Review: When a sound or style has been around for over two decades, there are two things a young producer can do with it: they can add their own twist, taking the sound in new directions, or they can stick faithfully to the original blueprint, proving they have the chops to compete with their first-generation forebears. This collection from Strictly House And Garage features 13 brand new speed garage and two-step cuts from as many artists, pretty much all of whom have chosen the latter route - it's been 20 years since this writer held down a UK garage residency, but when I heard this album it felt like five minutes ago! Excellent work all round.
Review: Now this most certainly is a treat as we jump into a fiery new compilation and mix project from the Hot Cakes team, who invite the sounds of Lady Waks inside for a feature length exploration into breaks and bass music. It's a truly all star cast for this one as we dive into original creations from the likes of Stanton Warriors, Jay Robinson, Them&Us, Benny Page, Deeklike & Ed Solo, Origin8 & Propa, alongside many many more. Featuring fifty-nine outstanding breakbeat epics alongside a full length studio mix from Lady Waks, this is a perfect showcasing of the breaks and D&B sound in 2021, with highlights including the smooth soundscaping of Firestar Soundsystem's 'Pressure', the intense vocal pressure of 'Trigger' from Phibes and of course the nostalgic drum rolls of 'Boom Baby' from Slip 187 & Rax. Incredible stuff!
Review: It's hard to believe that Cocoon is celebrating its 20th anniversary, but what's not difficult to grasp is that Sven Vath's imprint is marking the occasion in style. Rampa and Emanuel Satie kick-start this compilation with emotive, tranced out tracks - in particular Rampa's "2000" is particularly poignant - while Cocoon mainstays like Gregor Tresher and Ricardo Tobar up the pace with the musical but clubby techno of "Nostalgia (Is The Enemy)" and "El Eterna" respectively. As always, Cocoon strikes a flawless balance between showcasing local producers and international names; 20 Years is no exception and features frazzled acid from Josh Wink as well as steely percussive bangers courtesy of Planetary Assault Systems and Jacek Sienkiewicz.
Review: It's always exciting to catch up with the 24hr Garage Girls imprint to see what they have been up to, with this latest drop proving to be a certified gem from the second it landed in our new releases box. They unveil a powerful new collection for their first compilation drop of 2021, including music from heavyweight garage faces such as Champion, MPH, Tuff Culture, Vital Techniques and more, whilst also introducing some of the most exciting new faces in Hans Glader, Oppidan & Zefer. The nine-track selection is seriously impressive, with Shosh's own 'Stick It Up' original proving to be one of the initial highlights, alongside the super colourful melodic slides and scatty drum work of 'Guard The Barrier' from Breaksmiths. Incredible stuff from an incredible team.
Review: The Dansu Discs team have assembled a killer selection for our enjoyment here, from the one and only Bailey Ibbs, unleashing six tracks of UKG flavour. We begin with the softened chord maneuvers and crunchy drum processing of 'Gurl', a worthy title track, which is closely followed by the much more breaks-driven influences of 'We Run' and luscious, bubbling soundscapes of 'What's My Chance?', giving us a super-wide sounding selection of originals. On remix duty, we see three parties give 'Gurl' the once over, with Groovy D giving us a throwback 2-step rethink, Denham Audio sending the stems to the junglist chop shop and AK Sports combining gnarly, acidic basslines and hardcore drums to take it somewhere completely different.
Review: The Distorsion team have gone out of their way with this brand new compilation drop entitled 'Breakbeat Essentials', which sees them pull together a super impressive twenty-part selection, showcasing the best of breakbeat artists right about now. From the more twisted bass designs of 'Fucking Beat' from Hankook and Eztereo's 'Have To Go' to Yo Speed & Mutantbreakz's super techy arrangements of 'Need More Dog', we see this compilation explore such a vast range oft he breakbeat sound, shining a light on some of the more under-appreciated areas of the sound. Some of the immediate standouts have to include Suga7's super intricate bass soundscaping on 'Let Me Hit', alongside the crunchy, horn-like textures on Kid Panel's 'Kasmir'. Awesome work!
Review: Founded by Patrick De Meyer and Olivier Abbeloos outta Belguim's hardcore rave scene of late-'80s and early-90s, Anasthasia by far was the duo's standout and everlasting tune. A true underground rave hit gone large through it withstanding the tests of time, T99 as a group have been inactive for at least the last 20 years, receiving a new injection of life from the super fresh Arkham Audio of Cri Du Coeur. Employing a star studded cast of remixes that includes the likes of Chris Liebing on a funky rave flex, Truncate who goes down a midwest tribal route and Oliver Deutschmann who gives "Anasthasia" a worthy technofied remix; Dave Clarke chimes in with some dusty and agitated riot rave, with the Exterminador Eurodance mix a sweet hidden bonus too!
Review: It is becoming more and more difficult for us to keep pace with the Encrypted Audio rampage as they continue their pretty spectacular run of top quality dubstep drops with another bombshell, this time welcoming fourteen top quality steppers creators inside for a mega compilation. There have been no expenses spared when it comes to the lineup, with the likes of Dalek One, Kodama, Karnage, Zygos, Mungk and many more established faces supplying us with a string of hard hitting dubstep originals. When we take a look at our specifics favourites however, we have to point out the truly lethal sub-bass & reese-bass combinations on DubApe's 'Quick', alongside the glitchy soundscapes of 'Bricked' from Chendah and the super syncopate rhythmic displays of Reamz on 'Devilish'. Awesome work as per!
Review: Following on from his evocative, at times rave-tinged material in 2020, Radio Slave returns underground for this heads-down EP. Similar in style and approach to the recent Floorplan material on Rekids, this four-tracker is punctuated by robust bass drums, spiralling chord sequences and militaristic percussion. "Variations V1", with its ticking hi-hats and doubled up claps, gets the EP off to a rousing start, while on the "V2", Matt Edwards takes the intensity down for a broken beat affair that has echoes of Fachwerk's catalogue. It's only a brief reprieve, however; "V3" is a storming affair, led by billowing chords and dense kicks, while the fourth and final version resounds to ominous synth stabs and niggling percussion.
Review: Still a relatively new project from Simon Neale, aka Dave Spoon, is Shadow Child, a project which first took off in 2016 with a release of Neal's own Food Music. A release with fellow BBC1 DJ Danny Howard (Nothing Else Matters) and Jerome Hill's Super Rhythm Tracks later and Shadow Child slides into the basement of Shall Not Fade club tracks series with this Bak 2 Skool EP. Going old school hardcore, rave and jungle on "Romford", get your undeniable house grooves from "FFFound" and a slightly techier "4U". Basslines, bleep and breakbeats go all the way in the referential "Have You Seen Mr G?" with a slight of trance capping of this fine release in "Crystl".
Review: Alan Fitzpatrick is a busy man, and Immortal Daydream follows a flurry of releases on Drumcode, Hotflush and most recently, Rekids itself. This four-tracker sees the UK producer do what he's best at and delivers impactful club techno. "Everlasting" is shot through with dramatic stabs and underpinned by steely thunder claps, making for a powerful dance floor track. "Titan" also sees Fitzpatrick deploy musical elements - on this occasion it's a repetitive organ riff over a combination of relentless kicks and driving hi-hats - while "Droid Disco" marks a departure in style, with Fitzpatrick going deeper to deliver a seductive cacophony of tonal frequencies over a dubbed out groove."The Underdog" presents a further surprise, as the We Are The Brave boss deploys rich chords and crashing snares to deliver his own take on Detroit techno.
Review: Coming up through the 1HX label after making his debut on Hot Hungarian Wax, IAMI turns in two six-minute dubs inspired by UK centric bass mechanics, uptempo percussion sections and broken beat drums. "Hass" descends into deeper, darker and murderous dubstep territory while "Depth" on the flip - a textural session of breaks and soul inspirations - lights itself up even more with a late burst of cosmic bliss.
Review: Now we currently live in a period of garage-expansion, with the UKG movement picking up steam pretty much every day as more and more people once again fall in love with the sound. This brand new single from Provize is a perfect example of pulling that sound into the 21st century as we hear a combination of electronic percussive mastery and smooth vocal sampling to deliver a groovy number built to send limbs shaking all over the gaff. Alongside the original, we are also treated to two additional remixes, with DJ Charlie Phillips giving the track an even more electronic lick of paint, before Mikey Smith strips the entire project back, turning it into an electro roller at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. This is a very interesting three track selection to say the least!
Review: The latest instalment on Rekids is a barnstorming affair from UK act KUSP. "Circulus" is a peak-time banger, centred on a jacking ghetto techno rhythm and the kind of wild analogue builds that Luke Slater deployed on his evergreen remix of Joey Beltram's "Forklift". "Fictus" is just as forceful, with KUSP dropping razor-sharp hi-hats and wild rave stabs over pounding kicks. The title track sees the intensity taken down a few notches; led by a series of thunderclaps and dramatic drops and builds, it's as effective as the previous tracks. "Troubadour" sees KUSP keep the pressure up, with a dubbed out backing providing the basis for chopped-up vocal samples.
Review: The Time Is Now team have a real knack for finding unusual yet satisfying releases from a wide range of production talents, with the latest in line being the London, Brighton and Madrid based sounds of Tower Block Dreams. He unveils a spicy six tracker for us to enjoy, kicking off with super groovy chord structures and throwback LFO warbles of 'Wicked Ya No' before the fluctuation percussive drives and catchy vocal slices of 'Keep Coming' come into play. Next, a much more stripped back affair as 'Soundboy' focuses heavily on vibrating sub-bass movements alongside the highly energetic rolling chord melodies of 'Truss We' and the eerie, minimalist rhythms of 'Haterz'. Finally, Interplanetary Criminal arrives to give 'Wicked Ya No' a futuristic, sub-heavy rethink, adding a final dash of variation to a solid selection.
Review: On its third and final instalment, We Are Not Alone delivers more cutting edge electronic music from the artists who guested at the party of the same name. This volume is hugely varied, ranging from Ryan James Ford's uplifting deep techno to the underground pulses of Lada's "Kassi" and Heidi Sabertooth's "Innergaze". Sounding a more visceral note is Henning Baer's "Nightwing Microlight" and the hard-jacking analogue banger "Basic" by Truncate, while Setaoc Mass' "Silent Tension" is led by cavernous drums. Sandwiched in between these dance floor burners are more offbeat pieces, like Cosmin TRG's gentle, downbeat "Sourde" and the wonderful drones of "Chaos Transition" from Adriana Lopez.
Review: Fresh from a release on Soma, Jo?o Rodrigues aka Temudo now scores another first, with an EP on Ben Klock's label. "2023" is a dense, industrial pounder with echoes of early 90s Jeff Mills, while on "Float Here Forever", Rodrigues draws on the gritty, looped rhythms of Steve Bicknell's Lost Recordings for inspiration. The 31st Klockworks release is one of the most visceral yet, and there is no let up on the abrasive approach on the Downwards-style broken beats and whirring analogue tones of "Group Dynamics", while the dense, heads-down groove of "Ashamed" brings this intense release to a close.
Review: Coming up through labels like Natural Sciences and E-Beamz, DJ Swagger hooks up again with DJ AEDIDIAS for a collaborative EP on Shall Not Fade sub-label Timeisnow. In 2016 the pair self-released their debut Trunk EP which five years later brings us to this Speed Limit release. Taking in deep house and dusty two step jazz vibes in "Where U Come From" and the straight up club number "On Tha Block", the pair comes together in yet more two-stepping sweetness via "Don't Call Me" and a much heavier, drum and bass influenced "Psycho In Da Cut". Goes deep, goes hard.
Dojo Cuts - "You Make Lovin' Real Easy" (feat Roxie Ray) - (3:44) 139 BPM
Review: A leading force in the so called 'Deep Funk' scene Record Kicks outta MIlan delivers a new label defining compilation, Funk Sides Vol 2. It follows the recent release of Soul Sides Vol.2 and welcomes 12 more heavy funk tracks featuring the likes of hMarta Ren & The Groovelvets, The Liberators, Hannah Williams & The Affirmations to Dojo Cuts and Calibro 35! Special mention goes to the billowing natural reverb of Nick Pride & The Pimptones's "Hotdoggin'" to the distant R&B of Tanika Charles' "Sweet Memories". Get your synthwave post punk from The Devonns "More" or minimal dubtrack instrumentals from Baby Charlers, "Step On".
Review: 2020 is a year that many people will want to forget, but as this compilation shows, it was still a time of remarkably creativity. This is borne out by Regent's "Drama", a crystalline, tranced out groove, while in stark contrast, Vinicius Honorio's "Rock Da House" is a visceral jacking affair that has echoes of DJ Rush. In between these two ends of the spectrum are deadly effective club techno contributions from Yan Cook, with the turbo bass-led "Order and Steve Parker's acid-heavy "Resonate". Best Of also impresses by covering wide range of styles - as A.Paul's rolling "Incidence" and Re:Axis bleepy "Unveil" ably demonstrate.
Review: Preceding the release of Calibre's so called 'first bona fide 140 BPM record' is two choice remixes that Signature have commissioned from legendary Berlin producer Mark Ernestus. Popularly characterised for his role in Basic Channel, Ernestus' dubwise remixes are only rivaled Chain Reaction's DJ Pete (aka Substance). Delving deep into the art of the saw wave, "Badder" sees swells of holographic synths float in the ambient textures of Calibre's original groove while occasionally buffered by light, skipping tops. "Bad", just the same only simmered down, allows its drums to cut through in a way that doesn't distract from its cavernous sound.
Review: In all honesty, we feel that the musical successes of Al Wootton have gone somewhat under the radar, with his consistently impressive productions always leaving us with a smile on our faces. This brand new four track collection alongside the team at Trule kicks off with some interesting percussive work on the vibrant sounding 'Baccata', before 'Alder' combines more fluttering drum designs with a steadily shifting sub-bass pattern below for a really eerie feel. Following this, 'Maenads' feels like the evolution of the previous track with a lot of similar rhythmic patterns being deployed, this time with an overall punchier feel, before slowing the pace significantly on 'Ashe', a downtempo display of introspective calm to round us off in style.
Review: Nina Kraviz' label is often associated with tough, fast-paced techno, but this release from Roma Zuckerman is sure to change that perception. Over the course of 10 tracks, the Siberian producer covers a very broad range of styles; left-field, offbeat grooves feature on "Syntax Process" and "Ask Vahid for Hit", while on "Digitalization", Zuckerman delivers dusky, smoky break beats. The emerging artist even experiments with synth-led electronic disco on "I Like You" and "If I Could Find Out Something About The Future". There are tougher tracks too, like the pounding "Disposition" and "Frequency Hole 4", but the real strength of Stage lies in its diversity.
Review: DEAS aka Karol Mozgawa follows up the 2019 No Signal and Shelter releases on Planet Rhythm with another killer dance floor EP. "Central Square" sets the tone for the release with an upfront metallic rhythm that supports layer upon layer of synth sound scapes and tweaked acid lines. The title track is just as impactful, with DEAS again deploying pulsating acid lines and utilitarian percussion to create a mesmerising track. On "Roses Avenue", he takes influence from the Mike Dehnert school of Berlin techno, with brooding chords over a swung rhythm.Rounding off this impressive release are the spaced out textures and pulsating groove of "Structure".
Review: Simply Deep have been on a serious roll of late, constantly seeking out exciting new music from across the underground spectrum for us all the enjoy. This latest drop from Barom Run sees them more into LP mode, with this gargantuan new selection featuring eleven tasty creations, including the super synthy experiment entitled 'Run Circles', which takes the part of title track. So many areas are explored within this tracklisting, from the dusty sample work of 'Contest'; to the heavyweight synthesizer sidechains of 'Vessel' and super crunchy drum work within 'Meek'. The project also comes complete with some seriously cool remix additions from Gnischrew, Noble and Korin Complex, making this a fabulous first long play of the year for team Simply Deep.
Review: Passeport boss ONYVAA debuts on Charlotte de Witte's label with this fine peak-time EP. "The Way It Is" is based on pounding kicks and features searing acid lines and chopped up vocals running through the arrangement. Meanwhile on "Lucid", the US producer focuses on tribal drums, with a clanging, steely rhythm underscoring deft filters and a series of wild 303 builds. Meanwhile, "LXD" sees ONYVAA incorporate wild rave builds and eerie vocal chants into rolling break beats, while on the title track, this fast rising producer delivers a pounding acid-heavy workout that's inspired by 90s acts like Pump Panel.
Review: Following releases from Hemka, P.Leone, Shinedoe and SRVD, Rekids' sister imprint returns with more of its 'grittier, fully techno focused remit.' This instalment in the Reduction series belongs to Brazilian producer Marcal, featuring five powerful cuts in the vein of his contribution to the series' last volume. Hard hitting and hypnotic minimal techno in the vein of Robert Hood can be heard on "Sentinel" and "Rolling Sway" respectively, equally mesmerising is the heads down, peak time energy of "Jackie" and finally Marcal teams up with homeboy Alex Justino on the drum-driven percolator jack of "This Body" making for another great DJ tool.
Review: ARTS has recruited Ecilo for its latest instalment of club-primed techno, and he delivers in style. "Bugi Minimalist", with its insistent chord builds and pounding kicks, sounds like a harder, contemporary version of Ian Pooley's evergreen "Chord Memory", while on the title track, Ecilo chooses a deeper approach, with swirling synths unravelling over hammering drums. "Lorong Hitam" follows in a similar vein, but it sees Ecilo focus on more ominous elements - think the darker side of Technasia - and firing percussion. That same nocturnal element is also audible on "Jiwa Maraenism", where Ecilo fuses a driving rhythm with murky filters and eerie synths.
Review: When we are discussing the modern greats of electronic music production, there's no way we can have that conversation without Calibre's name coming into the mix and blend. This brand new album via the team at Signature takes the title 'Feeling Normal' and is a straight up masterclass, from the stunning breakbeat-driven soundscapes of 'Barren' and 'Man Got Sandwich' to the colourful post-garage designs of 'Feeling Normal' and 'Time To Breathe' alongside Cimone. It has a touch of everything and the quality levels just don't seem to dip, regardless of whatever genre or style we are hearing. There are also some serious highlights, with 'Badman' alongside DRS being a somber, post-dubstep homage, 'Has To Happen' being a sumptuous, emotive roller and 'Predictable' being a futuristic steppers delight. Incredible work as expected!
Review: Burnski's Instinct label is back and coming correct for the new year with another salvo of bassweight rudeness for the UKG revivalists. This Various Artists EP welcomes Holloway back to the label with the technical, nuanced flair of 'Acme' and Ease Up George's eerie, nerve-jangling 2-stepper 'Wicked'. Daniele Temperilli brings an edgy, looped up energy to his wayward stepper 'Smog', while Raynor smooths things out with the refined, heads-down roller and dub techno-speckled 'Round Off'. Demonstrating the exciting new pathways the current wave of garage is opening up, this latest Instinct EP is a must.