Review: Do as he says, not as he does... Number one father for justice Voltage lays down the ground rules with this stinking slab of parental heaviness. You thought lockdown was bad? Just wait until you see what happens under your new poppa's regime: The groaning bassline on "Space Station" will ground you for a week, the pace, tension and growls of "Gyal Chat" will stop your pocket money for three months and the gruffness and ruffness of "Cold Air" will send you to bed with no tea every night for a fortnight. It's not all punishment and gunishment, though; "Spare You" (with MC Bassman) shows Voltage's kinder, softer fatherly side and he lets you drink cider and stay up till 3am watching horror films. Way to go dad-dad-daddio.
Review: Long time murker and Born On Road veteran Selecta J-Man teams up with some of the best MCs in the game for his "My Style" EP. Redders joins the fray first with the purring, slinky "My Style" that's wrought in tension and dark, sleek dynamics. Rider Shafique follows, bringing his own unique narrative and tones over a scratchy, gnarly riddim that's part jump-up, part blender, all nasty. Completing the triple threat comes David Boomah who brings a sense of triumph to "Stronger" before J-Man shuts us down with two crucial instrumentals; the dark rave energy of "Kill Sound" and the steppy grizzles of "Badboy". Ruff!
Review: Nick The Lot and Teej are two of the most prolific producers around in the new school of emerging talent, producers who walk the line between riotous jump-up, teeth-cutting minimality and back to basics jungle goodness. This single on Pick The Lock is their latest showcase and it's a doozy, with 'Simulation' stepping to a funky beat yet baring its teeth with a fierceness familiar to those who have heard these two's previous work. 'Broken Record' is irresistibly bouncy and there's a clarity and a sharpness to this track which will please fans in all camps of the genre. Big.
Review: With comic book-esque artwork gearing things up with a funky aesthetic, Coastill is rolling out with abandon on Ruffneck Ting and he's joined by several of his mates: K Jah and Bass Antics, who both provide two remixes. It's a dirty expression of dancefloor pressure and things stay that way throughout, as title tune 'Casino' sets the tone with gruff, almost-tech stabs that squish and ooze their way through the range. Famed actor Burt Reynolds makes an appearance in name only on track two, another wobbling pacer that bounces almost as much as it bangs. Bass Antics nails things to the wall with his remix of 'All Clear', and 'Peeping Tom' rounds stuff out in rough and tumble fashion. Big.
Review: Hasta la vista m8; Fresh from announcing his debut album on Low Down Deep, Vital steps over to Murky with one of his biggest releases so far: "Termin8". Heavier than liquid metal poly alloy, moodier than learning your foster parents are dead, each cut here rattles with Vital's signature foreboding funk. Highlights include the stern tones and minimal meanness of "Disrespect", the big humming turbine sub blasts on the title track "Termin8" and the sci-fi tension and sudden dramatic blasts on "Scared To Look". He'll be back...
Planetary Assault Systems - "Huddler's Source Of Wonder" - (5:45) 131 BPM
Mark Broom - "Gunna" - (3:29) 130 BPM
Mark Flash - "Voice Of Detroit" - (6:32) 120 BPM
SRVD - "In The Dark" - (8:17) 128 BPM
Rebekah - "Stealing Fire" - (5:13) 142 BPM
Sinistarr X K-Dan - "Apollo" - (5:34) 87 BPM
Oliver Way & Dany Rodriguez - "First Act" - (6:36) 128 BPM
Review: The idea that music should stay away from politics is flawed, and Break The Silence is one of the most convincing counter-arguments against this notion. Featuring unreleased tracks donated by a stellar cast of underground electronic music artists, the compilation seeks to raise funds for Campaign Zero, an initiative that campaigns against police violence in the US. With artists like Rob Hood, 4 Hero and Luke Slater all contributing to Break The Silence, the listener really is spoilt for choice while also supporting a great cause. However, the standouts come from Eddie Fowlkes and Jon Dixon, who both drop superb jazz-influenced house tracks.
Review: Whizz kid Whiney has his first ever full releasee on Hospital, following the closure of Med Schoo earlier this year. Bubblers (Part One) is a return to Whiney as a purveyor of pure darkness and it reminds us a tad of his second album, Waystone; there's special type of energy to the production and you can tell the focus is purely on the vibes. 'Guernsey Airport Bubbler' has to be the highlight, as GQ joins in the fun to provide a rave soundscape, across which Whiney spreads an infectiously bouncy bassline that'll stay in your head all week. it's a certified club number, and it's joined in that regard by the clattering breaks of 'No Good' and 'Black Ice'. 'November' switches things up as a stepping, synthy number that reminds us of 'The Edge' from Waystone. Top class.
Review: Out of the frying pan, into the "Fire Pit", long-time Sub-Liminal soldier Mentah heats things up once again with this epic six track EP. The title track takes the lead and sets the energy and tone with its scorched harmonics and ruffneck breaks. Elsewhere highlights include the warped elastic bass roars of "Observed" and the pummelling drums and theatrical dynamics of "Break This Down". Topped off with a crucial remix of "No Disrespect" from Jaydan and you've got yourself one of Sub-Liminal and Mentah's biggest EPs to date so far. Fire!
Review: Dance Concept donnies Benny and K link-up with legendary vocalist Deemas J on Jungle Cakes once again for "Jungle Rebel". Two versions, one authentic strain of classic UK soundsystem damage; Benny and K's original bumps with just the right amount of light and shade to fit in any sets from soulful and deep to something much heavier and techier while Jungle Cakes co-bossman Ed Solo brings much more of a classic wobble to the mix. Stripped-back and deadly, it's impossible not to skank to this.
Ben Soundscape - "Delayed" (Bonus Track) - (4:30) 174 BPM
Review: The yearly escapades of Bristol's Intrigue Music are entering their seventheenth consecutive year, a huge achievement for the label. Like always, the album is full of a broad range of tempos and sounds that embody the ethos of an imprint known more for its consistent quality than any particular style. 'So Many Moments' by Philth and Farz, with Collette Warren on vocals, is a beautiful, floating track that rests on solid foundations but which carries a lightness, a deftness which sees it hover in hypnotic fashion. Randall, MC Fats and Ben Soundscape get jungley on 'Rollin' Ruff', Octo Pi gets even heavier on 'Battle Cap', and the album is all round just an ideal LP for all the heads out there. Big.
Review: Milan based Take It Easy label and party is back. This third drop comes from label owners Dirty Channels, Bugsy and DJLMP with the addition of the historical Italian dj and Paradise Pizza's label owner Memoryman aka Uovo. After their big success "Watchin Out" and "Catch Me", Dirty Channels open the EP with an Afro-influenced sample stomper followed up by an afrobeat vocal tool by DJLMP. "I Wonder" brings some crackly Detroit atmosphere by Memoryman aka Uovo. "Pomiri Dan" completes the set, percussive sample stomper by Bugsy on his first appearance on the label.
Review: Friction's Brighton-based imprint are doing things in style with this one, as Pola & Bryson meet DJ Marky for a flourishing example of high-level production chemistry that has now yielded its first full length EP: Run The Streets. It's darker than you might expect from two producers who are definitely known more for their contributions to the liquid side of the scene, and whilst 'Trouble' definitely ticks thatt box, it's the pummelling low frequencies which will really get your head nodding. 'Dogfighter' is the highlight in that regard, its striding percussive line walking boldly through a shimmering outer mirage of underground oscillations. Ed:it lands on the remix for track four to tie things up in style.
Review: Hedex continues to own the game right about now... Hot on the heels of his recently curated By The Producer collection (an immense VA that reps the new-gen like few albums have in recent years) comes "Let Me Go" on Guv's Dubz Audio. A powerful one-track bruiser with a big ravey riff and sudden stop/start twists and a nasty old DA flavoured bassline, it's an instant smash for one of the hardest working men in the scene right now.
Review: Nuusic are a fantastic little label that have really burst out the stocks over the last couple of years, releasing a plethora of music with the common thread of rudeness and an inability to stand still. Kumo is jumping on this heritage with vigour this week, and Born Soldier rolls out across four tracks with a jumpy attitude that we're incredibly sad won't be heard on a danceflloor anytime soon.'Skeng Riddim' is an absolute percy, as a two-step drum pattern takes you in to a funky, flowing hip-hop arrangement with serious bite. 'Born Soldier' is packed out in the lows, straining against itself the whole way, whilst 'Virus' is another naught little roller. This one pops.
Review: Fokuz's Unknown Artist is back for their latest outing on the imprint and, as per usual, it's an EP full of non-bootleg bootlegs, as the Dutch label continue their somewhat cheeky but nonetheless highly appreciated talent for sourcing recognisable samples. 'Just Vibe With It' is beautifully smooth, its back end just rollicks with soul and there's a deliciously swing, eyes-closed sensation across its arrangement. 'You Know How To' is the other standout, with a set of sumptuous samples that scream samba Sundays, all placed over a funky 174 beat. What more could you want?
Review: Ten years and 40 releases deep, Eternal Muzic let loose with their biggest VA album to date. Running the full jump-up range from bouncy to savage tear-out, some of the label's closest allies are all on side including DJ Sly, Tesen, Runnah and Krusty who appears multiple times across the album with some of the most provocative jams of the collection like the 2012-era harmonic riffage of "Need You" and the gnarly, flabby bass 'head-banging' finale. Elsewhere Rannah lays down a futuristic fire-up VIP of "Looney Toonz" and Sly & BlckHry get classical with the wriggly bass of "Vibe Check". Muzic forever...
Review: When it comes to representing the future of dub and dancehall music, we can safely say that Liondub International have been doing a spectacular job. This latest offering sees the deadly duo of Lost City & Ward 21 link up for an electronic dancehall delight entitled 'Sicko'. The lead track is a certified piece of dancefloor dynamite, with emotive vocal sing-alongs and electrifying drum punches, making it an ultimate turn up riddim. The project comes with a killer JGNL remix as well, adding a new dimension to a stunning single. We can't wait to take this on a system.
Review: Metrik is one of Hospital's flagship acts and the British producer is akin to the likes of Sub Focus and Dimension with his focus on striking synth lines and brash, big room dancefloor sounds. This album, much like his first two, spans a range of different sounds, but it's the club-orientated music that stands out the most. 'Automata' gets things off to a flying start, with its addictingly bouncy basslines and Tomorrowland chord lines, a combination mirrored on 'Parallel' featuring Grafix and hands-in-the-air roller 'We Are The Energy'. It's a top draw album that sees the Hospital crew back on the dancefloor once more.
Review: This four-track EP from Too Greezey is packed full of twisted sounds for you wrap your noggins around, and there's a sick blend of aesthetics and styles amongst all the filth. 'Strangers' is wobbly and rolling, it packs all of its energy into the sub-bass and just flows out with style. 'Fresh Out The Lab' is a junglist monstrosity of funk and energy, with a superb drum section that packs more character into the arrangement than you can wag a finger at. 'Wastland' is a stripped back, simple number whilst 'Radiation' snaps its way into your head with rhythmic proficiency.
Review: Dunk & StillZ have teamed up over on Pick The Lock and they're gaining access not through a key, but by kicking in the door with their approach to crafting the low frequencies. 'Killers on the Loose' is a joint track from them both and it's fiercely minimal, sudden spasms being the only distrractions from an otherwise purely rolling sub bass. Dunk kills it on 'Who Are You, which is reminiscient of Jam Thieves in its production, whilst StillZ blends the minimal sound with a whopper of a foghorn that just rolls and rolls. Unreal.
Review: Fresh from his unforgettable "Amnesia" EP, Jeopardize returns to Logan D's Low Down Deep with another feisty selection. Four slabs deep, we kick off with the Annix-style gurgles and spikes of "The Death Marshes" before getting sandblasted by the droning basses on "Connected" and ruffed up by the curmudgeonly bass grizzles of "So Simple". Last but not least we hit "Sight Seeing" where savage breaks and barking basses guarantee reloads, riots and respect from all other selectors in a 50 mile radius. Heavy!
Review: A couple of years back now, Amoss & Fre4knc graced Dispatch Recordings with one of the EPs of the moment, a joint collaboration across four stinkers which in many ways set the bar for how dirty drum & bass can be. Their rough and tumble approach is gritty yet packed with precision and they've upheld that high standard on the second edition, with another four absolute creepers to add to their collection. The drum work is utterly sublime, especially on 'Question Answer', which dives into funk like you've never heard it before. 'Dagger' is reminiscent of 'Animal Rain' from Volume. 1 with it's moody sub-bass, and it captures the general approach conducted here: filthy, full of clarity and sublimely well produced. Unbeatable.
Review: Music from Bites always, well, bites. The clue is in the name and Kendrick definitely isn't doing anything to allay that namesake with this single, a fiery jump-up rendition of what makes the subgenre such potent club material. 'Say You Do' combines a soulful vocal with juddering stabs and an overall sense of nastiness, whilst 'Shotgun Scatter' fires like a bullet out of a gun in its eagerness to floor you. There's movement galore, plenty of gunfinger moments and, above all, an urge to get down and dirty. Big.
Review: Over on Bulletproof, things are getting heated as Stillz lands on the label for a rambunctious four-tracker with more attitude than a bull in heat. The title tune takes the cake for us as the standout, with a moody yet simple arrangement carved from an iceberg synth dripping in both tech and jump-up aesthetics. 'Looking for an Idea' takes things down a more foghorn route, with warped out sonics that bend into devastating low frequency oscillations. What an EP.
Review: DLR's Sofa Sound label has become a pillar of the scene in barely a handful of years, and this week they're following up their previously successful Sofa King Sick compilation with a second edition, this one equally packed to the rafters with both new and old school talent. It's a tour-de-force of the tough side of the genre and it's exemplified by 'Baja', courtesy of Scepticz, a Belgian producer who knows his way around the controls and who proves it once more, as jagged synth lines cut across its snapping, two-step arrangement with all the force and subtlety of an underground train. Kodin makes an appearance on the superbly gruff 'Chronic', whilst The Sauce get deeper than usual on 'Ultrasonic'. Quintessential drum & bass that makes for essential listening.
Review: Ting when you're winning! Conrad - one of the most prolific artists in D&B this year - lands back on his own imprint Maad Ting after a whole string of releases on the likes of Dutty Bass, Calypson Muzak, Influence, Ten Ton, Original Key... The list goes on. As always with Subby, the focus is purely on the party as he licks up the breaks and bubbling bass for total dancefloor mischief. Old school in both its sonic dynamics and the rawness and immediacy of it all, every track hits the way it should... From the nagging Q&A bassline riff of "Deep Trouble" to the rushy rave energy of "The Rhythm Will Never Die", Conrad is crushing it right now. Get Maad as hell.
Review: Choose your weapons! Prestige rocks up with a whole armoury to pick from... Do you slowly melt everyone's skin off with "Interfere"? Do you continually headbutt everyone with a sharp spiky groaning bassline on "Weapons"? Do you hurl people into deep pools of D&B venom like the early Hazard-esque tear-up "Strange Times"? Do you freak people out and play with their minds with the strange bass texture and switches of "Change"? Or do you straight up bury them with the warped and twisted bassline of "By A Bird"? These are your choices, Prestige has supplied the weapons - the power is yours.
Review: A warm welcome back to sometime Wonder Stories, Silhouette Music and Roam Recordings artist Jac The Disco, who here returns to the Spin On This label, which is the artists very own imprint. It's a suitably strong EP all told, with two solid 'JTD' originals being backed by similarly strong remixes. Opener 'Manglik' is a metronomic, chugging affair, with Jac The Disco peppering a throbbing, Mororder style arpeggio bassline with rising and falling synthesizer melodies and spacey electronic flourishes. Eric Duncan piles on the wide-eyed chords and synthesizer sounds on his excellent remix, while "Goddess" is a much more spacey and cosmic chunk of pulsating electronic disco. Arguably even better is Juan Maclean's accompanying rework, which gives the track a bigger, more acid-flecked feel.
Review: As ever, it looks like the legendary Shy FX is out to cause a ruckus in the raves as he unveils this brand new remix project, inviting some of the most talked about names in D&B to get involved with official remixes for for last year's 'Raggamuffin' project. From start to finish we are greeted with a pretty monumental roster, as we see the likes of The Sauce, SPY, Kings Of The Rollers, Breakage and more get involved. It's a mark of Shy FX's untouchable status within the scene to see just how well put together this project is, from the gnarly, rolling subs we find within Bou's remix of 'Warning' alongside Gappy Ranks, to the special acoustic version of Maverick Sabre's 'Call Me' collaboration. The whole selection just oozes class, with our highlight having to be Skeptical's on point remix of Balaclava, which see's him rework MC Spyda, D Double E and Frisco's catchy vocal runs into a dark & dangerous piece of dancefloor dynamite. Amazing work!
Review: Metalheadz have been rolling out the artist albums this year, with stellar contributions from Adred, amongst others. This time it's the turn of Friske and he continues the trend of incredibly well thought out, resonant breaks-based music that makes you consider the meaning of life whilst blasting your face off at the same time. A whopping sixteen tracks long, there are too many highlights to mention them all but 'Destination' is certainly up there, as subterranean shudders creep into the arrangement underneath an inch-perfect set of clashing, cracking drums. There are no features on this album, it's pure Friske and all the better for it. Top stuff, and if you're into Mako, Autonomic or anything else clever and crushing, this one is for you.
Review: Always several steps ahead of the hurly-burly masses, Serum comes correct with another completely fresh sound. Please strap yourselves in and prepare for the interstellar dynamics of "Trident". Trancey, emotional, spacious and unlike anything else out there (with, perhaps the exception of kindred spirit Need For Mirrors) this is the sound of Serum looking ahead into a dark, unforgiving new future. But if you want something a little more conventional and expected from the roller king then head for "Special Brew". Grimy, naggy riffy business. Exemplary.