Review: Conrad Subs has been teasing his next album over the last few weeks and finally it's here, courtesy of Nuusic, and boy what an LP it has turned out to be. Conrad Subs is very confident when it comes to constructing break beats and so it should come as no suprise that they make up a large part of Tides, to excellent effect. 'On a 90s Tip' is an especially potent track, with that classic rave piano sound driving an inch-perfect set of drums and a rolling reece bass. 'Obese' is yet more spectacular stepping sonics, whilst 'Little Vibey Thing' blends R&B vocal infuences with juddering drums and punchy, unforgetablly catchy bass stabs. It's a raw, gritty album and not one to be missed.
Review: Bristol's baddest drum & bass crew are back on the road and back releasing fiercely naughty music that's just packed to the rafters with urban-edged attitude. DJ Gaw has been honing his craft for some time and the work put in is evident in Hand Sign, five-tracker that starts off with a bang and doesn't let up for one second. 'Signal' is superb, as Gaw samples the great David Rodigan, creating a wicked ambience which is then cut through by sharp-edged breaks and bouncing, wobbly stabs. The jungle destruction continues on 'Hand Sign', Joe Burn lays down the bars on 'Hyper' and Disrupta finishes the job with a feature on the superly gruff 'Rasta'.
Review: Deep in the Jungle have emerged as arguably the biggest standout new jungle label in recent times and, off the back of their growing family of artists, they've decided to try and represent both where the label and the genre are in 2020. With artists from DJ Hybrid, to Conrad Subs and beyond, it's a statement of intent from the imprint. The music reflects that intention as well, with jungle sounds throughout but punctuated with that modern, sharper edge that we've come to expect from our newly revitalised scene. DJ Hybrid's 'On A Riddim' is the best example, as a punchy bass note streams out of a bedrock of clattering breaks, whilst we're seriously digging the rolling reece's of 'The Rhythm' by Conrad Subs. All of these are proper percys.
Review: A disruptor on the drum and bass scenes for a few years now Hexa makes his way to Pick N Mix, a label with a storied discography that's getting bigger by the month! Having released with other labels like Audio Addict and most recently with a contribution to Dilate Recordings, Hexa's swung minimal style surfaces in mini LP form. Drawing from woozy Wu-Tang-esque samples in between liquid rhythms, heavier bass and steppy percussions sections, you'' find that in tracks like "Vicious Cycle", "The Manchu", "The Box" and "Train" - all tips! "On Guard" introduces a heavy rave element with UKG vocal stabs alongside the bassline driven "Absence of Light". Top pick.
Review: Fresh D&B in the house courtesy of newcomer Jak! Having only previously appeared before on Welsh label Incurzion through a collaboration with Concept One, Jak's solo debut for Audio Addict brings with it two extra collabs with Nautika and bossman DJ Hybrid. Receiving some personalised cover art in the process, Jak opens with the skippy, almost fidget-touched, half-time rave number "Back Around". Deep atmospheres enter the void when the first drop hits in "Dubplate Pulse" (and "Spawner") with the humming edge of Jak's basslines turning into something of a roar in the ambient pastures of "The Lion". Bouncier dub and reggae vibes in "Bun It Up" too matched by "Obstruction" only to be stripped back for some extra jungle percussion to make its way to the front of the mix.
Review: Given the sad loss of Andrew Weatherall earlier in the year, this posthumous release undoubtedly has added emotional weight. It was written and produced by the much-missed DJ/producer and regular studio partner Nina Walsh last year, and here emerges as the debut release on Pamela Records, an offshoot of Diesel, Dave Jarvis and company's long-running, edit-focused Moton imprint. It's a hugely impressive swansong, with Weatherall and Walsh drifting between ultra-emotive, strings-and-synths-laden electronic disco bliss ("The Moton 5"), slap-bass-propelled, glassy-eyed goodness (the hard to describe "Slap & Slide"), analogue-rich, late '80s style Balearic chug ("March Violets"), and fiendishly sparse, dubbed-out brilliance ("The Moton 5.2"). Rest in peace Lord Sabre.
Review: Everything is getting very rough and tumble over on Redrum, as Mentah steps up for four-tracker that moves between varying shades of insanity and intoxication. Title tune 'Perish' is the standout pick of the bunch and absolutely deserves that title spot, as distorted sweeps parry away filtered breaks that tumble off tthe edge of a cliff and into the blackness, the rotting vessel for a fearsome bassline that sweeps in like a wave and recedes like one too. 'I Want To See More' is a straight jump-up influenced roller, 'The Magic' steps and steps through bouncing basslines, and 'The Garden of Eden', packs a wicked funky edge to its darkness. Sick.
Review: Vandal's Modern Soul series of LPs has for a long time been a breeding ground for a wide variety of drum & bass, including formative tracks from Shield, Monty and others. This time around it's number five and the quality continues, kicking things off with a gorgeously light liquid number from Phase and Lameduza that brings old school vibes right to the forefront. Tech wizard Rizzle is known for his liquid depth too as 'Levitate' has a sumptuously mystical back end that falls and falls, whilst fellow minimal heads Invadhertz equally try their hand at wispy pads and far-off vocal samples. Monty makes an appearance, as does Amoss, SKS and Arcatype. A tour de-force.
Review: Zero T has returned to Lenzman's The North Quarter imprint for his second full release on the label following Baby Grand several years ago, and he's doing so with a serious sense of purpose. Made up of five tracks that he wrote in order to capture the breadth of sounds he loves in the genre, Former Self starts off on a liquid tip with another gorgeous Steo collaboration, followed by a melancholic yet hopeful remix of Lonely Night by Mango x Mathman. Things then take a turn into tougher territory, as the Irish producer lays out an almost-jump up slew of force on 'I Want More', before rounding things out in true Bristol style with 'Clash' featuring Myth. Exceptional.
Review: Batten down the hatches! Veak returns to Deep In The Jungle with this humungous quintet. Jungle vibes primed from the off, "Natural High" kicks things off on a warm bubbly vibe before the EP gets heavier and heavier; "Lonely Monday Morning" is a turbo slab of warped bassed and scorching breaks, "Let's Do It" is the shredder of the collection with its turbine bass roars and pranged out dubby textures while "Oklm" ups the drum ante once again with some real neck-breaking breaks. Finaly "Oldskool Raver" finishes off the EP with foundation class. Watch out for those classic synth sounds... They'll make everyone over the age of 35 wet their trousers in seconds. White glove crew, this ones for you!
Review: Dogger and Mindstate's follow-up EP to their sensational 2019 release Broken Home, drops this week, and the pair have blown things to pieces once more. In doing so, they've kept up their winning formula of jazz-infuenced, musical drum & bass paired with Liam Bailey, who is joined this time around by [ K S R ] and DRS. The title track is yet another two-step power ballad from the trio and, in the vein of Broken Home, there's a sumptuously smooth introduction that sways into the drop with the swishness of a silk gown falling to the floor. Anile features on the gorgeous Don't Hurt Me, and DRS rounds out the second two tunes with his usual aplomb.
Review: Long time murker and Born On Road veteran Selecta J-Man teams up with some of the best MCs in the game for his "My Style" EP. Redders joins the fray first with the purring, slinky "My Style" that's wrought in tension and dark, sleek dynamics. Rider Shafique follows, bringing his own unique narrative and tones over a scratchy, gnarly riddim that's part jump-up, part blender, all nasty. Completing the triple threat comes David Boomah who brings a sense of triumph to "Stronger" before J-Man shuts us down with two crucial instrumentals; the dark rave energy of "Kill Sound" and the steppy grizzles of "Badboy". Ruff!
Review: Nuusic are a fantastic little label that have really burst out the stocks over the last couple of years, releasing a plethora of music with the common thread of rudeness and an inability to stand still. Kumo is jumping on this heritage with vigour this week, and Born Soldier rolls out across four tracks with a jumpy attitude that we're incredibly sad won't be heard on a danceflloor anytime soon.'Skeng Riddim' is an absolute percy, as a two-step drum pattern takes you in to a funky, flowing hip-hop arrangement with serious bite. 'Born Soldier' is packed out in the lows, straining against itself the whole way, whilst 'Virus' is another naught little roller. This one pops.
Review: Pick any of the most exciting new-gen names in D&B and we bet our bottom dollar they're repping in this collection. A debut V/A from Hedex's By The Producer brand, Collected 1 is bulging with the seams with fresh talent: Hexa, Disrupta, Dreadnought, Stokka, Klay, Bruk, the list goes on. With cameos from more established Gs like Total Recall and Jam Thieves - and a deep, rumbling, futuristic contemporary mood and sound running throughout - this captures 2020 in drum & bass perfect. Agitated, dark, moody, but hungry for a better future... And not afraid to have a little fun. One of the best V/As we've seen in a long time. Get collecting.
Review: DLR's Sofa Sound label has become a pillar of the scene in barely a handful of years, and this week they're following up their previously successful Sofa King Sick compilation with a second edition, this one equally packed to the rafters with both new and old school talent. It's a tour-de-force of the tough side of the genre and it's exemplified by 'Baja', courtesy of Scepticz, a Belgian producer who knows his way around the controls and who proves it once more, as jagged synth lines cut across its snapping, two-step arrangement with all the force and subtlety of an underground train. Kodin makes an appearance on the superbly gruff 'Chronic', whilst The Sauce get deeper than usual on 'Ultrasonic'. Quintessential drum & bass that makes for essential listening.
Review: As ever, it looks like the legendary Shy FX is out to cause a ruckus in the raves as he unveils this brand new remix project, inviting some of the most talked about names in D&B to get involved with official remixes for for last year's 'Raggamuffin' project. From start to finish we are greeted with a pretty monumental roster, as we see the likes of The Sauce, SPY, Kings Of The Rollers, Breakage and more get involved. It's a mark of Shy FX's untouchable status within the scene to see just how well put together this project is, from the gnarly, rolling subs we find within Bou's remix of 'Warning' alongside Gappy Ranks, to the special acoustic version of Maverick Sabre's 'Call Me' collaboration. The whole selection just oozes class, with our highlight having to be Skeptical's on point remix of Balaclava, which see's him rework MC Spyda, D Double E and Frisco's catchy vocal runs into a dark & dangerous piece of dancefloor dynamite. Amazing work!
Review: 2020 isn't all bad... Annix finally deliver their long-awaited debut album and every shade of grot and wonder you'd expect from one of the most influential D&B duos of the last decade. Masters at space, weirdo funk, unique sound design and the dark art of switch-flipping, it's no surprise this album is loaded with more twists and turns than an underground tube map. Highlights include the broken glass funk of "Stutter" (with K Motionz) the trippy turbine driller jam "Clapper" (with Skantia) and the curveball blast-ups like the techno-style marching title track "Tunnel Vision" and the beautiful euphoria of "Behind Time".
Review: As always with the Innamind team, we are in for somewhat of a treat here as Las unveils a weighty six track experiment, kicking off with the siren-like synth leads and scattered percussive grooves of 'Flo'. From here, the pleasing, spacey chord progressions and pulsating sub structures of 'Trippin' arrive in a flash before the aquatic bass tones and glittering chiming flutters of 'Float' bring us something completely different. Following this, 'Swamp Dub' stays very true to its name with some squelchy bass work before the dubwise drum designs of 'Tarot' and slow marching bass notation of 'Morning Glow Dub' put the final touches on a pretty exceptional package.
Review: As Cole Odin emerges as a producer we've got to know from the San Francisco area who once appeared on Golf Channel compilation in 2015, he now brings some extra attention to the eclectics label with this new EP. Using looping, motorik momentum and endlessly inventive guitar motifs to create a sonic landscape that's satisfyingly familiar yet littered with signposts to new and exotic destinations, one can't help but hear flashes of The XX through to Stereolab's "Simple Headphone Mind". Take in Bristol remixer DJ Jack Priest for something spiralling and Italo alongside Adam Warped's folkier remix, and you have that perfect blend of the organi and traditional with the surreal. Happy days.
Review: Alix Perez's 1985 sets the bar again... Edition 3 is another instalment of their spotless V/A series which covers the label's broad range of shades. This one is a game of two halves as the first five tracks flex around the 140 region with crucial slabs from Halogenix's Lordel alias and dubstep men of the moment Ternion Sound. Meanwhile the second half flips to D&B with a whole clutch of impressive designs; Visages' "Memories" is a mournful stepper, Bredren get bad-ass with the thumpy, bumpy "Only One", Machinedrum brings some outstanding soul on "Braided Leaves" and Perez delivers three of his finest. Bring on Edition 4.
Review: Formed in 2012, Bristol duo The Allergies have spent the past eight years crafting a signature style that's like the missing link between Stereo MCs and The Dap Kings. This, their third studio long-player, doesn't throw up any huge surprises - yet again they float effortlessly from party-style hip-hop and funk breaks to effective 'new old' funk and northern soul pastiche - but is notable for its range of guest vocalists, who include Dynamite MC, The Cuban Brothers (on Latin excursion 'Let Them Know') and veteran Ugly Duckling rapper Andy Cooper, not to mention Bristol's own most notorious busker, Mr Woodnote. The Ike & Tina vibes of 'Every Trick In The Book' and the fast-n-furious 'I'm On It' (feat Dr Syntax) are among the highlights.
Review: Largely the port of call for the drum and bass of Fracture & Neptune, Astrophonica's discography has seen curios like Machinedrum, Sully and Om Unit, otherwise known here as Philip D Kick, make an appearance over the years. As We Continue presents Om Unit's second release as 'D Kick' on Astrophonica, which may leave you wondering, do electric sheep dream of dubstep? If there ever was an answer it would most likely be "Drip", while for some uptempo, future bassline house look to "Clouds". With space age soul meeting the frenetic UK rhythms of jungle and bit-graded rave in "The Riveria" this EP moves from woozy ghetto house and footwork in "Summer Modes" to some Drexciyian electro motifs in "160909313", not to mention the post-post future dubstep of "Funk 160". You may pass, totally dope.
Review: Smoking, swearing, smartphone addiction, petty pilfering, being alive and taking up valuable oxygen... Whatever your chosen bad habit is, Nkid has the perfect soundtrack. Teaming up with fellow Young Gun / Biological family member Puppetz, the pots and pans riddim is the perfect soundtrack to all things naughty but nice. Elsewhere Nkid goes solo with three fast-lane master bangers: "Helicopter" is a bashy little bruiser, "Vibe" is a full tank tear-up with a clipped staccato riff while "Bad" closes with the biggest swagger of the EP. Watch out for the riffle kick drums before the drop. Bad to the bone!
Review: In September 2020, Crosstown Rebels main man Damian Lazarus will release his first solo album in almost a decade. To get us in the mood, he's decided to offer up this teaser single. In its original form, "Mountain" is a drowsy, bass-heavy breakbeat affair in which his own atmospheric spoken word vocals combine with gently pulsing, sunrise-ready chords and short vocal snippets from a much-loved Joanna Law classic ("The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", a Balearic-era classic whose acapella is much-loved by chill-out DJs). Tornado Wallace delivers a superb remix in which sparkling synth sounds and decidedly Balearic flourishes ride a dark analogue bassline and bongo-boosted breakbeats, while Tbi Dabo re-imagines "Mountain" as a bumpin', peak-time ready tech-house treat.
Review: Jedi is one of the most consistent jump-up producers around and has been pumping out the venom across a load of labels, including Dubstomp2Bass and more, for several years now. He's back with this five-tracker on Raw Motion and it's Jedi at his best, stretching his legs out in dastardly style across pounding beats and just letting loose with every fibre of his creative being. We especially love the sampling on 'Is It True', which acts as a perfect backdrop to the ensuing steppy madness, with groaning stabs peppering the arrangement and forming a formidable club-ready weapon. The knives stay out on 'Say It', whilst title tune 'Break You' combines stabbing force with wobblier sounds to great effect. Naughty.
Review: To mark the passing of a decade since the launch of Locussolus - his first original production outfit since the 1990s - DJ Harvey has decided to offer up an expanded edition of the project's 2011 debut album. You get the set itself - a typically eccentric fusion of druggy electronic grooves, stoner rock sounds, weirdo electronics, tongue-in-cheek vocals, squelchy synths and heavy dub influences - plus tons of remixes, alternative takes, instrumentals and unheard revisions. There are too many highlights to mention, but we're big fans of Lindstrom and Prins Thomas's madcap disco rework of "I Want It", the late Andrew Weatherall's sleazy and heavy remix of "Gunship", Com Truise's spaced-out, synth-heavy version of "Throwdown", and the Emperor Machine's superb, 21-minute take on "Little Boots".
Review: New waves of ambi-motional techno and progressive trance once again make its way to Erased Tapes. Ryan Lee West's Rival Consoles project, a staple throughout the Erased Tapes discography, returns with the stargazing streaks of euphoria that is Articulation. With pinging synth lines and percussive rhythms helping to sequence the euphoria of '90s rave and trance motifs in "Forwardism" and "Sudden Awareness Of Now", harder kick drums and broken grooves are introduced to "Vibrations On A String" and "Articulation" itself. Find some classic uplifting synth-ambient in "Still Here" with an ear bath waiting to happen in "Melodica".
Review: Over on Bulletproof, things are getting heated as Stillz lands on the label for a rambunctious four-tracker with more attitude than a bull in heat. The title tune takes the cake for us as the standout, with a moody yet simple arrangement carved from an iceberg synth dripping in both tech and jump-up aesthetics. 'Looking for an Idea' takes things down a more foghorn route, with warped out sonics that bend into devastating low frequency oscillations. What an EP.
Review: V Recordings sublabel Chronic has developed a reputation for putting out beats that are even more venomous than its big sister, and their long-standing rollers series is getting a beef up with the fourth instalment. Featuring a litany of acts from a range of eras and a diversity of styles, Chronic Rollers Vol. 4 is a perfect addition to the arsenal of any DJ. 'Blindspot' from Nectax blends a soulful sample with an oscillating warp of juddering bass energy; Mancunian upstart SL8R gets subby and rolling with 'Roundabout'; and Brazilian label long-timers Alibi roll things out tidily on 'Sentinel'. Banging.
Review: DJ Krust is a bonafide legend of the scene and has been for nearly three decades, and although the last of those decades hasn't seen the highest number of releases, he's on his way back this single is part of it. Comprised of two superbly well put together pieces of music, Krust has well and truly smashed it. The A-side and title track is a nine-minute epic of left field drum and bass that feels a bit like an odyssey of sound and progression, an industrial ballad, an omage to the foundational elements of the music. The flip is also long, reaching almost eight-minutes, and is recognisable in its arrangement but no less tough, with distortion all the over shop and a genuine scariness to its vibe. Masterclass.