Review: As ever with the Dungeon Kru, we are happy to see them back at it again, returning to Liondub International for a top quality display of collaborative energy across nine outstanding originals. The team invite the likes of T-Kay, Bandit MC, Yauza, B-Plexx and more onboard to deliver a wide range of drum & bass and jungle creations, all doused in that classic dungeon energy. There's a lot to take in with this selection, from the super gnarly bassline growls of 'Navy Seal' alongside EzTee and ELE to the super choppy, unpredictable bass slices of 'Number 1' with Kru. It's definitely a project we would recommend exploring on long play, with our highlights including bouncing drum designs and clever dubwise sampling of 'Ganja Riddim' alongside Maurizzle, next to the screaming bass crunches of 'On Fire', which features additional work from Falco.
Review: Young Guns was originally set up in 2012 by Biological Beats head honcho MC Fatman D as a brand new event concept, showcasing fresh talent at live events across the country. Since 2015, they have evolved into Young Guns Recordings and here they present their latest courtesy of Hyn aka Chris Haynes, an emerging artist from Bristol with his twisted sound that has been heard previously on Brawlin Beats, OnlyJungle and Helix. The London EP features the wobbly grime bassline of the title track, the minimal roller "Dada" reminiscent of classic DJ Krust and the darkside tehctsep thriller "Change".
Review: Madcap and the late Andy Skopes' Trouble EP on Dispatch exemplifies why this label is so legendary, and why Andy's premature passing was such a tragic loss for our scene. His music is living on, however, and him and Madcap have rolled out a true piece of dancefloor precision on this one. The title track is pure magic, a ducking and diving number that drops to effortless depths in its quest for low frequency excellence, a vision aided along by MC Fats' typically deft vocal work. There are superb breaks on 'Scatter', and fractiously deep jungle tones on 'Empty Soul' that's paired with a hauntingly melancholic vocal sample. Unmissable.
Review: EPs don't get more diverse and dancefloor ready than this one from Jak, who has roped in Mofes and Kumo to help him craft his devilishly made club-friendly sounds. Rather than a copy-paste exercise, Nuusic and Jak are living up to their reputations by bringing four unique, differentiated cuts to the table. 'Siren' feat Kumo is the pick of the bunch, as a rolling Break-esque drum line cuts through a sparsely arranged but effectively spacious array of Sofa Sound-type bass nodes. Proper sick, and there's clicky tech funk on 'Snow', jump-up force on 'Lace Up' and sub-heavy, sine-wobbling goodness on 'Akimbo'. Big.
Review: The second chapter in Deep in the Jungle Anthems 7 is upon us, and there is yet another cacophonous blend of fractious jungle riddims inside. Drawn from artists across the scene both old and new, this LP is the second leg of a journey that's pull you deep through the spiky, rough edges of a the jungle. The crashing force of K Jah's 'Quest' is a good example, as repetitive breaks needle their way into your soul amidst a wobbling sub and jazzy samples. Bish is on remix duties for label boss DJ Hybrid and his tune 'Badboy', which samples possibly one of dance music's most iconic film lines and does so amidst a relentless, rolling instrumental. Sick - there are over 30 tracks inside so get involved.
Running Back (feat Need For Mirrors) - (5:56) 174 BPM
Roonies (feat Mindstate) - (4:35) 172 BPM
Like Uh (feat Vangeliez) - (4:32) 174 BPM
Our Time (feat Dogger) - (3:57) 172 BPM
Save Me Now (feat Vangeliez & Maverick Sabre) - (4:30) 174 BPM
Never Made It (feat Mindstate) - (4:29) 174 BPM
I Wish (feat FD) - (4:35) 172 BPM
Light In My Memories (feat Think Tonk) - (4:32) 58 BPM
Review: DRS is back on his own Space Cadet imprint with a six-track collection of absolute beauties. Its DRS at his liquid-lounging best and he's recruited an all-star collection of artists to help him out, including Mindstate, Maverick Sabre, Vangeliez, Redeyes - the list goes on. We're especially taken by HMD and Redeyes' 'Cinnamon Roses', which takes a sultry, new-school hip-hop vocal line and stretches it out into a bouncing, funky and trendy liquid cut. There are floaty piano riffs on 'Us', darker touches on 'Running Back', and soaring soul on 'Save Me Now'. That's just the beginning of the Light Language, and with this album DRS is showing us all once more that he's the most diverse, wide-ranging MC in drum & bass. Legendary.
Review: Ladies and gentlemen can we have your attention please? We are now ready for take-off so please fasten your seatbelts! At long last, the Dark Soldier unleashes two of the most in-demand remixes of one of his most seminal tracks 'Chopper'. Famed for its massive Shy FX remix back in the day, once again the tradition is maintained as Bou and Traumatize bring the seminal vibe into the 2020s. Both now pretty legendary on dub, Bou brings the bubbles and Zinc-like swing while Traumatize brings the twisted chunky swagger. Essential.
Review: For our next look at the Juicy Fruit Recordings crew we take in this vibrant new four track display from S Man, who we can safely say has delivered the goods once again. We begin with a look at the title track 'Vortex' which combines super punchy drum breaks with a devilish lead synth instrument that finds itself moving freely around the mix. This is then followed by the constantly shifting drum displays and gnarly, horn-like bass pulses, emerging from the mix like a monster from the deep, before we take in 'Wah Do Dem', a party-inspired rethink of Eek A Mouse's classic reggae singalong. We then finish off in style as the sweeping bass synth patterns and crunchy percussive arrangements of 'Dead House' give us a finale to remember!
Review: Last spotted on Murky telling us to 'Prepare For Take Off', Jaxx is now back on the label and fully out of orbit with this rocket-powered five track attack. All wriggly and highly filthed, Jaxx's sound continues to hit the funkiest spots between jump-up and minimal; there's a nice whiff of Die to the title track 'Weight Off Your Shoulders', 'Be Strong' balances a sweet vocal element with a buzzsaw bassline while Dub General features on the tense, growling behemoth that is 'Got You Here', 'Nice One Mate' is a low-swinging grumbler with cheeky jazzy flourishes before 'TJA Bro' closes the EP on a grizzly early 2000s Full Cycle style message. The Jaxx Action!
Review: Alexander Lay-Far is undoubtedly one of the most talented house producers of his generation: an artist whose love of expansive instrumentation is matched by a keen sense of what works on the dancefloor. His first outing on Marcel Vogel's Lumberjacks in Hell imprint is typically impressive, though the artist's liberal use of hip-house style breakbeats is a surprise. This being Lay-Far, they come laden with intricate musical details on both 'Good Thing' (think saucer-eyed female vocal snippets, deep sub-bass and poignant piano motifs) and 'Up We Go' (dusty jazz piano, funky jazz-funk bass and colourful chords). Elsewhere, 'Heavy' is a rave-ready fusion of broken beat and breaks rich in old school stabs, while closing cut 'My Reflection' adds US garage swing and UKG bass to jaunty jazz-house musicality.
Review: With some cool, dark, artwork, Conrad Subs has landed on Deep in the Jungle with a hard-hitting five-tracker which combines a penetrating sense of attitude with a non-nonsense approach to musical arrangements. 'Love 4 U' has an warped-out, Souped Up vibe in its arrangement that feels powerful to the extreme and is perfect for a crowded dancefloor, especially with its underpinning in some weighty percussion. 'Funk Me Sideways' is the roller of the EP and grounded in wobbly atmospherics and a sense of space which makes it a pleasure to listen to, its snapping drum line providing the ground rock underneath. The rest are proper sick as well - big ups.
Review: Monk Audio are absolutely one of the best labels in the scene right now, with a tendency to release devilishly smooth minimal flavours across a range of BPMs. Able has been getting about recently, so it's good to see him bringing the heat with his Always You EP. Track one, 'Always You', is our pick of the bunch with a devastatingly fluid, sub-heavy bassline that breathes and ebbs through the mix in such a cool way. The drums are right on point and the entire tune just feels like a weapon in your hands. The final tune, 'Monarch', is a ridiculously good halftime stepper as well, and this whole release just screams quality. Fantastic.
Review: Everyone's favourite tea leaf returns, this time with a special release on Liondub International. Five tracks in total, all powered by his usual bulldozer charm and funk, this is one of this broadest EPs as we cross the gully board. From the sweet sultry vocals and soul of 'Holding Back' to the late 90s tear-up sound of 'Sound Business', Nick runs us through his highest and lowest emotions across the EP. Other highlights include the oddball off-beat growls and groans of 'Freak Show' and the warm as toast title track 'Bullet'. You're nicked son.
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: Natty Dub never fail to rouse us out of our stupor, no matter how bleak things look outside. This two-track tear-up from Vytol is of course no exception. 'Sell Out' is a stern slab of rollage with a Heavyweight-style bassline that grunts and growls its way through the mix with clarity and venom. 'Morph' meanwhile pays homage to every UK 80s/90s kids favourite plasticene hero with a little help from fellow Natty regular K-Jah. Pure bassline squelch business, this one is for all the artists out there. Harty on dudes.
Review: Critical's resident Swiss wizards are back at it with this five-tracker, their first full length EP since Perspectives Vol. 1 last year. It's a textbook QZB, who are absolute geniuses at producing music bedded in techy depth, and who work across the full spectrum from deft, frivolous touches to all-out dancefloor heat. The title track here is the former, with oscillating synth nodes that ebb in and out of the mix, a liquid vibe that's metallic in texture yet remains distinctly soulful. 'Unforgiving' is the opposite, a foghorn-laced tech destroyer with astonishingly good use of space, a track which simultaneously feels stripped-back and full to the brim. 'Silence Rings Loudest' is probably the most creative; imagine a mixture of BOP and Frederic Robinson and you'll be close, as featherweight drums rise and fall in delicate crescendos of nostalgic robotics. Delightful.
Review: Hide your crisps mate, Dub Phizix is back on the loose. Kicking off the year in true understated, straight-to-business style, as always with Mr Phizzy, each cut tells its own story and packs its own unique style. 'Game Over' is reminiscent of Die's early work. Jazzy flourishes and drums that skip from here to Clifton. 'Slush Puppeh' is not the sugar-rush you might expect from the title. Proper drum business here, there's a proper tribal edge to this one that nods towards the early Virus sound but much, much more stripped back and more techno-minded. Finally we have 'Bunraku', another bruiser with more warm fuzz around the bottom end than your ma. Game on.
Review: After impressing late last year with The Four Seasons EP, Hungarian duo The Magic Track returns to Furious Mandrill with more high-grade re-edits for those who like chunky beats, heavy horns and hedonistic disco flavours. The pick of a very strong bunch is arguably celebratory disco romp 'Panama Life' - all impassioned male vocals, fiery horns, filter sweeps and rubbery bass - though tooled-up Afro-disco opener 'Equality Pushes it Close'. Elsewhere, 'My Gentle Love' is a Clavinet-sporting chunk of rolling disco-house excellence, and 'Sweetest Goodbye' is a bass-heavy version of a sensationally summery number that should get plenty of plays at outdoor events in the months and years ahead.
Review: Last autumn, Eli Escobar delivered a swathe of rather good single-track salvos. It's these that have been gathered together on Night Class, a five-track mini-album that showcases the increasing musical diversity of his dancefloor-focused sound. That much is proved by the first two tracks, where the bold, beautiful, vintage-sounding synths and throbbing bottom-end of 'Blue Magic' is followed by the glassy-eyed, nu disco-tinged piano house bliss of 'Give Love'. Escobar's increasing use of late 1970s and early '80s synth sounds continues on 'Night Class', while 'This Is Not Going To Be An Ambient Track' sits somewhere between revivalist Chicago jack and slow-burn deep house warmth. As for closing cut 'What You Said', it's pleasingly crunchy, foreboding and sweaty.
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: 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: John Devecchis has been instrumental in bringing a strong sense of personality and flair to Cardiology's explorations of the disco edit tradition, and now his The Owl alias is back for a third bout to kick off 2021 in style. 'Only You Baby' is certain to set a party off, whenever one materialises, thanks to its deadly bass hook that sounds like a thousand boogie fantasies rolled into one. 'You' takes a slinkier route, riding on a steadfast, strum-a-long groove that holds it down for the duration before 'Got To Dance' wakes you up with a huge, feel-good break and a cheeky vocal sample. 'Fever' is the pick of the bunch though, amping up the percussion until the congas sound monolithic and dropping a guitar lick you'll spot a mile off.
Review: Dan Goul has only a handful of releases to his name, and now he has been chosen to deliver the latest instalment of Berg Audio's Elements series. This deep-seated five tracker showcases his considerable talent; "Hollow Meadow" is a deep, dubbed out techno affair, while on "Crop Circles", Goul opts for a sensuous, flowing deep house groove. In contrast, on "Heart Rate Expire", he channels the kind of introspective melancholia that labels like Dial are renowned for to tease out a wiry, atmospheric affair. No matter which way he turns, Goul puts melody and depth at the heart of his work, and this is audible on the warm, flowing "Catharsis".