Review: When we see new releases land in the store, we like to explore the names aren't as familiar with first, which is why we instantly fell in love with this latest drop from the Vantage crew. We kick this one off with the trap-like drum rolls and bubbling 808 bass tones of 'Days End' before 'Don't Sleep' combines unusual digital signals with more bassy goodness. We dive down a smoother avenue next as 'Quelle Vie' showcases some excellent melodic sampling, before we touch down on the chilled out harmonies and lingering bass textures of 'Persan Beaumont' to wrap this one up.
Review: Russian donny deepsmiths Bop and Subwave team up for the first post-Med School (RIP) signing to Hospital and it's a bit of a special one. A full showcase of styles, it gives us much more than you'd ever expect from either individual. "Teardrops" is a glistening oceanic steppy, all spiralling, cosmic and sensual in all the right places, "Space Warp" is the dancefloor bomb of the package with its swooping droning bassline, "Don't Wake Me Up" takes us into shoegazing, head-tickling indie dance territory while "The Touch" closes on a sexy UKG tip that none us would expect from the duo. What an impressive debut collaborative EP statement, we can't wait to hear what's next.
Review: Cru-Cast is the music platform that has rapidly expanded into the world of events, with a focus on raucous basslines across bassline, D&B and more, it's been shelling venues up and down the UK for a couple of years now. The label side is part of the same offensive and Bru-C is the soldier in command today, a grime MC who can flip between genres easier than more, a skill he shows off here on his debut LP Original Sounds. 'Snakes & Ladders' featuring Bou and Ella Knight is a highlight for sure, as the potent Bou maintains his usual prowess but this time on a lighter tip, Ella's vocals coming into play in a sick way and Bru-C's bars tying the whole thing together a flourish. Skepsis makes an appearance, as do Jamie Duggan, Chromatic, Simula and more.
Review: As ever with the Duploc team, they have assembled an EP of pure quality as they invite a cohort of their finest into the fray for the second chapter of 'Duploc Selects'. From the off highlights include the regal horn tones and catchy melodies of 'Cumulus' from Cartridge, before the gnarly bass tones and crispy drum slaps of 'What Are You Saying' land, courtesy of Dalek One. Drumterror also combines sharp drums and chiming patterns in 'Mineral' before Feonix fuses experimental drum arrangements and super-deep sub pressure on 'Lost & Direct', with the glitchy plucks and wavy leads of Ghostek's 'Seek War' putting the icing on the cake. A very strong selection indeed.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a brand new album from sometime Classic Music Co contributor Eli Escobar, a producer who has proved to be one of the most distinctive and consistent in house music over the last few years. "Last Summer" contains a mixture of short interludes and inspired, almost uniformly dancefloor-friendly workouts that bring together a range of complimentary influences. Our picks include the atmospheric and acid-fired deep house warmth of "Flashing Lights", the muscular peak-time Moroder-isms of "(All Night) Rhythm", the melodious, sun-kissed Balearic house brilliance of "Blu" and the woozy warmth of "Last Night".
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: More Time and R&S linking up is always going to lead to something fantastic, and this latest four track selection is just that, as we firstly kick off the project with some incredibly vibrant drum work and percussive brilliance from Ahadadream on 'Melty'. Next, Bala Bala Boyz rise to the occasion with more high energy drum chops and vocal lines on 'Sieta' before Bryte brings the grooves with the irresistible switch ups of 'Ice Cream'. Finally, 'Bleep Test' lands from SNOW, putting a final touch of rhythmic bliss onto what we can safely say is an excellent body of work.
Review: Misanthrop is best known for giving a one fingered salute with his brash, wily, almost punky techy drum & bass. Until now... Analog, his second solo album, shows a completely different, much deeper and thoughtful side to the German producer. Coming on strong like a Bodzin or Huntemann record, this is a proper opus that celebrates drum & bass music's deepest and most cosmic aspects. The staccato drama of "Deus", the techno pace and energy of "Heute Nacht", the intense delivery, arrangement and narrative of "Plastik" and "Space Station". The list goes on. We're not messing around here; this is one of the best drum & bass albums of the year, hands down.
Review: With releases on Balans, Field and Stockholm LTD to his credit, there is no doubting Staffan Linzatti's pedigree as a producer. What is surprising on this record for Modularz is his ability to create a wide palette of styles. There's the string-led, neo-classical "A Game of Guessing", followed by the complex, stepping rhythm of "Revoke". In line with the usual style of Modularz, "Mystery Man" is a tough, tribal affair that resounds to robust drums and ticking percussion. On "Induced Compliance" and "The Mind is Racing", Linzatti ventures into a sci-fi dimension, thanks to the use of eerie synth sequences and rolling, steely drums.
Review: Oderbruch is Rene Pawlowitz's fifth artist album as Shed, and the title refers to the place in east Germany he comes from. It's no surprise then that this long player is a deeply personal affair. "Die Oder", named after the river in that region, flows serenely thanks to a slip-slide rhythm and gentle pads. "Menschen & Mauern" is the polar opposite, with Pawlowitz dropping high-speed break beats and evocative organ playing. A similarly introspective mood plays out on the dusky sound scapes of "Sterbende Alleen", where Pawlowitz's sense of disillusionment is palpable. However, like any personalised work, the mood swings, with the dreamy "Nacht, Fluss, Grille, Auto, Frosch, Eule, Mucke" restoring a sense of calm with its bucolic tones.
Shackleton - "Drawn And Quartered" - (8:09) 136 BPM
Review: Take a look down the tracklist of Fabric 20th anniversary release and you'll be met with a generation of artists that have helped shape the institution in all manner of ways, be it legendary DJ sets or residencies to previous releases to the FabricLive mix compilations and so on. Inside you'll find a who's who of genre influencers, be they Margaret Dygas and Marcel Dettmann with their European minimal and techno connection, to the more left field and UK-centralised club sounds from Pinch & Trim, Call Super and Special Request. Classics have been leafed from Source Direct, UNKLE and Shackleton, with B.Traits, Maya Jane Coles and Daniel Avery rankable alongside Sascha, Nina Kraviz and Groove Armada in filling a most influential time capsule of club music and DJ culture history.
Angeline Morrison - "Perhaps In A Little While" - (3:47) 138 BPM
Frootful - "Fish In The Sea" (feat Angeline Morrison) - (3:19) 136 BPM
Review: Freestyle's series of genre-themed download bundles continues, with June's 'Afro & Latin!' and September's 'Funk!' comps now joined by this 40-track collection of soul and disco nuggets from the label's back catalogue. The set kicks off with a bona fide classic in the form of Omar's 'There's Nothing Like This', after which come 39 more cuts from the likes of Carleen Anderson, Kyle Audist and The Fantastics (not to mention, in featured vocalist form, Jocelyn Brown and Caron Wheeler). The title's something of a misnomer - the emphasis is firmly on 'new old' soul, future R&B and neo-soul rather than disco - but there's much to enjoy here all the same.
Review: Existenz is Dave Sumner's third artist album as Function, and it partly ushers in a change in style. While there are echoes of his typical brooding, hypnotic techno on the mysterious, acid-tinged "Nylon Mood" and the heads-down roller, "Golden Dawn" - which features Stefanie Parnow - much of the album comprises a more mellow mood. There's the wonderfully hypnotic 90s ambient of "The Approach" and "Sagittarius A (Right Ascension)", while Function hooks up with vocalist Robert Owens to do deep house on the layered, textured "Growth Cycle". It's without doubt Function's most diverse long player, and ranges from the rickety electro of "Pleasure Discipline" to the dub shanty of "Interdimensional Interference".
Review: Given the label's historic links to Norway - not least their offshoot film division's brilliant "Northern Disco Lights" documentary on the country's space disco scene - it's perhaps not unsurprising that Paper Recordings continues to champion fresh Norwegian talent. Lakeshouse fit into this category. "Folkemusikk" marks the second time the collective of "DJs, artists and jazz musicians" has appeared on the imprint. They begin with the brilliant title track, where funky acid motifs, rushing synth solos and fluid electronics rise above a chugging electronic disco groove, before doffing a cap to early Norwegian house acts on the jaunty romp "Papaya". "NRK" is a drowsy and eccentric slo-mo head-nodder rich in tumbling electronic melodies, while "Lov" is a deliciously Scandolearic soundscape full of tipsy trumpets that's perfect for sofa-bound post-club moments.
Review: The second release on Spandau20 is a family affair. Fadi Mohem, who has previously released on Klockworks, gets down to business with the steely, percussive techno of "Nine". Shifting gears and changing tact, Balas delivers the broken beats, clanging hats and jungliest bass of "Desdemona", while Fjaak return to straighter techno thanks to the big-room chord stabs and pounding kicks of "Transmission", which has echoes of Dave Clarke's Red series. The sound shifts once again for Claus Schoning's "Wizard". In stark contrast to what went before it, it's an abstract, break beat track full of otherworldly squelches and atmospheric textures.
Review: Dekmantel up in this bizz with a new release from the freshly emblazoned Neon Chambers, a collaboration between Sigha & Kangding Ray. Both artists come from different but adjacent backgrounds of techno and here they combine with snapping raster effects and IDM philosophies to create and sound and rhythm that's made to fit an industrial, colourful and contemporary club context. Strands of Roly Porter epicness can be felt in "Cascade" that are underpinned by the heavy weight clak of nail gun kicks, with "Helles" and "Apollo" crafting wild rhythms and melodies from vox. Some deconstructed UK vibes in "What It Takes" too that might even turn the head of Soundman Chronicles 'headhoncho' Parris.
Review: Dutch imprint Float has decided to celebrate five years in business with two split releases. This second volume starts with the visceral, spiky minimalism of Sleeparchive's "Recreant", with the revered producer substituting tonal bleeps for coruscating percussion. On "Ruffle", label owners Twr72 drop a firing, tribal banger, while Eric Fetcher goes deeper on "Vein". Forsaking the straight dance floor approach in favour of frosty synths and rickety electro drums, it provides some relief before Jeroen Search delivers the lean, streamlined Robert Hood-style techno of "Radaris" and Sev Dah brings this second instalment of the label's fifth anniversary celebrations to a close with the visceral, crunchy rhythm of "Izolacija".
Confronted (Farrago Welcome To Goa remix) - (6:49) 136 BPM
Review: Ten years ago, Pan-Pot's "Confronted" appeared on Anja Schneider's Mobilee label and in recognition of this milestone, they are issuing remixes on their own imprint. Pan-Pot's own interpretations are inspired; the 'Basement' remix is a superb peak-time affair with the spooky vocal narrative about the girl with red hair playing out over thumping kicks. By contrast, their 'Paradise' remix is far deeper and more atmospheric. Anfisa Letyagos' 'Stranger' version steers "Confronted" back towards the dance floor with a pulsating, electronic groove, while the Frazi.er Raw and Farrago interpretations revert to a peak-time approach, with the latter adding a snatch of tranced-out bliss.
Review: As ever, the camp at Project Allout has been buzzing of late, filling their upcoming schedule with sizzling new releases, the latest of which they present here from DJ Airmax. The project is most certainly dripping in nostalgia, as the early niche bassline vibes of 'No Way', 'Hustlers Riddim' and 'Quaver Teef' give us a blissfully taste of original 4x4 bassline flavours. As well as this, 'Gyaldem Riddim' provides a more funky inspired set of rhythms to keep the ravers on their toes, with 'Showa' amplifying dirty bass synthesizers to a whole new level.
Review: Lobster Theremin boss Jimmy Asquith follows Touch The Sky with this 90s-referencing release. First up is the 'Rave Mix' of the title track; underpinned by high-octane, rolling breaks and featuring chilling synth stabs and sped-up vocal samples, it mines the heritage of early 90s hardcore, coupled with a modern execution. "Terror Barrier" on the other hand suggests that Asquith was also a fan of the tougher end of techno from the same decade, as he deploys a buzzing analogue bass and mangled percussion to beat a path towards peak-time abandon. Changing tact again, Asquith goes down a somewhat deeper route for "Higher Power", where haunting chord stabs are propelled onto the dance floor courtesy of a pumping rhythm
Review: Permanent Vacation co-head Tom Bioly's musical output has hit a new high in recent times, with the Munich based artist having gone solo after previous collaborations with partner Benjamin Froelich. He released a series of wonderful remixes of last year's "Night Heat" single and of course 2017's electro-noir opus Heartbreak Hotel. Bioly returns with another fabulous full length here entitled A Call For Romance, where acid drops, string distortions, lushed melody bits, hushed robo vox and washed space guitars are layered and sprinkled over machine beats and disco drums.
Review: What a year it has been for the team at Dubtribu, a label who continue to impress in all areas, with their homegrown roster looking stronger by the second. This last project of the year sees them firing on all sides as they invite eight of their best in for 'Deep Dub Inside 2019', a comprehensive showcase of the labels sound, featuring potent originals from the likes of Arta, Tinky, Muhla, Kismat, Cel and Ran for starters. We have two clear highlights for this one, with the gnarly sub work of Takjacob's 'Can't Own Me' being a real heavy hitter, along with the spooky overtones of Copley's 'Bombay Bad Boy'. Awesome stuff!