Review: Fokuz are one of the most reliable labels in the business, having churned out a concoction of light and dark sounds for over a decade now, representing and pushing the Dutch scene on as they go. This release is a transnational and trans-continental, with Askel from Finland, Monika based in New Zealand and Critical Event also hailing from somewhere in Europe (we're not sure where). Purple Skies is a rolling, melodic release that sits inside Fokuz's sample-laden sound with elegant effortlessness. Bazil MC features on the wicked 'Remedy' and his vocals remind us of Bluejay or SP:MC in their tone and flow. The title track is the standout though, a sumptuously deep stepper that dives fast and stays low throughout. Lovely.
Review: Fokuz is one of the most consistent labels in the scene and Critical Event and Scott Allen have graced their release catalogue on several occasions in the past, each time bringing more flowing, luscious beats with them. Broken Minds is more of that and if you like your like liquid, you'll be into this. The title tune is underpinned by a nice weightiness in the percussion but that doesn't prevent it from coming across as deft and subtle, slight piano touches adorn the upper end of the range and each element feels precise and considered. 'Stay' rolls out with a wicked sample and 'Fonkay' is just...funky! Wicked stuff from the Fokuz crew.
Review: Peaking off an exceptional year, Atmomatix bossman Critical Event follows a seriesa of releases on the likes of Influenza, DNBB and Celsius with this beautiful three-way on Soul Deep. "5th Move" hits with moody linger chords and occasional dreamy piano flourishes keeping momentum in all the right places, "Nostalgia" brings us right back to the essence of soulful drum & bass with lavish space around every element, soaring pads and a late-entering subtly gully bassline. "Silhouette" closes with a stunning jazzy high. Soft focus and laced with poignancy, it's one of Critical Event's most moving pieces of music to date. Sweet dreams.
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.
Critical Event & Askel - "So In Love With You" - (4:27) 174 BPM
ALB - "Using Minds" - (5:29) 174 BPM
Calculon & Dave Owen - "Ben Carlos" (feat Christina Tamayo - Zero T remix) - (5:11) 58 BPM
Smote - "Just Come Back" - (5:20) 174 BPM
Joakuim - "8am Roller" - (4:30) 172 BPM
Drumcatcher - "Feelings" - (4:35) 172 BPM
Brainwork & Mnml - "Embrace" - (5:18) 172 BPM
Review: Fokuz Recordings consistently release some of the best compilation albums around. Their pool of artists is so diverse and so top quality that an assortment of their work is always going to be special, especially when they bring in outside talent like Break and Zero T. Collaborations 2 is what is says on the tin: remixes and other collaborative projects and blimey, it's good stuff. Joakuim's '8am Roller' is the perfect example, a deft piece of piano-based smoothness that rolls out to your heart's content with sultry results, an instant classic of liquid-sized proportions. The Break remix is a welcome addition, as is the steppy yet soulful Zero T remix of Ben Carlos. Another very, very good selection of cuts from the always sublime Fokuz crew.
Review: HumaNature is another one of the many young, rising talents within the D&B scene at the moment and he's a producer with an undeniable capacity for diversity. First coming to the fore with smooth liquid tones, he's recently been proving that he goes darker and this EP is no exception. Teaming up with long-time producer buddies and long-time label Fokuz, HumaNature & Friends is some of his best work yet and it covers both sides of the spectrum. 'Roll' featuring Radicall is the highlight of the EP, with gorgeously vibrant percussion that injects a tangible sense of presence and a bassline that swells in tandem, a track that smacks of proper D&B. 'Xylophone' featuring Critical Event & Askel is equally weighty, with a driving back end that matches its stellar production line up. This is a top-notch release.