Review: Dubstomp 2 Bass are the Birmingham based imprint of madmen who, day-in-day-out, push forth some of the vilest beats known to both the Midlands and the UK more broadly. Falco is their latest alumni and, judging from this EP, he's graduating with a first in D&B studies. 'Notification' is the standout tune from the album, a deep and dark roller that sits comfortably within current D&B trends and which hits harder than a train that's just gone off the rails, its knockout snare drum and monochromatic bassline effortlessly moving about the arrangement. 'Overthinking' gets light and 'Colliision' is the naughty kid of the groups and knows it, whilst 'Declared Hostile' is another vicious rolling little number. Cop this one.
Review: The second EP of remixes from Man Jumping's reissue on Emotional Rescue features luminaries Bullion, Reckonwrong, Gengahr and William Doyle with their reversions of songs from the Jumpcut album.
Nathan Jenkins aka Bullion follows his recent rerub of Thomas Leer (ERC072) to provide two remixes. His remake of In The Jungle keeps the originals (leftfield) dance floor roots, but sprinkles the ubiquitous warm glow and off kilter fun(k) that he evokes; while his retake of Walk On, Bye drifts back, highlighting intricate percussion; congas, bass and vocal atmospherics along some breezy swing.
Reckonwrong is next; turning the bossa vibes of Sqeezi into his own new wave meets Italo reversion; topped with his unique 'under the cupboard stairs' vocals. Funky, driving, this overlooked star adds to his cannon for Whities, Pinkman and DEEK.
After a string of impressive releases for Trangressive / Beggars, Gengahr make a surprise addition, lifting Down The Locale from deceptive beginnings to anthemic heights, adding echo-laden guitar and vocals to the original's underbelly, before a bass break and return lifts to the heavens.
Finally, William Doyle provides perfect closure. Moving away from his East India Youth moniker (XL Recordings), his output has drifted towards ambient introspection, however, here points to addtional layers; rebuilding Belle Dux On The Beach with added bass, guitar, drums and finally vocals that culminate in a prefect 'to the skies' outrospection.
Review: Last spotted on Euphonique's Subwoofah with the series statement of intent "We Here", Speaker Louis and Grimesy tag up once again for this equally heavy collection on Deep In The Jungle. Four tracks deep, each one a stinker, highlight include the bonafide bludclart jungle ruffage of "Can't Touch", the bounding subs of "Burning" and the full-strength sirens and tidal wave bass surges on the title track. Bad boys for life...
Review: Humdruma Recordingz always try their best to replicate the no-holds-barred, anarchic nature of life on the 19th century, American frontier 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 Coda and Ikon B. The former's contribution is 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, its biting bass stabs teaching you all you need to know. Ikon B's tune - 'Really' - is equally as naughty but it rests on a much more potent set of drum hits, giving it an extra oomph that you can certainly hear. The others are just as good - check em.
Review: Following releases from Marquis Hawkes, Francis Harris and Hamatsuki, Georgia's Horoom label showcases some local talent. Gacha Bakradze is a rising talent on an international level, having recently appeared on Fever AM, but here he channels a sound that should find favour with fans of fellow Georgian talent HVL. Dubby atmospheres and snaking percussive rollers abound, with a hint of UK hardcore and jungle influence lurking in the middle distance but deployed with care. Subtlety is key here, as Bakradze unfurls immersive cuts with a restrained power to take the dancefloor to some truly transcendental places.
Review: Latte might not be everyone's cup of tea but we guarantee that one blast on these latest hellraisers and he'll most definitely be your cup of coffee. Hot, frothy and enough energy to keep you awake all day, this young newcomer is full of all the right flavour... The aromatic whiffy angst of "Fuming", the nutty grit of "Manners" and the full-bodied badness blend of "Arbzilla" are just three examples. Dark, rich, heavy; just like a good Latte should be. Don't ghost this one.
Review: The bright-light, groovy aesthetic of BLK PRL is back at the start of this year, so get out your Red Stripes and don ya wavey garms because Channel 2 isn't messing around with this one. Four ragga-infused numbers are here for you, uplifting samples abound and suddenly it's not January - it's June, July and August and the sun is shining. This doesn't stop 'Wait' from coming out the blocks in a moody way, though, and neither does it stop 'Boneman Connection' from attempting to knock your hat off. Channel 2 always manage to pull out the stops in a way that makes you nervously smile - this one is no different.
Review: Ever turn up to a slightly strange but inviting house party to find a DJ playing a list of your favourite tracks - although you have no idea where they're from? It's label like Minimatic that keep the party going for another decade. Where electro-swing goes for sped up ballroom and big band jazz, Minimatic's approach to genre reformation takes the likes of UK pop (Oasis and "Owner of A Lonely Heart"), US hip hop ,(Eminem, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga) to slices of R&B via Ed Sheeran and dresses them up latin rhythms of baile and urban funk, adding touches of turntablism, jazzy horns and keys to lowriding grooves.
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: It's time to jump into yet another top quality compilation project, curated by the combined sounds of both Jonnypluse and JPSTOL, two sounds that are really carving out a niche for themselves in a crowded breakbeat marketplace. This full tracklisting offers up seven original smashers from Jonny, along with a Cut & Paste version of 'Funky Time', with JPSTOL supplying two original creations for good measure. There are a few clear standouts with MC Coppa's vocal assistance on 'Never Get Old' being one of them, along with the high energy, shuffling breaks and bubbling bass tones of 'Drop This In The Middle'.
Review: The Untilmyheartstops affiliated Welsh producer Leif returns, with more sublime genre-defying excursions in modern electronic music here for his new Tio-Series. The third release in the series explores off-kilter, shimmering, rhythmic and melodic abstractions. From the dreamy and hypnotic ambient house of "Montpelier" and its sublime polyrhythmic complexity, through to the more powerful and upbeat expression of "Rumex", a jagged tribal trance workout that you could imagine him playing in his own DJ sets - this one is truly emotive and with a real impact. Each TIO Series release features artwork from Gethin Moller.
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: The unstoppable Katakana Edits series rolls on, with Vol 85 coming from label regular(s) Padcore. First to get the Katakana treatment is the Beasties classic 'Intergalactic', while 'Sweetback' revisits Viola Wills' 1969 ghetto funker of the same name (which predates Melvin Van Peebles' Blaxploitation flick by two years, fact fans). 'All The People' cuts up an unidentified, lounge-y soul take on Blues Magoos' 1967 garage/psych nugget 'The People Had No Faces', while Esther Phillips' 1971 cover of Gil Scott-Heron's 'Home Is Where The Hatred Is' provides the basis for the EP's standout cut, heartbreakingly melancholic closer 'Home'.
Review: Virtuous is a relatively new record label who have jumped into the scene all guns blazing, having released a string of singles over the past few months. Now, they're launching their first ever VA LP and it's top quality, with sounds that span a wide variety of styles, from rolling liquid to dirty naughtiness. 'Damage' by Code Lost is definitely in the latter category and it's definitely one of the best on the release, with a cavernous bassline of spinning twirls and a pulsating epicentre that pushes out the rest of the track in a slick fashion. One to cop, this.
Review: Since making his bow on Katakana Edits last April, Amsterdam-based Brit Gary Shepherd AKA Streamer has become a reliable source of cheeky re-edits and reworks. Unsurprisingly, the producer's latest outing - his first of any kind since July 2018 - contains four more high quality revisions. He begins by joining the dots between stab-happy funk, hip-hop heroes House of Pain and acid funk on "Pain Around", before turning a Cajun style hoedown into a skittish, rap-sporting drum and bass roller ("The Fastest Gumbo"). Arguably even better is his punchy, horn-heavy bossa-boogie take on Beats International classic "Just Be Good To Me", while "Feel Good (Funksploitation Version)" is a dub-wise workout rich in James Brown samples and fuzzy horns.