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: 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: With Hazard rounding up another killer year for Hype and Pascal's label with his first release in five years, Playaz take stock of 2019 with this savage showdown from all their main mandem. From the eerie gurgles and scraps of Annix & Kanine's "Jackpot" to the flabby wobbles and groans of Limited's "Soldier" to the sweet seduction twist of Jam Thieves' "Love Forever" this 25-track pack covers the entire spectrum of proper rave-primed drum & bass with all manner of curveballs and boundary-pushing badness. No compromises, a healthy balance of elder statesmen, new headliners and young talent and a sound that's distinctively theirs, Playaz are about to bulldoze into a new decade... And this is how it all begins.
Review: Viper have been smashing things over on the dancefloor side of the scene for decades and a big part of that is their yearly annual, a compilation which celebrates some of the best releases from the year. One of the best pics of the annual without a doubt is the Annix remix of Pulsation by Mefjus & Insideinfo, a big task for the duo to take on considering how relentlessly classic the original is. But Annix have smashed it with their drawn-out and suspenseful jump uptake, one which sucks all the air out of the room and then releases it as a smorgasbord of warped out energy and choppy force. There are tonnes of other great picks here too, including from new blood Millbrook and others.
Review: Killaz by name, killer by nature; Vital Elements and Tobie Scopes' continue to set the agenda as DJs, artists and as label owners. This third annual mix-up is certainly no exception as they plough through 59 tracks - many of which are brand new exclusives - to paint a picture of exactly where drum & bass is at right now. A thick smelly melting pot, everything is thrown into the mix: Upgrade's spine-trembling harmonics on "The Voice", ruded-out bassline badness from Voltage ("My DJ"), various jump-up hybrid creepers from Russian newcomer Ozma, brand new dark wobble lava from Serial Killaz themselves ("Rudebwoyz") the list goes on and on. This is a huge package and it comes with a superb mix too. Treat yourselves or defeat yourselves.
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: Nussic are developing a bit of a reputation for spewing out some of the most venomous beats in the business and their talent for pushing some of the best artists on the jump-up spectrum is undeniable. Motiv is holding up that standard with his debut EP on the label and he's doing it in style, something clear right from the start of this EP. 'Gallows' reels you in with a lovely intro, it's upbeat beginnings quickly regressing to a really sick wall of pure energy that's reminiscent of Kings of the Rollers and insanity more generally. The rest of the release is equally aggressive, 'Fakes' being another highlight. Sick release.
Review: Bomb Strikes, the UK hip-hop/funk/soul/breaks label headed up by Mooqee & Beatvandals, celebrated their 15th birthday in 2019 with a fantastic compilation album, and to further celebrate the success of the label in 2019 they're releasing another compilation featuring 15 of their best cuts from the past 12 months. What's most impressive is the variety on offer, ranging from straight-up hip-hop from Alexander Norman Prosper & Stabfinger, to party breaks from Ali B and Krafty Kuts, to 'new old' soul from Flevans, to the fairly self-explanatory 'Disco Weapon' and 'Mirror Ballin'' (by Shaka Loves You and X-Ray Ted, respectively. Tons of fun for festive season funkateers of all ages!
Review: The North Quarter welcome another kindred spirit to the family; Satl. One of the most exciting newcomers to emerge since LSB, there's a soul and depth to his music that's won him friends like Digital and TNQ bossman Lenzman. This is his most comprehensive and revealing EP to date as he goes to town on the blank canvas with more shades than you might know him for; as well as the poignant ("Supposed To Be", "Coming Back") and the soulful ("All My Life") and the blissful ("Self Reflection") there's also some exciting variations in tempo ("Modern Jah" hits like a Dominic Martin record and "Aadje" is pure modern dub) and shades of Marcus-inspired techno in the mix ("Drifted")... Trust us, this man is just warming up and TNQ is the best place to give him freedom and encouragement to reach the next level.
Review: Is Jack Stevens a butcher in disguise? Because he's certainly gone HAM on his Workforce project this year. A dominant force throughout 2019, the SpectraSoul member has dented our playlists and collections with three weighty EPs this year; two on his own Must Make imprint and now this end-of-year curveball on Exit. Six track in total, each one digs deep into the foundations while sounding like nothing else being made right now. EP essentials include the unapologetic bashment of "Take Your Time", the savage two-step and Quarantine headbutt of "Didger", the industrial funk and technoid dynamics of "Make Me" and the dark sensuality of the title track. But to be honest every track is essential. This is seriously high grade stuff.
Review: Hailing from Coventry, DJ Hybrid has firmly established himself over the last couple of years as someone at the forefront of D&B's re-discovered love for jungle-influences and bouncy but hard-hitting basslines. Drawing upon those influences, he's back on Audio Addict for a full-throated six-tracker that kicks off with 'On A Riddim', a gently weighted sine-based wobbler that pushes on every corner of the range. 'Madman' and 'Funk Pulse' have clear Kings of the Rollers vibes, with juddering bass pulses and that recognizable sense of hardware-based rawness. This release has overtones of Manchester and undertones of the South - proper UK underground stuff.
Review: Choose Conrad Subs. Choose Deep In The Jungle. Choose a lifetime of being happy-slapped by amens and tickled in the gut by long rumbling subs the size of elephants. Choose collaborations with DJ Hybrid like the swaggering "Rinse It". Choose absolutely slamming Urban Takeover-style 96 era jump-up "Rough Beats" and skank so hard you give yourself a hernia. Choose sexy vocals like the ones on "Through My Eyes". Choose the insanely brutal slammage of "Imperial Roots" and feel like you need to take a long hot shower afterwards and still feel like you're covered in engine oil. Choose this EP and double dropping every track tune fi tune. Choose bludclart jungle. It's the ravers choice...
Review: Rene La Vice and Future Cut is, to be honest, quite a strange combination both in terms of their musical history and their stylistic divergence. We couldn't be happier to see them together, though, especially considering how incredible this release is, a three-tracker which packs all the heaviness that Metalheadz has built its reputation upon. 'Nine Strings' lays a soaring vocal over the top of a gully, no-holds-barred junglist break-out, a vibrantly powerful set of elements all working together to create a jagged, punchy track of club-sized proportions. 'Eyes' is incredible as well, a roller with a rolling reece bass and an attitude to match, something carried over into the final tune 'Deenandbee'. Awesome stuff.
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: The bright-light, groovy aesthetic of BLK PRL is back at the start of this year, so get out your Red Stripes and don ya wavey garms because Channel 2 isn't messing around with this one. Four ragga-infused numbers are here for you, uplifting samples abound and suddenly it's not January - it's June, July and August and the sun is shining. This doesn't stop 'Wait' from coming out the blocks in a moody way, though, and neither does it stop 'Boneman Connection' from attempting to knock your hat off. Channel 2 always manage to pull out the stops in a way that makes you nervously smile - this one is no different.
Review: Liondub are celebrating a decade of existence and they're doing a three-part compilation series covering the past, present and future of the label. By definition, then, these series' feature plenty of talent from all across the spectrum and time period of the genre. One of our favourite of the 26 cuts is Bou's VIP of Keep Away, a deliciously double-bass infused number that is both funky and heavy, the ideal combination, and he's flipped up the arrangement here with some precisely placed note changes. There are also features from Vital, Euphonique, Dutta, Marcus Visionary and more, with the overall vibe being one of toughness and power. Top stuff.
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: Technique Recordings, founded by Drumsound & Bassline Smith back in 1999, is turning 20 this year and they're releasing a huge remix compilation to celebrate. Featuring remixes from artists old and new of Technique's best tracks, mostly originals from the founders themselves, this album stretches across 27 heavy, dancefloor numbers. The first outing, a remix of 'Come With Me' by Bladerunner, is classic KoTR vibes and we love the array of twisting, snarling basses that fans of this producer will recognise. Shouts also to Digital for his swirling remix of 'I Need Somebody', featuring some classic amens, and also Smooth for his popping remix of Tantrum Desire's 'Vybez'. Top stuff from a stalwart of the scene.
Review: Marc Hype, boss of German 7-inch label Dusty Donuts, mixes up this seventh volume in Bomb Strikes' 'Funk N' Beats' series. It's an eclectic, funked-up selection that ranges freely through hip-hop from The Nextmen and Red Astaire, 'new old' funk and soul from Speedometer, Soopasoul and the Hot 8 Brass Band, nu-jazz from Nicole Willis and Jazzanova and more besides. Highlights include The Traffic's funked-up cover of Daft Punk's 'Harder Better Faster Stronger', Speedometer's cover of The Chi-lites' 'Are You My Woman?' (AKA 'Crazy In Love'), and Hype's own take on electro classic 'Al Faafyish (The Soul)'.
Review: As ever with Moonshine Recordings, they have delivered us a seriously top notch selection as they unveil sixteen tracks of sweet reggae bliss. We have one of a line up on the table as we see names such as G Roots, Frenk Dublin, Blind Prophet, Adam Prescott and more throw us contributions as rootsy flavours are given a 2019 face lift. There are some clear standouts from this work, despite all sixteen tracks being absolute show stoppers, including 6Blocc & General Jah Mikey's system-ready stomper 'Too Rude' and the euphoric horn manoeuvres of 'Enchanted Dub' from Halcyonic, G Roots, Digid & Vale. The whole project is excellent, and we are super stoked to have it available here at Juno Download.
Review: Brothers in bass and real life, Phibes follow up releases on Bomb Strikes, Jungle Cakes and their own self-titled label with this massive LP follow up to their debut album Change Of Late last year. 12 tracks in total, the collection delves deep into every corner of their sound, providing certified scuds for any hour of the dance you're asked to play. From the crafty balance of euphoric light and dank dark bass on "Let Me Go" to the out-and-out stinkage of the savage dancefloor-focused "I Don't Give A F**k", this is the sound of two artists who are fully off the leash and writing what the heck they like. Other massive highlights include the rudeboy riddim "Dub Service", the toxic bass and mid 2000s Playaz vibes of "Amadeus" and the gritty groans of "Bombz". Fire in the hole!
Review: The bright-light, groovy aesthetic of Chopstick Dubplate is back at the start of this year, so get out your Red Stripes and don ya wavey garms because a whole load of artists aren't messing around with their remixes this one. A load of ragga-infused tunes are here for you, uplifting samples abound and suddenly it's not January - it's June, July and August and the sun is shining. This doesn't stop Aries & Jacky Murda's take on 'Soundboy Gone' from coming out the blocks in a moody way, though, and neither does it stop Mozey from attempting to knock your hat off. Chopstick Dubplate always manage to pull out the stops in a way that makes you nervously smile, this one is no different and there's other excellent tracks from Samurai Breaks ,Kleu and DJ Gaw.
Review: The 'Jalapeno Funk' series reaches its 11th installment, which is no mean feat! As such, you should have a pretty good idea what to expect here already, and you'd be right. All the usual Jalapeno suspects - Flevans, Skeeweiff, Smoove & Turrell, Speedometer, The Allergies, Dr Rubberfunk, Aldo Vanucci - are present and correct, and while it has to be said there aren't many stylistic surprises or curveballs on offer, fans of the label's trademark funk 'n breaks sound will be more than satisfied, with highlights including Flevan's light-footed 'Speculate' and Vanucci's Hammond-toting 'Get A Hold On This'.