Review: Belgian producer M-Zine and Doc Scott's ThirtyOne Recordings is definitely a combination to get excited about. M-Zine makes tough, rolling beats for the likes of Dispatch and Overview, and his partnership with one of the scene's best curators has unsurprisingly birthed an instant classic of an EP. Redux is filled with metallic textures and other-worldly scapes, an abstract EP but one that's still deeply tied to fractious clubland rhythms. 'The Dread' is a great example, with a simple, repetitive structure but one whose expertly crafted bassline bores a hole into your soul with its perfectly balanced groove and sheer clarity of sound. One for the heads.
Review: Not many tracks are as widely renowned as Nasty Habits' (AKA Doc Scott) 'Shadow Boxing', a seminal number from the 1990s which you'll still hear out in clubs to this day (well, not right now). It's therefore about time it was given more remix treatment, as Benny L, Traumatize, J:Kenzo and Scott himself step up to bring us four new versions. Benny L's is hotly anticipated and the talented producer has stretched things out and toughened them up, leaving you on your seat with the suspense of his two-minute-plus introduction that gives way to a refined, growly take on that signature bassline. J:Kenzo contributes some percussive steppiness, whilst Traumatize injects some grit and Scotty rolls things out even more. Outstanding.
Review: Kiril burst onto the scene a couple of years back and has been doing serious business ever since across a variety of labels, including Guidance, Critical and others. This single marks his debut on the seminal 31 Recordings and Doc Scott's supreme A&R ability is on full display across both tracks. Kiril tends to release precise, techy music but this time around he's coming at you with something altogether rougher and more ravey, as 'Hoover's Don't Judge, People Do' attests to, a classic sounding roller with goosebump-inducing synths and a lovely rave piano that splices up the industrial vibes with melodic intent. 'Untitled Dub' is the flip, a crunchy tune with fantastic drums that smack of Total Science, a similarity that continues as its bassline slowly builds into a ferociously stripped back offering. Top draw.
Review: Always several steps ahead of the hurly-burly masses, Serum comes correct with another completely fresh sound. Please strap yourselves in and prepare for the interstellar dynamics of "Trident". Trancey, emotional, spacious and unlike anything else out there (with, perhaps the exception of kindred spirit Need For Mirrors) this is the sound of Serum looking ahead into a dark, unforgiving new future. But if you want something a little more conventional and expected from the roller king then head for "Special Brew". Grimy, naggy riffy business. Exemplary.
Review: Seldom does a tune have a more fitting title then "Check It"... Everything about Myth's latest rump-shaker demands your attention. The baggy trousered rolling breaks, that grizzly little waspy bassline and those spooky tones. Once again Ill Truth's Myth delivers some authentic goods. "Sabotage" does the classic b-side thing and take us even deeper. More stripped back and dubwise but still rolling and creeped out, it's another precision minimal roller mission accomplished.
Review: The man, the myth, the sofa-loving animal; DLR dives deep into 2020 with two corkers on Doc Scott's 31. "Banana Bread" is every bit as tasty as its name suggests. There's an old school house vibe to the rising chords and string line as it builds slowly towards to the ruffneck scrappy bassline on the drop. "Busy" is an equally addictive affair. Once again the intro fools you ahead of the twist; dreamy, deep and skippy, no one expects the dark, techno-like groove when it finally kicks in. Go bananas.
Review: Cor blimey, Ray Keith on 31. This is a release of biblical proportions. Both tapping into the Keith's signature Dread vibe but with all the modern tactics of the day (big drones, trippy basses, ominous clouds of pranged out funk), both cuts are schoolings from a genuine jungle OG. "Jungle Fi Dread" is all about the breaks and sirens, taking you right back to A.W.O.L 1993 while "What Time Dread" raises the pressure with some seriously danked out twists on the vocals and more woozy tones and textures than your local haberdashery. What an immense release.
Review: Krust going back to his epic jams on a label as consistently on point and influential as ThirtyOne? We seriously don't deserve this! Fully immersive, cinematic adventures that don't hurry to fly out with big drop histrionics, these are class-A "Genetic Manipulation" era narratives to truly lose yourself inside. "The Portal" hurls us into deep space with it space with its relentless two-step, warp-speed bass sweeps and subtle developments while "Concealing Treachery" oozes out with an eerie intro, skippy beats and a springy robot funk to the bass. Classic Krust, no one does D&B like this man.
Redeyes And Signs - "Only For A Moment" - (4:25) 170 BPM
Redeyes - "Stand Tall" - (3:47) 170 BPM
Redeyes - "For The Leaves" - (3:46) 172 BPM
Redeyes - "Only You" - (3:51) 170 BPM
Redeyes And Signs - "Only For A Moment" (dub) - (4:39) 170 BPM
Review: Following his crucial North Quarter opus "Blueprints", Toulouse OG Redeyes joins Doc Scott for this beautiful 31 outing. Instant tingles are triggered the second the humanised harmonies on "Only For A Moment" breeze in. A true emotional whirlwind, there's a touch of Intalex's influence coded deep into the spaciousness. Elsewhere "Stand Tall" is another subtle riser with strings that morph so gradually you won't even notice you're playing air violin, "For The Leaves" adds a touch of dusty jazz piano to the finger-clicking party while "Only You" brings us back down from the clouds with a sublime slice of molten soul. Layers.
Review: The dust still settling from his remarkable debut album Des Fleurs earlier this year, Mexican in Paris Joakuim continues his stunning vein of form with a debut on Doc Scott's 31. The titles hide no surprises; "Funk As You" does indeed carry a strong groove, but does so with a much more outer planetary, sci-fi context. Deliciously deep and long, there's a touch of Klute to the spacious introspection here. "Cosmos Dub" flips for a rocksteady halftime vibe. Cased in dubspace and a palpitating heartbeat kick, this is a straight up one-way ticket to Infinity. Bon voyage.
Review: Doc Scott continues to invite new friends to the fold with another surprise appearance from an artist you might not immediately associate with 31. Following the likes of Serum and J:Kenzo comes German production giant/neuro don Current Value with four supreme workouts; "Bigger Picture" opens with big breezes before dropping into an itchy, scratchy sandpaper funk bass riff, "Major Fracture" has a hook so sharp it could rip holes in the time space continuum, "Reconsider" is all about the latent groove in the rattling percussion while the title track arrests all attention with its unabashed ode to sci-fi. Crucial.
Review: What an exciting few years it's been for the Artikal bossman Kenzo. Playfully switching between 140, 160 and 170, dub, jungle and D&B, he's in his element right now and packing some seriously darked out heat. Back on ThirtyOne he's hurling more heaviness our way. "Sykura" is a crisp steppy track not dissimilar to early Subtitles and TeeBee material while "Assemble" kicks with more of a bouncy two-step spring. Think Jonny L and you're on the right track. That's the level we're talking here.
Review: Serum on 31... You already know this will hurt you without even pressing play, don't you? For formality's sake, here's the 411: "Species" is a real deep swing grumbler underpinned with a brilliantly tuned moaning bassline while its VIP provides a more fluctuating take on the bass for more of an aggy twist. "Redeemer" tips a wry nod at "Shadow Boxing" with its endless sheet-like bass panelling everything in its wake and "Blood Red" is gulliness incarnate. Heads business, this.
Review: Previously spotted on labels such as Diffrent and Sweetbox, and championed by the likes of Om Unit, and Dub Phizix, UK dubsmith Crypticz makes his 31 debut with four expertly crafted sub joints that sparkle and rumble with all the right dub elements. "Echo Sound" is all about the big nodding groove and crafty delay wizardry, "MTD" adds more jungle into the mix with a pacier kick dynamic and strange alien effects leading the groove. "20" takes us right down into the slimy-walled dungeon for a slo-mo stomp in the stankiest of sub sludge while "Rhymes" brings us to an almighty show-stopping finale as it ignites with a slow burning kick that builds into a transcendental whoosh of sonics and dynamics. Crypticz is going places, there's no doubt about it.
Review: Could Om Unit's twist on Nasty Habits' 1996 classic "Shadow Boxing" be one the most crucial VIP contemporisations in recent D&B history? Arguably, yes. The rolling drums, the slight melodic twist on the iconic bassline, the sudden moments of space... Whether you know this from back in the day or it's fresh to you, this really is a literally perfect example of how to VIP an influential classic. "Something Ancient" sees Om Unit team up with Thing for a cathedral-level stepper smothered in deep breath pads and mystic textures that sits somewhere between Clarity and Tobin. Immense.
Review: Serum isn't messing around at the moment. Not like he ever messed around before, but it's clear he's upped his game even more this year. Making his debut on Doc Scott's 31, "Species" is a rattling dark stepper with loose, swinging drums and a droning ghostly bass gurgle that groans in and out of the mix with raw paranoia. "Red Blood" continues the dark drone theme with more heads-down messages. Rocking a Jim Morrison-style sample from The Zodiac, there's a nice touch of psychedelia amid the gritty dynamics. Proper.
Review: Now this is how you make your debut in the drum & bass game: "Ratatata" is 100 percent twisted mentalism with furious loopy vocal sample and drums so tonked they could bulldoze an entire street in a morning. Tapping into the early Dom & Roland, Trace or Optical spirit, ThirtyOne have found something really special right here. For the all-important balance factor, "Chasm" is the total contrast. Spacious, slippery and music (thanks to its sporadic flurries of pianos), it shows that this brand new act have the strength to go the whole nine - or indeed ThirtyOne - yards in this game.