Review: Coming in hot off the back of some great releases is both Sota and label Pick N Mix, who have collaborated on the producer's 8Bit EP, a six-tracker that spans a variety of sounds, all of which are driving and filled with purpose. Title track '8Bit' is a jagged roller with a great flowing feel to the percussion and an arrangement chock a block with funk and soul, despite its constituent elements being far from soulful. That's the sign of a good heavy D&B track and both producer and artist have nailed it.
Review: Liondub are celebrating a decade of existence and they're doing a three-part compilation series covering the past, present and future of the label. By definition, then, these series' feature plenty of talent from all across the spectrum and time period of the genre. One of our favourite of the 26 cuts is Bou's VIP of Keep Away, a deliciously double-bass infused number that is both funky and heavy, the ideal combination, and he's flipped up the arrangement here with some precisely placed note changes. There are also features from Vital, Euphonique, Dutta, Marcus Visionary and more, with the overall vibe being one of toughness and power. Top stuff.
Review: It's been 15 years since Shogun Audio burst into life on the South Coast and under the watchful eye of Ed Keeley AKA Friction, as well as K-Tee, it's grown and grown into one of the best labels in the business, without a doubt. From the classics like Perez's seminal 1984, to more recent, futuristic numbers from the likes of Koherent and Document One, the label is truly diverse and that's represented extremely well in this 15 Years Of compilation. Featuring a litany of acts both old and new, including Technimatic, Pola & Bryson and Friction, this one is for the proper fans. Document One's 'Vibration' is a favourite of ours, with a stupidly cool, distorted bassline that packs a tasty hardware edge, undergirded by a click-and-snap drum line. Pure quality right here.
Review: The biggest moves in Newcastle and the north east of the UK since Gazza cried in some football match (and the world cried with him) are happening right now. A storming wealth of D&B talent is all blazing through right now and Stompz is right up there at the front. This debut on Serum and Benny V's Souped Up is a great example of his dexterity and utter gulliness. Five tracks of twisted, bassy weirdness and dark toxic funk, highlights include the insane melted bass weirdness of "Derringer" and the farty trippiness and sudden BCUK-style fills of "Borehole" but to be honest the entire EP is killer. Do the world a favour and slap anyone who says foghorns are dead, then play them this. Big up Stompz.
Review: When operating under the V's Edits alias, re-edit maestro Valique can always be relied upon to bring the goods. It's little surprise, then, to find out that his latest collection of fresh cut-jobs - an epic affair featuring no less than 24 tracks - is packed to the rafters with high-grade fare. We don't have enough space to list all of the highlights, but we'd suggest checking out his rolling revision of Lee Dorsey's "Night People", the low-slung disco-funk heaviness of the Brass Construction rework ("Gotta Do It"), the intergalactic disco deepness of the Marvin Gaye revision ("Funky Space"), the lightly tooled-up, slowly unfurling take on Tom Browne's "Funkin For Jamaica" and the sweeping, string-laden disco brilliance of "Miracle (V's Edit)".
Review: It's a Newcastle thing! Kastro and Scudd land on Serial Killaz with this massive five track collabo-fest. Each cut hits with the gruff rolling goodness both individuals (and their north eastern mates like Skantia, Stompz and Nectax) are known for. Highlights include the warm dubby horns and Die-style wobbles on the bass of "Ease Out", the dark abrasive horns of the title track "LDN Ting" and the dramatic staccato hook of "Who We Are". With both men shooting out original solo tracks on the EP too, this is a major step up for all concerned. There's something big bubbling in the north east right now. Pay attention.
Review: Liondub International's 10 year celebrations continue with a sense-shocking body slam into the future of the label and its ever-growing family of talented artists. Hitting hard like the label's ever-on-point Street Series, the rollcall reads like a who's who in gully talent: Dutta, Bou, Jayline, Vital, BlckHry and loads more. Whether you want to be completely twisted and spat back out by a brass section (Pharoah's "Fire In The Hole") you'd prefer to be hoovered by a jet engine then shot up into the stars (Jayline's "1408") or you're more into the idea of being rattled around in a big tin bassline can (Danny The WildChild's "Body Moves") this future shock has every physical experience contemporary (but heavily rooted) drum & bass can offer. And there's even more to come. Big up Liondub!
Too Greezey - "Fled The Scene" (feat Thunda Banton) - (4:26) 58 BPM
Agro - "Shot To Bits" - (4:16) 180 BPM
Too Greezey - "Time Traveller" - (4:28) 175 BPM
Agro - "Dumpers" - (4:38) 179 BPM
Too Greezey - "The Chant" - (4:28) 58 BPM
Agro - "Simple" - (3:39) 175 BPM
Review: Representing the vibes and history of reggae culture except with a uniquely British urban twist, Agro & Too Greezey drop a five-track testament to his ability as producer here. We've featured his music in the past and every time we do it's a devilish concoction of force and finesse, an amalgamation of ability and acumen. 'Fled The Scene' is as big as it gets, both in terms of its steppy percussion and driving bassline; 'Shot To Bits' reminds of Kings of the Rollers with a bassline that roars out the stops; title tune 'Time Traveller' combines reggae atmospherics with a rolling finesse. Sick EP.
Review: The one and only Digital celebrates his label's 50th release with this incredible V/A collection featuring some of the most important names and artists in the movement. Calibre, Klute, Kiljoy, Need For Mirrors, Drumsound & Bassline Smith and many more all feature on the album, ensure the Function signature broadsword, open-armed sound remains as developed and varied as it's known for being. Highlights include Calibre & Jet Li's drum-heavy drama stepper "Least Loved", the unabashed bashment of Digital's own "Dub Conscious", Seba & Jr Vallo's epic growler "Wasabi", DJ Trace's wild breakbeat ruckus "Spirits" and Klute's insane "Sick Of It All". These are just examples of a completely killer collection with no filler whatsoever... All contrasts, shades, styles and energies, Digital doesn't not mess around!
Review: Brothers in bass and real life, Phibes follow up releases on Bomb Strikes, Jungle Cakes and their own self-titled label with this massive LP follow up to their debut album Change Of Late last year. 12 tracks in total, the collection delves deep into every corner of their sound, providing certified scuds for any hour of the dance you're asked to play. From the crafty balance of euphoric light and dank dark bass on "Let Me Go" to the out-and-out stinkage of the savage dancefloor-focused "I Don't Give A F**k", this is the sound of two artists who are fully off the leash and writing what the heck they like. Other massive highlights include the rudeboy riddim "Dub Service", the toxic bass and mid 2000s Playaz vibes of "Amadeus" and the gritty groans of "Bombz". Fire in the hole!
Review: Guzi is landing on Sub-Liminal Recordings once again this week with a sophisticated and incredibly fun release, one which, if you hear out live, is certain to get you moving. There's a carelessness and a freedom to these tracks and it creates a tangible sense of kinetic movement. The title track kicks things off in style and it's 'Area 51' that really takes the cake, a winding, subby track that flips between roughshod amen junglist work and a more rolling, stripped back tip, including powerful, punchy basses all the way. It's a wicked track and definitely the highlight of the release. 'I Can't' feat. Zoner is another absolute banger but one that's deep and wispy in all the right ways, as stuttering drum lines perforate over monochromatic bassline injections. Sick!
Review: Hexa is landing on the always consistent Pick N Mix with a full-length LP for your ears. 10 tracks long, Point of Contact blends more rolling and melodic sounds with the groaning, jump-up influenced bits that we know well from both him and the label. 'Magento' features the always good Sydney and it packs fantastic drum work, with snapping snares interlocked with shakers and big kicks to propel the vocals and bass onwards. 'The Korubo Tribe' is more massive and made for the dancefloor and it's in this area that the LP excels, especially alongside tunes like 'Cosmos' and 'Point of Contact'. Wicked.
Review: Almost three years have passed since Philadelphia duo Superprince debuted on Razor 'N' Tape with a vinyl-only EP of rather good re-edits. Here that four-tracker finally makes it to digital download. It's worth picking up, if only for the flute-laden, horn-heavy bounciness of down-low disco-funk rework "Strong Feeling" (a fine revision of Morning, Noon & Night's "Feelin' Strong"). The highlights down end there, either, with "Down On Bitter End" providing a chunky, peak-time-ready revision of a Vicki Sue Robinson disco anthem, "Start Again" offering a breezy new spin on a lesser celebrated One Way cut and "Up Up To The Sky" turning Silver Convention's "Fly Robin Fly" into a hypnotic chunk of mid-tempo disco hedonism.
Review: From Cologne with badness, man-of-the-moment Submarine comes correct on label-of-the-moment 1985 with his best release to date. Four tracks deep, each one reflecting just how exciting drum & bass is right now. "Fate" takes the lead with its crunchy groove and gruff 40-a-day bass grunts, "No Sleep" is a barbed drifter with an air so solemn it'll have you wearing black for the rest of your living days and "Return Of Enel" gets all snake-like in the bass department while the drum sounds flicker and morph on every 32. Finally "Pastell" closes with its purring subs and glacial pads. Coming on strong like a homage to the sound and attitude of Perez's label, it leaves you hungry for more...
Review: Second albums are meant to be difficult but you tell that to Survival and Script and they'll laugh in your prudy little face: Scar's follow up to The Orkyd Project is another remarkable body of work. The first of a three album deal the London duo have with Metalheadz (the first ever deal the label have ever offered any artist) High Fives & Devil Eyes is a powerful jolt of timeless D&B that dig deep into every corner of the genre. From the alluring intro of "Circle Of Trust" to the deep, introspection of the finale "Eternal" via the wonky-assed "Pauline", the scuzzy gritty bass of "First Sound" and trippy funk of the album title track, the only difficult thing about this second album is working out which tune you want to play in your sets first. High fives all round!
Murder Most Foul - "Can You Stand The Rain" - (4:43) 164 BPM
Hmr - "Curfew" - (6:42) 162 BPM
DJ Hybrid - "Boom In 93" - (4:14) 168 BPM
Daffy - "Bottle Shape" - (5:08) 174 BPM
Xian Juan - "Deep In Tha Jungle" - (4:34) 175 BPM
Review: Deep In The Jungle Records is a UK jungle imprint that have been making bigger and bigger waves over the past several years, a big part of which is their affinity for fat compilations that straddle numerous sub-genre boundaries and which represent lots of different artists. This next one is about classics and it features artists like Conrad Subs, Kumarachi, DJ Hybrid, Kartoon and more. Conrad Subs is a favourite of ours and his cut, Takeover, is a wicked, deep rolling piece of work that packs a sick bassline, one which makes you think of late-night raving at its finest. This is a top compilation from a star label of the new wave.
Review: Guidance remain in full control this year as yet another powerful EP from Ulterior Motive's label lands. This time it's from Was A Be, no longer signed to Shogun and now just a solo act, it's another bold statement. "Passive Aggressive" takes the lead with, ironically, no passivity whatsoever. Subverting a ravey riff over a real growler of a bassline, it's another certy stinker from Italian stallion. It's back by three more gully blunderbusses: "Mirrored" (with Visages) strips things back and drags us down the bassline sewer with one of the grumpiest basslines you'll hear all season, "Shell" follows suit with more low-end toxicity and a sweet roll to the drums while "Double Tap" takes the Was A Be to some pretty cosmic, warped places. Last but not least we have the dramatic "Blue Roots" where more of a techno influence can be felt in the pulsating bassline. Immense.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a brand new album from sometime Classic Music Co contributor Eli Escobar, a producer who has proved to be one of the most distinctive and consistent in house music over the last few years. "Last Summer" contains a mixture of short interludes and inspired, almost uniformly dancefloor-friendly workouts that bring together a range of complimentary influences. Our picks include the atmospheric and acid-fired deep house warmth of "Flashing Lights", the muscular peak-time Moroder-isms of "(All Night) Rhythm", the melodious, sun-kissed Balearic house brilliance of "Blu" and the woozy warmth of "Last Night".
Review: Coming in hot on DLR's Sofa Sound, the duo of the moment that is Ill Truth, fresh off the back of their Flexout EP, are landing with a proper stomper. Combining the Sofa Sound mantra of hard hitting, funky beats with their own tendency for low-frequency oscillation, Jay & Haden have smashed this one out the part. The title track features DLR & Gusto and is excellent, but it's on track three 'The Syndicate' that the release hits its peak, as riotous percussion murders its way through bars of pure energy to hit its optimum conclusion. No doubt this one will be getting played a lot across the airwaves.
Review: Someone call the fire brigade please, Bryan Gee's V camp is literally on fire right now. If it's not the massive tracks coming from the now 26 year old V flagship imprint, it's this stunning collection of remixes from the collective's soulful arm of operations Liquid V. Digging deep into the vaults, there's some immaculate refixes on display... L-Side's midas touch continues to sparkle with his rumbling switch-up of "Try To Understand", Need For Mirrors' own wobbly-bottomed relick of "Son Of Sorrow" does absolute damage and the VIP of Cater & Paul SG's "Jazz Cigarette" will blast your wig off with its crisp horns and cosmic vibraphone flurries. And that's just the tip of liquid iceberg. Get in shape yo!
Review: 2019 has been another exceptional year for drum & bass albums and Dossa & Locuzzed's three-years-in-the-making debut is a great example of this. One of Viper's most diverse and full spectrum spanning acts right now, their style and skills are showcased in glorious technicolour over 14 tracks. From the silky synths and soulful vocals of the opener "Blinded" to the immense warmth and funk of the closing finale "Sandbox", the album leaves no sonic stone unturned as the Austrian duo really dig deep into their sound and influences. Highlights include the already massive bassline thumper "Get Nasty", the big disco walloper "Tha Bird" (with the one and only DK Marky) and the wriggling futuristic groove workout "Brainfunk"... And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Don't sleep on this, it's the sound of Dossa & Locuzzed maturing from bangersmiths to full album artists, and they're doing it in style!
Review: Dub Damage Recordings don't tend to put out music that's weak, thin or otherwise not suitable for the dancefloor. This EP courtesy of Jeopardize & Exile is a testament to that, both cuts do some serious damage and the release overall is certainly on the sharper end of the spectrum. 'Cypher' is the best of the bunch and it's got a rough, Sofa Sound edge that injects a satisfying level of oomph into the arrangement. Exile's remix of 'Cuntroll' is a close second and its incredibly unique concoction of swirling basses and gargling pulsars adds a wicked futuristic element. Top EP from the Dub Damage crew.
Review: LSB and DRS: combos don't come any stronger than this! We already know this from incredible tracks like "The View" and "New Day" but The Blue Hour is a whole other level of their soulful prowess. Jazzy, smoky, thoughtful and blues to its very core, there's a musicality and spirit to this album that transcends any genre thanks to both Del's disarming lyrics and barbed charm and Luke's natural soulmanship and sense of groove. From the smoke-stacked horn-based dream "Umbrellas" to stunning cosmic risers like "Keep The Time" and "Could Be" and to every other planet that orbits in between, this is one of the best albums in the D&B sphere this year. We will look back on this as a timeless classic. Essential.
Review: After first impressing on Hot Digits with 2018's "Gettin' Loose EP", Steve Cooper once more dons the Down Under Disco alias with a rock solid sequel. He begins in confident fashion via "Turn Away", a warm and groovy cut that sits somewhere between deep house and loopy disco-house, before offering up the bold and bass-heavy "Sonny Jim", where woozy organ chords and glistening disco guitar licks rise above a pleasingly saucer-eyed groove. "Get Down" is an energetic, trippy and low-slung chunk of peak-time disco-house headiness, "Everybody Lose Control" cleverly combines stargazing synth lines with UK funky style bass and bouncy house beats, and PickleJam's "Party Line" remix of "Turn Away" is a sparkling fusion of bouncy electro beats and slick nu-disco musicality.
Review: It seems to strange, in 2019, to think that Robert Hood was once best known for dark, pounding techno, such has been the success of his more house- and gospel-inspired Floorplan project in recent years. This third long-player finds the father-and-daughter duo in fine fettle, serving up 10 cuts that marry house and disco's sense of groove and musicality to the dancefloor energy that Hood learned during his Underground Resistance years, with wailing church organs helping to provide the album's standout moments on tracks like 'Dance Floor' and 'His Eye Is On The Sparrow'. An uptempo, genre-defying triumph.
Review: Misanthrop is best known for giving a one fingered salute with his brash, wily, almost punky techy drum & bass. Until now... Analog, his second solo album, shows a completely different, much deeper and thoughtful side to the German producer. Coming on strong like a Bodzin or Huntemann record, this is a proper opus that celebrates drum & bass music's deepest and most cosmic aspects. The staccato drama of "Deus", the techno pace and energy of "Heute Nacht", the intense delivery, arrangement and narrative of "Plastik" and "Space Station". The list goes on. We're not messing around here; this is one of the best drum & bass albums of the year, hands down.
Dub Sense - "Hood Flow" (feat MC Mel) - (5:23) 175 BPM
Krom & System - "Crackpot" - (4:28) 175 BPM
Review: Logikz Audio are building up a name for themselves as a label who never fail to bring out the big guns with their music. It's always heavy, hard-hitting and built on soundscapes and vibes which are deeply urban. The first track on this VP is no different and it kicks off with 'How We Do', a punchy roller with a bassline that stretches out over the horizon, the only constant being its grinding, coarse nature and the manner in which it constantly mutates and evolves. 'Twisted' is equally as rough but less rolling and more stepping, its structure and nature constantly changes, and it keeps the tune sounding consistently fresh. The rest of the EP is absolute vibes too.
Review: We were rather astonished to discover that "24/7 Love Affair" is Michael Baumann's first album as Soulphiction for 11 years. We were a little less surprised to find that it's superb. In fact, we'd go as far as to say that it could be considered a "best practice" example of the kind of loose, sample-heavy, soul-fired deep house that is all the rage right now. Yet the album's epic length - it comprises no less than 17 tracks - also allows Baumann to mix it up a little too, with a swathe of ocean-deep club jams being joined by search diversions as the morning-fresh broken beat loveliness of "Jus Listen", the stomping disco-funk of "The Mood", the bustling breakbeats of "A Freak" and the blazed instrumental hip-hop of "Good Night Ema".
Review: Now many have guessed that this one has been in the works for a while, but that makes us no less excited to unveil this tasty new album projct from J:Kenzo, who returns to his home imprint of Artikal Music for 'Taygeta Code'. From start to finish, the album is a true exploration into electronic music, primarily of course focussed around 140BPM. It's got bass pressure on 'Desired State', it's got acidic originality on 'Hoodwinked', it's even got a weighty guest vocal from the legendary Flowdan who returns on Kenzo's Darkside VIP mix of 'Like A Hawk'. This is an excellent showcasing of J:Kenzo's ability within a crowded dubstep scene.
Review: This excellent collection from Z Records draws together some of boss man Joey Negro's favourite label cuts of 2019, many of which he of course had a hand in either producing or remixing. There are naturally tons of superb multi-track remixes of disco gems old and new (see the versions of the O'Jays, Delia Renee, Tamiko Jones and Double Exposure), as well as fresh revisions of vintage Joey Negro house productions under other aliases (Doug Willis, Z Factor, Foreal People) and a swathe of killer cuts that join the dots between disco and house (Sunkids and Chance, Four80 East and CeCe Peniston, Bobby D'Ambrosia and Michelle Weeks). Throw in tracks and remixes from the likes of Fouk, Crackazat and Lay-Far and you have a superb collection of peak-time-ready workouts.
Dalek One - "What Are You Saying" - (3:46) 140 BPM
Review: As ever with the Duploc team, they have assembled an EP of pure quality as they invite a cohort of their finest into the fray for the second chapter of 'Duploc Selects'. From the off highlights include the regal horn tones and catchy melodies of 'Cumulus' from Cartridge, before the gnarly bass tones and crispy drum slaps of 'What Are You Saying' land, courtesy of Dalek One. Drumterror also combines sharp drums and chiming patterns in 'Mineral' before Feonix fuses experimental drum arrangements and super-deep sub pressure on 'Lost & Direct', with the glitchy plucks and wavy leads of Ghostek's 'Seek War' putting the icing on the cake. A very strong selection indeed.
Critical Event, Askel & Monika - "U & Me" (Scott Allen remix) - (5:55) 176 BPM
Matt View, Marvel Cinema & Dan Guidance - "Innuendo" - (5:13) 175 BPM
Review: Fokuz release some of the best compilations around, partly because they have a large contingent of affiliated artists to draw upon but mostly just because the curation team over there is top-notch. This time, it's the fourth instalment in their excellent Collaborations series, a series in which Fokuz artists team up with one another on collaborative efforts (duh). Simplification and Electrosoul System are back together on Multi Funk, with a great, old-school and funky drum line and bouncy, soulful bass nodes which warp and wobble through a really cool arrangement. Askel & Becca Jane Grey feature on the delectable VIP of Goodbye, whilst Fokux regulars Scott Allen, Monika & Askel roll things out alongside Critical Event on U & Me. Top stuff.
Review: We have been very much enjoying the run that Four40 have been on of late, constantly putting together top notch releases from some of the most exciting faces in the UK bass and garage scenes. This latest offering from Tuff Culture is a perfect example of that as he unveils 'Elements V: Boron', a wicked compilation, kicking off with the old school delights of the title track 'Boron'. Next, we engage with some wicked 2-step chord combos in 'Cosmos' before the more futuristic spacey layout of 'Explanations' arrives on the scene. We finish up with another two crackers, the nostalgic drum work and smooth vocal work of 'Laws Of Attraction' landing first before we round off with subtle organ melodies and punchy percussive layouts of 'Senses'.
Review: Biological Beats have a bit of a reputation for spewing out some of the most venomous beats in the business and their talent for pushing some of the best artists on the jump-up spectrum is undeniable. Filthy Habits & Jeopardize are holding up that standard and they're doing it in style, something clear right from the start of this EP. 'Jiggy Jiggy reels you in with a lovely intro, its beginnings quickly regressing to a siren-like collection of stabs which exude pure energy in a way that's reminiscent of Kings of the Rollers and insanity more generally. The rest of the release is equally aggressive, 'The Venom' being another highlight with its gargled expressions of bouncing force. Sick release.
Review: There's much to admire about Kamaal Williams' contribution to the long running DJ Kicks series, not least the producer, DJ and keyboardist's blend of self-made exclusives (both under his name and his alternative Henry Wu alias) and largely overlooked gems. Highlights in the former category include a stunning live version of "Snitches Brew", the jazzy Latin house of "Projections" (a Henry Wu hook-up with Earl Jeffers) and "Lowrider", a jazz guitar-propelled cut from his collaborative Yusuf Kamaal project. In the latter category, we'd suggest wrapping your ears around Awanto 3's dusty and ultra-deep "Pregnant", the deep jazz-funk bliss of Diggs Duke's "Cause I Love You", the up-tempo dancefloor soul of Peven Everett's "Stuck" and the slow motion wonder that is Steve Spacek's "Hey There".