Crumbs! Cakeboy remains as sweet as ever with this first new track since his impressive album Gateau Blaster. Teaming up with the rather raunchy, emphatic sounding Frances Law, the pair have cooked up a gritty, growling breakbeat groove that's super-charged with sexy prowess. Remix-wise Dutty Moonshine get wild on a slap-happy 140 flex while Sirkus Sirkuz lay down a more subtle 4/4 vibe that - thanks to some very distinctive detuned synth work and Beltram-flavoured strings - builds into a timeless techno monster. Do not delay: Cause some "Damage" today!
Review: Caper?s "Poker Ghost EP" gets a release on Cut La Roc?s excellent Rocstar label. Featuring three original productions, Caper explores the deeper side of dubstep whilst melting together the sounds of dubstep, garage, breaks, grime and even reggae. Having released on a number of other imprints, it now looks as though Caper has found his home on Rocstar.
Review: Swing and soul ambassadors Captain Flatcap can be found in live three-piece form and solo DJ form. Right here they're clearly operating as a tight unit as an array of organic instruments fly at us from every angle, weaving and bobbing amid treacle-thick cheeky bass. "Bonklet" is a madcap jam with fellow swing sizzlers Dutty Moonshine, all leads and counter leads overlapping with mischief. "Enhancement", meanwhile, plays the soothing counter as we're soothed by flutes and massaged by harpsichord melodies. Deeper into the EP we're chop-slapped by raw swing skanks and savage bass licks on "Blaze Up" and shin-kicked by the gypsy insanity of the accordion-charged "On Your Bike". Tasty.
Review: Captain Flatcap : excellent name, excellent style. "Bonklet" featuring Dutty Moonshine unveils some truly inspired and eccentric beats to get those booties shaking first up. There's a definite feel of festivals about the entire release and the dizzying combination of breakbeat, retro video game soundtracks and ludicrous synth-brass wouldn't seem out of place in theme tune of an after school program from 1996, and it's one hell of a ride. Combine that with a can of your favourite juice and somebody to dance with and you've got yourself a party.
Review: Captain Flatcap is a three-piece act, (Chris Rotherham, Tom Rotherham and Matt Woods), who perform the most unique fusion of electro-swing, dubstep and ska, all fully live btw, that you're ever likely to hear. Propelled by the hypey rhythms of his band mates, Chris is a whirling dervish of flutes, beads and flat caps. Here he's helped out by Great Scott who delivers an edgy rap over a chunky, funk break beat. Instrumentals and clean versions also help round this cheeky melodic package.
Review: Music is rife with repetition. It thrives off it, from sampling to homages to pastiche. But we guarantee you have never heard anything like this. It's Shakespeare's Othello told in a UK hip-hop narrative. No, really. What's more, it genuinely works; while charged at rate of verbal knots, bardman Charlie D's lyrical approach is clear and emphatic, enveloping you into the tragic tale with true storyteller skills. The beats, meanwhile, flicker and faze with the right balance of poignancy and bass. Genuinely unique.
Review: Back with his third album, Big Beat pioneer Lee "Cut La Roc" Potter has created a kaleidoscopic set of songs that make his early days on Skint suddenly seem like a very long time ago. As someone who grew up on hip-hop, it's maybe not surprising to hear so many influences at work at one time. There are plenty of B-Boy references, most notably on "Come Get Some" which features an amazing guest spot from MC Donald D, as well as a choice sample from Big Daddy Kane's "Warm It Up Kane". There's also the use of classic UBB tune Pussyfooter on the schizoid party-banger Jump Up & Down.
But surprisingly, there are a host of other styles on show here as well. Pop gets a look in on For The Kids, which uses a Robbie Williams chorus as a hook in between raps from The 6th Letter. Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol even makes an appearance on Mishka, with La Roc making a soundbed of sampled strings for the singer to let loose on. A pair of songs with vocalist Alex Larke also showcases some unexpected influences. Don't Stop seems pleasantly indebted to The Rolling Stones, while their other collaboration Candy Man is a slow and sentimental piano-led ballad.
There's still a lot of jump-up club tunes that fans would expect from a Cut La Roc album, like the awesome Nightlife Love and Hey Girl which features a great performance from Ragga MC Lion D. But it's refreshing to hear a DJ produce an album that takes them out of their comfort zone, especially when it works as well as Larger Than Life.
Review: Beat veteran Cut La Roc takes us deep into the bleeps. Driven by an arresting hook and a swinging tribal house rhythm, it's Cutty at his most commanding. Remix-wise GALACTUS gets old school with massive hooky detuned synths and a party vibe that's so out of control the police will arrive any minute, while Cakeboy invites a distorted gritty saw-like bassline to the shindig. Drop this and balls will spin in every direction.
Review: A very pleasing step away from his usual punchy, bassy breaks sound as Cut La Roc embraces all things deep and house-shaped on the slow-burning "That Man Is Dirty". With an epic rising filter bringing up some hugely funky vocal stabs over a jacking house beat, CLR keeps his hard-hitting sonics in place but wraps them around a much more subtle and tense arrangement - something that's made even more obvious on the accompanying (and very essential) dub included on the single.
Review: One of the funk and breaks scene's most enduring, influential players, Cut La Roc reminds us what's important in life: going to church on a Sunday morning and giving it up for the big bearded man above. Prayers don't come much funkier; with big soul elements oozing out of every element, it's an instant ticket to party heaven. Remix-wise we're spoilt for choice: Herbgrinder ups the gnarly bass factor, Roast Beatz adds a sprinkle of ghetto attitude to his blend while Fonkyson fuses the mix with lazer-strutting synths and shades of subtle slap bass. Cut La Roc has smashed it on this one. If only all sermons were this funky.
Review: As Rocstar head honcho, Cut La Roc has championed the spectrum of breakbeat styles with open-eared enthusiasm and nary a care for fly-by-night trends. Practicing his preach on every release; you never know what you're going to get from old Roccy, but you're guaranteed it's going to rock. "Roll The Dice" is no exception as it tips a nod to Get Physical's early days and classic UK house with stabs that you may well recognise from "Fly Life". Spine-tingler AND party banger, Cutty's nailed it once again.
Review: An impromptu single from breaks meister CLR, joined by UK rhymer Coppa for the subtle yet very cool "Riot In The Club". You might expect a tune with "Riot" in the title to be a cavalcade of noise, but the duo keep things nicely on the down-low, with rounded, subby basslines and a simple breaks drumset forming the backbone for Coppa to flesh out with his rhymes. And what rhymes they are - if you know of another tune that name checks Elmer Fudd, Dawson's Creek and Nigella Lawson in the same verse, we'd love to hear it!
Review: Exclusive to Juno Download, Rocstar main man and nu-funk breaks king Cut La Rock slams it on this cheeky one-off single. Running at a hip-hop tempo and sporting a tight, old-skool loop featuring plenty of Eastern percussion, CLR offers up the beat to two UK MC's - Coppa and Native Sun - who both kick unique verses with killer lines in each. Don't ask us to pick a favourite, they're both pretty tight spitters who both marry their flow to the beat perfectly here.
Review: The second single from Cut La Roc's Larger Than Life album sees a host of talent get under the bonnet and tinker around with this effortlessly cool collaboration. With the original crammed full of poppy hooks and Fangs' addictive vocals, Superfrank transplants the vocal onto a sophisticated nu-soul beat, full of harps and 60's drums. His instrumental is a joy that really shows off his studio smarts. Nitenoise by contrast turns "Deathstar" into a breakbeat rinseout complete with acres of bass. Fog's Sledgehammer mix takes things even dirtier, brilliantly using whispered layers of the vocal over a devastating LFO-riding breakdown. Fat Dad and Udy also compensate for the original's more laidback feel by pumping their mixes full of high octane electro fuel.
Review: Rocstar bossman Cut La Roc doesn't release new music half as much as he should, but when he does, attention needs to be paid. "Let's Spend The Night Together" is a steamy, sexy jam that's as dirty as it is suggestive. Sally Bloomer's sultry tones work perfectly over the jacking, mangled horn bass and juicy subs. Also included is a stripped back instrumental dub version named "Bugle". Naked and raw, it carries the same naughty nocturnal message as the original with vocal-free prowess. Solid.
Review: What we have here is a rather resplendent head nod to Cut La Roc's early days as the big beat DJ du jour. With hip-hop sensibilities and a penchant for the groove, while others swashbuckled, he strutted. This emotive, string-drenched hip-hop cut would've sounded just as good back then as it does now. Timeless, perfectly arranged, soulful and coated with some decent rhymes, it's not dissimilar to that poignant-but-funky-but-sad-but-happy hip-hop that Ugly Duckling do really well. For kicks he's thrown in the instrumental, making this a great battle tool for some hip-hop trickery -the type of trickery Cutty became known for in the first place.
Review: Although now based in Colchester, Cut La Roc (aka Lee Potter) originally hails from Brighton where, in the heady days of the '90s, he held a four-year residency at the Big Beat Boutique. He's still going strong; often recording with Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody and releasing solo albums (his most recent being Larger Than Life). This latest release on his own Rocstar Recordings sees Potter team up with The Sixth Letter & Kimberley Kennedy for a summery jam that recalls the hazy party tunes like "I Wish" by Skee-Lo.