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: Zombie Recordings always deliver tough, urban-edged sonics that don't prance around or act fancy, they just get down and dirty. Nick The Lot has delivered exactly that here, with a six-track EP of moody tones and no-nonsense drum lines. 'Mosh Pit' is a perfect example of said drums, with impossibly clean hits and a clear sense of space and progression, its bass stabs are almost shadowed out. 'Karma' is the most futuristic, with a deep back end and seriously cool synth spasms that lend it a techier feel than the other cuts on the EP. The other four are equally top-draw - make sure to check these.
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: When we heard the news that Cimm had an album on the way, we could barely contain our excitement. When we then learnt it was to be featured on Sentry, our expectations tripled, and boy does Cimm deliver! The project takes the name 'Unknown Caller!!' and is a perfect embodiment of what today's deep dubstep scene represents, from the irresistible sub pressures of 'The Corner' alongside Rider Shafique to eastern-dub hybrids of 'Blue Sapphire' and lower tempo bass quakes of 'I Am Jack Travis'. The collaborations are fruitful on this one, as Cimm also invites Youngsta, Mr K, SGT Pokes, Riko Dan and Animai to take part in what is undoubtedly one of the strongest dubstep projects of the year.
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: 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: Subwoofah are rolling things out nicely here with a joint four-tracker from Grimesy and Speaker Louis, who manage to combine riotous jungle with more considered tones to great effect. 'It Was' lands more on the side of the former except it smashes out the jump up stabs over a staggered, junglist undercarriage which injects a whole new dynamic of broken, torn energy to create a proper choon. 'What You Do' is a bit more stripped back, a bit more focused on the drum side of things and it works really well, sub-bass stabs abound in the gaps and its all just very sick. Top work you two.
Review: The bright-light, groovy aesthetic of Jungle Cakes is back, as it so often is, so get out your Red Stripes and don ya wavey garms because the legendary Brian Brainstorm isn't messing around with this display of both the jungle and D&B sounds. Two ragga-infused tunes are here for you, uplifting samples abound and suddenly it's not December - it's June, July and August and the sun is shining. This doesn't stop any of these tracks from coming out in a moody way, though, and it definitely doesn't it stop either the jungle or D&B mix of 'Judgement' from attempting to knock your hat off. Jungle Cakes always manage to pull out the stops in a way that makes you nervously smile - this one is no different, and we love thee combination of jungle and full-speed rolling sounds.
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: LSB and DRS: combos don't come any stronger than this! We already know this from incredible tracks like "The View" and "New Day" but The Blue Hour is a whole other level of their soulful prowess. Jazzy, smoky, thoughtful and blues to its very core, there's a musicality and spirit to this album that transcends any genre thanks to both Del's disarming lyrics and barbed charm and Luke's natural soulmanship and sense of groove. From the smoke-stacked horn-based dream "Umbrellas" to stunning cosmic risers like "Keep The Time" and "Could Be" and to every other planet that orbits in between, this is one of the best albums in the D&B sphere this year. We will look back on this as a timeless classic. Essential.
Review: DLR is taking a break from his recently exclusive dwelling at Sofa Sound to come up with this, the One More Record EP on C.I.A, a three-track jungle EP which sees the Bristolian step over onto the breaksy side of things for the first time in quite a while. Label bosses Total Science step in on the first track, 'Spluurge, which packs rave-piano influences and a tightly bound knot of central percussion that drives the whole thing forward. Title track 'One More Record' is another highlight, with a slightly stripped back approach that seeks to impress, not overwhelm, a tactic that works wonders here. Top release.
Review: KLP Records are turning 25, a crazy achievement that puts them right up there with Metalheadz et al, and so they're celebrating with a big compilation of tunes. Nicky Blackmarket, Klips & Outlaw kick things off on remix duties for DJ Monk's Touch Me, Tease Me. It's a classic combination of artists and the end result is equally timeless, with a sense of vocal softness descending into hard percussive knocks and grating jump-up synth work. It sets the tone for the rest of the album, which features contributions from Dublic, DJ QT, DJ Vapour and a load more. Unbelievable.
Review: Guzi is landing on Sub-Liminal Recordings once again this week with a sophisticated and incredibly fun release, one which, if you hear out live, is certain to get you moving. There's a carelessness and a freedom to these tracks and it creates a tangible sense of kinetic movement. The title track kicks things off in style and it's 'Area 51' that really takes the cake, a winding, subby track that flips between roughshod amen junglist work and a more rolling, stripped back tip, including powerful, punchy basses all the way. It's a wicked track and definitely the highlight of the release. 'I Can't' feat. Zoner is another absolute banger but one that's deep and wispy in all the right ways, as stuttering drum lines perforate over monochromatic bassline injections. Sick!
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: Conrad Subs is a regular on this website because he releases such a wide range of music, so consistently and on such a diverse array of labels. This time he's back on Original Key, a German imprint, with a five-tracker that spans the spectrum from rolling techiness to reggae-infused, hip-hop jungle. It's title track 'Babylonians' that really caught our attention and Conrad Subs has previous in long, loping dub introductions that then flip into jungle pressure ('Leave Dem' - look it up). This time around there is less reece bass but even more percussive heat, as a flurry of stuttering breaks intertwine with your own expectations to form a shuddering bed of deeply urban sounds. Lovely.
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: It's always a pleasure to see new 81 land in the store as Loefah's ever-evolving imprint continues to surge forwards, showcasing the latest bassy sounds on the market. He here brings in Sumgii who provides five sumptuous scorchers, kicking off with the subtle synth drives of 'Absurd' and spacey percussive lines of 'Chunks'. The synthesizers arrive in force on the next one as 'Skanker' showcases some post-purple soundscaping, followed by the grizzly dubstep subs of 'Dark Side Burns' before we round up on 'Wollop', which packs a serious spooky punch.
Review: Second albums are meant to be difficult but you tell that to Survival and Script and they'll laugh in your prudy little face: Scar's follow up to The Orkyd Project is another remarkable body of work. The first of a three album deal the London duo have with Metalheadz (the first ever deal the label have ever offered any artist) High Fives & Devil Eyes is a powerful jolt of timeless D&B that dig deep into every corner of the genre. From the alluring intro of "Circle Of Trust" to the deep, introspection of the finale "Eternal" via the wonky-assed "Pauline", the scuzzy gritty bass of "First Sound" and trippy funk of the album title track, the only difficult thing about this second album is working out which tune you want to play in your sets first. High fives all round!
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: Deep In The Jungle Records is a UK jungle imprint that have been making bigger and bigger waves over the past several years, a big part of which is their affinity for fat compilations that straddle numerous sub-genre boundaries and which represent lots of different artists. This next one is about classics and it features artists like Conrad Subs, Kumarachi, DJ Hybrid, Kartoon and more. Conrad Subs is a favourite of ours and his cut, Takeover, is a wicked, deep rolling piece of work that packs a sick bassline, one which makes you think of late-night raving at its finest. This is a top compilation from a star label of the new wave.
Too Greezey - "Fled The Scene" (feat Thunda Banton) - (4:26) 58 BPM
Too Greezey - "The Chant" - (4:28) 58 BPM
Review: Representing the vibes and history of reggae culture except with a uniquely British urban twist, Agro & Too Greezey drop a five-track testament to his ability as producer here. We've featured his music in the past and every time we do it's a devilish concoction of force and finesse, an amalgamation of ability and acumen. 'Fled The Scene' is as big as it gets, both in terms of its steppy percussion and driving bassline; 'Shot To Bits' reminds of Kings of the Rollers with a bassline that roars out the stops; title tune 'Time Traveller' combines reggae atmospherics with a rolling finesse. Sick EP.
Review: The one and only Digital celebrates his label's 50th release with this incredible V/A collection featuring some of the most important names and artists in the movement. Calibre, Klute, Kiljoy, Need For Mirrors, Drumsound & Bassline Smith and many more all feature on the album, ensure the Function signature broadsword, open-armed sound remains as developed and varied as it's known for being. Highlights include Calibre & Jet Li's drum-heavy drama stepper "Least Loved", the unabashed bashment of Digital's own "Dub Conscious", Seba & Jr Vallo's epic growler "Wasabi", DJ Trace's wild breakbeat ruckus "Spirits" and Klute's insane "Sick Of It All". These are just examples of a completely killer collection with no filler whatsoever... All contrasts, shades, styles and energies, Digital doesn't not mess around!
Review: Coming in hot off the back of some great releases is both Sota and label Pick N Mix, who have collaborated on the producer's 8Bit EP, a six-tracker that spans a variety of sounds, all of which are driving and filled with purpose. Title track '8Bit' is a jagged roller with a great flowing feel to the percussion and an arrangement chock a block with funk and soul, despite its constituent elements being far from soulful. That's the sign of a good heavy D&B track and both producer and artist have nailed it.
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: Lion Dub have reached a decade of activity. A decade! To put it in perspective, if someone was born the year Liondub started, they're about to enter high school/secondary school. It's a crazy achievement and one matched by the craziness of the music they have on offer to celebrate, a four-part journey through their past, present and future. This instalment is all about their past and it's exemplified best by Serum's VIP of Sound The Alarm, a Liondub classic, which Serum has flipped into a characteristically badboy, stabbing little roller. The vocals float above in a haze of reggae smoke, whilst the beat pulsates below. Awesome stuff.
Review: Nuusic put out some damn good music. In fact, we're still reeling from their Sound of Nuusic compilation and that was months ago and so this EP from Disrupta is a welcome addition to the ever-burgeoning world of D&B. Five tracks long, Karma is a moody, raw release that would undoubtedly sound fat through a soundsystem. This is especially true for track one, 'Origin', a diving, sub-heavy piece of work that gargles on the stabs and bounces on the hits. 'Fire' featuring Zoro has a cool, steppy beat pattern and even bigger bassline to match. Top stuff.
Review: Manchester's Subwoofah is a regional powerhouse for, in their own words, the marriage of school jungle and modern D&B. That's the objective being borne in mind here with Epicentre's remix EP, a release which combines the percussive vibrancy of jungle with the powerful basslines of the current age. The 'Motiv' remix of 'Ear Worm' is a great example and we love the rough edge to its drums almost as much as we dig the attitude-packed bassline. Full of anger, but the good sort. Lovely.
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: Oh gosh! Current Value hits us hard with his 11th studio album 'Puer'. Released on Serum's Souped Up, it's a no-holds-barred exploration of the jumpier side to his far-reaching range. Big basslines, wily funk, zero-effs-given rave music, it's the German producer at his most playful. Highlights such as the sizzling harmonics of "Contemplate", the deep drones and savage kicks of "Chariot", the rising grainy riff and KO fills of "Pitting" and the reunion with man-of-the-moment Bou on "Running Your Mouth" are just some of the tracks that will melt your skin right down to your bones. And if that's not enough, he's about to drop album 12 on Methlab too. No one's doing it like Current Value.
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: Mosaic is a fairly new artist who has been brought through the watchful eye of Ben Soundscape over at Intrigue Records, with regular features on their Intrigue releases over the past year or so. This EP shows off his darkest work to date and it's arguably his best, with four cuts of vibrant, rolling D&B that hits both heavy and melancholic notes. The title tune is a straight banger, with a torn, broken bassline that emits a guttural sense of movement and floods the arrangement with character. 'Trueform' is a sub-heavy roller, 'Radius' brings things back to the proper darkness and 'Deep Ellum' rounds of the release with a gorgeous bit of depth, featuring hip-hop flips, jazz leads and vocal shimmers. Unreal.
Review: Toulouse soul man Julien Salvi returns to The North Quarter with another prize-fighting package of deep, authentic drum & bass. Opening with a smoky intro track that's more jazz than dancefloor, he slowly take us deeper and deeper down his D&B rabbit hole. Cuts like "Fine Again" and "Next To You" breeze with that sad poignant spacious feeling he's made his own in recent years while "Evergreen Dub" (with FD) reminds us of his darker rolling side and "The Rhythm" is a direct homage to the man like Marcus. Stunning through and through.
Review: It seems to strange, in 2019, to think that Robert Hood was once best known for dark, pounding techno, such has been the success of his more house- and gospel-inspired Floorplan project in recent years. This third long-player finds the father-and-daughter duo in fine fettle, serving up 10 cuts that marry house and disco's sense of groove and musicality to the dancefloor energy that Hood learned during his Underground Resistance years, with wailing church organs helping to provide the album's standout moments on tracks like 'Dance Floor' and 'His Eye Is On The Sparrow'. An uptempo, genre-defying triumph.
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.