Review: Conrad Subs has been doing his thing for quite some time and ahead of his latest album, this time on Nuusic, he's dropping samplers, and this is the second. It's a superb effort as well and he's joined in said effort by Redders, an MC known for his work with Sam Binga and others, and who is on top form here. 'I Got Somethin' rolls out with a heavy dose of attitude, Redders' urban-tinged style dredging up touches of hip-hop as well as funk and dancehall and he sits expertly above Conrad's bouncing, moody beat. The flip is classic jungle and Conrad excels on this terrain, his penchant for breakbeats shining through amidst a stabby rendition of broken dancefloor pressure. This album is going to be immense.
Review: Across the full spectrum of bass music, you will be hard pressed to find a more dedicated and hard working MC and brand owner as Bru-C. Alongside the fantastic response to his new single with Charlie P, he teams up with CruCast here to unveil four fantastic rethinks of last year's summer smash: 'You & I'. First up, Bou arrives on the scene for an atmospheric roller-inspired rethink, before Notion steps up for rave-rejuvenating 4x4 overhaul. From here, Shapes gets involved with a seriously nostalgic organ-led garage incarnation, with a very unexpected acoustic version of the track seeing us out in time to tick all the boxes. Excellent work as per from the Nottingham native.
Review: The ever prolific Conrad Subs has an album coming on Nuusic and this sampler is the first glimpse we're seeing of what is certain to be a wicked longer player, especially when bearing in mind the diversity of style on this single. 'Little Vibey Thing' is seriously unique, with a beautifully soulful, modern hip-hop vocal sample that sits above a stabbing bassline and a funky, infectious drum line. This tune is certainly a vibey thing. 'Superior', on the other hand, is a straight jungle banger that doesn't let up from its rollicking amen breaks. Big.
Review: It has to be said that the consistency of Boka is something quite phenomenal to take in and witness, with this latest outing from the deadly duo of RDG and Dubape being a perfect example of that. We kick off with the title track 'Storm', which through amazonian atmospherics, gnarly basslines and subtly eastern string plucks kicks us off with some serious flare. Next, the spacey synthesizer moves of 'Drift' add something very different, before 'Brok Out' darkens the vibe with raucous bass movement and satanic vocal delays. Finally, the scattered drum expressions and pounding 808 subs of the speedy 'Decoy' round off the originals, with RSD's old school wobbler of a 'Brok Out' remix adds the final touches to a wicked selection.
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: 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: Onyx Recordings are a flag waver for the next-generation of acts, producers who instead of cutting their teeth in the cutting houses of London, have formed tight-knit online communities through which they can grow and improve. Onyx provides a platform for their music and their free download credentials have propelled them into the forefront of 174's ongoing sonic insurgency. This next extended play is courtesy of Manual DNB, a producer who can clearly craft a minimal, jump-up inspired beat with the best of theme, a talent most evident on the title tune's stepping breaks and curveball baselines. Enta also steps in for a superb, Break-esque remix of So Seductive to really nail things to the wall. Big, big movements here.
Review: Instigation across the nation; Instag8 and Colchester veteran MC J.O.K tag up for a clutch of cold hard truths on Raw Motion. "Spark It" lights the fire with dreamy chords then the grottiest intro this side of the sewage works. It's followed by plenty more vitriolic funk: "Bomb Threat" is a heavy pressure alien stepper, "Trust Me" is much more spaced out, warped and slinky while Jedi joins the fray for the finale cut "Stranger Things", a track so dramatic and dark it'll have you heading for the upside down before you can say Demogorgon.
Review: Although French veteran Ludovic Llorca has previously provided remixes for Z Records, "Flower Child" marks the first time one of his original productions has appeared on Dave Lee's long-serving label. While there are naturally some subtle nods towards Llorca's classic house sound in the track, it's little less than a flash-fried chunk of disco revivalism that brilliantly wraps period instrumentation - crunchy Clavinets, funk-rock style guitar licks, slap bass and sweeping strings - and a soulful lead vocal around live-sounding beats that are guaranteed to get you up and dancing. It's accompanied by a similarly impressive instrumental version, which wile a little less impactful is nevertheless a genuine aural treat.
Review: You can't see his face, but we bet our bottom dollar you can hear him... Taking Shy's Raggamuffin Mixtape banger and twisting it into a dark, ruded-up bubbler, modern day donny Skeptical has taken 'Balaclava' to the murkiest of new levels. Still featuring the high-grade MC rollcall of D Double, Frisco and Spyda, Shy's wry sense of gully remains fully intact as Skeppy tells us it will take more than a pandemic to hold him down. Ring the alarm!
Review: Three solid nu-disco/disco-house jams here from Ladies On Mars, possibly the most inaccurately named artist in history as there's only one of him, he's definitely not a lady and he actually comes from Buenos Aires, not Mars! 'Just Enough' is a pleasant disco-house roller with a gospel-leaning chorus and a Hed Kandi-ish feel overall, while 'You'll Be Mine' has a more authentic early 80s boogie vibe. The standout for this reviewer though is 'Ain't Too Proud', which tops a jaunty, plinky-plonk rhythm with a big, blues-y male soul vocal from the Cee Lo Green/Aloe Blacc school of thought - peaktime singalong action will doubtless ensue.
Review: Following on from a very impactful debut release, the Undagrnd Freqz team of Matt Jam Lamont and Echelon are back at it again with two more summer-ready grooves. We begin with the nostalgic sample slicing and pulsating rhythmic designs of 'Freqz Groove', which conjures up images of early garage parties with it's sliding basslines and syncopated melodic inputs. On the flip, 'Wrapped Up' deploys more fabulous vocal manipulation with catchy string plucks to add a fantastic level of variation between this and the title track, making the pair a very interesting matchup indeed. Fabulous stuff from start to finish!
Review: For his latest trick, spoonerism-loving rework maestro V (AKA sometime funk-breaks producer Valique) has decided to offer up a second selection of "Neo Blues" scalpel works. He begins by delivering a chunky, rolling revision of Ann Feebles' rock-tinged gospel-funk classic "Beware", before chugging his way through a pitched-down revision of a weighty T-Rex glam-rock classic ("Jewelry"). This is followed by EP highlight "Holis", an inspired - and suitably epic - "Afro-blues" revision of one of Nina Simone's greatest moments, and the low-slung voodoo-house hypnotism of "Mississippi Lullalby (V's Rendition)". To finish with a. flourish, the Vehicle main man then adds some elastic new drums to Otis Redding's version of "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay".
Review: They're back! Serum, Voltage and Bladerunner return with their first new originals since last year's album and, as the title "Main Event" suggests, it's a pretty big deal. "XXX" opens with disarming stripped back intent. There's a bleepy techno twist in the tale and the tension is higher than Voltage monthly fashion budget. Elsewhere "Somebody Else" sees them re-enlisting the scorching vocal diesel of Lydia Pain for another emotional skin-burner and "Solar Heat" ends the EP on a real groany, smelly distorted introspective vibe. Tremendous... And we haven't even got to the dessert event, which is a super sweet Circuits remix of "Burnt Ends". Feel the burn mate.
Review: Jared Philip's recent sophomore album as Jex Opolis, "Net Worth", was rightly praised for its canny combination of ear-catching synth-pop, chunky proto-house and colourful boogie revivalism. This equally as impressive partner release gathers together tracks that didn't quite make the cut and alternative mixes, all of which are up to Philip's usual high standard. Highlights include the deep, bubbly and spacey synth-pop shuffle of "Dubsystem", deliciously tough and stripped-back "Dub Mix" version of high energy/Italo-disco workout "The Bottom", and the acid-flecked glory of "Jexendirekt", a slab of late night dancefloor gold smothered in foreboding riffs, poignant chords and bustling, arpeggiated bass.
Review: We may not be able to gather to dance outdoors under a blazing sun or a blanket of stars, but there's no harm in a little musical daydreaming. That's what the latest multi-artist Ravenelli Disco Club release is all about: summery escapism that comes with a big dollop of rush-inducing disco release. Ethyene sets the tone with the colourful boogie-house fusion of "Let Love" - all twinkling synth motifs, echoing percussion hits, thickset grooves and hazy vocal samples - before Carlo raises the temperature via some jazzy deep house heaviness in the vein of Derrick Carter's "boompty" era. Over on side B, Hotmood's "Magical Flight" is a surging, string-drenched disco-house roller, while Rees' "The Way You Mood" is a tooled-up take on what sounds like a classic Philadelphia International cut.
Review: Fresh D&B in the house courtesy of newcomer Jak! Having only previously appeared before on Welsh label Incurzion through a collaboration with Concept One, Jak's solo debut for Audio Addict brings with it two extra collabs with Nautika and bossman DJ Hybrid. Receiving some personalised cover art in the process, Jak opens with the skippy, almost fidget-touched, half-time rave number "Back Around". Deep atmospheres enter the void when the first drop hits in "Dubplate Pulse" (and "Spawner") with the humming edge of Jak's basslines turning into something of a roar in the ambient pastures of "The Lion". Bouncier dub and reggae vibes in "Bun It Up" too matched by "Obstruction" only to be stripped back for some extra jungle percussion to make its way to the front of the mix.
Review: Deep in the Jungle have emerged as arguably the biggest standout new jungle label in recent times and, off the back of their growing family of artists, they've decided to try and represent both where the label and the genre are in 2020. With artists from DJ Hybrid, to Conrad Subs and beyond, it's a statement of intent from the imprint. The music reflects that intention as well, with jungle sounds throughout but punctuated with that modern, sharper edge that we've come to expect from our newly revitalised scene. DJ Hybrid's 'On A Riddim' is the best example, as a punchy bass note streams out of a bedrock of clattering breaks, whilst we're seriously digging the rolling reece's of 'The Rhythm' by Conrad Subs. All of these are proper percys.
Review: Following on from 2018's first Forever split release, Perc Trax delivers a blinding second instalment. The chilling strings and pounding kicks of "Morning Sesh" by AnD set a frenetic pace for the release, but it can't compare to the intensity levels on Tymon's "Woodman". While it is considerably slower, the rough drums, skewed percussion and driving rhythm all come together to make for an exhilarating piece. D.A.V.E. The Drummer from the veteran Stay Up Forever collective drops a similarly inclined banger in the shape of "133.33000000000001", while Mickey Nox's "Filtered Metal" is all about the pounding kicks and bursts of white noise. Maintaining the peak-time sound, Keepsakes' "I Breathe Slow & Watch With Gusto" weaves chopped up vocals into its ghetto techno backing.
Review: What a link up we have here as the newly formed Billitfam, AKA: Smasher and Mighty Moe join forces for a brand new single by the name of 'Vibes And Wot Not'. The interesting thing about this with this one of course is that we are so used to hearing both Smasher and Mighty Moe rolling out over skippy garage instrumentals, however both of them deliver to the highest degree with their singalong-ready inputs. The whole release is then turned on its head as Smokey Bubblin' B arrives with a well thought out UKG relick, adding a fabulous level of variation for the dance. Fabulous stuff!
Review: As you'd expect, the sixth colour-coded EP in Uncanny Valley's 50th release series boasts an impressive line-up of artists, all of whom have pulled out the stops to make their contribution count. For proof, check the rushing, riff-sporting, rave-era revivalism of Cuthead's acid-flecked opener, "Party Chords", the warm and woozy, Rhodes-laden head-nodding beats of Dererstuben's "Iwesu Yewisu", and the wild organ riffs and chunky grooves of Pantera Krause's bustling house jam "The Naked Now". Or, for that matter, the sample-laden, jazz-tinged deep house roll of Daniela La Cruz's "When You Go All In And Wait", and the body-popping Balearic nu-disco warmth of Massimiliano Pagliano's luscious "Sunset Funk". As the old clich? goes, this is genuinely all killer, no filler.
Review: Bryan Gee and V Recordings do not mess around. They never have in the past, they're certainly not right now in the present and judging by this highly anticipated Future album, they're going to mess around any time ahead. 25 tracks from some of the biggest, best and baddest names in D&B (Dillina, Serum, Benny L, Paul T & Edward Oberon, Roni Size, DJ Marky, Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Bladerunner, Saxxon, the list goes on) this one's been a long, long, long time coming... And it's been well worth the wait. From L-Sides massive remixes of Dillinja and Krust to Need For Mirrors super-revved "Lambo" to Benny L's incredible remix of "Days", this sums up why Bryan and his label are as influential and respected in the game as they are today. Don't mess around.
Review: Vandal's Modern Soul series of LPs has for a long time been a breeding ground for a wide variety of drum & bass, including formative tracks from Shield, Monty and others. This time around it's number five and the quality continues, kicking things off with a gorgeously light liquid number from Phase and Lameduza that brings old school vibes right to the forefront. Tech wizard Rizzle is known for his liquid depth too as 'Levitate' has a sumptuously mystical back end that falls and falls, whilst fellow minimal heads Invadhertz equally try their hand at wispy pads and far-off vocal samples. Monty makes an appearance, as does Amoss, SKS and Arcatype. A tour de-force.
Review: Sheeesh, Liondub International aren't messing around this year. Proffering an onslaught of gully, regardless of any lockdown restrictions, it's been one of their best years in a long time... And it's just got even better now Toronto collective Dungeon Kru have served up their second extensive EP on the label. Like "Genesis" in April, the EP covers the full spectrum with vibes swinging from intoxicatingly funky (the double bass slapping "Sedative") to absolutely hellraising scattiness (the chainsaw bass buzzes on "Shut Ya Mouth") Elsewhere we've got a remix from the Young Guns championed Master Error, a VIP of "Impossible" and the beautiful finale "Dis Sound". Let's move forward....
Review: Kicking around for ten-plus years in the inter-continental jazz scene is German ensemble The Bahama Soul Club who breathe new life into their project with a new album, Bohemia After Dawn! It presents the outfit's fifth studio LP which this time finds its spirit through the coastlines of Algarve where it was recorded. Drawing deep inspiration from the multicultural verve of young worldly folk drawn to the bohemian coasts of the most southwestern part of Europe - where hippiesque hedonism, infinite musical diversity, and offbeat enchanted lifestyles fuel the scene - downtempo percussion, subby beats and strong vocals ultimately meet in tracks like "Castelejo (Hommage E Vitor Hugo)". Highly relaxed, uber-cool and with a surprisingly fresh and sweet summer sound, Bohemia After Dawn delivers a unique blend of soul, jazz, funk, blues, bossa nova and multicultural sounds.