Review: Shogun's resident soul merchants are back with their first EP since 2018, a long period which reflects the time taken to produce their unbelievable debut album last year. The train is back in motion, however, and the Method EP is aligned with the diversity of sound and depth of soul they displayed on Research & Development. The title track is a darker touch, a rolling, moody tune that swells in the bassline and cuts through in the percussion, a track that's tailor made for the reopening of raves this summer. KSR gets involved on the effortlessly soulful 'Breathless', which ripples with summer funk in a dreamy, heady kind of way, and there's another superb garage outing on 'Stamina Creux'. A 140 EP from these guys would not go amiss, that's for sure. Superb EP.
Review: Shogun's resident masters of wispy, effervescent soul are back and it's with a two tracker, the A-side of which features Rhi on vocals. It's a crunchy, bouncy track that moves with a deliberate sense of funk but in a manner that floats and whispers, a synthetic smoother produced right in line with the high-quality music GLXY have been pushing for some time now. The flip is effortless soul music, a rolling embodiment of liquid drum & bass, with a smooth vocal hook, featherweight drums and a delicate yet punchy bassline. More superb work from the boys here.
Review: Shogun have a forthcoming compilation and it's one which shows just how good a year they had, all things notwithstanding. It features music from GLXY, Sustance, Koherent and more, and what's notable is just how many are from producers relatively new to the Shogun camp, evidence that the Brighton team are doing the best they can at nurturing the next generation. GLXY are at the forefront of that generation and they have several tracks featured from their Spring album, Research & Development. 'Conclusions' feat. Steo is one of the best, a feathery light liquid number with a dusting of harp and a dash of vocal magic, a sultry approach mirrored on their critically acclaimed single 'She Sings For Me' feat DRS. Koherent's recent, infectiously funky number 'Bliss' makes an appearance, as does several tunes from Gerra & Stone's rebirth as GEST. Big.
Review: Sustance, without a doubt one of the most exciting new producers on the minimal end of the spectrum, has his first ever EP on the Shogun main label. Blood Money is an exceptionally good outing, one drenched in a coating of reddish hedonism, the sound and the feel of the underground encapsulated. Its title tune says the most with the fewest words, a deeply rhythmic track that bubbles with its bongos and bangs with its basslines, a stripped back yet forward looking item of fearsome proportions. The ever-present Charli Brix features on the rolling 'Break The Habit', whilst Monty's feature on 'Lapis' leads to the creation of a jump-up infused number with attitude at its core. 'Be Forgiven' isn't the most outspoken but might just be the best, as tender piano notes flutter above its penetrating underbelly. Top, top class.
Review: Friction's Brighton-based imprint are doing things in style with this one, as Pola & Bryson meet DJ Marky for a flourishing example of high-level production chemistry that has now yielded its first full length EP: Run The Streets. It's darker than you might expect from two producers who are definitely known more for their contributions to the liquid side of the scene, and whilst 'Trouble' definitely ticks thatt box, it's the pummelling low frequencies which will really get your head nodding. 'Dogfighter' is the highlight in that regard, its striding percussive line walking boldly through a shimmering outer mirage of underground oscillations. Ed:it lands on the remix for track four to tie things up in style.
Review: Koherent are Shogun's newest signing and Second Storm is their sophomore EP, their second storm if you will, and once more they've opted for a broad approach encompassing a variety of styles. It's their way of doing and we're into it, especially when it sounds as good as this. 'Thunder' is a tightly packed, minimal number which explodes out the blocks with as much energy as you'd expect from its title. 'Close To Me' carries on the minimal tip but takes things in a soulful, almost synthwave direction, whilst 'Wine Spill' is possibly the highlight, with chopped up vocal samples and offbeat, loping funk. Big up to the boys.
Review: Groove doctors GLXY finally deliver their highly-anticipated debut album. No three-part EP business. No early singles. Just boooom... One fat PHD-level slab of research on intergalactic soul and bass. Peer-tested and approved across disciplines, it's everything we've come to expect from the Shogun duo. Sublime, heart-hitting soul ("She Sings For Me" with DRS, "Conclusions" with Steo), deep midnight prowlers ("Falling") and dirty little grizzlers ("Fourth State") are all dominant flavours in the R&D mix along with subversive surprises such as the sweet two-step vibes of "The LP Track" and ghostly future garage with "Crescent". All laced together with the dreamy cosmic consistency they're known for, the results are conclusive... This is one of 2020's big D&B albums.
Review: Document One dropped their debut album on Shogun Audio last year and it was packed full of wicked dancefloor anthem, as well a a number of liquid and jungle cuts. Anamorphic is their first outing since then and it's gone down the heavier route whilst also incorporating some junglist tones, a wicked combination that represents the diversity present on Friction's label. 'Rave Culture' exemplifies that best, with a ferocious breakbeat and chopped up vocals combining to make a monstrously heavy and catchy club-focused riddim. Lovely stuff.
Review: Monrroe is one of a spate of new signings taken up by the Shogun team in their effort to stay one of the most relevant, cutting edge drum & bass labels in the game. Monrroe is the ideal candidate for this task, a producer who blends the soulful with the biting and the flurid with the respectable. Endless Change is his first full release on the label and it's wicked, with a combination of vibes and an endless changing repertoire of sounds. Jinadu features on the gorgeously rolling 'Horizon', whilst things get stupidly deep and dark on 'Your Lives', the highlight of the release. An excellent start to his Shogun career for the young producer.
Technimatic - "The Nightfall" (feat Jono McCleery) - (4:30) 174 BPM
Document One - "Holy Moly" - (4:41) 174 BPM
Ed It - "The Ticket" (feat Pola & Bryson) - (4:34) 172 BPM
Monrroe - "Everywhere I Go" - (4:50) 174 BPM
Technimatic/Matt Wilson - "Holding On" - (4:56) 175 BPM
Document One - "1964" - (4:13) 174 BPM
Ed It - "Generally Speaking" - (4:53) 175 BPM
Gerra & Stone - "Feels Like" - (4:33) 174 BPM
Review: Having just celebrated their 15th year with one of their best ever collections, Friction's Shogun Audio look back over a strong year of sonics. Flexing a stellar rollcall of all the label's talents - Ed:It, GLXY, Technimatic, Pola & Bryson, Monrroe, Document One, Koherent and many more - there's an exciting energy to the label's collective and this collection captures that vibe. Highlights include Ed:It's fast-lane percussive roller "So True", the deep dream manoeuvres of Koherent and Charli Brix's "Voices" and Document One's epic electrified shredder "Holy Moly". These are just three of 20 reminders of why Shogun have had such a great year in 2019.
Review: It's been 15 years since Shogun Audio burst into life on the South Coast and under the watchful eye of Ed Keeley AKA Friction, as well as K-Tee, it's grown and grown into one of the best labels in the business, without a doubt. From the classics like Perez's seminal 1984, to more recent, futuristic numbers from the likes of Koherent and Document One, the label is truly diverse and that's represented extremely well in this 15 Years Of compilation. Featuring a litany of acts both old and new, including Technimatic, Pola & Bryson and Friction, this one is for the proper fans. Document One's 'Vibration' is a favourite of ours, with a stupidly cool, distorted bassline that packs a tasty hardware edge, undergirded by a click-and-snap drum line. Pure quality right here.
Review: Ed:It continues his "Sihouettes" series with another wide-armed collection of precision D&B. As with the previous editions in the collection (that will eventually comprise to form his debut album) the range is wide, incisive and reveals his deepest influences and knowledge of proper foundation drum & bass. "Can't Stop Thinking" lights the fire with an introspective, dark and sexy vibe (think Shogun era Perez) while "Empty Eyes" gets proper sultry on the vocal side and proper heavy on the bassline / production side. "Endings" takes the crown for the darkest jam of the EP, though; pure grumpy funk, not dissimilar to the recent work of Tyrone (or FD when he's in a badboy mode), there's something very classy yet disgusting about it. Finally he tags up with fellow Shogunites Pola & Bryson for "The Ticket", a slinky, subdued creeper that gets darker, deeper and more immense as the track builds. Just the ticket!
Review: Having teased us over the last few weeks with single tracks from the EP, the inimitable Shogun duo Pola & Bryson drop the full "Pacific" EP and it's every bit as big as the ocean that's inspired it. "Running In The Dark" sets the tone with Ruth Royal emanating soul by the kilo before "Abandon" ups the poignant stakes with a deeper, string-struck slice of rolling magic. Deeper again we hit the star-gazing vapour trails of "Cold Love" before signing out with one of the most touching tracks Harry and Jack have ever done; "Pacific". Time to make some waves!
Review: Ed:it is now on part two of his Silhouettes album series of EPs and this one is even better than the last, with four cuts that straddle rhythmic, stylistic and sub-genre boundaries. This man has such a rich sense of vibrancy to his productions and it really shines through here. From the soulful yet hip-hop 'Undertone' featuring Rider Shafique to 'Slate Grey' featuring Technimatic, the end result on this release is always a combination of grit and funk, of basses that pulsate but do so with purpose and sophistication, of proper D&B that tells a story more complex than pure hedonism. Our favourite is 'Broken Dawn', a steppy rendition of force, frequencies and fantastic production. Epic work.
Review: And the Shogun album heat just keeps on coming... Fresh from launching Ed:It's album series, Friction's label flings Document One's debut upside our features. And it's another essential addition to our collections. As an act renowned for covering the spectrum and subverting the styles, the album format is perfect for the Oxford duo as they guide us through the spectrum... Launching with sing-along sunny-side jungle ("Shutdown") and closing with epic Sigma-esque gospel business ("Newborn") they pack every shade and style in between from soothing chime-laced deepness ("Temporal"), introspective soulful steppers ("Fortitude") and absolute grizzlesome grit ("Holy Moly") A highly accomplished debut album.