Review: The heat has yet to settle on his Chronic EP and rising talent Acuna returns with another big hitter on DJ Hybrid's Audio Addict. This time linking with Manchester mic master Madrush MC, the pair weave two sterling cuts, both laced with venomous tension. 'Babylon System' is every bit as foreboding as and grizzly as the title suggests while 'City Lockdown' takes a deeper, more tense vibe as the pair flex between some buzzy midrange bass hits and a skippy beat. Loaded with two instrumentals for added mixing creativity, Audio Addict smash it once again.
Review: Finally, an EP dedicated to your mum: 'Pear Shaped' is the latest in a recent slew of sickness from D&B's most treasured robber Nick The Lot. Delivered on his own imprint Pick The Lot, each of these four cuts hit with disgusting levels of energy and intensity. Highlights include the raffish growls on 'Pear Shaped', the stressed out AI voice and glitch-maxed twists on 'Dodgy Line', the rubber ball bassline and high levels of extreme slimy grot on 'A Living Nightmare' and the gutter-munching bassline and whimsical pipes on 'Witcraft'. Proper dark magic, go tell your ma.
Review: L-Side's debut album came out some time ago now, and this is the long awaited remix EP, featuring some of the best artists in the game giving L-Side's tunes the once over. Break steps up and nails it as per usual, taking those perfect vocals and stretching them over a punishing bassline; thank god we're back in clubs soon, because this is going to kill it. Dogger & Mindstate work their lounging piano magic to great effect, and Spirit takes the essence of drum and bass and rolls it out with a monstrously stabbing bassline. Alibi close things on a head-nodding, subby note that will have you moving for sure. Sick.
Review: Remix alert! Voltage's massive 2020 album enjoys a few cheeky re-rubs from his nearest and dearest. First up comes fellow roller king Serum with a restrained twist on 'Natty Love' before man of the moment Waeys flips 'Life Of A DJ' into a moustache-twisting mash-up. Deeper again into this remix opus we hit Voltage's partner in crime Harriet Jaxxon who absolutely destroys 'Save Me From Myself' before ol' bumchin steps in himself for the final reboot with a VIP of 'Endless Dreaming'. A very well balanced EP.
Review: Dominator, the jump up legend taken from us far too soon, is being given the remix treatment of by a whole load of legends, including Upgrade, DJ Limited, T>I and Telekom & Flat T. The result is varied, moody release that touches beautifully upon all the elements of urban-edged dance music, including naughty rollers, stuttering jungle-influenced tracks and everything in between. T>I's remix of 'Hooked' very much falls into the latter category, with a rigid but solid break that underpins the wispy sense of ambience provided by the constant pads looming over the arrangement. The others are equally sick, especially Upgrade's storming remix of 'Business Man'. RIP Dominator - what a tribute this is.
Review: CircoLoco Records is a new record label forged in partnership with the iconic video game creators Rockstar Games. This is the first edition in the new compilation series called Monday Dreamin' where they will showcase contributions from established names from every era of their legendary Ibiza parties. On the Blue EP, we have got new material from the likes of Kerri Chandler, Sama Abdulhadi, Seth Troxler and Rampa, as well as a Dixon remix of Deichkind's "Autonom".
Review: Dubstomp 2 Bass has become one of the premier destinations for UK jump-up, playing host to a whole bunch of exciting names in the scene over the few years. Now a proper flag-holder for the resurgent jump-up movement, the label is Lundy, one of the big up and comers right now who is landing with a fully fledged album, something you unfortunately don't see that much anymore. The first track - '9' - is playful yet devastating, with an upbeat and funky arrangement that lands hard - very hard. 'Give Hard' is less subtle, with pitched up synths that pummel the top end of the range and a snapping drum line that nails the bottom end. There is such a wide range of tunes here that it would be difficult for us to aptly describe them all, but needless to say that Lundy has nailed this one.
Review: Ben Soundscape is superb at crafting rolling beats, sounds which straddle the spectrum between tough and softer tones. He does that on his own Intrigue Music label and he's doing it on Liquid Lab as well, as his Bronx Jazz EP takes the sample-based history of New York and blends it with the European liquid tradition. We especially love 'Get It All', which frolics along on the basis of a spinning, twisting bassline that's full of character and enjoyment. The title track is classic lounging stuff, with a charming double bass bassline and nonchalant sample touches to lift things up along the way. Beautiful work.
Review: Everyone loves a proper compilation, right? What's better than having a range of artists in one condensed place? It's essentially an album with the ease of listening of a single, so we're all for it. Invicta have come out with the second edition of their one year anniversary celebration and it's packed full of jump-up bangers, one of those albums which doesn't try to be cool or sophisticated by chucking in a few fillers for the sake of diversity - it's just hard stuff here. It works great, with Harley D's 'Forever' the highlight, its jungle influences blending well with a punchy sub-bass and gargles jump up synth tears, a properly stepping track that just oozes class and shows how much Harley D's production has come on in recent times. Sick album guys.
Review: The latest bit over on the voracious Sub-liminal Recordings is from Dreadnaught, and it manages to be both driven in its focus and diverse; led by minimal sounds but with splashes of jump up. 'Risk Taker' is absolute genius, with a snapping percussive line that grounds a flowing, funky, bassline that's unlike anything we've heard in a very long time. You have to hear it, really, and it's followed up by the gully roller that is 'Reach Out', an Alix Perez-esque concoction that has us wishing clubs were open. There is the stomping sounds of 'All That', and the clinical minimalism of 'Skyz'. Bigups.
Review: Almost two decades deep into their legacy, DJ Trace's DSCi4 imprint continues to push science right on the razor's edge. The Spy Technologies compilations have always been something of a flagship release for the label and this pandemic special is no exception. Across 14 tracks we're treated to a future shock of dynamic proportions courtesy of a great range of talents from established to brand new and anonymous. Highlights include the springy, tense 'Microbs' from HLZ, the pneumatic drums and high impact wallops of Soul Intent's 'Foundation', Dynamix's relentless, industrial strength 'Murderation' and the epic finale track from the man DJ Trace himself and Emery - 'Curfew'. Lights out.
Review: Toby Ross is unleashing an onslaught over on Liondub with a tight sounding EP. 'Jah' is a dark, moody stepper that doesn't care about rules and certainly doesn't care about feelings. The main bass on this tune oozes quality and packs some serious weight, reminiscent of the Souped Up crew. 'Beyond' is slightly less crazy but it definitely is still on the crazy end, as gargled bass notes inject a whole load of force into the arrangement, whilst a chopped up vocal adds that little extra. Tasty bits here.
Review: Damageman is on Grid Recordings with a fiery four-tracker designed very much for the dancefloor. It's one of those singles that you can tell was made with a good time in mind, music that's goal is to bring happiness to a room full of people. 'Survived' is the first and it's also the fattest, with a giant, stabby bassline that launches out of the blocks with serious energy. 'Chameleon' is glitchier and techier, its grating synths are full of momentum and the whole track just feels like it's on steroids; we can see why this is the title track. One of the bassface crew.
Review: One of several big labels with pivotal anniversaries this year, Metalheadz continue their streak of 25 year releases with this monster, a single by Asylum featuring remakes of his legendary track 'Da Base II Dark'. In its remastered version, the original shines even brighter, as those timeless drums rattle to the beat of the aspirations of the 90s, and subtle yet strong bass notes creep into your consciousness, around funky touches and supreme attention to detail. The Stealth remix takes it to an entirely different place, one of pure violence and unadulterated dancefloor hedonism, a smash and grab raid designed to steal your dignity and leave you in a daze. Pure brilliance from the Headz crew.
Review: Jungle Cakes have a knack for signing music that's infectiously danceable but still gritty and tough, a description that applies perfectly to their latest various artists album, which features music from label founders Ed Solo and Deekline, as well as Phibes, Selecta J-Man and others. Gella smashes his remix of 'Blood & Fire' by Niney The Observer, which packs funk and melodic progression into the introduction but takes things darker on the drop, a nice duality than lends an element of creativity to an extremely feel-good number. 'Sittting & Watching' is steppier, more stripped back and orientated for the dancefloor, with a sparse but punchy arrangement that smacks of old-school sounds. The label OGs also team up on their rework of 'Uptown Top Ranking', which is essential summertime vibes for the junglist who loves the way this pair roll out feel good drum & bass beneath lounging vocal notes. Lovely.
Conrad Subs - "Days Are Numbered" - (5:37) 173 BPM
J Select - "Got To" - (4:04) 174 BPM
Too Greezey - "Always Be Mine" - (4:25) 175 BPM
Disrupta - "Karma" - (4:34) 174 BPM
Speaker Louis & Epicentre - "Unity" - (3:21) 172 BPM
Review: To cap off their three-part anniversary celebrations, Nuusic are laying down the heat on instalment number three. Teej has been one of the main players throughout this series, and with 'War Cry', a minimal roller with the guts of a lion and the roar of one too, as finger-clicking drums bear the weight of something much heavier, a snarling bassline that moves in devilish twists and turns. The vibes are also seriously real on J Select's cut, a spacious number that moves in gruff fits and starts, a barking cut with a catchy sample that smacks of proper rave memories. There's luscious depth on 'Always Be Mine', Speaker Louis and Epicentre finish off the series with the stuttering breaks of 'Unity'. What an LP series and congrats to the crew on three years.
Review: Charge Recordings, one of the all-time great labels, are celebrating their 25th anniversary, and in so doing are revisiting some of Mampi Swift's best tracks. The label boss has been responsible for some corkers over the years, and we can imagine that narrowing it down was a tough job to say the least. But, of course, his 2013 remix of 'I Don't Need A Reason' made the cut; who can forget the first time they heard that brass-tinted horn bellow out of Dizzee's Rascal's menacing, iconic vocal lines. The old school vibes continue across the rest of the release, as Charge's specific take on dancefloor skips all the over engineered hype of the present and sticks to the basics that make this genre what it is: rough, vibrant drums and swelling basslines that puff your chest out. 'Twisted' is especially great, with a long introduction that keeps you hanging on every bar, the climax when it comes as satisfying as anything. Unreal.
Review: Unlike many of its rivals, Fingerman's Hot Digits label doesn't fill its' obligatory annual compilation with back catalogue cuts. Instead, we're offered a vast number of previously unheard re-edits, remixes and original productions. It's a successful blueprint and one religiously adhered to on Hot Digits: Year Seven, the popular imprint's latest must-check collection. There's not enough room to single out every sonic highlight, but our current favourites include the breezy boogie squelch of Ross Fitz's 'I Miss Your Love ('85 Mix)', the driving deep house haziness of Fingerman and Henri Le Blanc's 'Leave Your Cares Tonight', the neo-trance cheeriness of Picklejam's 'Endorphin Situation' and the stab-happy, peak-time house retro-futurism of 'The Feeling' by Downunder Disco.
Review: Part two of the Nuusic anniversary celebration, and the halfway point is just as good as the first instalment. It's more of the label's most standout tracks from the last three years, and Conrad Subs' 'Little Vibey Thing' is right up there with the best of them, a swing-heavy vocal-led jungle number that's formed of swelling bass touches, crunchy drum lines and a nonchalant gem of a vocal, one that's halfway between hip-hop and soul. Margaman's 'Teach The Roots' is a masterclass in simple vibes, with a clean percussive centre and edges that wallow in bassy reggae, all of which is deliciously built into a crescendo with a superb build-up. Proper dancefloor stuff.
Review: Jayline and Liondub are back, back again, the label which ceases to pump out music which pummels you, pleases and you and punishes you in equal measure. This time around the badman himself has worked on a five track EPand it's a percy, with slices of trademark damage that tread a wicked line between over-the-top jump-up, junglist fire and deeper, more considered cuts. 'The Galapagos Islands' is the best example of that, as the drums roll out into oblivion and a gargling expression of bass energy lights up the top end of the range in stabby, serious fashion. We also love the atmospherics of 'Sahara Desert', which sees floating vocal samples layered over in Technimatic fashion. Energy, energy.
Review: Nuusic have been around for a grand total of three years now, and a three-part celebration of that fact is now here. This is the first instalment and it's a beauty, with a whole host of artists from the Nuusic orbit stepping up to lay down some serious heat. That's what's on offer here and it's a cut from Kumo - 'Skeng Riddim' - that really steals the show, as inch-perfect stepping percussion murderously underpins a rap-driven, bloated bassline sound which drips urban force from every corner. Serious Wretch 32 vibes on this one. Conrad Subs has two tracks, including a wicked rework of garage classic 'Bump & Grind', and Teej also has several contributions; 'Hydro' being the naughtiest, a drawn-out roller covered in old-school class. Yes lads.
Review: Original Sin - the man, the myth, the machine. Few artists have attained his pedigree and weight in jump-up and here he is reminding us why. Two collabos, two solos: 'Shaolin Fist', with Serum, punches with both artists' weight as their basslines almost fight each other for our attention while 'Headshot' goes right back to the G Dub days with its rasping bassline but with added fire from the one and only Eksman. Meanwhile on the solos, 'Automaton' takes a deeper, darker tearing approach with a series of wobbles echoing out over the distorted bassline and 'King Kong Style' is just pure marching-to-war music. Buckle up bub.
Review: Timeless continue to build their armoury with gnarly, nasty grizzlers as Addicted and Jammez tap in for some murky manoeuvres. 'Bumpa' takes the lead with its auto-tuned vocal before the lads go solo with two originals a-piece; Addicted's 'Keeping Fire' is a raspy little groaner while 'Warp' is pure stripped-back wobble tension. Jammez meanwhile gets all horny on 'No Time' before getting all slinky with another auto-tune vocal-led bass plucker 'Fuente'. Bueno.
Review: Work hard, rave hard; Jack Workforce continues to dish out next-level tackle with 'Care & Consideration'. Jumping over to Alix's 1985 for the occasion, it's four of his finest cuts to date. 'Show You Something' with Javeon has a vocal hook and dark groove that's up there with 'Oblique' as a serious soulful vocal anthem. 'Apply The Breaks' is a savage slab of 23rd century jazz that nods respectfully to the likes of Krust while 'Don't Tell Part 2' takes off where the first one left us on last year's 'Late Night Soundtrack'... Bewildered by pure roller energy. Finally 'Reasons', another vocal led one with a really interesting riff texture and super detailed drums. Exceptional.
Review: Tin Pan Sound are creating a name for themselves as a label who always bring out the big guns with their music. It's always heavy, hard-hitting and built on soundscapes and vibes which are deeply urban. The first track on this EP is no different and it kicks off with 'Let's Rock', a punchy roller with a bassline that stretches out over the horizon, the only constant being its grinding, coarse nature and the manner in which it constantly mutates and evolves. 'Something' is equally as rough but less rolling and more stepping, its structure and nature constantly changes, and it keeps the tune sounding consistently fresh. The rest of the EP is absolute vibes too.
Review: This release from Jamezy bucks the trend on Audio Addict's normally dancefloor-friendly output, and it does so by layering stuttering breaks underneath soulful vocal licks, a winning formula that in combination with some weighty basslines, manages to be both light and heavy at the same time. 'Never' has some serious DJ Clipz vibes, with roughshod old school drums and an almost sample-esque feel to the vocals which lends a sense of nostalgia; a real gem this one. The title track 'Skylights' is faster and more frenetic, whilst 'Hold Me' has a more typical liquid feel to its arrangement. Lovely stuff.
Review: Shottys fired! Pyro finds another way to spark up the dance with this four bullet bruiser EP that's absolutely steeped in groaning basses. 'Shotty Dub' takes the lead with a humungous low end and very little else. 'Compulsion' follows with a fast-lane pace thanks to its pulsating, technoid bassline and classic house vocal loop while 'Smithdown Bass' flips to alien mode - all scatty, tense and dangerous. For good measure Warhead joins the party with a stinking remix of one of Pyro's older rave smasher 'Bring Me Up'.