Review: Bagged & Tagged are a regular here on Juno and for good reason, their proclivity for steadily releasing rough but energetic, whole-hearted cuts is strong and their small size doesn't prevent the release of top-quality music. They've roped in the Belgian crew for this one and 'Market' is the strongest on the release, with a Low Down Deep-esque feel to its cracking percussion and a torn, broken back end that rips across the range with style. The other 3 cuts go down a similar, wicked jump-up route and, if you like B&T, this is the release for you.
Review: Now entering its 20th year of gully manoeuvres, Grid Recordings unleash another set of remixes of the bossman's tracks through the ages. First up Jayline gets out his stick and whacks "Last Days Of Rome" within inches of its life with a big high voltage bassline, Grid regular Nick The Lot flips "Danger Zone" into a much crunchier, rasping affair and Argentinian newcomer Yatuza adds whole new levels of trippiness to "Edge Of The Dome". Last but not least Matt View and Marvel Cinema go right back to 2003, grab Pony Pleasure by the scruff of its neck and give it a good scrub with cosmic soap. Nice and bubbly.
Review: Holy moly! This is how you smash open a new decade; a 50 track album absolutely drenched in stinkage. Now a tradition for DJ Hybrid's label, this anthem collection is one of the biggest to date with names and vibes across the spectrum. Epicentre, Kumarachi, Conrad Subs, Stompz, Veak, RMS and many more all bring their fieriest artillery with highlights bursting from the seams. Every single track slaps the dance from the stripped back drumfunk and demented mentasms of Substrate's "Throwback" to the mystic sitar twangs and heavy bass bangs of Euphonique's "Moksha" via ruded up Dread bass badness of the bossman's own "Lost In The Jungle". And that's not even the tippiest tip of this anthemic jungle iceberg. Don't dilly dally.
Review: There's no doubting the fact that there's been a distinctive stylistic movement within D&B in the past couple of years, a noticeable strand of the scene that's cultivated a particular style of sharp-edged yet rough rollers. Nu Elementz is an obvious example, but Alphaze is landing in a similar vein here with a fiery five-tracker than hits hard- seriously hard. 'Wonderland' exemplifies the bare-bones approach taken here and its works well as its gargantuan main bassline reverberates across the range with the desired effect. 'Smash The Gaff' keeps it low-key on the introduction with funky sampling, before a siren-like back end brings the tune home with wailing force.
Review: Nu Elementz is one of the big success stories from the new school of jump up producers and he's risen to prominence on the basis of a stabbing, aggressive tonality of production which has resonated superbly in recent times. With 'Lucky', a forthcoming single on Sweet Tooth Recordings, he strips things back and this one could easily be an Original Sin track from the late 2000s, with booming stabs popping through the range and gully sense of roughed up aggression emanating from all corners of the arrangement. It's a proper club tune and we're looking forward to hearing it out.
Review: Every now and then, you just want a release that slams start to finish. No frills, no pretence of trying to be something that it isn't, just solidly banging D&B that gets your head nodding and your feet moving. Slipz has done that here and this single is a run of attitude-packed jump up, all of which would sound fat through a sound system. 'Hurt' is a highlight, bright light synths and god vibes leading you in into a fluttering array of bouncy sonics and boom-bap drum hits, a vibe that's quickly transferred across into 'Too Quiet' - snapping percussive hits, moody bass notes and melody that oozes power.
Review: After a dizzying year of releases on the likes of Walking Dead, Down 2 Earth, Cr8, Crucast and Low Down Deep's sister label Subway Soundz, Tesen steps up to the mother imprint with this naughty little doublet. "Don't Wake Me Up" is a Macky-esque riff stomper with big positive feels in the synths and chords and a savage bassline matching every epic melodic up and down. Showing his true contrasts and skills, "Alive With You" sees Tesen teaming up with Pyrax for something much deeper and sensual. Purring with rolling cosmic soul, it's another reminder of Tesen's superb skills. We anticipate another dizzying year for him.
Review: Biological Beats screams grass-roots underground, an imprint which consistently pushes the gnarliest sides of what the bedroom producers, local promoters and biggest names across the UK have to offer. They rock it, too. Live In The Present, courtesy of Klay, is their newest offering and it's a doozy. 'Digital Heroin' follows on from your classic sample, jump-up vibe, giving the spooky backdrop to an already scary bit of bass work and accompanying drum lines. The title tune is equally naughty, diving runs of bass force jumping out the blocks with ferocity and a glitchy backdrop injecting that classic jump-up feel. The rest of the release slams equally hard - well played Klay.
Review: Pyro is unleashing an onslaught over on Unauthorized Audio with a tight sounding four-track EP. 'You' is a dark, moody stepper that doesn't care about rules and certainly doesn't care about feelings. The main bass on this tune oozes quality and packs some serious weight, reminiscent of the Souped Up crew. 'Smoke' is slightly less crazy but it definitely is still on the crazy end, as gargled bass notes inject a whole load of force into the arrangement and there's a wicked bit of MC work to boot. "I Luv Girls' is downright nasty, and 'Frequency' combines a sub-heavy bit of minimal work with some dirty foghorn business. Tasty.
Review: Liondub are really rolling out the guns with this one and label founder and namesake Liondub is involved himself, which is when you know stuff is popping off. He's joined by Patexx and Kumo and the trio have concocted something deeply rolling, a release which lunges out over four tunes, including two Kumo VIPs, and keeps things banging the whole way. Our pick of the bunch is Kumo's 'Roller Check VIP', a double-kick laden stomper that keeps things punchy in the percussion and twisted in the low frequencies, it reminds us of Workforce's 'Don't Tell' and that's an extremely good thing. 'Caan Touch' is also deliciously funky whilst keeping thins heavy, a tough balance to strike and one well struck here.
Review: M-Zine is a Belgian producer who has been popping up in all the right places for a number of years now, building his profile up and raising the bar of his production capabilities. Dispatch, Utopia, Lifestyle and more lie in his past and now Sofa Sound is in his present, DLR's imprint and one which just gets it right, time and time again. Fractals is bent, broken and ragged, a forceful expression of tangled sonics and a three-tracker which starts hard and doesn't stop. 'Axiomatic' is relentless and pounding, a tunnel of blackish movement which you travel down at full speed, with the lights off and the seatbelt round your neck. There's something satisfying, almost Techno-esque, about tracks which are this consistent and it's a highlight from an absurdly good release.
Drawn The Line (feat Lucy Kitchen) - (5:25) 174 BPM
Rose Coloured Stained Glass Windows - (4:39) 170 BPM
Review: BCee and Blu Mar Ten are pushing off into 2020 with their first ever collaborative EP, a fact which is a bit surprising but still very welcome. Grow is exactly what you'd expect, a soulful collection of tracks with a number of excellent vocal features from long-time collaborators Lucy Kitchen, Charlotte Haining, and DRS. There's an element of minimality to these tunes that's expertly offset with an equal serving of soul and funk, a combination bleeds sophistication across all areas of the music. DRS' feature -- Protected Secrets -- is our pick of the bunch, with Del's by now all-too-familiar blend of rapping and singing tying the knot on a superb instrumental.
Tehbis & Touchy Subject - "Magnet For Your Mind" (feat Yawning Young) - (3:00) 170 BPM
Lewis James - "Your Love Is A Power" (feat DandansK) - (6:31) 174 BPM
Review: As always with Astrophonica, we are in for a treat with this one, as they get busy with a top quality compilation selection, unveiling twenty pulsating originals under the name '20'. Whilst examining the vibes on this one, we noticed that it really does cover all the basis when it comes to high tempo bass music, from the grizzly roller arrangements of 'Hull Breach' from Fracture & Neptune to the bouncy footwork flavours of Dawn Day Night's 'Voodoo Vibe'. There are most certainly some clear standouts, with Fracture, Rider Shafique & Sam Binga pulling together for a spicy original on 'Back It Up', alongside Sully's super colourful junglist roller 'Flock' and the eerie flute work of 'Flocon' from Moresounds. A very interesting listen!
Review: Gunston is an artist who resides on the stripped-back, more minimal end of the spectrum and he's landed on Weapons of Choice Recordings for a really, really slick four-tracker that just generally pops off. The title track is our pick of the bunch, which has a pulsating sub-bass underneath a snapping, crackling percussive line that has that satisfying edge all quality drum lines should have. It's a properly cool tune that characterises the whole EP from the start in a seriously good way. 'Come Again' is awesome as well, with a growling back end which rises and falls in tandem with the power of the percussive.
Review: Fresh from launching their own label for their collaborations last year, longstanding compadres Seba and Paradox land on the Metalheadz mothership once again with two outstanding lessons in D&B realism. "Hexagon" is glacial and furious. Original late 90s rudiments; the beats are pneumatic, the flavours and cosmic, the vibe is barbed and tense throughout. "Love Or Death" takes us down an even darker drumfunk rabbit hole where the breaks do all the talking. Absolute slap-about business with no holds barred in any element or ingredient. What a way to kick off the new decade for both Paradox, Seba and Metalheadz.
The Upbeats - "Aotea" (feat Shapeshifter) - (3:02) 173 BPM
Review: The Upbeats, after an initial two singles, are releasing the third full instalment in their No Sleep 'Til series: New Zealand. It's the pair's home and as such they've teamed up with New Zealand natives Tiki Taane and Shapeshifter, as well as the UK's Workforce, for a damn cool four-track EP. You can hear Workforce's contribution on CTK4000, a gritty roller that skips out over a punishing percussive section, and The Upbeat's cross-tempo talents are exposed on the crunchy halftime beats of Nautilus. Aotea is an atmospheric down-tempo number to finish and it rounds off a quality bit of work.
Review: We're not quite sure how Jedi manages to put out so many releases, to be honest, because the man is just always on it. Always on a mix of labels, this time it's Brummy imprint Dubstomp 2 Bass. The title track is refreshingly heavy, creative bass work and stepping drum smacks forming archways of diving bass force, a joy to listen to and we'd imagine pretty devastating on the dancefloor. 'Sweet Gun' sees Jedi on familiar territory - naughty jump up that makes you want to hit your nan. 'Boner' is different again, a pummelling, fluid back end laid out beneath a rolling set of drums. Yes Jedi!
Review: Bergsonist aka Selwa Abd follows 2017's From Dualism To Monism long player with this collection of left of centre tracks. Drawing on her Eastern roots, Middle resounds to organic drum sounds. At times chaotic and dense, audible on the title track's clattering arrangement, in other instances club-friendly and direct - just check "Gaza Border Violence" or the electronic groove of "Otology" - it marks her out as an artist with a unique approach. In case you are in any doubt about Bergsonist's capabilities, on "Magnesium" she deconstructs beat down house and adds extra, textured layers that are nothing short of hypnotic.
Review: Conspire has been popping up on labels both liquid and otherwise for quite some time now, and if you haven't checked out his back-catalogue we definitely recommend you take a dive one quiet evening. He's next up in the Soul Deep Artist Spotlight series and damn, what an instalment number five is as the man himself rolls out some soul across varying drum patterns and vibes. 'Jazz Fusion' takes the funkiness of Peshay or someone similar and chops it into bits, gullying things out whilst keeping the overall feeling upbeat and energetic. 'Alone With Nature' is also a highlight, another jungle number, this one packs melancholic piano chords and a stuttering drum break which flutters in tandem. Lovely.
Review: Original Key are here with their first release of the new year, a two-tracker from Tomoyoshi with Jaybee on the remix for both. This label always - repeat, ALWAYS - bring out the goods with their tunes and this release is no different, sitting very nicely in the modern, up-to-date brand of attitude-filled D&B pioneered by the likes of Serum and Bou. 'Mad Jazz' exemplifies this perfectly, with a rough and diving bassline that will definitely sit well with the discerning D&B head. 'P' is another creative cut, its spooky bassline definitely setting it apart from others.
Review: Jan Schulte aka Bufiman drops his debut album on Dekmantel, and it's a thing of cosmic beauty. There's the odd ball groove of "Galaxy", on "Sara Sara", he tackles electronic boogie with great flair and "Hoolock Rock" is a superb slice of spaced out disco. However, Schulte's project is not just concerned with revisiting existing styles, and he seems to be just as content when teasing out weird and wonderful new hybrids. These are articulated most impressively on the frazzled acid and steely drums of "Blow Your Mind", the dreamy down tempo drums and tropical sounds of "News From The Treetops" and the sludgy electro funk on "Langsam Aber Slowly".
Review: Having blessed the world with his remarkable debut album Arashi in 2018, Kusp returns with more spell-binding sounds. All future-facing, heavily mystic and immersive, "Opium" takes us deep into Kusp's dark hypnotic lair and there's no way back. "Not Who You Are" and "Dynasty" follow and both excel in using vocals as textures that drive their narratives in a similar way to Conduct have done in the past. We end with a complete switch-flip as "XO" strips things back to a wobbly alien halftime vibe. Close your eyes and taste the future.
Review: With the All Out label grooming Glasgow talent Casement for successive releases on labels like 1Forty, Deep Cover and a 2018 album for Wile Out, it's the Nice Up! label up next that delivers three dubby variations of urban and club sounds from the UK. Dubstep leads the charge in "Shards" with syncopated drums and stepped percussion submitting to stabs of huge reverberating bassline rave, with touches of baile funk nestled in behind cosmic melodies of synth in "Cables". "Night Garden" adds a solid trip of tropical weightless grime to the EP as well, and a nice left field alternative for the dancefloor or club.