Villem & McLeod - "The Sea" (feat Heidi Vogel - BCee remix) - (4:30) 174 BPM
Walk:r - "Wallflower" - (5:42) 174 BPM
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: Every time you see a release that's forthcoming under the moniker of The North Quarter, you know it's going to be very, very good. Label honcho Lenzman doesn't take prisoners with his A&R skills and he definitely doesn't do so when it comes to FD's debut album, not that FD needs much oversight in order to be an outstanding producer. Better Days is thus unsurprisingly amazing. 16 songs in length, including preludes, FD takes you on a journey through hip-hop influences, jungle vibrancy and full-on D&B that'll leave you quivering with excitement. 'Better Man' featuring Fox is arguably the stand-out, with serene jazz elements blending into Fox-led funk and bouncing bass stabs. Unreal.
Review: Three varied cuts here from FD, a house producer with roots in London's jungle and garage scenes. 'Ribs' (feat Issac Rosie & Maverick Soul) is a very noq-sounding affair with insistent shakers, shimmering synths, barely-there party vox that drift in and out of the mix and a neat Rhodes-like piano line. 'Ribs (Interlude)' then drops the pace for 1:18 of downtempo ambience, before the Byron The Aquarius Mix of 'Ice Cream' blends shuffling deep house beats and soulful vox in a way that harks back to UKG's earliest days, its title perhaps a tribute to the seminal label of the same name?
Review: The wait is finally over! Hospital heroes Fred V & Grafix unleash their highly anticipated debut album. Has the wait been worth it? 100 per cent... Loaded with vibrant melodies, dynamite dynamics and perfectly executed vocals, it carries the perfect amount of clout for both dancefloors and headphones alike. Highlights include the shimmering twinkles and elastic bass of "Maverick Souls", the pummeling drums and timeless rave nuances of "Bladerunner" and the chart-destined arm-raiser "Catch My Breath". Yet another essential album from Hospital camp. Recognise!
Emerald City (feat Pola & Bryson) - (5:15) 174 BPM
Talk The Talk (feat Dan Stezo) - (4:30) 174 BPM
Shades Of Blue (feat Kimani) - (4:44) 174 BPM
Camera Obscura (feat Maverick Soul) - (5:59) 172 BPM
Reflection - (4:47) 174 BPM
Distance - (4:39) 134 BPM
Viridian - (4:20) 174 BPM
Fireflies - (3:50) 175 BPM
Sound System Dub - (4:28) 174 BPM
Closeness - (4:36) 58 BPM
Review: Hugh Hardie's rise up the Hospital ranks has been nothing short of astronomical. Cruising into the game at top speed with "Tearing Me Apart" in 2014 he's since gone from strength to strength, strategically dropping a cool balance of soulful and heavier cuts. His debut album backs up every bit of the hype as we're pinged and popped between his finely polished vibes. Highlights include the IA-style gritty funker "Talk The Talk", the all-out gully jams "Sound System Dub" and "Viridian", the soulful space-hopper "Reflection" and the Goodlooking homage "Camera Obscura". With all spaces between consummately coloured, Hugh's delivered a remarkable debut album right here. Essential for all flavours of junglist.
Review: Not just one of drum & bass's most iconic female vocalists, but also one of the most respected... Riya's work behind the scenes goes back around 15 years. As a result she's got serious reference points, a genuine understanding of proper drum & bass and a really impressive debut album that features some of the best names in D&B. Ranging from the sci-fi soars and twinkling synths of "Misunderstanding" to the out-and-out gutter slaps of "Piece Of Me" via the soul jazz jungle lushness of "Don't You Know" and the already massive lighter-raiser "As Soon As". Released at a time when a lot of female features are popping up in D&B for all the wrong reasons, Riya is the real deal... And so is this album.