Review: Upfront drum & bass behemoths The Upbeats smash into the public consciousness like a meteor through the roof of parliament with their fourth LP. Seemingly convinced their previous works just weren't loud or complex enough, this album is an exploration of not only how explosive the duo can sound, but how their sound has changed since their early days. Even with the techno and grime influences in "Again I" featuring Armanni Reign, chiptune in "Falling Into Place", dark, dread-dripping haunted rhythms in "Alone" with vocals from Tasha Baxter, minimal bass noodle-ry in "Castles", hard-hitting neuro and jump-up run straight through this release like an electric heartbeat. Fans have enough meat to satisfy their subwoofers, newcomers and naysayers can sink their teeth into the deeper cognitions and apparitions. What's not to love?
Camo & Krooked - "Loving You Is Easy" - (4:51) 191 BPM
Camo & Krooked - "Atlas" - (7:22) 175 BPM
Review: As if Camo & Krooked couldn't sound any more epic... Now their best tracks can be heard played alongside a full-on orchestra. An audacious task even by the Austrian duo's standards, Red Bull Symphonic was a year in the making and two nights in the execution and it's every bit as dynamic, dramatic and rich in layers of musical references and skillishness as you'd expect. From the bombastic opening intro chords and segue into "Embers" right through to emotional finale of "Atlas" all the way through incredible renditions of tracks such as "Numbers", "Set It Off", "Kallisto", this is a unique clash of centuries of musical disciplines and it's yet another reminder why Camo & Krooked are absolute craftsmen of the modern game. Classic.
Review: New Year doesn't officially kick off until Viper smack you silly with their yearly "Drum & Bass Annual". 2017's edition smacks even harder than usual with no less than 10 exclusives including a Culture Shock/Dimension style roll out from Misfit, Halflight's "Communication Failure" that has enough power to cause a civil war and North Base's "Woman" that has so much seductive soul power to cause a mess in your trousers. Elsewhere The Voss & NC-17 pay respect to the Book Of The Bad on "Mojave" and Blaine Stranger sends you off to cosmoses unknown on "By Your Side". And that's just a handful of the unreleased cuts amid some of the label's biggest releases in recent times.
Review: Toolroom sets out an ambitious programme for its annual Miami trip. Patrick Topping gets the party started with the diva vocals and crowd cheers of "Be Sharp, Say Nowt", a true good-time house tune, while a more considered but no less infectious take on vocal house is audible on The 2 Bears' "London Are You There?" and Bicep's wonderful electro-synth-led "Metro". However, this compilation isn't limited to house music: the OC & Verde remix of Eli & Fur's "Around You" is frosty Euro trance at its most memorable and Dubspeeka's "Lyssa" is a gorgeous piece of dubbed out, dreamy techno. Miami won't know what hit it.
Review: From Prolix to Technimatic, Total Science to Was A Be by way of Icicle, Joe Ford, Fourward, Spectrasoul, Phace, Ed.It and many more, Friction's label digs deep from the genre's most innovative corners and eras. As we prepare to close off 2016, they've taken a detailed look back over the last 18 months of crucial output to not just represent where the label is at, but the genre itself. An ideal opportunity to fill any holes in your collection cuts such as Fourward & Linguistics demonic stomper "Storm", Was A Be's rudeboy-slewing halftime damager "Blind" or Break's sparkling "Emerald" and complete with a journeyman mix of the tracks themselves, this rounds up yet another serious year at the very forefront of drum & bass.
Review: Besides cameos on Shogun's 100 series with Proxima and Sotto Voce with Spor, this is Icicle's first full body of work since his critically celebrated sophomore Entropy. Four tracks (and one instrumental) deep, it's loaded with all the meany mannerisms and characteristics we know and love the Dutch scientist for... Tasha's Bjorky delivery on "The Nothing", stark techno loopery and FX on "Differentia", the electrified robot romp of "Ego" and the unforgiving halftime badlands of "Push Back". No one does it like Icicle.