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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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".
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: There is no doubt in our eyes that dubstep is going through a real period of growth, both in the quality of the sound and the creativity behind it. This brand new drop from Q100 and PTF1987 is a perfect example of that creativity in play as 'Underdog' forges a tonne of different elements together to birth this bassy behemoth. Through a selection of unpredictable LFO expressions, powerful subs below and a constantly shifting rhythm section, this is a track that is going to do some serious damage in the dances as soon as we are able to enter them again.
Review: This reviewer always experiences something of a frisson when a new Chewy Rubs promo lands in the inbox, and this latest offering doesn't disappoint, packing two slabs of party-hearty, authentically 70s-sounding funk squelch ('Voodoo Disco' and 'Have A Bit Of Fun') and two tracks ('Golden Fire' and 'Welcome') that lean more towards disco-house and nu-disco. As with much of Chewy's output, it's hard to tell if these tracks are straight re-edits or just heavily sample-based productions, but no matter - if they're re-edits, the source material is sufficiently obscure that they'll sound "new" to most ears regardless!
Review: The Next Gen Audio team are definitely an imprint with a knack for sniffing out powerful new releases, which is exactly what they have found here with this spicy new selection from Amplify. Kicking off with 'Human', we can tell we are in for a high energy ride as sizzling synth pulses lead the way atop clean breaks, before 'Seduction' sends us a little more leftfield with some unusual bass processing that just seems to work. Next, Fanatics join the party for 'Carousel', a super gnarly exploration of high ended bass stabs and choppy drum manoeuvres before 'Got You', alongside Master Error gives us a classic jump up outro, again pushing some super colourful bass designs for forward for a hell of a splash.
Review: present at raves up and down the UK as well as across the channel. This is his latest release on the inimitable Pick N Mix, and it shows off his credentials properly, as he's roped in all the tightest sounds you can think of for big six-tracker. We especially love 'Upside', which is just pure attitude encapsulated in a 170 beat and some basses. 'Pimp Shit' smashes it in a pummelling number that honestly doesn't seem like it gives any fucks, and that theme is brought to life even more fully in the diving sub tones of 'Drowzy'. Banging stuff.
Review: Preceding the release of Calibre's so called 'first bona fide 140 BPM record' is two choice remixes that Signature have commissioned from legendary Berlin producer Mark Ernestus. Popularly characterised for his role in Basic Channel, Ernestus' dubwise remixes are only rivaled Chain Reaction's DJ Pete (aka Substance). Delving deep into the art of the saw wave, "Badder" sees swells of holographic synths float in the ambient textures of Calibre's original groove while occasionally buffered by light, skipping tops. "Bad", just the same only simmered down, allows its drums to cut through in a way that doesn't distract from its cavernous sound.
Review: DEAS aka Karol Mozgawa follows up the 2019 No Signal and Shelter releases on Planet Rhythm with another killer dance floor EP. "Central Square" sets the tone for the release with an upfront metallic rhythm that supports layer upon layer of synth sound scapes and tweaked acid lines. The title track is just as impactful, with DEAS again deploying pulsating acid lines and utilitarian percussion to create a mesmerising track. On "Roses Avenue", he takes influence from the Mike Dehnert school of Berlin techno, with brooding chords over a swung rhythm.Rounding off this impressive release are the spaced out textures and pulsating groove of "Structure".
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: Following the success of Shaka Loves You's previous compilations on Bombstrikes, the label has offered them the chance to launch a new series all of their own. Named in honour of their radio show and regular parties in Glasgow, Joints & Jams offers up a hugely entertaining (and largely floor-friendly) mixture of funk-fuelled hip-hop (Bastien Keb, Fort Knox Five, Andy Cooper), skanking reggae (The Nextmen and Gentlemen's Dub Club sing-along 'Done It Again'), flash-fried funk breaks (the Allergies), tropical goodness (DJ Nu-Mark's hook-up with Quantic), and various fusions of disco, boogie and funk (see the cuts from Kraak & Smaak, X-Ray Ted, Pablo & Shoey and Shaka Loves You themselves). The result is a brilliantly mixed-up collection of tried-and-tested dancefloor bombs.
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.
Review: The Paradox is a new collaborative project helmed by Detroit legend Jeff Mills and keyboard wizard Jean-Phi Dary, a pair who first worked together - alongside the late Tony Allen - on the Tomorrow Comes The Harvest project. Counter Active, the pair's debut outing, was apparently inspired by the pair's desire to make music with no set boundaries. The set's six tracks lean heavily on jazz and jazz-funk, with Dary's impressive keys-work rising above Mills' impeccable drum programming, sci-fi synths and, on occasions, surprisingly loose-limbed basslines. Highlights include the tech-jazz goodness of 'The X Factor', the far-sighted deep techno lusciousness of 'Residence' (an alternate tech-jazz take can be found at the end of the EP), and the intergalactic deep house lusciousness of 'Ultraviolet'.
Review: A most loved artist within the Bomb Strikes arsenal is Ali B who's supplied a stream of music for the imprint over recent years, taking in collaborations with The Jungle Brothers, Nick Thayer and vocalists like Baby Bam, and now Afika NX. Turning in a bass heavy, 808 inspired jazz twist in the title-track, it's full of Atlanta hip hop attitudes - to broken beat and funk elements in the Fort Knox remix - "Swing It" goes as good in the club as it does your turbo charged whip.
Affirmations (feat KinKai - original mix) - (4:50) 174 BPM
So Good (original mix) - (4:50) 175 BPM
Tug O War (feat Abnormal Sleepz - original mix) - (2:44) 150 BPM
Love Won't Do (original mix) - (5:22) 175 BPM
Phenomena (original mix) - (4:11) 174 BPM
Affirmations (instrumental mix) - (4:50) 174 BPM
Review: Echo Brown is the newest addition to the North Quarter roster, and following appearances on label compilations, he is now appearing with a six-track EP in that signature long-form, North Quarter style. Struggles is diverse and comes with something for everyone, from the lounging hip-hop roller that is 'Affirmations' feat. KinKai, to the stripped back funk of 'So Good' and the stepping rap verses of 'Tug O War'. 'Love Won't Do' is our favourite, an Ivy Lab-esque percy of a deep one, with gentle, featherweight drums and a superb vocal sample that hangs above the instrumental in delightful fashion. 'Phenomena' rounds things out in choppy dancefloor fashion, and there's even an instrumental of 'Affirmations' to get your teeth stuck into. More amazing stuff from the Dutch crew.