Review: The beast has landed! Ram Records' most important releases in recent times, the pioneering label celebrate quarter of a century with this insane collection of 25 seminal cuts and 17 selected reversions. Roots and future all in check, every cut reminds why Ram and its founder Andy C have the status they do in drum & bass. Total Science's tasteful jazz touches on "Cool Down", Metrik's growling Aston Martin style rebuild of "X-Ray", Bladerunner's precision update on "Quest", Shimon's personal update on his and Andy's "Night Flight", Chase & Status's elephantine shake-up of "Valley Of The Shadows". We're just listing perfect remixes for the sake of it now... You already know how big a deal this is.
Review: Selector! Jungle Cakes' Welcome To The Jungle series welcomes a bonafide legend to the controls: Ray Keith. Digging deep across the board he's put together over 40 killer tracks from an obscene rollcall: Serum, Vital, Dillinja, Bladerunner, Margaman, T>I, DJ Hybrid, Turno, Filthy Habits, Ed Solo, Deekline and many many more artists are responsible for the savage soul and badman bounce on offer as we're rattled and shaken from pillar to post. From the naughty ragga skanks and turbo reverse bass lashes of Deekline & Ed Solo's "Hot This Year" to Ray's very own seminal "Chopper" via Bladerunner's evergreen breezer "Jungle Jungle" via two mixes and 10 FX tools, this is one of Jungle Cakes' tastiest ever projects to date. Big up the Dark Soldier
Review: Three words: "Police In Helicopter"... One of the biggest dubplates last year is finally here, and it's joined by 24 other exceptional bangers as the Hozzy team roll out another absurd stack of "Sick" freshness from across the board. Genuinely on point tune for tune highlights include Pete Cannon's outstanding drumfunk lash out "Ella", Flava D's first D&B tune (the breath taking "Return To Me"), a bone shaking duet from the next gen gems Unglued and Bou ("Ascendant Man"), both Fred V & Grafix's first solo tunes since they split and an absolute neck breaking gully snapper from Lakeway in the form of "War Dub". And that's just scratching the surface, this is a humungous V/A album. Hot enough to burn down a cane field or two...
Review: 53 tracks... just let that sink in for a second. Jungle Cakes aren't just treating us to a little afternoon tea here, this is an all night feast of pure jungle fire. Calories are piled up from every direction as we chow down on sounds from the likes of Serum, Bladerunner, Pacso, Mampi Swift, Break, DJ Limited and many more all contributing to the heaviest collection Deekline and Ed Solo's label has given us to date. Highlights include the jazzy shimmers and lyrical heat of Levy on Deekline & Fish's "Ganja", DJ Rowney's venomous martial arts on "Very Strong", Serum's outrageous jungle mischief making remix of Substance's "Homeboyz". And that's not even the first course. The last time Jungle Cakes fed us at this level we danced in the mud and rain for three hours nonstop. Massive.
Review: Oh Serum and Voltage, what are we going to do? As if your single output throughout 2017 wasn't enough, you've ended the year with an entire album that's chock-fuller than Santa's sack! An insane cherry on the top of a gully crumpet, this is a romper roadblock with eyes fully-fixed on the dance... The eerie sci-fi samples and early Zinc style bassline Q&A on "Snakes Alive" Seriously, there are too many highlights here, the soul-bowling club fave "Cricket Bat", the venomous pingball bassline fire of "White Widow", the list of immaculate party hurters on here is near criminal. Sleep on this and Serum and Voltage will strike you!
Review: I don't think there's anyone in the world who is a good enough person to deserve the music Break gives us. We're all bad people compared to his tunes and his newest album - Another Way - is arguably his best work to date, a rip-roaring adventure through rolling beats, funk influences and UK dub culture. Featuring vocals from Cleveland Watkiss and Kyo and production features from Total Science and DLR, it's a whos-who of D&B as well as a masterclass in how to make it. 'Last Goodbye' with Celestine kicks off the LP with funk-based energy; 'Keepin It Raw' does just that; MC GQ whispers in your ear on 'Whispers in You Ear'; Total Science collab on possibly the highlight of the whole album with 'Dogs Dinner'; and 'Take Me Away' injects some lighter, liquid-based sanity. An absolutely stunning voyage through the best that D&B has to offer - Break has done it again.
Review: In terms of legendary status for labels over on the jungle/jump-up side of the scene, it's pretty hard to beat Serial Killaz. Run by the duo of the same name, the imprint has arrived with the second instalment of their mixtape series and it's unsurprisingly good. Full of big tunes from guys like Serial Killaz themselves, Vital Elements and Upgrade, it's the latter of these guys that takes the cake with 'Steel Drum'. You've probably heard this one doing the rounds and it's actually already been released, but oh boy what a tune this is: a screaming, siren-lake mash of grating metallic synths and punching drums all come together to make an unstoppably good piece of music. Don't sleep on the rest of these tunes though, and a special mention goes to DJ Hybrid's 'Beatbox' - naught jungle vibes.
Review: KOTR are, in all likelihood, the biggest breakout D&B act of the past two years. It's strange because all three have been producing music for a long time as solo acts, but something about the reputation they've developed as a trio has launched them into the stratosphere and beyond. This is their debut album and it's landing on the biggest label in thew game - Hospital Records. It's 17 tunes long and packed full of the sonics we've come to expect from these three, with less of a focus on the mix and more on just pure, gully vibes. They've certainly accomplished that. Check out 'You Got Me' for an example, with an old-school Original Sin-esque vibe blended with a newer, KOTR trademark sound. Spanking stuff right here.
Review: It's the album that spawned Benny L's "Police In Helicopter" remix... Hospital hooking up with one of the most prolific reggae importers in the UK during the 70s - 90s opens up a whole trove of roots and connections between the genre and its soundsystem roots. As such as the whole album is awash with classics remixes by many of the label's best artists and friends. Highlights include T>I's soul-slapping sing-along take on Alton Ellis's "I'm Still In Love", Nu:Tone's broader than broadway bump-up of Barrington Levy's "Here I Come", London Elektricity's hurricane soul switch up of "Skylarking" and Saxxon's insane twist of John Holt's "Ali Baba". A truly unique collection that celebrates the full culture.
Review: This latest offering from the shady Katakana Edits crew makes their previous offerings seem positively anemic by comparison. Boasting a whopping 22 tracks, it's almost certainly guaranteed to provide decent ammo for every house party imaginable. Highlights include the chugging electro dub sing-along "Shakka Boom" by DJ Clairvo, the p-funk meets disco of vibes of "Miami Freaks" by Lee Zamah and Timewrap's pumped up version of The Velvettes's perennial Motown classic, "He Was Really Sayin' Something".
Review: The don Randall continues to smash things to "Pieces".... 16 tracks of serious rolled-out dark groove soul, it's nothing but heads down grit and uncompromised creativity with every track playing the consummate role of lead player; T>I's soul-shaking hip-twister "All I Do", Benny L's epic groaning yes-fest "Dr No", Vapour's sci-fi drama stepper "Looking Back", Trex's cosmic alien lullaby "Short Story" are just some of the highlights as we roll deep to the very end as Seba blesses the collection with a superlative re-touch on Randall, Goldie and Dego's seminal, scene-shaping bomb from 93 "The R". Randall... Still doin' it after all these years. Essential for all drum & bass heads.
Review: In all due respects, if you need background deets on Brockie and Ed Solo you need to go back to school. If you don't, then you know what level of trouble we're dealing with here as the two hugely influential titans of the genre revisit their Undiluted vaults for an incendiary collection of high grade bruisers dating back to the turn of the century. Still hitting with the same spiked out futurism as they did almost 20 years ago, tracks like the distorted riff blunderbuss "Cheltenham Bass" the slappier, break-riddled "Mind Overload" and the star-gazing riff of "Dutty" still pack major punches to this day. Not ones to just look back, they've also commissioned a load of on-point remixes from some of the sharpest acts in contemporary jump-up: Turno, Serum, Annix, T>I... Need we go on? The story continues.
Review: There's no denying Funk Fusion definitely live up to their name; take these first two tracks which sample and flip Kool & The Gang and Tribe Called Quest numbers into something new and different for 2015. There's also a cheeky garage remake of Basement Jaxx, and for something slower check out the hip hop throw down of Aretha Franklin's "Say A little Prayer For You" by KMT. And have you heard Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" pitched against Sean Paul lyrics? Well you have now. Something for everyone.
Review: It's been a strong year for both these cats... Sub Zero's brought back G Dub with Original Sin and DJ Limited has consistently smashed the year with massive EPs on Serial Killaz, Co-Lab and Biological. Now pairing up for the first time, the sign out the year with this walloping eight-tracker. Six originals deep, we range from the dark brass and sludgy swampy bass groans of "The Cure" to the hands-up Spyda-fronted skanker "Highest Respect" via the electrifying Charge-style riff stabbing title track "Vibrations". Elsewhere Inja takes the lead on the cool sub fluctuations on "Run", the rough sandpaper harmonics of "Are You Scared" and the classic grizzly riff and sizzling switches of "Grab Dem". Each one designed for prime dance mischief... Feel the vibrations!