Review: It seems the full CIA cast list has come out for this entirely massive release and holy moly is it a large one. Kicking things off with the legendary Total Science guys and the one and only S.P.Y headed up by Chroma on remix duties, "Whoonga" is a relentless roller, pushing on through dark bass and sparks of light from harsh pads and electric samples. In "Stoned", Calibre calms his intensity levels for a chill roller packed with lucid dreamy sounds and tight percussion. Riya joins old friends Total Science to lend her sultry vocals to a crisp, soulful stepper in "Walk The Same Lines" and Utopia henchman Mako
Review: While the mighty Aswad once told us "Don't Turn Around", the even mightier Total Science have now advised us to "Turn Around"... And with its dreamy cosmic synths, surging vocal and classic snare rolling jungle break, we know whose orders we're going to believe. The fun doesn't stop there as the all star cast continues... Break joins the party for the bone-rattling Headzy tear-up "Big Time Winners", Calibre jumps on the remix tip with a delicate lilting twist on the Riya-fronted "Walk The Same Lines" and DLR taps in for the heads-down, purring-sub stepper "Too Close For Comfort". Heavyweight and high grade, this is an incredible EP.
Review: Double trouble: Riya's critically received debut album from summer 2015 enjoys a deluxe twist with double the amount of tracks on. As well as the album itself there are 13 fresh cuts including new originals such as the Gill Scott-style street soul pieces with Maverick Soul "Bittersweet" and "We Belong", the perfect piano-powered gospel roller "Everything" and the grizzly, groaning techy roller "Silhouette". Killer new remixes such as Pola & Bryson's subby switch of "Lost Friends", Break's spotless drums on "Confessions" xxx . Plus a few floor-melting VIPs: the relentless bass pump of "Fear Bites" and the cosmic touches to "Wears Me Down". Deluxe and demonstrative - this is a great addition to an already remarkable album.
Review: Drum&Bass Arena: The longest-standing, and one of the most respected, platforms for all things jungle D&B celebrates an impressive 20 years in the game with this ridiculously hefty document that pays respect to the genre's every twist and turn. From scene-shattering megahits ("Tarantula", "Feel The Love", "Rock It", "Afterglow") to unarguable historical underground scene-smashing megabangers ("Machete", "Aztec", "Nasty Ways", "The View", "Champion Sound", "Turbulence", "Up All Night", "Deadline", Ram Trilogy's remix of "Pacman") by way of tracks that may have slipped under the radar ("Defcom 69", "What's Wrong", "Song For Lovers") the whole album is loaded to the lips with some of the most important records the genre's enjoyed in the last 20 years. Time to get nostalgic, time to fill those holes in your collection, time to educate your dancefloor. Here's to another 20 years!
Alix Perez - "Down The Line" (feat MC Fats) - (6:27) 172 BPM
JO - "R-Type" - (5:51) 174 BPM
Subwave - "Think" - (5:58) 175 BPM
Shogun Audio Presents: The Classics (2004-2017) (continuous DJ mix) - (57:08) 174 BPM
Review: When a label as consistent and as well rounded as Shogun Audio announce a 'Classics' release it obviously sends shivers around the drum & bass community. It's hard to imagine condensing thirteen years of dominance into a minimized box of thirty classics, but just looking at the tracklisting is awe-inspiring. We see classic reappearances from the likes of Friction, Spor, Break, Icicle, Rockwell, Spectrasoul, Alix Perez, Camo & Krooked and that's not even half of the names involved. To break it down simply, this compilation summarizes why Shogun hold such a legendary status within the scene, through incredible consistency and magnificent diversity of sound.
Review: What is there to say about Shogun Audio that hasn't already been said at length directly into your ear at 3am? Friction's brainchild has become one of the scene's biggest, most successful and perhaps most importantly one of the most highly-regarded labels in recent years. A decade might not be a long time in D&B talk, but 10 years has been long enough for Shogun to put its stamp on almost everything making its way from the underground and into the blinding light of day. From the experimental sounds of Alix Perez, Rockwell and Icicle to the spellbinding Technimatic, right through to the chart-bothering escapades of Camo & Krooked, this is a flip through the highlights of Shogun's life. In case you forgot, it's been a brilliant one so far. Roll on the next 10 years.
Review: Kicking off with a VIP of one of the killer 90s jungle nostalgia anthems of 2010 - Bladerunner's "Back To The Jungle" - it's a great start to the next Critical compilation. Moving through the tough, percussive sounds of Break, soulful dub tinged efforts of Breakage, the blissed out Calibre in "Rockafella" to the sounds of man-of-the-moment, hotly tipped Enei with his fantastic "Forgive Me" around the halfway point, it's immediately apparent why Kasra's label has garnered such respect from his peers. Lomax - one half of Loadstar - provides a deeper incarnation to his Ram bangers in "Innocent X" and elsewhere, Rockwell's "Underpass" makes a re-emergence as does ubiquitous anthem "Redlines" which closes this utterly superb compilation.
The Vanguard Project - "Is This Love" (feat Lucy Kitchen - Dexcell remix) - (4:59) 172 BPM
Review: Spearhead Records - which was started by Bcee in an internet caf? - is hitting its 100th release and celebrating the fact with a huge compilation of brand new tracks, including contributions by Calibre, Technimatic, LSB and Bcee himself. Staying true to the label's origins, it's pretty much all gorgeous rolling liquid and we're very much into it. One of the highlights is the Bcee refix of his seminal 'Back to the Street', which has been given a revamped bassline and a fresh veneer of bassy purpose. It's not just the old on this album, though, and Walk:r lays down the gauntlet with 'Wallflower', a sublimely subtle, pacey piano tune that rolls out in delightful fashion. Wicked stuff here from one of the best in the game.
Review: Hot off Randall's Mac 2 label, Pieces is a ludicrous collection of behemoth tunes found, remixed or simply well-placed in no particular order. Why? Because he's good to us like that. Featuring a stellar line-up of OGs and freshly hooked-up newcomers, this is 18 tracks of pure drum and bass energy ready to make a mess of your cochlea. Special mentions for the DRamatic remix of Lenni Dee Ice's "We Are IE" and Trex's massive stomper "Sudden Impact" which should currently be tearing up the dancefloor in your nearest darkened warehouse with a soundsystem. Instant purchase.