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: 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: 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: Conrad Subs is a regular on this website because he releases such a wide range of music, so consistently and on such a diverse array of labels. This time he's back on Original Key, a German imprint, with a five-tracker that spans the spectrum from rolling techiness to reggae-infused, hip-hop jungle. It's title track 'Babylonians' that really caught our attention and Conrad Subs has previous in long, loping dub introductions that then flip into jungle pressure ('Leave Dem' - look it up). This time around there is less reece bass but even more percussive heat, as a flurry of stuttering breaks intertwine with your own expectations to form a shuddering bed of deeply urban sounds. Lovely.
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: 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!
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: 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.
Too Greezey - "Fled The Scene" (feat Thunda Banton) - (4:26) 58 BPM
Too Greezey - "The Chant" - (4:28) 58 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: 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: 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: 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: 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".
Review: Manchester's Subwoofah is a regional powerhouse for, in their own words, the marriage of school jungle and modern D&B. That's the objective being borne in mind here with Epicentre's remix EP, a release which combines the percussive vibrancy of jungle with the powerful basslines of the current age. The 'Motiv' remix of 'Ear Worm' is a great example and we love the rough edge to its drums almost as much as we dig the attitude-packed bassline. Full of anger, but the good sort. Lovely.
Review: Technique Recordings, founded by Drumsound & Bassline Smith back in 1999, is turning 20 this year and they're releasing a huge remix compilation to celebrate. Featuring remixes from artists old and new of Technique's best tracks, mostly originals from the founders themselves, this album stretches across 27 heavy, dancefloor numbers. The first outing, a remix of 'Come With Me' by Bladerunner, is classic KoTR vibes and we love the array of twisting, snarling basses that fans of this producer will recognise. Shouts also to Digital for his swirling remix of 'I Need Somebody', featuring some classic amens, and also Smooth for his popping remix of Tantrum Desire's 'Vybez'. Top stuff from a stalwart of the scene.
Review: Toulouse soul man Julien Salvi returns to The North Quarter with another prize-fighting package of deep, authentic drum & bass. Opening with a smoky intro track that's more jazz than dancefloor, he slowly take us deeper and deeper down his D&B rabbit hole. Cuts like "Fine Again" and "Next To You" breeze with that sad poignant spacious feeling he's made his own in recent years while "Evergreen Dub" (with FD) reminds us of his darker rolling side and "The Rhythm" is a direct homage to the man like Marcus. Stunning through and through.
Review: Lion Dub have reached a decade of activity. A decade! To put it in perspective, if someone was born the year Liondub started, they're about to enter high school/secondary school. It's a crazy achievement and one matched by the craziness of the music they have on offer to celebrate, a four-part journey through their past, present and future. This instalment is all about their past and it's exemplified best by Serum's VIP of Sound The Alarm, a Liondub classic, which Serum has flipped into a characteristically badboy, stabbing little roller. The vocals float above in a haze of reggae smoke, whilst the beat pulsates below. Awesome stuff.
Review: Nuusic put out some damn good music. In fact, we're still reeling from their Sound of Nuusic compilation and that was months ago and so this EP from Disrupta is a welcome addition to the ever-burgeoning world of D&B. Five tracks long, Karma is a moody, raw release that would undoubtedly sound fat through a soundsystem. This is especially true for track one, 'Origin', a diving, sub-heavy piece of work that gargles on the stabs and bounces on the hits. 'Fire' featuring Zoro has a cool, steppy beat pattern and even bigger bassline to match. Top stuff.
Review: KLP Records are turning 25, a crazy achievement that puts them right up there with Metalheadz et al, and so they're celebrating with a big compilation of tunes. Nicky Blackmarket, Klips & Outlaw kick things off on remix duties for DJ Monk's Touch Me, Tease Me. It's a classic combination of artists and the end result is equally timeless, with a sense of vocal softness descending into hard percussive knocks and grating jump-up synth work. It sets the tone for the rest of the album, which features contributions from Dublic, DJ QT, DJ Vapour and a load more. Unbelievable.
Review: Oh gosh! Current Value hits us hard with his 11th studio album 'Puer'. Released on Serum's Souped Up, it's a no-holds-barred exploration of the jumpier side to his far-reaching range. Big basslines, wily funk, zero-effs-given rave music, it's the German producer at his most playful. Highlights such as the sizzling harmonics of "Contemplate", the deep drones and savage kicks of "Chariot", the rising grainy riff and KO fills of "Pitting" and the reunion with man-of-the-moment Bou on "Running Your Mouth" are just some of the tracks that will melt your skin right down to your bones. And if that's not enough, he's about to drop album 12 on Methlab too. No one's doing it like Current Value.
Review: Ruffneck Ting have been too kind to us this week, as instead of amore standard single or four-track release, they've dropped an eight-track album of sorts, a collaborative effort by Erbman and Flat T which rolls out in absolute style. The percussive construction is a highlight of this release and 'Hit It' demonstrates this best, with a flurry of beats flying all over the shop and underpinned by a wobbling, movement-filled expression of low frequency oscillation. 'Late Night Blues' is our other favourite, with some gorgeous reggae sampling injecting a bit of funk and another excellent bassline providing the final heat. Wicked stuff.
Review: DLR is taking a break from his recently exclusive dwelling at Sofa Sound to come up with this, the One More Record EP on C.I.A, a three-track jungle EP which sees the Bristolian step over onto the breaksy side of things for the first time in quite a while. Label bosses Total Science step in on the first track, 'Spluurge, which packs rave-piano influences and a tightly bound knot of central percussion that drives the whole thing forward. Title track 'One More Record' is another highlight, with a slightly stripped back approach that seeks to impress, not overwhelm, a tactic that works wonders here. Top release.
Review: It's always exciting to see a new Exit release drop into this store, especially when they are as beautiful as this latest collection from Lewis James, under the EP name 'The Death Of Habit'. From start to finish, this one is a glittering display of soundscaping genius, combining the gentle harmonic bliss of 'The Sorrow In Ronan' with the outstanding vocal displays of Alia Fresco on 'Worth The Pain' and gnarly tech flavours of 'Acidize' alongside DBridge to kick us off in style. Next, 'Triangle' provides more experimental drum work and epic spacey pads, before Lorn's exceptional input on 'No Team' ties us up nicely.
Just One (feat Lady Soul & Diligent Fingers) - (5:07) 58 BPM
Review: Young Manchester groove weavers Channell & Zar lay down a seriously soulful sermon on Liquid Lab in the form of "Rare Groove Volume One". Four tracks in total, each one is laced with restraint yet high in vibe. "Breathe" opens with a big dreamy salvo, "Let You Know" is more subdued and heads-down while "Black Eye" is so packed with jazzy flourishes it wouldn't go amiss on Liquid V back in the day. Finally "Just One" rounds off the set with a mood that you could imagine Lenzman getting behind. Featuring feat Lady Soul & Diligent Fingers, there's a far-reaching sense of thoughtfulness and emphatic soul running throughout. Rare.
Review: Under the DJ Laurel alias, Lavr Berzhanin has proved to be one of Katakana Edits' most reliable re-editors of recent times. We've lost count of the number of EPs he's delivered for the prolific imprint, but they're all rather good - as is his latest expansive effort. There's much to get the blood pumping across the six-track salvo, with our favourites including the rubbery, bouncy and glassy-eyed disco bliss of "All I've Got", the soaring, horn-heavy soundscape disco-soul shuffle of "Battend Ships" [sic], the blue-eyed soul goes drum and bass bounce of "Cookie" and the wah-wah guitar sporting two-step soul goodness of closing cut "Annie Mae". In other words, it's another rock solid collection of tried and tested reworks.
Review: Within The Woods always try their best to replicate the no-holds-barred, anarchic nature of
music that's properly dancefloor and they do so via the aggressive tones of modern D&B. This is a best-of compilation of tracks that have come out through the label and it puts that ethos on good display, featuring some seriously weighty acts like DJ Direkt and Radical. The former's several contributions are especially potent, a gargling display of production intensity and a lesson to all budding artists out there in how to create a knockout jump-up track, with biting bass stabs teaching you all you need to know. Radical's Sound Killah is equally as naughty and rests on a potent set of drum hits, giving it an extra oomph that you can certainly hear. The others are just as good - check them.
Review: It's always good to see the Ancient Astronauts team land a new release in the store and this latest offering from Lone is just what the doctor ordered. It provides an in-depth exploration into bass music as a whole, kicking off with the euphoric chord expansions and glittering arpeggiators that constantly evolve within the realms of 'Glyphic'. Next, the title track 'Not Seeing Is A Flower' arrives with a more hard-edged dancefloor readiness, doused in techno basses and colourful atmospheric sweeps, before we finish up on the more hip-hop inspired rhythms and crunchy harmonic delvings of 'Boketto'.
Review: It's always a pleasure to see new 81 land in the store as Loefah's ever-evolving imprint continues to surge forwards, showcasing the latest bassy sounds on the market. He here brings in Sumgii who provides five sumptuous scorchers, kicking off with the subtle synth drives of 'Absurd' and spacey percussive lines of 'Chunks'. The synthesizers arrive in force on the next one as 'Skanker' showcases some post-purple soundscaping, followed by the grizzly dubstep subs of 'Dark Side Burns' before we round up on 'Wollop', which packs a serious spooky punch.
Review: Germany's Daniel Klein is a scene veteran whose career dates back to the early 90s, and who's DJ'd everywhere from Manumission to Tresor. Latterly, in his SIRS guise, he's been exploring retro disco and funk territory, which is where we find him on this, the project's debut long-player. The album as a whole can safely be filed under the 'nu disco' umbrella but there's enough variety on offer to ensure things never get dull, from soul- and boogie-infused nuggets like 'Night Wind' and 'All Night Long', to a Stee Downes-vocalled electro-disco cover of Tony Di Bart's 90s club fave 'The Real Thing'.
Review: Mosaic is a fairly new artist who has been brought through the watchful eye of Ben Soundscape over at Intrigue Records, with regular features on their Intrigue releases over the past year or so. This EP shows off his darkest work to date and it's arguably his best, with four cuts of vibrant, rolling D&B that hits both heavy and melancholic notes. The title tune is a straight banger, with a torn, broken bassline that emits a guttural sense of movement and floods the arrangement with character. 'Trueform' is a sub-heavy roller, 'Radius' brings things back to the proper darkness and 'Deep Ellum' rounds of the release with a gorgeous bit of depth, featuring hip-hop flips, jazz leads and vocal shimmers. Unreal.
Review: Remix klaxon! Dope Ammo's 2018 album Influence continues to spawn sweet fruit as the second part of the remix album drops. Once again it's packed with promising talent: Levela shows his most soulful side with the skank-kissed "Badman Inna My Ends", Blackley brings the dancefloor riff on "How We Get Down" to life in a whole new epic way, Brain Brainstorm beefs up "Flying" while Exile brings the whole package to an emotional ending with a super-groan bassline twist on "Wishin' On A Star". Influential.
Review: Oh gosh! Bladerunner touches down with an epic six-track collection on his own Hi Resolution. Running his gully gamut from emotional to electrical to energetical, everything you could possibly need from a Bladerunner EP is right here... The subtle euphoria and piano-touched emotion of "All My Love", the total skin melting sizzles and bassline burns of "Intensity" and the techno-like insistency and dynamism of "Breathe" are just three of many highlights here.
Review: Particle is part of the next generation of D&B producers who have been so successful in breathing a bit of new, invigorating air into a scene typically dominated by a handful of older producers. Critical Music are one of the best labels at pushing these new guns and Particle's second full length ep on the label is evidence of that. His already trademark style is in full force on this release, with track one 'Bang' the best exemplification: breaksy, dark, pummelling and with a serious sense of menace exuding from Magugu's vocal line. This is a headsy EP and not one to miss.