Review: After a great first release from NonniMal, Icelandic label Lahar is back with a new drop from Den Nard Husher, who was also recently spotted on US label Strobelight Network. The project is a collaboration between Octal Industries and Vector, and finds the pair conjuring up a limber strain of techno with industrial tones and textures but a more springy execution that makes it sound undeniably fresh. "Vector" is especially strong in this regard, while "Februar" juggles a smart array of wriggling rhythmic elements to create a highly technical club track with sound design and FX to get synapses firing all over the joint.
Review: Sacred Spaces is John Ov3rblast aka Ioannis Vlastaris' follow up to his 2017 long player, Sounds Of The Universe. Issued on his own Spaceal Orbeats imprint, it sees him deliver a master class in left of centre electronic music. It ranges in style from the Sandwell District-esque hypnotic steeliness of "Aldebaran" into dubbed out pieces like "The Outsider" and "Compuphonic" as well as the atmospheric space techno of "Guiding Missions" and the dramatic "Autonomous Orbit", the latter being somewhat reminiscent of Vapourspace. Clearly, Vlastaris is at home making a wide variety of underground electronic music - the common bond is his ability to focus on the deeper end of the spectrum.
Review: The Dirty Dubster crew return with a bumper seventh volume of their ragga party jams, and true to form, they mash up ragga with other contemporary styles with considerable style. F-Block's "Jah Bone" combines all manner of echo-laden dub guitar with filthy dubstep bass, while Wood N Soo's "Smoke 2 Joints" is a contemporary update on The Toyes' classic, filling it with rolling snares and powerful low end. Subtifuge's "Love 4 U" is a slightly more skanking effort, with rolling D&B rhythms completely at odds with its laid back mood, while DJ Tzinas' "Wicked" combines a horn sectiona and tropical acoustic guitar with some serious dub airhorn - big stuff all round!
Review: Every now and then, in between artist EPs, Tru Funk knock out a mini compilation of bootlegs where the original artists get spliced together like Frankenstein's monsters of funk. Highlights of this five tracker include Tom Showtime's fusing of Khia's famously filthy My Neck, My Back with some of Snoops' Gangsta Luv on "Gangsta Lick", Phibe's totally eccentric party smasher "Dig My Bounce" (which mixes Missy Elliot with No Diggity) and Spox's electro funk monster "Roses" which beefs up Haywood's '80s classic of the same name.
Review: Hot on the heels of Tru Thoughts' recent Tasty Beats compilation, the firmly party orientated label has rustled up a tenth instalment of their Party Breaks series. Now it's time to shake it up at every house party you can find this summer! Highlights include Bang N Mash's funky old skool Eric B mash-up "I Got Soul", Chudy's "So What?" which intertwines the Tom Tom Club and Destiny's Child to sizzling effect and finally DJ Clairvo who fuses big beat, ragga and vintage organ stabs on "Here Me Now All Massive". Boom!
Review: Though known mostly for jazz- and swing-infused grooves, French producer Minimatic takes a detour into hip-hop pastures here, albeit there are also noticeable bossa/lounge influences in play. 'That Golden Bossa Hop' brings to mind the output of Bristol crew The Allergies, 'Drop It Like It's Hot' reworks the Snoop Dogg classic of the same name in a Latin jazz stylee, 'Cognac Wanksta' is a laidback, blunted affair, 'De La Bossa' recalls vintage Galliano from the early 90s, and bonus cut 'Ladi Dadi Doo' has a rawer, demo-like feel. If you love both golden age hip-hop and jazz, you'll dig this EP for sure.
Review: The Stormtroopers Of Love were born kicking and screaming into this world when Johnny Pulse (boss of Ireland's Bulabeats Records) decided he needed a live band in his life. Described as being 'a live fusion of hip-hop, funk, dancehall and ska', Ape Panic delivers all this and more (especially here on our very own Juno Deluxe version). Highlights include the badass bottom end attack of "Rebel Bass", the nasty breaks jam ""In The Heat", the piano-led shuffle of "Pull The Cord" and the jump up DnB fun of Leygo's remix of "Blast & Blast". Proper good times music!
Review: Despite living in the quaint Southern Irish countryside, Johnny Pluse releases a consistent stream of internationally flavoured urban breakbeat. He's released both solo albums and albums with his band, the Stormtroopers Of Love over the past few years and little did we know that the latter's recent The Skanky Town EP was actually a taster for yet another LP! Well here it is, Dos Tonas, and its boasting 16 party jams to enjoy. Beyond the EPs earlier tracks highlights include the Fatboy-goes-to-Kingston vibes of "Talking About The!" and the speedy DnB skank of "All The Best Now".
Review: Feel your pulse: check. Feel the love: check. Johnny and the lover troopers ride the archives and combine the ultimate 'best of' compendium having announced that this summer's album Dos Tonas will be their final long player together. Smashing the last three years and grabbing their wiliest, wittiest and funkiest jams Storm Troopin For Life is the sound of an Irish collective getting deep into the groove and creating their own unique party-smashing sound. Fused with punk-like spirit and sense of mischief, there's no filler whatsoever... Just drop the sunny-side skanks of "Dos Tonas" and watch the damage for yourselves. Essential for all modern day funk aficionados.
Review: Breakbeat is most definitely back on the up this year, and it is primarily down to the sheer consistency of artists such as Morlack who tireless push forward with new projects on such a regular basis. This latest album episode goes by the name of 'Bluff' and encapsulates everything we love about Morlack's sound, from the stunning instrumental sampling and punchy drum work of 'Colibri Shine' to the dipping grooves of 'Sex Me'. For us, the highlights here have to include both the excellent vocal slicing of '2Be In Family', and of course the horn-heavy riffs of the title track 'Bluff'. Excellent stuff from the breakbeat mastermind!
Review: Billed as 2013's biggest collection of reggae-fuelled party tracks, this madcap collaboration between New York's own reggae star Tuffist and newcomers Soul Rebel, DJ Tzinas and Bluntskull whips up new creations from some of reggae's finest tracks. From Toots and the Maytals to The Ethiopians, Soul Rebel, DJ Tzinas and Hammond Classics work together to bring a new flava, while Tuffist's jungle vibes and Bluntskull's breakbeat hype provide fresh new sounds to get the party skanking. Don't underestimate the power of reggae to get floors filled across the country, this series confronts non-dancers and shuns bad feelings. Embrace the party jams!
Review: A very special release from Jay Cunning's Sub Slayers here; '80s reggae legends Aswad appear to have found their inner raver and formed a super group with Renegade Soundwave. The end result is a unique fusion of classic harmonic reggae and powerful contemporary bass. Remixes abound, covering every possible taste. Highlights include the amen intricacies of King Yoof's version, the rub-a-dub D&B skankage of Aries & Gold's remix, DJ Madd's stunning deep dubstep wobbles and Mr Benn's cheeky horn homage to The Revolutionaries' "Kunta Kinte". Feel the love.
Review: Bula boss and his ever-dependable, consistently romantic Storm Troopers get their swing on with the ska-packed "Blast & Bounce". Igniting with a slow-burning bassline and a classic late 90s big beat riff, the riddim track is perfect for any MC chatter or acapella creativity you might want to apply. For something more instantly gratifying dive deep into Leygo's remix: With a hook that's straight out of the Two Tone play book and drums straight off the back of a three day non-stop carnival, it really will blast and bounce you to smithereens.
Review: Johnny Pluse and The Stormtroopers Of Love get straight down to business with this tasty four-tracker for the incorrigible, and pretty much unstoppable, Bulabeats label. This is proper breakbeat fire all-round, starting with the greezy, mutant bass of "In The Heat", followed by the piano-laden pseudo house of "Pull The Cord". "The Beat Is Rockin" offers a little but of old-school hip-hop charm, blended seamlessly with a few rave tones, leaving "In The Heat Riddim" to work that same swamp bass further into oblivion.
Review: Whatever you think of the artistic merits of bootleg mash-ups, they remain an integral part of DJ culture. What's more, these cheeky mash-ups often do more damage on dancefloors than the original material. This EP from the Booty Fruit camp - the third installment in the popular Proper Produce series - features four more bespoke bootleg jams destined to cause maximum dancefloor pleasure. There's a studied tastefulness to the lazy hip-hop reggae of DJ Maars' "Come Dancing", while the boom bap hip-hop funk of Prince Pimms and General Tack's "Bad Influence" is so expertly crafted it sounds like an original production. There's a tasty, sophisticated skank to Livingston and Canosis' "Hold It Down", while the fat beats of Cris Crucial's "Like Dis" casually steer clear of silliness.
Review: An offshoot of UK label Riddim Fruit, Booty Fruit is an imprint dedicated to mash-ups, bootlegs and edits that drops Homemade Bullets as its first release this week. Mr. Mention melts the Stereo MCs' "Connected" with the accapella from "Classic", a prestigious posse cut from a couple of years ago featuring Nas, Kanye, Rakim and KRS-1, while Dedy Dread cooks up a fun mix of chirpy reggae and Wyclef Jean. Funk Ferret chooses to add some big beats to UB40's perennial classic "Red Red Wine", and to round things off, One Funky Soul gives Jeru Tha Damaja a Northern Soul twist on "So Called Bro's".
Review: A nu-funk remix of The Mommas & The Poppas' "California Dreaming". Just writing those words seems preposterous. But trust us, Tim McVicar's take on the 60s hippy classic really works! Squidgy bass and chop-slapping beats a-go-go, by the end of the summer it will be illegal not to play this in BBQ and beach sets. Law will also be upheld on anyone not exploiting the utterly funky charms of the other three cuts. DJ Tiznas & Mr BiGK's take on Kenny Dope and Screechy Dan's "Boomin In Ya Jeep" is like Fatboy Slim circa 98, Dedy Dread & Mr Bird take Missy Elliot into Hammond organ heaven while Mr Fresh's "SOUL" is a trip head nod so heavy it falls over into massive sticky pile of jazz.
Review: Four of Actual Sounds' most accomplished bootlegateers unleash their best blends for this exclusive four-tracker. Party insanity is guaranteed from the off: "Ice In Outer Space" fuses The Prodigy with Ice T, "Muppet Funk" takes the Animal's classic solo piece "Mahna Mahna" and charges it with a cool funk break, "The Real Ritz" grabs Eminem and flips him back to 1920s prohibition US while "Regulate The Dogg" closes the show with a very smooth marriage of "Drop It Like It's Hot" and Nate Dogg and Warren G's "Regulate". Seriously fruity funk: Each one is a peach.
Review: Canadian vibe masters ReSoul recruit some die-heard funk soldiers for their third "Fully Loaded" EP and each track is a wise move. The unavoidable Basement Freaks gets devilish with a dubstep bass and funky breakbeat with a deft slice of Cypress Hill. Funkanomics digs deep for a lavish string-hook that never stops shimmering. Slynk & SkiiTour rediscover the BeeGees with added electro boogie bravado. Wood 'n' Soo pull your trousers down for a savage bass spanking while Defunk's "Banjo Blues" finalises with a very clever nod to Blackstreet. ReSoul we salute you!