Review: Listen mate, when Bruk calls you a bobble head, you better pay attention and pay respect. He doesn't just tell anyone their heads are made of bobbles. He's too busy in the studio cooking up serious flames like the ragga-touched, full-fire slap-about 'Maui Mowie' and the finger-clicking dark and jazzy swinger 'Captivate', or releasing on crucial labels like Bagged & Tagged, Audio Addict and By The Producer, to be flinging around observations unless they weren't completely necessary. So deal with it, you're a bobble head... And this whole gosh-darned gully EP is tailor made for you.
Review: Ruffneck Ting are a label perfectly placed on the border between jungle and jump-up, and this EP from The Force displays their aptitude in selecting the best of both strains. It's a gentle, subtle yet damaging release, one which flows upon a bed of soul yet comes out with fists flying at the other end. 'Second Sight' has the type of funkiness that only reggae music can provide, with stabbing bass touches providing lift and sensation to its clattering, rough and tumble drums. 'Stop The Show' is heavier and has more weight packed behind its stuttering percussion, its bassline wonderfully bouncy and dripping with the sunny skies, eyes closed heritage of reggae and dub music. Wicked.
Review: St Albans-based Hansi serves up four more covers on this latest addition to the long-running 'Funky Grooves' series on his own Viking Grooves. 'Changes' gets the ball rolling, rendering Black Sabbath's classic heartbreak ballad in a tortured, southern soul style - it's almost like Otis's revenge for the Black Crowes! The other choices of cover on the EP are perhaps less surprising - Timmy Thomas's 'Why Can't We Live Together', Run DMC's 'Peter Piper' and The Jimmy Castor Bunch's 'It's Just Begun' - but in all cases Hansi puts his own distinctive spin on the original, making for an EP with more than its fair share of attention-grabbers.
Review: This VA EP from Subconscious Audio is a wicked showcase of what creative producers can do with the minimal template, as 1 moves between sub-genre influences as diverse as liquid to jump up. 'Dark Spice' is pure gas, as a loping, heavyweight bassline touches down again and again, a relentless monotony that grinds you down with its sheer size and heft. Female vocal samples are ever present on this release and they juxtapose with the black sparseness of their surroundings, something especially apparent on 'Nightshift Kru', which packs a fat set of drums, a sub-heavy low end and shining vocals in the tops. Unreal release and an unmissable album from Subconscious crew. Bigups.
Review: Following the success of the label's first digital-only compilation, Lock and Load, Act of Sedition boss Bully Boy has decided to repeat the exercise. Like its predecessor, Perfect Pitch largely sidesteps re-edits featured on physical releases, instead delivering a bumper selection of previously unheard reworks. Those who prefer their edits gently beefed up with the addition of club-ready beats will find plenty to enjoy, from DJ Steef's tweak of Van Morrison classic 'Into The Mystic' and DJ Laurel's chunky revision of disco-funk slammer 'Peace Pipe', to Sucka Tommy's bustling rework of Paul Simon's 'Me and Julio Down By The School Yard' and C Da Afro's disco bumper 'The Sunset Groove'. If tape-style rearrangements are more your thing, we'd heartily recommend the edits from Al Kent and SanFranDisko.
Review: The latest in the 'Katakana Edits' series sees GreySkoolEdits reaching back to two different eras in the long and storied evolution of Da Funk. In the red corner there's 'Trouble In My Mind', a reworking of Sir Joe Quarterman & Free Soul's '(I've Got) So Much Trouble In My Mind' from way back in 1973, while there's more "trouble" to be found in the blue corner, where we find the Greys revisiting Troublefunk's 1982 go-go fave 'Pump Me Up' - this time, somewhat unusually, augmenting the source material with some brand-new scratch shenanigans courtesy of UK turntablist The Incredible DeeJay Random.
Review: Young Guns Recordings are an insurgent force of a label who have been steadily growing for the last few years. Teezy is the latest producer to join the family and his offering is one of stripped back sonics and fierce minimalism, a nod to the label's stylistic grounding and a reflection of his sound. Its title track - 'Countdown' - is a big tune that keeps to a ferocious pace in drums which smack of the old school, whilst a intertwined, rippling basslines keep things moving as well. 'Selecta' has a wonderfully heavy foghorn on it that shudders with force and has that high resonance we all love so much. The rest of the EP is also pure gold as well - proper drum & bass for true heads.
Review: Jungle label, jungle music, Maad Ting! The Ipswich-based label are back after some killer releases by the likes of Leks, Faysha and DJ Uniques with this new one by DJ Direkt called "Calamity". Direkt gets that old school jump-up vibe in full effect on the opening title track, complete with ragga vocals, while the true stepper "Bunn" will no doubt get the heads down on the dancefloor, reminiscent of Calibre's early Soul:R releases. Finally, he hammers the message home on the fierce roller "Stress". Following up promising efforts on Sub Heavy Audio and Evolution, DJ Direkt sure is one to watch moving into 2021.
Review: With 50 Cent acapellas back in full effect for the Resense label, Voodoocuts brings a stone cold 2000s hip hop classic to the jazz funk realm perfect for any 'hip hop' request. On the flipside Slick Walk pays homage to Young Holt-Unlimited's "Soulful Strut" in a DJ-friendly, instrumental slice of disco-edit gold.
Review: Conrad Subs is on Raider with a fiery four-tracker designed very much for the dancefloor. It's one of those EPs that you can tell was made with a good time in mind, music whose goal is to bring happiness to a room full of people, and what better way to do that than with vibrant jungle beats? 'Conqueror' is the first and it's also the fattest, with a giant, rolling reece bassline that launches out of the blocks with serious energy. 'Dedication' is glitchier and techier, its grating synths are full of momentum and the whole track just feels like it's on steroids. One of the bassface crew.
Review: Warning warning warning! Formula steps up to Breeze with some serious public service announcements. 'Stranger Danger' reminds us not to talk to dodgy weirdos with its spiky, agitated riff that bounces and bashes around over the beats like a late 90s Zinc cut. It's backed by 'Wasp Season'. Another essential message as we move into the warmer months, this time with fellow new-gen talent ALR, here our stripy, stingy combatants are fended off by a bulging bassline of obese proportions. Stay safe!
Review: Over on DJ Hybrid's new label, Boom 93, he's showing off the more jungle focused, breaksier element to his productions and it's gotten us very excited. Both sides of the jungle spectrum are represented here, as Hybrid rolls out the reece bass-laded, junglist vibes on 'Eclipse' in a sound system friendly rendition of breaks music culture. The flip is funky and influenced by jazz notes, as a bubbly bassline surfaces amidst superbly crisp percussive touches. It's a truly classy piece of music from a class producer.
Review: Three slices of funked-up, authentically 70s-sounding disco here from London's Alien Disco Sugar. 'Get Up & Dance' itself is a reworking of Vernon Bunch's 'Get Up' from 1979 (complete with its distinctive whistle-augmented drum break, which most will probably know better from Deee-Lite's 'Groove Is In The Heart'), and is served up in full-length and radio edit versions. That would suggest 'Hot' and 'Time 4 Love' are also re-edits: what they're re-edits of we couldn't say, but the former has a Crown Heights Affair-ish feel while 'Time 4 Love' is an uptempo affair with a chorused vocal, soaring brass and strings a-gogo.
Review: Manchester label Coral City is a brand new affair that launches with a standout first EP. It comes from N&W who have been on a long hiatus but show they have lost none of their skill in the meantime. Their vintage analogue sound is pure and joyful, with nods to old school Italo as well as classic French touch. The rugged beats do their thing below majestic synth work that is sweet, crystalline and catchy. The cosmic chord progressions on each track help take you higher and on this booty shaking evidence, this is sure to be a label to watch.
Review: Russian nu-disco stalwart Sunner Soul - St Petersburg-based Alexandr Chebankov - returns with a five-tracker on his own Vintage Music Label. The title track is a rolling disco-funk groove with added crowd/party noise, 'From Your Love' sports a soulful male vocal and some killer space disco stabs, 'Get On Up' rocks fine jazzy keys, 'Sunshine Hotel' is obviously a reworking of Richard T Bear's 1978 disco classic and 'Ghost Dance' plays us out on a lively, string-drenched disco-house tip. All five are playable but those pyeow! stabs and tinklin' ivories (respectively) nudge 'From Your Love' and 'Get On Up' ahead of the pack.
Review: The Foundation Audio camp has the utmost respect of the Juno Download team, with their release catalogue never seeming to falter for one second. This brand new drop from Chad Dubz is yet another example of their incredible consistency, kicking off with the luminous sub-bass designs and general eeriness of 'Anxious' before Teffa joins the party for 'Ghostin', an LFO-driven swampy stomper. The pace quickens next as the more sweeping bass textures and constantly shifting rhythmic arrangements of 'Headnod' take us down a completely different avenue before rounding off on 'Let Go', a breaks-influenced warbler to add that final dash of variation.
Review: What we have here is the first-ever release from Akeem Raphael Broderick, a DJ, producer and promoter who hails from Nottingham but is the main man behind Leeds club night Velvet. His original mix of the aptly-titled 'Funkin' Chunkin'' - the pick for yours truly - is a pleasingly beefy funk groove with multiple competing vocal samples and plenty of heft in the >300Hz department, Hot Gorilla boss Andy Buchans' French Touch Remix isn't the filter-fest you'd expect but instead tuffens up the drums and pushes the sax and keys to the fore, while finally Texas's Boogietraxx provides a slightly more stripped n' shufflin' alternate pass.
Review: Prolific Montenegrin producer Mitiko (real name Sasha Mitich) will need no introduction to nu-disco lovers by now, and here he brings us seven more very playable nuggets on a release you can call an EP or LP as you see fit! 'Are You Ready' revisits Fatback Band's classic 'Do The Bus Stop' - serviceably if perhaps a little unnecessarily - while Marley/Clapton classic 'I Shot The Sheriff' gets covered (not re-edited) inna disco style; the other five cuts are similarly 70s-themed, with the slow-moving, sleazy funk of 'On Ya' leading the charge for this reviewer on the strength of that squelch bassline alone.
Review: Irish DJ/producer Richards returns to Chewy Rubs' Bandolier Records with a three-track EP. The vaguely Crazy P-ish 'Grand AM' itself is a contemporary disco/funk/pop groover centred around a cascading bass riff and a distinctive half-sung, half-hummed female vocal. The Latin-flavoured, instrumental 'Sangria' is another funk jam but with brass taking the lead, before the EP's completed by 'Summer Stages', another very individual-sounding affair that centres around an ominous, looping bassline with something of a horror soundtrack feel. It all adds up to an EP whose originality puts it head and shoulders above a sea of near-identikit modern disco releases.
Review: Dedman is one of the best acts working on the more minimal side of the spectrum right now, with releases on a host of labels including Black Inferno and Lost Recordings, and now he's flying the flag on Monk Audio. This is a sweet single, featuring two cuts of pure futuristic dancefloor hedonism. 'Afraid' features Miso, and is grounded in a punishingly heavy sub bass note that sits beneath a wispy air of ambient fear, with a long, sharp tail of gravelly bass notes that oscillate through the range. The flip is a more direct cut, with razor sharp edges and a roughness to its textures that changes things up a bit, more car park illegal rave than hi-tech clubland. Big tunes.
Review: Falco is one of the best recent talents to emerge from the current smorgasbord that is the D&B scene, his rough and ready sound blends jump up currents with jungle stutters and it's ideal for any situation. This single carries on that tradition over on Raw Motion and blimey, it's pretty damn good. 'Burn Em Up' is our favourite, with a hypnotic synth line that grounds its cracking percussive knocks within a framework of bassy shudders and groaning sweeps. It's a proper sound, and the flip, 'Mayday', amps up the pressure with its glitchy grates and wobbly sub bass. Come on.
Review: Upbeat, unpretentious nu-disco and disco-house are the order of the day here, much along the lines of Hed Kandi's mid-noughties Disco Kandi/Disco Heaven comps. With 14 tracks to choose from there's plenty of dancefloor bang for your disco buck, and while there's undoubtedly a whiff of fromage in the air in places (Badboe's rap-vocalled, Sister Sledge/InDeep-referencing 'Best Of My Beats', for instance, isn't a million miles from a Will Smith production) there are also slightly deeper pleasures awaiting those who are prepared to dig around a bit - see, for instance, the raw disco-funk of 'Miss Broadway' or Joy Legend's Hammond-sporting 'Pass It On'.
Review: With seemingly no online presence, exactly who's behind The Sunshine Disco Club isn't clear, but on this EP he/she/they serve up nine cuts coming mostly from the synthier, more spangly-sparkly end of the nu-disco spectrum - the album wouldn't have sounded out of place on Nang, for instance. 'Space Jam' brings the 80s soundtrack vibes, 'Sweet Journey (Synth Jam)' is aptly subtitled, 'Morning Exercise' has a nagging Euro-style synth hook, while cuts like 'Pleasure Boat' and 'Electronic Romance' take us into straight-up boogie territory. There's perhaps no clear standout but the EP, which approaches album length, is definitely one to check all the same.
Review: Chuck a duck! Dutty Bass Audio smash into the new season with this showcase from brand new talent Chuck UK. Two cuts, two reasons to lock this young man on your radar; 'Mission Chuck' gets all funky with a crisp and riffy bassline while 'The Streets' takes us down a much darker rabbit hole with its heartbeat bassline and scorching prangy textures swooping and sawing above it. Mission accomplished.
Review: What is there left to say about Rayko and his well-known ability to blur the boundaries between re-edits, remixes and original productions? The Rare Wiri founder is at it again here, delivering a retro-futurist three-tracker featuring some sizzling, mid 1980s style workouts. He begins in mind-bending drug-chug mode via 'Towers', where cosmic synth sounds, sprightly electronic melodies and glassy-eyed female vocals ride a seriously filthy bassline and delay-laden machine drums. 'Foto' is a slightly more up-tempo workout rich in tactile chords and undulating, arpeggiated bass that sounds like a cooler, club-ready instrumental riff on the Pet Shop Boys circa 1986's Please album, while 'Only Music Survives' is a sneaky re-edit of a Bobby Orlando style number smothered in rushing piano solos and cheery synthesizer lead lines.
Review: Time for some premium positivity; Jayline returns to Liondub International alongside friends Smash and Deadlee MC and they're packing some 100% proof venom. 'Star In The Making' pack an anthemic punch as a glistening intro and hook flip into a high voltage scorching 'Link To The Past'-style bassline. It's backed by the even heavier 'Vanity'. Giving foghorns a 2021 reboot, this one rattles with about 50 shades of bass textures and hits like a locomotive, steam roller and tugboat combined.
Review: Mexican maestro Joseph Terruel enjoyed a relatively successful 2020, with his numerous releases on Deep Sense and Paraiso Musique all coming under the 'must check' category. His first outing of 2021 showcases a single track, 'Riding High', but it's another good one. Chunky, thickset and hypnotic, it sees him wrap swirling synths, filtered samples and well-chosen disco snippets around a rubbery bassline and bustling beats. It's basically a loopy disco-house box jam, but its expert construction - it just does what it needs to at exactly the right times - makes 'Riding High' a sure-fire dancefloor winner. To be honest, we'd expect nothing less from Terruel.
Review: Russian producer Muteng comes to Ukraine's Manuscript with a varied three-tracker. First up is 'DMMF', which is a housed-up re-edit of The Headhunters' classic 'God Made Me Funky' from back in 1973, and which would slot neatly into deep house and funk/disco sets alike. The EP's other original cut, '4 Gladys', operates in quite different musical territory, topping an ominous synth-bass throb redolent of new beat/EBM (albeit at a house tempo) with what appears to be the acapella version of Gladys Knight's 'Neither One Of Us' from 1972. The package is then completed by a chugging, midtempo remix of 'DMMF' from label boss Vincent Inc - think ALFOS or Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve.
Review: Tunes to make you swear like a sailor, the legendary Erbman gets jiggy on his brand new label Juicy Fruit. Gang signs a-go-go, both cuts are aimed straight at the most rambunctious side of the dance: 'Rude Word' is a bouncing slab of funk with all the funk and grit of an early 2000s jump-up banger while the brilliantly titled 'Fake Vomit & Whipped Cream' takes us even deeper into the ruckus with a high voltage bassline and a killer spoken word sample. Get juiced up.
Review: Turns out Milos Djordjevic, AKA Serbian re-edit king Loshmi, has something of an Eddy Grant fixation. He must have, because two of the Guyanese-British reggae star's tracks get a Loshmi makeover here - namely 'Rampage' and 'Boys In The Street'. Elsewhere, 'No Way' is another reggae edit, 'Across The Floor' and 'In The Club' draw on unidentified boogie sources, Jimmy Bo Horne's 'Is It In' from 1980 gets reworked as 'Yes It Is', Salsoul Orchestra get the treatment on 'Right Size' and - perhaps tread carefully with this one! - 'Neon Rider' revisits the theme to a certain 80s TV series starring The Hoff...
Review: Next up from the USV Recordings team, we dive into a very tidy pairing of dubstep originals, this time coming to us from the fantastic sounds of Krease. Right from the off with this first one entitled 'Soundboy', we find ourselves wading through dingy dungeon territory. from the creeping percussive stutters to the bitcrushed basslines, this one packs a serious punch. Next, 'Sluggish' brings us up a gear with a much more LFO driven creation, focussing on spacious drum arrangements and a constantly shifting shape and style, this provides the perfect B-side for a wicked release package.
Review: Deeper Vision does exactly what their name would suggest: they purvey high-quality D&B beats which are certain to make you think deeply, and give you a different vision on life. Furney kicks things off with 'Get Up & Go' and its serene territory, with wistful vocals from Lady Emz making up the high end of the range and punchy low-frequency pulses occupying the low. 'Paradox of Choice' rests less on the sampling and more on the top-quality synths, underpinned by another wholesome bassline. 'Ambivalence' is the funkiest of the bunch due to its moving back end and luscious flow, and it represents well the vibe and mission of this superb VA.
Review: Paper boss Ben Davis once more dons a cape and, as his Flash Atkins alter ego, comes to Paper-affiliated Sprechen with two tracks that are best summarised as "deep house and disco collide in the leftfield". 'Love You Again' tops rolling, Afro/tribal-inspired drums with a jaunty lil' synth riff and the merest hints of a treated reggae-style vocal, while 'Die Kiste' leans even more heavily towards the experimental side of the street with its complex, fractured rhythms and squelchy analogue synth-bass. The latter's one for the more leftfield floors only, but 'Love You Again' may have slightly broader appeal.
Review: The most exciting thing we know about Tik&Borrow as a production duo is that we genuinely never know what we are going to get next from them, with their production palette at this point being too wide to tell. This latest five tracker on SimplyDeep however is a perfect look into their dubstep roots, kicking off with this grizzly bass grips of the title track 'Torn', followed closely by the distant pluck delays of 'Guitar Dub' and super electronic synth punches of 'Bogus'. From here we dive into the remix corner, with Imanzi firstly arriving with a wavy, synth-led rethink of 'Guitar Dub', followed by grimey overhaul of 'Bogus' for good measure!