Review: He's back! Upfront returns with his somewhat aptly titled EP "The Return". Four tracks deep, for the first time in quite a long time the Scottish widow-maker is guns us down with bullets of pure gully. "Dead Night" is all about the drama with its tense riff and thundering roll, "Sc-Fi" adds a little symphonic spring to the swaggering groove and guttural bass tones while "The Return" gets all gnarly, springy and savage with its crucial alien laser bass. Last but definitely least "Going Under" concludes affairs on a deep dreamy tip that's not dissimilar to Ed:It or a young SpectraSoul. Welcome back Upfront.
Review: Featured on Haydan's Smokin' Riddim's podcast back in May, Edinburgh-based production powerhouse Upfront lives up to his name with an EP filled with shape-shifting, colour-changing d&b designed to move and abuse. After the wrecking effects of "Murder Squad" the release takes a spin down old-school avenue in the excellently-named "Bru Dub" with classic ragga sampling and scattered breaks laid out over darkly rumbling bass."Things You Do" picks up the vibe with an anthemic vocal and systematically drops into nowhere with the bare minimum of a backdrop to the clank and click of percussion and pulsating bass. "Feel So" is the EP's nod to neuro-tinged nastiness and finally "Skank Riddim" takes the lead on a jump-up track so perfectly honed it's like this comes easy to him. Mindblowingly diverse and accessible at the same time. Looks like the badmen have got some serious competition.
Review: Scottish sonic sorcery: Upfront returns to Jaydan's Smokin Riddims with five more cross-section compositions. "Another Dimension" conjures up the ghosts of raves gone by with its planet-aligning pads, "Another Place" is a slice of cold soul that nods towards the work Artificial Intelligence have done with Steo, "Murder Squad VIP" sees him flipping is '14 Smokin Riddim anthem with even more menace, "Sic" takes the tech route with subtle alien-zapping neuro modulations on the low end while "Deep Intentions" closes the show with wafting pads and far-away vocals tied down by restrained growls. A comprehensive showcase.
Review: Jaydan and Upfront are a monstrous partnership. Both highly skilled in the heavy, show-stopping jump up dynamics, the pair complement each other perfectly. "Mirrors" is a composition of true contrast as the floaty ravey synths give way to a crude, potty mouthed bass lick. "Blow Out" lives up to its name with a vicious midrange bass lead that swipes and swathes with undiluted menace and neat switch ups on the fills. Further on we hit "Empty Threats", a track that swings with more of a triplet flavour and a much darker, deeper bass texture that groans ominously over the funky drum dynamic. "Fear Nothing" finishes the set on a stark steppy note. Armed with yet another concrete-ripping bassline, the real action can be found amid the subby bubbles on the fills. Heavyweight.
Review: Razor-sharp Scottish steppery: Upfront and Aesthetics strip back the unnecessaries for two straight-up rolling damagers. "Gully" is reminiscent of Origin Unknown's mid 90s output with its crisp two-step, marshmallow subs and well placed (possibly Predator?) vocal sample. Keeping the mid 90s two-step vibe alive, "Nostromo" purrs a little softer with benign chemtrails of "Pulp Fiction" and a name that comes from Alien. Cool tracks and some nerdy film references... Upfront & Aesthetics know us all too well.
Review: Smokin' Riddims long success can be linked to Jaydan's keen ear for balanced tracks, every track cuts a fine balance between, noisy, bouncing, rough and rolling and that means great dancefloor music. This new EP is a collection of co-labs, three of which are with the main man himself. 'Rubbish' is anything but, the aggressive track uses swaths and a stabbing bass to create an intense atmosphere. 'Good A Dead' uses jungle breakdowns in-between more modern drum patterns with grinding metallics and shadowy pads. '2049's rumbling bassline is the star of the EP.