Review: Bringing a cross section of drum and bass to Eternal Muzic once again is Runnah who pushes a fast and hardcore style with this latest Multiverse EP. Delivering liquid numbers in percussive, piano-tipped tracks like "IGarden", beats are notched up a gear with gnarly lashing of lyrics in "Apocalyptic". Get chopped and screwed in the breakdown of tracks like "Get Down" or torn and dubbed out UK style by the basslines in "Der Vogul" and lead track "Multiverse".
Review: Fresh D&B in the house courtesy of newcomer Jak! Having only previously appeared before on Welsh label Incurzion through a collaboration with Concept One, Jak's solo debut for Audio Addict brings with it two extra collabs with Nautika and bossman DJ Hybrid. Receiving some personalised cover art in the process, Jak opens with the skippy, almost fidget-touched, half-time rave number "Back Around". Deep atmospheres enter the void when the first drop hits in "Dubplate Pulse" (and "Spawner") with the humming edge of Jak's basslines turning into something of a roar in the ambient pastures of "The Lion". Bouncier dub and reggae vibes in "Bun It Up" too matched by "Obstruction" only to be stripped back for some extra jungle percussion to make its way to the front of the mix.
Review: Deep in the Jungle have emerged as arguably the biggest standout new jungle label in recent times and, off the back of their growing family of artists, they've decided to try and represent both where the label and the genre are in 2020. With artists from DJ Hybrid, to Conrad Subs and beyond, it's a statement of intent from the imprint. The music reflects that intention as well, with jungle sounds throughout but punctuated with that modern, sharper edge that we've come to expect from our newly revitalised scene. DJ Hybrid's 'On A Riddim' is the best example, as a punchy bass note streams out of a bedrock of clattering breaks, whilst we're seriously digging the rolling reece's of 'The Rhythm' by Conrad Subs. All of these are proper percys.
Review: Satl is the Polish producer who is now firmly established in the top echelons of liquid, especially so following his sumptuous outing on the North Quarter last year, and his tendency to opt for longer projects is seeing its next iteration on 4Lyfe, an eight-track extended player on Artificial Intelligence's Integral. It's yet more dreamy, wispy music and Satl is one step closer to mastering the art of element-light but vibes-heavy music, a potent style with a long legacy in AI themselves, as well as Lenzman or Calibre. 4Lyfe spans both light and dark, with the soaring vocal notes of 'So Much Better' touching heartstrings, whilst 'Yin' is a furiously stripped back rattler that gets things done on the darker end. Genre defining stuff.
Review: Liondub are experts at blending the heritage of drum & bass with that of dancefloor and reggae music, and there are few better MCs for the job than Rider Shafique, whose CV covers both traditions and who comes seriously correct on this EP. It consists of four versions of a single tune and it's the original which really stands out, as 'Focus' moves expertly from stepping halftime-come-dancehall sounds into more jungle-flecked territory, all the time underpinned by subway kick drums and vibrant basslines. There's an instrumental version, and then JNGL rolls out the remix into a more recognisable 174 number. Excellent.
Review: Following the slabs of drum and bass Dreadnaught has released in "Rig Killer" and tracks that made their way to compilations for labels like BYTHEPRODUCER, Virtuous and Within The Woods - Nasty Piece Of Work marks the producer's full debut. Issued by Sub-liminal Recordings out of the UK, Dreadnaught weighs in on the bass, inflicting numbers like "Villian" with murderous dubs vibes that hit the spot alongside subtle tips of UKG buried within the dub of "No Love" and bass of ""Syndicate". Crackly ambient and textural atmospheres float like a dream underneath the jungle rhythms of "Drugs" with stepping rhythms and razor distortion tearing at the tweeters in "Overtime". Straight up street poetry in Dreadnaught's "Blazing The Fire" remix too.
Review: If you love expertly made drums, this will be the EP for you and although the basses are potently heavy, they rest on a foundation of percussion that's just pure vibes. It comes from Parallel on Pick N Mix, one of the best new age jump up labels, and it's a six tracker of devastating proportions. 'Man of Many Skill' is a proper roller, a track packed with sheer guts, as a movie sample spreads out above a direct, pummelling bassline that finds its excellence in its own simplicity. 'Rockers' has a fantastically infectious drum line that bursts with movement, while title tune 'Dream' has wide synth lines and an edge-of-the-seat, stepping drum line. Pitch perfect.
Review: A disruptor on the drum and bass scenes for a few years now Hexa makes his way to Pick N Mix, a label with a storied discography that's getting bigger by the month! Having released with other labels like Audio Addict and most recently with a contribution to Dilate Recordings, Hexa's swung minimal style surfaces in mini LP form. Drawing from woozy Wu-Tang-esque samples in between liquid rhythms, heavier bass and steppy percussions sections, you'' find that in tracks like "Vicious Cycle", "The Manchu", "The Box" and "Train" - all tips! "On Guard" introduces a heavy rave element with UKG vocal stabs alongside the bassline driven "Absence of Light". Top pick.
Review: Like some kind of Human Traffic soundtrack to 2020, Hospital's annual House Party VA has arrived. Fresh for a summer of social distancing, house parties and clandestine diversions, it's a soundtrack that will get any D&B head through the lockdown status, BBQs permitted. Top and tailed by the poppy, liquid, sample based and acoustic sessions of both Villem & Leo Wood's "We Had A Sing" and Whiney's "Better With You", find playful aggro in MC LowQui's "Middle Finger" to some hyper fresh material in Degs' "Pressure Cooker". Aggy half time once more in tracks like "Saturn's Strings" with gnarly basslines in Voltage's "The Prophet" and Logistic's "Playing With Fire" bringing the heat.
Review: Conrad Subs has been doing his thing for quite some time and ahead of his latest album, this time on Nuusic, he's dropping samplers, and this is the second. It's a superb effort as well and he's joined in said effort by Redders, an MC known for his work with Sam Binga and others, and who is on top form here. 'I Got Somethin' rolls out with a heavy dose of attitude, Redders' urban-tinged style dredging up touches of hip-hop as well as funk and dancehall and he sits expertly above Conrad's bouncing, moody beat. The flip is classic jungle and Conrad excels on this terrain, his penchant for breakbeats shining through amidst a stabby rendition of broken dancefloor pressure. This album is going to be immense.
Review: Biological Beats are a chemically proven entity for the production of venomous music and they're in full flight once more, this time acting as the agar jelly for Telekom, whose villainous sounds are up to their most criminal of behaviour. It's a four-tracker and it kicks off with 'Bong Juice', an already heinous substance made all the more dirty by this tune's tear-down approach to bassline construction and its peppered drum lines that sit high in the mix and roll out with abandon. The highlight, though, is 'Villains', as a wickedly funky sample works in the intro smoothly but then flips on the drop into a knife-edge display of stabbing, jump up energy. Big.
Review: Encrypted Sound haven't been around for that long and this is their fourth release, but the maturity is already evident in their selection and what better way to show that off than with a twelve-track VA LP. Joining the fray is a range of artists including Able,Teej and Toby Ross, the latter of whom has smashed it out the park with 'Sinister', a stripped back and infectiously bouncy tune that nonetheless hits beautifully hard, it's kick drum perfectly placed to add that extra lift off. Teej has been killing it on labels like Co-Lab recently and he does so once more again, with 'Erasure' resting on an inch-perfect snare drum that provides the base for its choppy main bass. Top work from the whole crew here.
Review: Sheeesh, Liondub International aren't messing around this year. Proffering an onslaught of gully, regardless of any lockdown restrictions, it's been one of their best years in a long time... And it's just got even better now Toronto collective Dungeon Kru have served up their second extensive EP on the label. Like "Genesis" in April, the EP covers the full spectrum with vibes swinging from intoxicatingly funky (the double bass slapping "Sedative") to absolutely hellraising scattiness (the chainsaw bass buzzes on "Shut Ya Mouth") Elsewhere we've got a remix from the Young Guns championed Master Error, a VIP of "Impossible" and the beautiful finale "Dis Sound". Let's move forward....
Review: Everything is getting very rough and tumble over on Redrum, as Mentah steps up for four-tracker that moves between varying shades of insanity and intoxication. Title tune 'Perish' is the standout pick of the bunch and absolutely deserves that title spot, as distorted sweeps parry away filtered breaks that tumble off tthe edge of a cliff and into the blackness, the rotting vessel for a fearsome bassline that sweeps in like a wave and recedes like one too. 'I Want To See More' is a straight jump-up influenced roller, 'The Magic' steps and steps through bouncing basslines, and 'The Garden of Eden', packs a wicked funky edge to its darkness. Sick.
In-Deed - "The Flavor" (original mix) - (5:31) 172 BPM
Review: Vandal's Modern Soul series of LPs has for a long time been a breeding ground for a wide variety of drum & bass, including formative tracks from Shield, Monty and others. This time around it's number five and the quality continues, kicking things off with a gorgeously light liquid number from Phase and Lameduza that brings old school vibes right to the forefront. Tech wizard Rizzle is known for his liquid depth too as 'Levitate' has a sumptuously mystical back end that falls and falls, whilst fellow minimal heads Invadhertz equally try their hand at wispy pads and far-off vocal samples. Monty makes an appearance, as does Amoss, SKS and Arcatype. A tour de-force.
Review: Dutty Bass never fail to deliver and right here they've surpassed themselves with these two bumpy treats from new artist Wrekka. Two sides, two vibes, two chances to knock people sideways: "Addict" warms up with shimmering housey synths before dropping into a nice toxic sludgy roll-out while "Badboy" takes a classic Cutty Ranks vocal and smashes the nan out of it. Wrekka by name, wrecker by nature.
Review: Heist's forever consistent Co-Lab invite Warhead and Teej over for a bit of musical mischief. Two of the most exciting new names to emerge from the underground in recent times, naturally they hit the spot with two link-up tracks and two solo originals. "Activate" packs a heavy punch with a bassline sludgier than quicksand mixed with treacle while "Eclipse" is a heads-down gritty one with an almost techno flavour to its bass warps and loopy percussion. Elsewhere Warhead goes full-on rudeboy with the savage "Rasclart" while Teej hurls us into a dank slimy-walled dungeon with "Osiris". If you can find a more on-point new-gen collabo this month we'd like to hear it.
Review: Across the full spectrum of bass music, you will be hard pressed to find a more dedicated and hard working MC and brand owner as Bru-C. Alongside the fantastic response to his new single with Charlie P, he teams up with CruCast here to unveil four fantastic rethinks of last year's summer smash: 'You & I'. First up, Bou arrives on the scene for an atmospheric roller-inspired rethink, before Notion steps up for rave-rejuvenating 4x4 overhaul. From here, Shapes gets involved with a seriously nostalgic organ-led garage incarnation, with a very unexpected acoustic version of the track seeing us out in time to tick all the boxes. Excellent work as per from the Nottingham native.
Review: The ever prolific Conrad Subs has an album coming on Nuusic and this sampler is the first glimpse we're seeing of what is certain to be a wicked longer player, especially when bearing in mind the diversity of style on this single. 'Little Vibey Thing' is seriously unique, with a beautifully soulful, modern hip-hop vocal sample that sits above a stabbing bassline and a funky, infectious drum line. This tune is certainly a vibey thing. 'Superior', on the other hand, is a straight jungle banger that doesn't let up from its rollicking amen breaks. Big.
Review: The influence of jump up's modern iteration is clear on this release from Helix and Substance, as the latter has crafted three disturbingly devastating tracks which rely not on an over-saturation of elements but a precise, stripped back arrangement. 'Scatta' is the highlight, as a wonderfully light snare drums clicks beneath its flurry of penetrating stabs and rhythmically tight percussive line. 'Real Murdah' is a foghorn banger with a powerful build-up, matched by an eerie vocal sample on the drop and the resulting explosion of low frequency energy. It's a pattern introduced by track one 'Stand Between', and we're certain it's set to be a winning formula.
Review: Following on the heels of his last absolutely wicked release, Oz is back on Calypso Muzak for a showcase in how to produce gruff, no nonsense drum & bass that hits you hard and steps over the body. 'Hunter' feat Dubbz is the perfect example, as the pair team up for a raucous jump up tune that growls in its stabs and wobbles in the sub bass. The old school jump up vibe carries on into 'Bear', with an urban edge to the sound that smacks sharply of the pioneering jump up producers of 10 or 15 years ago. The rest of the release is equally as on point - big ups Oz.
Review: Batten down the hatches! Veak returns to Deep In The Jungle with this humungous quintet. Jungle vibes primed from the off, "Natural High" kicks things off on a warm bubbly vibe before the EP gets heavier and heavier; "Lonely Monday Morning" is a turbo slab of warped bassed and scorching breaks, "Let's Do It" is the shredder of the collection with its turbine bass roars and pranged out dubby textures while "Oklm" ups the drum ante once again with some real neck-breaking breaks. Finaly "Oldskool Raver" finishes off the EP with foundation class. Watch out for those classic synth sounds... They'll make everyone over the age of 35 wet their trousers in seconds. White glove crew, this ones for you!
Review: Freeze is the next artist to join the hallowed group of producers who have come through via Liondub's Street Series, one of the scene's longest running exemplars of how to push new talent and a constant source of filthy underground bangers. Dangerous is certainly within that category and all seven tunes here don't mess around in instantly reaching for the big red button marked 'naughtiness'. 'Touch Me' is especially potent, a vocal sample leading its hook of belching bass stabs that wobble in tandem with its irresistible energy. The toughness continues with the foghorn majesty of 'With You', which rolls out with pure abandon, and the low frequencies are even better on 'Socialite', which isn't the most social piece of music - it's far too dark and heinous for that. This is a proper shakedown from the Liondub crew.
Review: A lucky seventh release comes out of Random Concept Origins that follows music by the likes of Phadiz, NC-17 and RV. Introducing Brighton artist Agro to the frame, there's no questioning the producer's ethics here, delivering three unapologetic numbers of dubbed out, streetwise drum and bass. Find your more straight up percussion and drum tracks in "Hold Tight" with its siren synth alongside something more tea rout and dark rave in "Bassline Gang". Mutated metallic keys and two-step rhythms get their fair workout in "Slang" with a sweet RV collaboration, featuring Tony Montana samples, wrapped up in a gnarly jungle aesthetic. Agro and locked down.
Review: Zero T has returned to Lenzman's The North Quarter imprint for his second full release on the label following Baby Grand several years ago, and he's doing so with a serious sense of purpose. Made up of five tracks that he wrote in order to capture the breadth of sounds he loves in the genre, Former Self starts off on a liquid tip with another gorgeous Steo collaboration, followed by a melancholic yet hopeful remix of Lonely Night by Mango x Mathman. Things then take a turn into tougher territory, as the Irish producer lays out an almost-jump up slew of force on 'I Want More', before rounding things out in true Bristol style with 'Clash' featuring Myth. Exceptional.
Review: Drippy, trippy, slippy sounds from man like Kontakt on Serial Killaz right here. Having previously appeared on the label's albums over the years, this is his biggest release on the label so far and it showcases his full-flavoured, high energy style in the broadest, baddest way. Instant impact is felt from the soaring industrial strength bass of "Disassemble" before we're hurled into a maze of total gully. "Planet 9" has a touch of trippiness to its melting textures, "Grave Yard Shift" is a minimal twisted piece strictly for the spaced out 6am weirdos and "Entropy" digs a fast track tunnel directly to the Devil's bedroom. Finally he closes the EP with "Witness This". A collab with Serial Killa Vital Elements, it closes the EP on the wonkiest, skankiest groove possible. Get slippy...
Review: Dogger and Mindstate's follow-up EP to their sensational 2019 release Broken Home, drops this week, and the pair have blown things to pieces once more. In doing so, they've kept up their winning formula of jazz-infuenced, musical drum & bass paired with Liam Bailey, who is joined this time around by [ K S R ] and DRS. The title track is yet another two-step power ballad from the trio and, in the vein of Broken Home, there's a sumptuously smooth introduction that sways into the drop with the swishness of a silk gown falling to the floor. Anile features on the gorgeous Don't Hurt Me, and DRS rounds out the second two tunes with his usual aplomb.
Review: Following May's part one, young Luxembourg producer returns to Young Guns with the second chapter... And it's every bit as crisp, diverse and hard hitting as the first edition. "Come Back To Me" eases us in with a few ivory tinkles and supreme levels of funk before the likes of "Evil" and "Five-O" plunge us deep into the bassline pit. Deeper again we hit the strange harmonic wriggles and toxic bassline grizzles of "I Tell Ya" before "Old School" closes on a sumo-sized swaggering 2010-flavoured tip. Time to Escalate m8.
Review: Landing on the prolific Original Key this time around is a Veak and Bassface Sascha, with the former providing an original single and the latter coming in on remix duties. Veak's original draws upon the reggae aesthetic in its sampling and title, and the drums of babylon are throbbing hard in this moody, sub heavy escapade. Bassface Sascha ramps up the drums significantly and opens things up, with a louder mixdown and jump up stabs peppering the top of the range. Lovely.