Review: Nick The Lot is one of the most consistent jump up producers around and he's back on long-time collaborator Zombie Recordings, who have proven to be the perfect home for his unique brand of hybrid jump up. His sound never gets boring, and it's the punishingly deep sub bass of 'If You Were' that really carries the tune, especially as it spirals out into a twisting concotion of devilish basslines. 'Starman' is equally unique, as a fluttering twirl of stabs moves up and down through its mechanical soundscapes. Tight stuff from Nick the man.
Review: Vintage Music, helmed by Russian re-editor, remixer and producer Sunner Soul, has proved to be one of the more reliable edit-focused imprints over the last few years, delivering tidily tooled-up reworks that are rarely less than impeccably produced. We can confirm that the label's standards remain high on its latest missive, an expansive set headed up by Sunner Soul himself. He begins by turning a 1982 Gwen McRae heater into a bouncy chunk of boogie-house warmth ("Burning On The Dancefloor"), before successfully tweaking a soulful electrofunk workout ("Pump Up The Boogie") and a jazz-funk flavoured summery treat ("Sea Creatures"). Elsewhere, he joins forces with Kirton to adjust an '80s soul dancefloor smash ("Your Love"), while The Sunshine Disco Club weighs in with the rubbery synth-funk bliss of "Electronic Romance".
Review: This varied artists compilation on Deep Within is a four-tracker that's more than the sum of its parts, and the curational team behind the label have outdone themselves. Wingz, DOT, Koax & Azrah and Solace represent some of the hottest young talent around on the minimal side of the scene. Wingz particularly has been killing it on Overview, and you c an hear his talent in the sweeping destruction of the sub bass on 'Artificial Killa'. Solace is a Belgian talent and his contribution, 'Realisation', is superbly steppy in the drums, which underpin a moody, gritty bassline that has us desperately wanting to go to a club. This compilation isn't one to miss.
Review: Timo Maas has been busy lately, and this release on Senso follows a series of EPs in 2020. For this release on Oliver Huntemann's label, the veteran producer opts for a heads-down approach. The title track is a dark, pumping affair that is powered by an ominous bass and bleak synth lines that swirl to the surface. It makes for a mesmerising, rousing club track. On "Supercharger", Maas opts for a more stripped back approach; the rhythm and drums reverberate with more subtlety than force, but these elements underpin a throbbing low end percussive layers that build gradually into a wild crescendo.
Review: A bunch of furry murderous Russians on Serum's Souped Up... What can possibly go wrong? Total carnage from the off, "Bun Dem" is serious sandpaper funk. Gritty, growling and unrelenting; it's not just rough around the edges, it's rough right down to the core. And it's back up with three more audio nasties... "Excited" is a staccato riff damager that nods to the mid 2000s jump-up where everything was maximal. "Beggar" follows suit but comes with a more sinister edge; like it's asking you for change but is actually ripping off your whole identity. Finally we hit "Knock Knock", a track rife in organic drums and scary bassline textures, it sets everything up for the all important punchline... You have no choice but to deliver.
Review: Deekline, of the guys behind the prolific Jungle Cakes, is back on his own imprint with Brian Brainstorm, Specimen A, Sweetie Irie and KIlla P, an all-star lineup that have produced a ferocious blend of crashing jungle and menacing vocals. The structure they've concocted makes this tune so sick, with stepping halftime sections that utilize Sweetie Irie and Killa P's wicked vocal talent to build suspense, creating rhythmic diversity that then falls away on the drop into punishing breaks and warped out basslines. Proper club friendly weapon from the Jungle Cakes crew.
Review: Conrad Subs has been teasing his next album over the last few weeks and finally it's here, courtesy of Nuusic, and boy what an LP it has turned out to be. Conrad Subs is very confident when it comes to constructing break beats and so it should come as no suprise that they make up a large part of Tides, to excellent effect. 'On a 90s Tip' is an especially potent track, with that classic rave piano sound driving an inch-perfect set of drums and a rolling reece bass. 'Obese' is yet more spectacular stepping sonics, whilst 'Little Vibey Thing' blends R&B vocal infuences with juddering drums and punchy, unforgetablly catchy bass stabs. It's a raw, gritty album and not one to be missed.
Review: It would be fair to say that Ludovic Lllorca rarely fails to deliver the goods, especially when operating under the now familiar Art of Tones alias. His latest missive on Lazy Days offers further supporting evidence of this theory. He opens with two versions of squelchy, synth-laden deep house cut "Thunder": a chunky "Original Mix" built around undulating acid bass, sparkling electronic motifs, chunky drums and effects-laden vocal snippets, and a tougher dub that features even more of the ear-catching bassline and sweaty, swinging percussion. "Secousse" is a much more jaunty, bouncy and bumping affair, with the veteran French producer once again making great use of colourful synths and electronic bass. Fred Everything gives the track a far deeper, late-night hue on his warm and woozy accompanying remix.
Perdoname (Dave Lee's Latin Escapade) - (6:59) 124 BPM
Perdoname (Dave Lee's Latin Escapade instrumental) - (6:46) 124 BPM
Perdoname (Sunlightsquare Club mix) - (6:49) 126 BPM
Perdoname (Dave Lee's Latin Escapade edit) - (3:55) 124 BPM
Perdoname (Sunlightsquare edit) - (3:58) 126 BPM
Review: Here's a pleasant surprise: a brand-new collaboration between the artist formerly known as Joey Negro, Dave Lee, his expansive disco/jazz-funk combo The Sunburst Band, and contemporary salsa master Claudio Passavanti AKA Sunlightsquare. As you might expect given the musicians and producers involved, what we get is a gloriously warm, organic, sun-kissed and celebratory chunk of Latin disco, with Rene Alvarez providing a superb Spanish lead vocal. Lee delivers vocal and instrumental variations of his action-packed "Latin Escapade" mix, while Passavanti's Sunlightsquare Club Mix opts for more loose-limbed drums, more space in the mix, and tons of sparkling, boogie-style synths. Oh, and a more prominent role for the cheery, salsa-style lead vocal.
Review: Somewhat confusingly, A Bunch of Guys isn't a group of men, but rather a new solo project from Utrecht producer Rob Scholtens, previously best known for being one half of DJ duo Pablo Discobar Soundsystem. He's clearly a talent, because this Dirt Crew debut is packed with high-grade treats. Our pick of the bunch is the jaunty, piano-laden jazz-house bounce of "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em", a sweaty, percussive, piano-laden treat that comes accompanied by a sleazier, groove-focused rework from Fouk. Also impressive are "Filthy Rhodes", a pumping old school piano house number smothered in electric piano solos, and the drowsier deep house-goes-deep electro haziness of "Launch VII". In a word: excellent!
Review: Fresh off the factory floor from Dope Ammo and Mix Ten, How Did It Go Down starts with an original number (feat. Jasmine Knight on vocals) and moves rapidly into a series of top class remixes that all build on the original in one way or another. Dope Ammo and Mix Ten's rendition is far from outclassed, however, and the pair have channelled the history of 170 to produce a roller that's both soft in the high ends and destructive in the lows, and we especially love the breadth of its bassline; a proper wallower. Jamie S23, of Drum & Bass Arena fame, steps up and cuts up, a percussive masterpiece that sets a new groove and injects a heady dose of bouncing brevity. Max Baker flips into it a liquid number, AN chops things into jungle sized pieces, and Sublow HZ adds a jug of jump-up energy. Wicked stuff.
Review: Young Guns Recordings have a long history of putting out music that takes no prisoners on the dancefloor and, whilst we're still clubless, this four-tracker from Zeba is sure to get your gun fingers raised at home. 'Carry Me Home' is the most interesting of the bunch, with an almost grime like approach to its steppy percussion and structured drum claps that reminds us of Diemantle. The title tune - 'Chemical Warfare' - is the other highlight, with a piercingly choppy synth arrangement that sees jabbing stabs tumble over on another in their haste to mess you around. Big stuff.
Review: Four tracks by the mighty Phenomenal Handclap Band get remixed by the great and the good of the disco scene. Danny Krivit's Edit and Instrumental Edit of 'Let Out On The Loose' have a synth-y, epic feel, while Ray Mang's take on 'Judge Not' is the rumpshaking order-to-dance it was always gonna be. Cooper Saver's breakbeat house remix of 'Riot' is perhaps the most dramatic of the reworks on offer, while David Bay's Remix and Extended Remix of 'Do What You Like' are the most faithful to the original - but as that track was one of the strongest songs on the band's recent album, that's not a problem.
Review: Sub-liminal savagery incoming! Leaf drifts his way back onto the ever-reliable label with two spiky pieces of straight-up dark funk jump-up. "Erby" celebrates the sticky green with a great vocal sample and the most venomous Q&A bassline Leaf's ever done (which is saying something) while "Jamaican Dub" sees Jam Thief Dunk join the fray. Following his recent slew of solo cuts, Dunk's angular, roughhouse grit is the perfect complement to Leaf's leftfield fire. The results speak for themselves.
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: And you don't stop. Futureboogie outta Bristol continue their domination of west-country house tempos and disco vibes with a A Summer Riot IX (Part 2)! Topping this selection of artists is PBR Streetgang who go there again in offering the world another take of that "I Feel Love" bassline while "Pigeon St" by Jakobin keeps it real with a cooling deep house jam done Chicago style to balance out any floor. Lithuania's Roe Deers has been tapped up with a lo-fi-funk and percussive electro number "Monkey Dance" while there's some gnarly acid and groove box action in Christophe's main course: "Critters 2 (The Revenge)". Little known entity Acolyte turns in a highlight with some dubbed-out house nuance in "Fire In Zero Gravity" alongside Manakinz' hall of mirrors tripper "Mystic Throbber." I predict a riot!
Review: One of the scene's most long-running liquid masters is back with a mini-LP, an eight-track exploration of his sound that is sure to be a future benchmark for just how perfect the lighter side of things can be. It's Alix Perez, of course, and Without End is a masterpiece in soulful soundscapes, a gentle, deft piece of music that rollicks and flows with touches of melancholic nonchalance. It's designed to be listened to as cohesive piece of music, and the first track - Wondering At A Loss - lays the tone perfectly; suble piano ripples, distant vocal shimmers and crisp, finger-click drums. The string-laden build-up of 'Someone Else' is unmissable, as are the funky steps of 'Moving On' featuring the utterly superb Liam Bailey. He also finishes up the EP on 'Lost & Proud', and the other features - Halogenix, Workforce - are similarly stunning. Spellbindingly good.
Review: It's been a hot minute since BBK made a collective appearance, so when we saw that Frisco had gathered the troops for a long awaited collaborative return, we couldn't be more excited. Produced by Trooh Hippi, we hear the grime veterans let loose with a barrage of mainstage lyricism and intricate grime flows over a selection of eastern flute action and pounding sub structures below. It's always good to hear Frisco lead the way as well, who for us is one of the UK's most undersung vocal talents. It's a fantastic new single to reintroduce themselves to the world in 2020.
Review: Conrad Subs is a man on a serious roll out the moment. Having just dropped his album on Nuusic, he's now putting forth a shedload of dubs on Ray Keith's dubplate dread sublabel, a heritage and bassline-rich label that seems perfect for Conrad's fractious style. It opens up with 'All Day, All Night', which is simple in its construction but devastating in its effects, a clattering break sitting easily above a sub-heavy wall of bass. 'Dub Assault' is stabby and pointed; 'Minotaur' is deep and steppy; 'Pretty Dangerous' is spacious and wobbly - the list goes on. This is a proper EP for proper heads.
Review: Italy's Luca Locatelli, AKA Moplen, is known for remixes that actually ARE remixes - that is to say, unlike most "remixers" he simply rearranges the stems of the original track, without adding any extra elements of his own - and here he takes on Carl Bean's 1977 gay liberation disco classic, with outstanding results. We suspect the 1986 Club Mix was his primary inspiration because these new versions, surely destined to be huge at clubs like Glitterbox and Horse Meat Disco, have a similarly warm and sumptuous feel - but now with the extra polish a modern studio can supply. Essential.
Review: It's very exciting to see the return of Tuff Culture on this brand new selection as he lands on the ever-ready GS Dubs with five weighty creations, packed with sunshine flavour. We begin with 'Nobody', an incredibly vibrant link up with Hans Glader, linking up catchy vocal pitch ups with nostalgic chord runs for a real dancefloor favourite. Next, we are joined by old school organ lines and sassy drum grooves on 'Classic Roller', alongside the sweeping bass synth textures of 'Empty Words' and unpredictable rhythmic explosions of 'Space Trip'. Finally, SG gets involved on 'Good Vibes', delivering a super original sounding creation to round off yet another top quality project from one of the hottest names in UKG right now!
Review: Calling all gyalists! Rumble, Mr Lexx and Suku Ward have teamed up on Liondub International for a carnival-ready dancehall jammer "Gyalis" which is flipped in a multitude of ways by some of the best in the game; Filip Motovunski gets his low-slung swagger on, UK hip-hop legends The Nextmen get busy on the bashy tip, Lost City finds his way with a powerful tribal halftime twist while Sao Paulo's finest L Side provides the headshot with the immense roller version. Think "Night Flight" on a ragga vibe and you're in the right dance.
BCee, Charlotte Haining & Etherwood - "Little Bit Lighter" - (4:35) 174 BPM
Give Me A Break - (4:52) 174 BPM
The Hills - (5:39) 174 BPM
BCee, Charlotte Haining & Emba - "Home For Good" - (4:46) 174 BPM
Could Have Been Us - (4:55) 174 BPM
Endlessly Unlimited - (4:58) 172 BPM
Love For The Fallen (feat DRS) - (5:39) 174 BPM
BCee, Charlotte Haining & Tempza - "In The Moment" - (5:39) 174 BPM
History - (4:50) 175 BPM
First Love (Logistics remix) - (4:15) 174 BPM
BCee, Charlotte Haining & Blu Mar Ten - "Grow" (Kove remix) - (4:40) 172 BPM
Review: There are only a handful of producers in the scene who can match Bcee's output in terms of albums, and the Norfolk-based owner of Spearhead Records is landing on his own label with his eighth album, a ridiculous achievement by any stretch. This time it's a new formula, though, as Life As We Know It is a collaborative effort with Charlotte Haining, who forms an integral part of this albums soul and characteristic, her superb vocal talent providing the top layer to Bcee's production underbelly. As usual, the instrumentation is gorgeous and 'Almost There' has an introduction which is soulful in the extreme, as gentle piano touches collide with Charlotte's voice and slowly builds into a true drum & bass ballad. 'Little Bit Lighter' featuring Etherwood is beautifully bouncy, 'The Hills' rolls out amidst fluttering harmonies, and DRS joins on the melancholic 'Love For The Fallen'. The message of the album is matched for our current moment of flux, and it marks a massive achievement for both Bcee and Charlotte.
Review: Two years ago, Irish pals Get Down Edits and Stephen Richards released a joint EP in which they remixed each other. Here they've gone one step further and offered up a set of genuinely collaborative productions. There's much to admire, from the cheery nu-disco/acid house fusion of vocal-sporting opener "Acid Thing", and the electric piano-laden revivalist disco-boogie bounce of "People Get Up", to the revivalist piano house sunniness of "Beautiful Sisters (Be Strong)". The EP also boasts a couple of tidy remixes: a chunkier, turn-of-the-90s US house take on "People Get Up", and a bustling, all-action nu-disco revision of "Beautiful Sisters" by label boss Fingerman.