Review: Rocstar Recordings is a multi-genre record label, started many moons ago by Lee Potter (aka big beat legend Cut La Roc) and Marco Distefano. Next up on the label there is some 'French Touch' vibes from the ascendant Native From Paris, who gets some seriously bouncy bass going over some chopped-up pop vocals on the lush and bittersweet "New Way", while the label boss (the aforementioned La Roc) injects more groove into it and accentuates those irresistible pop elements on his respectful remix up next. Also features a handy radio edit.
Review: Undeniably, there are tonnes upon tonnes of worthy labels experimenting with breakbeat sounds, out there in the digital game. However, only a handful are truly positioned to break barriers and bend trends, such as the unstoppable Rocstar label! For their first EP of 2018, the productive imprint has called upon Jimi Needles and Chaz Thorogood to cause some havoc on our charts. One on drums and the other on vocals and synth work, their only use of breakbeat is to create movement for the angelic, cinematic sounds that engulf each and every track on here. Even "Back Home", which is similar to High Contrast or Alix Perez's strain of d&b, contains something non-dance to its genetic makeup, making up a magnificent collection of tunes for both breaks and non-breaks aficionados. Good music for the good souls out there!
Review: Safety first: Dannywav returns to Rocstar with another collective of multi-tempo party pieces. First he's donkey punching us with two-step slaps on the dizzying turbo-UKF of "Safe" (complete with venom bars from Leon Rhymes), next he's getting all low-slung and heavy with the cowbell in a way that's reminiscent of early Dub Pistols. If that's not enough to keep you under house arrest, he's also provided more skippy, vocal-twisting UKG in the form of "Vish" and concludes nihilistic dark dancehall stepper on "What's The Bleedin' Point". It's an ironic question; with beats like these, there's always a point.
Review: After a magnificently timed stint on Bongo Tronic, an appearance which saw Sir-Vere release his first album to date, the producer returns to the Rocstar imprint with a load of breakbeat bruisers that will no doubt appeal across the entire underground spectrum. "Rebirth" is the tune in question, and it sounds to us like a magnificent return to an early 2000's 'big beat' kind of vibe, twisted blended up with a punkiness not too dissimilar from The Fall. The remix comes from Stevie Vega, who delivers a more straight-laced tech-house version with plenty of progressive flex, and is followed by an essential instrumental cut of the original. Recommended!
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: The Rocstar label have been going strong for a good while now, never tired of splurging out on everything to do with UK dance music; from garage, to grime and breakbeat, these heads like to bill up and spark those smoking joints. They got newcomer Danny.Wav this time around, a young bass-slinger who has no problem in laying down some absolute nastiness in "Hold it Down", his debut as a producer, and a monster hybrid tune. The instrumental mix is big, and and heavy - a perfect DJ weapon - whereas "Woi!" mashes shit up and lays down a speed-garage banger like we haven't heard in donkey's years
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: Cut La Roc's Rocstar label is showing no signs of mellowing with age, and the blistering "This Is Heaven", a new collaboration with Sir-Vere proves this. With a flaming skull on the cover and furious beats contained within, this seven-minute sizzler marries punky mayhem with a subtle melodic undertone (is that a snippet of Autobahn tucked away in there somewhere?). On the digital flipside "Lips" is less raucous, instead revolving around a squelchy electronic bassline for some Apollo 440 style action.
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.
Review: Having recently remixed Great Scott's Indie Rock & Jager Bombs hit, Superfrank now sees the 'hip-hop white boys' from Burton return the favour by appearing on his Calm Down Baby single. Not only that but they are joined by the mighty Lindy Layton of Beats International fame too, resulting in a super catchy big-beat-pop sing-a-long that rock every indie disco from one end of the country to the other.
Review: This London DJ didn't leave his club roots behind when he left the capital for a new life Indonesia, oh no. He just took the party with him and to prove it, he presents us with his latest commercial banger, "Blow The Snow". It's got urban-tinged basslines, electro-house beats and also features an un-ironic 2 Unlimited-style rap by Jonjo, what's not to love?
Review: Regularly found mesmerising festival audiences from here to Timbuktu, Drum Machine are bandleader Aid Todd's 30-strong rhythm collective. This is their first release in a while and they (thankfully) haven't mellowed - "Charlie Watt?" putting the eponymous Rolling Stone to shame with nearly five minutes of percussive bombast. Red Lawrie looks to the theme from '90s TV show, The Word, for remix inspiration and Cut La Roc gets dirty with heavy bass and jungle rhythms. Wakeem Coderro's jackin' and spacey "Back In The Day" house mix is the best track here.
Review: More great stuff by Cut La Roc's label dealing in finely sliced breaks. Great Scott AKA Young Criss and Jaws throw down some sick lyricism debating the moribund reality of nine to five working life over some funky jazzed beats, cut to perfection by Jimi Needles. "Day Job" appears in its entirety, a radio friendly edit and finally an instrumental focusing nicely on Needle's beatsmith antics.
Review: Jimi Needle nails that Kater Blau after-hours vibe with two cuts of dirty electro jazz business. But any other tech-house theme park in the world could surely benefit from these versions too and we'll tell you why. The original on the A-side will work the dancefloor nicely indeed and there's more in store on the B-side with the Bonus Beats version clearing the way for its stomping drum beat and providing an ever useful DJ-tool. You can just imagine them all running down and jumping into the River Spree to cool down after this one!
Review: Mr No Hands releases are about as frequent as solar eclipses, but when they do occur, they're always special. Sharp beats, samples so deeply dug he's got grazed knuckles and an overall sense of stately funk; each cut is a stone cold party popper. From the slo-mo bass scuffs and general sense of doom on "Prison Breaks" to the trippy harmonics, off-beat oddities and awesome Latin sample sizzles of "Top Trumps", MNH remains in a league of his own. It's just a shame that league only plays games once every 18 or so months. Play on repeat.
Review: Ben Sims reignites his dormant Symbolism imprint for 2015. Last active in 2006, Symbolism is about music with real mood and will continue to impart Sims' vision of techno through releases from newcomers and established acts alike. The first release comes from D_Func and includes an edit from Sims himself.
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: 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: 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.
Review: A 30-strong rhythm commission headed up by one Aid Todd, Drum Machine are a tub-thumping collective that are often spotted frothing up festival frenzies across the UK. Here we find Rocstar capturing them at their most DJ friendly with a creative tool that will drive any crowd wild. Those looking for a little more than raw drum power will enjoy the star-gazing, almost prog-like remix from Aid himself. Or indeed the chop-slapping house twist from Sonny Wharton and Mango Trasher. Looking for something a lot more pumping and trance-tinged? Head for Syrum's remix and you'll be more than satisfied. Like the majority of Rocstar releases, this is genuinely unique.
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: 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: Party-upstarts Dutty Moonshine push the 'next level' button with their debut album Rum Runners. If you've seen them annihilate a club or festival in the past you'll already know what to expect... Full-frontal, full-flavoured audio carnage. Fusing aspects of swing over a walloping electro 4/4, it's an unrelenting brew that's ultimately unique. Highlights include the spatters of jazz piano and arresting vocals on "Bang Bang Boom", the molten rave motifs of the slamming breakbeat jam "Steazy Hangover" and the mischievous bump n' shuffle of "Showbiz". Genuinely one-of-a-kind, Dutty Moonshine are rapidly establishing themselves as an unstoppable force in dance music right now. Go on...Pull a moony today!
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: 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: Vibes don't get much funkier or floor-focused than those currently being conjured by Oxford duo Dutty Moonshine. Returning to the "Rauchestra" title they launched with in 2012, this EP sees them expanding and developing their sound with next-level confidence. "No Doubt" is a bumping, grinding low-down funk bubbler peppered with well-known samples and hype-inspiring vocals, "Real Thing" wriggles and giggles with unique flute and flamenco fusion while the Cut La Roc collabo "Keep The Crowd" hype whips up the tempo and whisks us back to the heady days of big beat with elephantine party glee. Elsewhere we're treated to two remixes of "Get Busy": Ettore Baiunco provides a stomping 4/4 version with a well-chiselled spiky hook and Diabeateaze cook up a fantastic two-step twist that's sprung with tight horn stabs and jazzy keys. Like we said; vibes don't get much funkier.
Review: His third album in as many decades, Unique 3's influence and clout in electronic music is still wholly relevant, forward-thinking and commendably genre-smashing as it was when he unleashed "The Theme" in 1990. 17 tracks wide, the whole album weighs in at almost two hours with each track tickling a different corner of dance music's underbelly. From the stunning Orbtialesque opener "Broke My Dream" to the slippery subby D&B skips of "Daddy Ain't Around" via the lush acid house bubbles and rushy synth washes of "SIP 9", we're switched and flipped from style to style with due consistency and clarity. Other highlights include the dreamy breakbeat wobbles and ripples of "Alteratio", the chop-slapping big room house of "Memories Inside My Head" and the epic mesmerisation of the 11 minute finale "Flam Flam". Picture perfect.
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.
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.