Review: Hedex continues to own the game right about now... Hot on the heels of his recently curated By The Producer collection (an immense VA that reps the new-gen like few albums have in recent years) comes "Let Me Go" on Guv's Dubz Audio. A powerful one-track bruiser with a big ravey riff and sudden stop/start twists and a nasty old DA flavoured bassline, it's an instant smash for one of the hardest working men in the scene right now.
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: Ten years and 40 releases deep, Eternal Muzic let loose with their biggest VA album to date. Running the full jump-up range from bouncy to savage tear-out, some of the label's closest allies are all on side including DJ Sly, Tesen, Runnah and Krusty who appears multiple times across the album with some of the most provocative jams of the collection like the 2012-era harmonic riffage of "Need You" and the gnarly, flabby bass 'head-banging' finale. Elsewhere Rannah lays down a futuristic fire-up VIP of "Looney Toonz" and Sly & BlckHry get classical with the wriggly bass of "Vibe Check". Muzic forever...
Metrik x ShockOne - "Dying Light" - (4:41) 174 BPM
Shadows - (4:27) 174 BPM
Thunderblade - (4:35) 174 BPM
Requiem - (4:27) 174 BPM
Review: Metrik is one of Hospital's flagship acts and the British producer is akin to the likes of Sub Focus and Dimension with his focus on striking synth lines and brash, big room dancefloor sounds. This album, much like his first two, spans a range of different sounds, but it's the club-orientated music that stands out the most. 'Automata' gets things off to a flying start, with its addictingly bouncy basslines and Tomorrowland chord lines, a combination mirrored on 'Parallel' featuring Grafix and hands-in-the-air roller 'We Are The Energy'. It's a top draw album that sees the Hospital crew back on the dancefloor once more.
Review: When it comes to representing the future of dub and dancehall music, we can safely say that Liondub International have been doing a spectacular job. This latest offering sees the deadly duo of Lost City & Ward 21 link up for an electronic dancehall delight entitled 'Sicko'. The lead track is a certified piece of dancefloor dynamite, with emotive vocal sing-alongs and electrifying drum punches, making it an ultimate turn up riddim. The project comes with a killer JGNL remix as well, adding a new dimension to a stunning single. We can't wait to take this on a system.
Review: Metalheadz have been rolling out the artist albums this year, with stellar contributions from Adred, amongst others. This time it's the turn of Friske and he continues the trend of incredibly well thought out, resonant breaks-based music that makes you consider the meaning of life whilst blasting your face off at the same time. A whopping sixteen tracks long, there are too many highlights to mention them all but 'Destination' is certainly up there, as subterranean shudders creep into the arrangement underneath an inch-perfect set of clashing, cracking drums. There are no features on this album, it's pure Friske and all the better for it. Top stuff, and if you're into Mako, Autonomic or anything else clever and crushing, this one is for you.
Review: Dunk & StillZ have teamed up over on Pick The Lock and they're gaining access not through a key, but by kicking in the door with their approach to crafting the low frequencies. 'Killers on the Loose' is a joint track from them both and it's fiercely minimal, sudden spasms being the only distrractions from an otherwise purely rolling sub bass. Dunk kills it on 'Who Are You, which is reminiscient of Jam Thieves in its production, whilst StillZ blends the minimal sound with a whopper of a foghorn that just rolls and rolls. Unreal.
Review: This four-track EP from Too Greezey is packed full of twisted sounds for you wrap your noggins around, and there's a sick blend of aesthetics and styles amongst all the filth. 'Strangers' is wobbly and rolling, it packs all of its energy into the sub-bass and just flows out with style. 'Fresh Out The Lab' is a junglist monstrosity of funk and energy, with a superb drum section that packs more character into the arrangement than you can wag a finger at. 'Wastland' is a stripped back, simple number whilst 'Radiation' snaps its way into your head with rhythmic proficiency.
Review: Fresh from his unforgettable "Amnesia" EP, Jeopardize returns to Logan D's Low Down Deep with another feisty selection. Four slabs deep, we kick off with the Annix-style gurgles and spikes of "The Death Marshes" before getting sandblasted by the droning basses on "Connected" and ruffed up by the curmudgeonly bass grizzles of "So Simple". Last but not least we hit "Sight Seeing" where savage breaks and barking basses guarantee reloads, riots and respect from all other selectors in a 50 mile radius. Heavy!
Review: Music from Bites always, well, bites. The clue is in the name and Kendrick definitely isn't doing anything to allay that namesake with this single, a fiery jump-up rendition of what makes the subgenre such potent club material. 'Say You Do' combines a soulful vocal with juddering stabs and an overall sense of nastiness, whilst 'Shotgun Scatter' fires like a bullet out of a gun in its eagerness to floor you. There's movement galore, plenty of gunfinger moments and, above all, an urge to get down and dirty. Big.
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: Northern scene legend Adam Wigglesworth sadly passed away on April 3. This is how his friends responded... By compiling one of the biggest tribute albums drum & bass has ever seen. Just look at the amount of talent on here: Pyxis, Euphonique, Nvrsoft, No Concept, Exile, Euphonique, Dawn Raid and so many more artists have contribute to this 45 track album of which all proceeds go to Adam's family. From the blazing bass riff of Sappo's late 90s style neck snapper "Hannibal" to Exile's turbine bass growler "Symbiosis" via Sl8r's jazzy, almost Detroit style vibes on "The Mill" and various bits from Wiggo himself, this is a heartfelt salute from the entire scene to a man who'll be sorely missed.
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: 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: Ting when you're winning! Conrad - one of the most prolific artists in D&B this year - lands back on his own imprint Maad Ting after a whole string of releases on the likes of Dutty Bass, Calypson Muzak, Influence, Ten Ton, Original Key... The list goes on. As always with Subby, the focus is purely on the party as he licks up the breaks and bubbling bass for total dancefloor mischief. Old school in both its sonic dynamics and the rawness and immediacy of it all, every track hits the way it should... From the nagging Q&A bassline riff of "Deep Trouble" to the rushy rave energy of "The Rhythm Will Never Die", Conrad is crushing it right now. Get Maad as hell.
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: Always several steps ahead of the hurly-burly masses, Serum comes correct with another completely fresh sound. Please strap yourselves in and prepare for the interstellar dynamics of "Trident". Trancey, emotional, spacious and unlike anything else out there (with, perhaps the exception of kindred spirit Need For Mirrors) this is the sound of Serum looking ahead into a dark, unforgiving new future. But if you want something a little more conventional and expected from the roller king then head for "Special Brew". Grimy, naggy riffy business. Exemplary.
Review: Neo Blues 3 announces its arrival via our most trusted Vehicle label that's been a port of call for disco edits for the world over. Turning in another four-tracks here it's spearheaded by the uber-warm kick, woofing bass and melodic percussion sequences of "Sea-Line". Harking back to the days when artists like Eddie C and Tornado Wallace were dominating the slo-mo, chugging disco sound, "Condition" adds yet another beefy boost to a Ken Roger's classic, while funkier soul and blues jams from Kings of Survival make the cut alongside that all time cinematic classic by Rodriguez's ("Sugarman").
Review: Two months after making his Masterworks Music comeback with an EP of tidy re-edits of rare and obscure jams, Chris Grubizna returns to Danny Worrall's popular label with a similarly minded sequel. There are six tracks to choose from, all of which have been given a slightly more metronomic swing and a bit more bottom-end weight to suit contemporary dancefloors. Highlights include rush-inducing opener "All You Need" (a rubbery revision of Barbara Roy and Ecstasy, Passion & Pain's 1981 gem 'If You Want Me"), the clavinet-heavy disco-funk chug of "Gettin' Down", the low-slung Miami Funk/disco fusion of "Miami Vice", and the jazzy disco sunshine that is closing cut "Summer Joy".
Review: Bass Junk bossman Mamoet steps out from his Belgian laboratory for a feature on Liondubs' super-respected Street Series. He's brought a whole bundle of spiky, aggy jumpery with him for the ride. "New York" wriggles with bee swarm strings, "Kingston" is all about the ruded out bass riff while "Mad Ting" is the sketchy, dramatic prize centrepiece. Rounding up the EP we have "Fire" and "Higher". The former flexes some dreamy flutters before hurling us into the gutter while the latter hits with some hardcore wobble and preach. Amen to that.
Review: We're not sure whether Detroit Swindle has previously released anything quite as driving and energetic as "Coffee In The Morning". Although the lead vocal from sometime Tartelet artist Jitwam is worthy of comment, it's the infectious and breathless music that sits beneath - a combination of a low-slung punk-funk bassline, sweaty house beats, addictive electric piano stabs and wild sax lines - that makes the track such a buzzing, caffeine-charged affair. The Dutch duo's accompanying vocal-free "Dub Mix" is rock solid, but it's Prins Thomas's 10-minute "Discomiks" - an ever-growing, pulsating fusion of dub disco sweatiness and jazz-house heaviness, with additional space disco electronics thrown in for good measure - that really sets the pulse racing. In a word: essential.
Review: The Audio Addict crew are locked in once more to the sounds of the UK underground, their relentless focus on pushing hard drum & bass as consistent as ever and this time around their host is J Select. Kicking it off is 'Pressure', which has a lovely vocal sample focused intro that dissolves onto the drop into a narrow crevice of twisting bass energy, its drums inch perfect at the bottom of the range. 'Take Me Away' is similar, with a two-step drum pattern than supports a choppy, aggy arrangement of low frequency sonics. Dark and twisted, just how we like it.
Review: Four cuts here from Mexico's Mateo Gonzalez - better known as Theus Mago - that will suit those who like their disco on the more electronic/leftfield/experimental side. Opener 'Apache Nights', for instance, owes far more to bleep techno and the early Warp sound than it does to the likes of (say) Chic or Earth Wind & Fire, while the accompanying Chicken Lips re-rub comes on like Kraftwerk jamming with Rennie Pilgrem. 'Piu Mosso' is a more straight-up homage to early 80s Euro/Italo disco and centres around an infectious, Arabic-sounding hook, while finally closer 'Sergio Ramos' could work in disco/Italo/EBM and progressive house sets alike.
Review: Although French veteran Ludovic Llorca has previously provided remixes for Z Records, "Flower Child" marks the first time one of his original productions has appeared on Dave Lee's long-serving label. While there are naturally some subtle nods towards Llorca's classic house sound in the track, it's little less than a flash-fried chunk of disco revivalism that brilliantly wraps period instrumentation - crunchy Clavinets, funk-rock style guitar licks, slap bass and sweeping strings - and a soulful lead vocal around live-sounding beats that are guaranteed to get you up and dancing. It's accompanied by a similarly impressive instrumental version, which wile a little less impactful is nevertheless a genuine aural treat.
This Is Not Science (original mix) - (4:47) 171 BPM
The Creatures From Planet 9 (original mix) - (5:25) 172 BPM
Lie To You (instrumental) - (5:01) 172 BPM
Review: Freddie Dixon AKA FD has been doing his thing across a variety of labels for some time now, but it's in the last couple of years, and under the tuterage of Lenzman's The North Quarter, that he's really begun to shine. Lanta Nights is a couple cuts of gorgeous liquid and then three bassy, naughty rollers that smash of dub and soundsystem culture. It's a potent blend, and Akemi Fox is especially fantastic on 'Lie To You', a lounging, hip-hop endeavour that rolls out with the nonchalance it deserves. It's a superb EP and capped off with The North Quarter's typically well-refined aesthetic. Fantastic.
Review: Fresh from a few high profile excursions on the likes of Nuusic, Liondub and Audio Addict, Disrupta arrives with his biggest EP to date courtesy of Born On Road. Each cut hits hard from the moment the long awaited Corona cover "The Night" hits you with its wonky nocturnal rhythm. Other highlights include the dubby washes and savage growls of "Bad Guy" and the trippy grizzler "Honey". Sweet.
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".