Review: Northern scene legend Adam Wigglesworth sadly passed away on April 3. This is how his friends responded... By compiling one of the biggest tribute albums drum & bass has ever seen. Just look at the amount of talent on here: Pyxis, Euphonique, Nvrsoft, No Concept, Exile, Euphonique, Dawn Raid and so many more artists have contribute to this 45 track album of which all proceeds go to Adam's family. From the blazing bass riff of Sappo's late 90s style neck snapper "Hannibal" to Exile's turbine bass growler "Symbiosis" via Sl8r's jazzy, almost Detroit style vibes on "The Mill" and various bits from Wiggo himself, this is a heartfelt salute from the entire scene to a man who'll be sorely missed.
Review: Man like Macky Gee slams back with his fifth studio album and it's an absolute tirade of the senses with a serious all-star cast of cameos ranging from D12's Bizarre to neuro don Mefjus. A full-on tour (not sorry) of his influences and ambitions, we're treated to bassline ("Destiny"), bouncy bass house ("Another Level") trancey D&B ("Demand") dubstep ("Take Me" - with Franky Nuts) and graveyard creeping jump-up ("Revenge") Complete with all the grotty riffy magic he's known and loved for in between, this is his ambitious and rounded album to date and a big stylistic twist from the Gee-man. Massive.
Review: When we dive into the Breakbeat Paradise catalogue, it's clear to see that they are one of the real leaders across the breakbeat genre, with this latest powerhouse drop from Nasa Funk being a perfect example of why. The original of 'Gonna Work It' is a super wonky creation, slapping together quirky vocal lines with stuttered live drum rhythms and an overall funkadelic feel. The remixes however are what bring this release to life, with four impeccable recreations being brought forward. Prosper & Stabfinger give the track a vibrant 4x4 lick of paint, alongside JayL Funk's smooth hip hop recreation and Mount Ten's spacy overhaul. Finally Cayetano sends the track down a crunchy halftime route to round us off in style.
Review: Now the team at ONEPUF are gaining quite the reputation for extracting the weird and wonderful out of the producers they work with. This latest third edition of their self-named compilation series is a perfect example of that as they welcome 8 producers who all bring something very different to the table. Epoch provides us with an amphibious roller with 'Understand', followed by Exit 99's very unusual moogy creation 'Lemon Acid'. Next, some techy breaks action on 'Flugel Dance' from Coldpast before Kobe JT & Tuff Tax hit us with some original UKG flavour. Joedan keeps us on the garage tip with 'Black Everything', followed by the jersey club style sounds of 'Swisha Drop' from Killjoy and high speed acid vibes of Zeed's 'Fish & Chips'. Finally, DJ BMW lets loose some original techno flavour with the unpredictable moog stabs of 'Reactor Core VIP', with Headchef's 'Alarming Regularity' providing us with the perfect outro for this momentous compilation.
Review: Krafty Kuts & Bomb Strikes, two names that when combined leave us with potentially incredible results. They join forces here to curate and design the fifth edition of 'Bass Funk', showcasing some of the most prominent faces across the entire breadth of breaks. The tracklisting for this one looks pretty monstrous, featuring the likes of A Skillz, Dubra, Arteo, Fort Knox Five, K+Lab & more. There are a couple of immediate stand outs however, with the latin horn melodies and vibrant rhythms of Ninjula's 'Spanish Princess' and the pure rawcus devilry of 'AI' from the legendary Delta Heavy both standing out!
Review: Well, what more can we say about the Nice Up! team at this point? Their roster and recent catalogue have both been incredible to watch, culminating in this, the sixth edition of their 'Nice Up The Session' compilation series. The line up is outstanding as we see Gentleman's Dub Club, Seanie T, Red Eye HiFi, XL Mad, Origin One and more return to the label for a showcase of some of their most popular releases this year. Two tracks we definitely would like to point out as interesting highlights for this one have to include 'Shards', a lethal future-bashment arrangement from Casement, alongside Champion Sound's explosive jungle rework of Turn Ya Lights On from Escape Roots & Dark Angel. Awesome!
Review: As ever, we have been delivered a real education in future-breakbeat flavours from the Hypercolour team as they invite the wonderful sounds of Luke Vibert inside for a full length, 13 track LP from the wonderful Luke Vibert. The tracklisting is jam packed with goodies, exploring the more experimental side of the breaks genre circle, with the post-rave chord plucks of 'Sky's The Limit' and 90's style bounce of 'Feel One' being two perfect examples. There's variation throughout as well, with the more punchy drum arrangements of 'Ecstacy' and scatty chord progressions of 'Beef' also hitting home well. Overall, it's a great look into the musical mind of Luke Vibert who has put together a very impressive body of work.
Review: Colliding cool jazz with post-UK and post-US club sounds, Kuna & Maze revitalise their palettes with a fresh album that lifts its influences from Chicago footwork, UK garage and two-step to Detroit house! In a truly refreshing and unique album from the French- Bruxelles duo, the pair do Tru Thoughts a true service by delivering a colourful and spritely album that's as much broken beat as is beat down and beautiful. With too many influences and genres to mention, this will go down with us as Tru Thoughts' best release of the year. Our picks? "JPS", "ZBRA" and "Monopoli Driver". Tip!
Review: Honing in on, most specifically, a sound associated with a "160bpm" tempo, Through These Eyes for some five years now have pushed at the outer limits of footwork, jungle and half-step. This Omega release presents the label with its first compilation taking in tracks from more established acts like Sun People, Champion Sound and Digid to a cast of fresher faces like POLO LILLI, GPS Tony or Bassrael. Find some off the hook percussion in Yoofee's "Arrival" to the tearout bass and mechanical glitch sounds of ILL_K's "Persecution". Our tip: "Resilience (feat T-Man)" by Noh Vae.
Review: 'Mordechai is another blissed-out record from Texan party-chill-psyche trio Khruangbin. It's also among the outfit's most defined and driven, a smooth, sticky hot funk odyssey made for hazy afternoon soirees. Leader Laura Lee is, as ever, unfathomably siren-like on vocals, her bass grooves aiding the process of seduction no end. Even at the most upbeat and anthemic, 'Time (You and I)', it's hard not to feel woozy and intoxicated by the pared-back breaks and guitar lick combination. Dance floor ammo for sure, as is Pelota. Overall, though, it's an album best savoured slowly, allowing you to fully appreciate every lackadaisical moment of opiate goodness, with tracks such as 'Father Bird, Mother Bird', 'One To Remember' and 'Shida' summoning stunning sticky, heavy, deep atmospheres.
Review: Album number six here from the northeast of England's finest neo-soul combo Smoove & Turrell. Coming like all five of its predecessors on the mighty Jalapeno Records, 'Stratos Bleu' sees the Gateshead gang exploring a slightly wider range of musical territory: 'This Time', for instance, operates at a soulful house tempo, while 'E.P.' has an almost Underworld-ish, indie-dance kinda feel. Synths n' samples play a more prominent role than on previous albums, too - though John Turrell's distinctive tonsils remain front and centre at all times, so existing fans needn't worry too much!
Review: At this point, whenever we see Pinch's name appear on a forthcoming list we buckle in for a long, explorative ride into the science of sound, with this latest album on Tectonic entitled 'Reality Tunnels' being exactly what the doctor ordered. Over the course of 10 stunning originals, we see Pinch flex his veteran production muscles with some of the most interesting and original creations we have heard this year, from the post-jungle designs of 'Entangled Particles' alongside Emika, to the space-age soundscaping of 'Back To Beyond' and post-dubstep marches of 'Returnity'. For us there are a pair of clear highlights, with the haunting vocals of 'Inezi' on 'Change Is A Must' sending shivers down our spines, alongside Killa P's war-ready vocal additions on 'Party'. Amazing work.
Review: Radio Slave is releasing his second album in three phases - and this first volume of Radio Silence sure to impress techno fans of all persuasion. This is largely due to the fact that the Rekids boss has drawn inspiration from a myriad of sources; these include Jeff Mills at his most esoteric for the swirling sound scales of "Ghost" and the break beat driven "Cell", while on "Contact", he opts for a visceral, grubby techno banger. On "Zqu", we get to hear Radio Slave at his most intense, with a pounding steely rhythm prevailing, while he quickly shifts into compelling abstract mode for the eerie tones of "Command Z Av".