Review: Time flies when you're meddling at the forefront of bass innovation... While the label still feels so new and fresh, it's already been five years of dark soul gold from 1985. To celebrate, bossman Alix Perez has curated these exceptional remixes from the gang that span from Sam Binga's slick and sexy UKG twist of 'Melodrama' to Skeptical's sub aquatic switch of 'Trinity' via Monty's cavernous space funk flip of 'ABR'. Complete with plenty more goodies from the likes of DLR, Visages and Break, this marks five years in 1985's signature high benchmark style. Here's to another five years.
Review: Devon don Amplify continues his epic vein of form this year with another major league EP, this time on his own Gradient imprint. Following his recent 'Amplify & Friends' EP, it's loaded with a whole gaggle of collabos including Master Error, D-Fuser and Clarkey as he works us through our paces with his grotty, riffy bass hooks and wry sense of funk. Greeze by name, greasy by nature; 'Problems' oozes oily soul with its preacher sample and melting horn bass tones, 'Deadman' writhes in the warped bassline mud while 'Soundboy' (with mic-man Stytchd) is pure sleaze and swagger. These are just some of the highlights. Grease up and get some.
Review: Conrad Subs has been consistent with his assault over the last few years, doing damage on a whole gamut of labels from Deep In The Jungle to Liondub International via Nuusic and exploring a whole range of styles and vibes. But this debut on Break's Symmetry feels like a real step up. Famously operating a very high quality control, a co-sign from Charlie Break is a massive compliment... Which is reflected in the weight and flavour of these tracks. 'Cool Off' is a bubbly stinker with shades of jungle and little echoes of squidgy bass while 'Gross' buzzes and vibes on a more cosmic flex. Big.
Review: Agro's Sub-Liminal hit the big 100 with a series of power punch exclusives from label friends and family old and new. Raz's 'Control Tower' sets the flavour in an instant with its wild drums and almost jazz-like attitude. He's followed by a whole range of killers, all delivering high grade goods. DJ Hybrid goes turbo on the rubber ball subs, Georgia Phoenix brings some seriously savage funk, Oz wheels up more bloodclarts than money can buy and Warhead gets weird and wonderful with his snake-like bass wriggles and computer trills... Not to mention the Sub-liminal bossman's horn-heaving hip-swinger 'Hang Ten'. All this and plenty more bangers, Sub-liminal are celebrating their 100th in style right here.
Review: D&B supergroup SaSaSaS continue their Unite series with another wedge of wallopers from an exciting range of talents on the fourth instalment of their massive 'Unite' series. What began as a mixtape last month is now being released as tracks for your own sets. Each dispatch has been fire, this edition being no exception. Highlights range from the glitchy swing and bars of Konetix's 'Transcendent' to Harley D's rattling bassline hype-raiser 'Next Level' via A:dan's powerful synth blazer's 'Intensions'. The full range of flavours - this is the sound of a united drum & bass. Watch out for the final instalment coming soon.
Review: Following his recent exploits on Born On Road, Cornish captain Toxinate returns to Biological Beats with two of his most interesting and forward-thinking cuts to date. 'Owe You' sees him linking with singer Marge for a haunted emotional workout that's both heavy with its lasers and off-beat bass bubbles but also laced with dark soul thanks to the vocals and. For something a little more classic sounding but still crisp and edged with that hybrid jump up sound get your ears on the grotty funk-up 'Drop It'. You owe your ears a listen to this.
Review: Brawlin Beatz return to their Jungle Juiced series which seems to land every two years but always packs a fresh, no holds barred punch. Take this epic third edition; a hectic breakbeat slap to the tastebuds, it batters us with a rainbow of flavours: strong shades of contemporary jungle (Veak - 'One Family', Kumo - 'HomeTown Roots'), full-thrust rave music (Gravit-E - 'Radio') bumping bassline badness (MCB - 'Key To The City'), rootsical sickness (Lion UK - 'Never Last', Dead Intent - 'EveryTime') and bone rattling bubblers (JAK - 'Never Last') are just some of the ingredients in this wholesome juice. More than your five a day.
Review: Gr8 scott! High R8 are celebrating 10 years of being at the forefront of dnb, grafting at the future talent coalface and we're in for a treat of a trip down memory lane. Featuring early cuts from modern day donnies like Guv, Spaow and K Motionz, the collection takes us back to 2011 then pings us around the last decade by way of crucial cuts from the likes of Damage Report, Dub Bezerker, Nu Elementz, Sub Killaz and beyond. Highlights include the still-raw 'Blood' from Guv, the stripped-back vibe and grungey bass slaps of Diskize's 'Rain' and the haunted cries and sense of tension in Filthy Habits' 'Hidden Secrets' but to be honest the whole collection slaps and really highlights how consistent and ruthlessly gully High R8 have been since they began.
Review: Bonjour! Paris's FX909 makes his debut on Heist's Co-Lab with four proper breakbeat bubblers. Each one tickling a different corner of the dance, he's treated us to a wide spread as 'Rock Dem' nods at the early 2000s, super-driven dancefloor style of jungle while 'Run It' pays homage to the mid 90s with a much bubblier bassline jam. Elsewhere 'Velizy' is all about the rattling breaks and big, dubby ghostly vibes in between the elements, 'Put It Under' has a classic late 90s Bristol vibe with added Detroit pads before 'Bring It Up' brings the keys and the feels for a powerful jazzy finale. What a well-rounded and highly vibed-up EP.
Review: Keeping it safe, each and every time; T>I lands on CIA with 'The Locksmith'. Yet another quartet of ridiculous bruisers, the title track has the key to every door in your sensory mansion as the off-grid drums rattle and roll and the bassline slinks away slowly like a boa constrictor with weight issues. Elsewhere 'Valid Statement' goes all bubbly and Zinc-like with its old school rave-like bassline riff, 'Bongolian Belt Roller' takes us even further leftfield with some wonderfully weird switches and strange noises before 'Let It Go' runs riot in a deliciously scatty way. Incredible scenes; no one is doing this style of dnb like T>I.
Review: Three years after Jungle Fire joined Razor N Tape Reserve, the label has decided to offer up a swathe of new remixes of some of the band's classic cuts. It's a simple idea, executed brilliantly. Man of the moment Felipe Gordon excels on a jazz-funk and nu-disco-tinged deep house re-frame of 'Atomico', before label co-founder J Kriv delivers a thrillingly squelchy, driving disco dub of 'Le Krossa'. Legendary turntablist DJ Nu-Mark offers a superbly funky rework of 'Atomica' that embraces the track's Afrobeat roots, band-member Patrick Bailey joins the dots between electro and Afro-funk on his deliciously spacey 'Snake in Da Box Dub', and Samuel Miles opts to layer up breathless, energetic percussion on his fine remix of 'Biri Biri'.
Review: Lordy lordy! Audio Addict are hitting release 100 and they're about to celebrate with some massive dispatches. It starts right here with these two powerful remixes. First bossman DJ Hybrid and Haribo's 2018 bust-up 'Raised In The Jungle' enjoys a woozy and raw shakedown from man of the moment T>I. Then Teej gets busy on Martial Taktics' label debut earlier this year 'Katana'. Big chops for big systems, we'll give these 100 out of 10... And we know there's even amazing Audio Addict 100 vibes to come soon. Big up DJ Hybrid!
Review: Fresh from his impeccable cover of Lenny Fontana's 'Spread Love' earlier this summer Makoto returns with his first full EP in quite a long time. Four originals and one remix deep, as always with the Japanese groove wizard, each cut is a keeper. 'What You Need' is all about the big dusty soul sample and lush breezy drop, 'Osiris' sees him linking with fellow OG Danny Wheeler once again for a big stringy uplifter, 'Run It Back To Me' sees him linking up with singer du jour and North Quarter affiliate K S R for a lesson in pure soul while 'Freedom Reality' is a big emotional synth one for those moments we're all feeling now we're back in the raves. Complete with a very cheeky remix from man like Marky and you've got exactly what you need right here.
Review: The German gurner returns! Bavarian OG Bassface Sascha returns to Dazee's Ruffneck Ting with three junglised roughhouse rollers. We kick off with the fragrant bashes and turbulent terpenes of 'Hand Me The Herb', a raw horn-heaved track with bubbly subs and the crucial tones of man like Spyda. Instant reloader, it sets the energy levels for the rest of the EP as 'Dead Fool' calls out the time wasters before hurtling into a mischievous one note zippy riff vibe while Dazee joins in for the finale 'Ruffneck Business' goes full on tubular bass thunder. Complete with a massive remix from Aries, it's another top notch ting from the Bristol institution. Spark up!
Review: Following up a great release by Yatuza a few weeks ago, label staple DJ Agro returns to Sub-liminal Recordings to follow up last year's ripper "Thuggish", taken from his Bad From Morning LP which receives a couple of nice reworks here. Kent's Teej (Nuusic/Co-Lab Recordings/OCC) gets onboard to take the jump-up vibe of the original into emotive, intelligent drum 'n' bass territory, until Agro takes things back - this time into snarling and ominous techstep realms - with his new VIP mix.
Review: Serial Killaz celebrate all top ranking selectas with this XXXL sized bubbler. Big vocals, warm horns, awesome Amen break-outs and a bassline that gets smellier and smellier as the track progresses, it's an instant merry maker jam. Looking for something a little darker, a little slinkier, a little dubbier? Jump on 'Territory' then with its ghostly echoed vocals and shimmering organs. Badness.
Review: Onyx Recordings level up with their first artist album - 'Tokyo Nights' from one of their longest standing artists DJ Gaw. An interesting concept piece where all the tracks link or segue super smoothly into each other, it's one of those magic drum & bass albums that works perfectly at home while still kicking hard in the dance. Highlights come in all shapes, sizes, forms and flavours including the bulbous roller 'Kyoto Days', the sweet two-step delights of 'Feels Wrong' with A Little Sound and the devilishly stern and steppy 'Disillusion' with Madrush MC. These are just a handful of many highlights from this impressive and highly accomplished debut artist album. Big up DJ Gaw.
Review: The summer might be coming to an end, but raving season is only just heating up and is set to stay at this refreshingly positive high for the foreseeable. Together is a great example of why as a crack team of new generation talents and serious OGs collide for this special Moondance collection. Updates and new retro flavours galore as the likes of Danny Byrd goes stunningly loco on Acen's 'Trip To The Moon', Benny Page tears Shades Of Rhythm a new one on 'Sound Of Eden' and Dope Ammo, DJ Rap and Jasmine Knight team up for the rush-inducing 'Together'. Elsewhere Ray Keith takes us back to his 96 'Dark Soldier' era with his recent breakbeat assault 'Back In The Day', hardcore heroes Liquid and Billy Bunter lock horns on the euphoric 'Dove Removal Machine' while rising ravesmiths Origin8 & Propa close the EP with an update on their swaggering, stabby breakbeat banger 'Massive'. Come together now.
Review: Manchester's Motiv embraces the positive feelings around right now with this emotional debut for Ray Keith's Dubplate Dread. Five of his most glistening, vibe-fuelled soulful rollers, this is his biggest release to date with massive cuts like the soaring vocal title track with its cosmic synths, bumpy bassline and hard-hitting vocal, the sleazy, slinky funk of 'Distractions' and the dusty, jazzy soul work out 'She Knows' all hitting some serious spots. Feel the love.
Review: Get your love hormones out and give them a good airing as Refracta makes his Born On Road debut with 'Oxytocin'! Five tracks deep, each one hits with a freshness, funk and bouncy vitality the Scottish artist has made his signature. Highlights include the marvellous 'With U', which has one of the most interesting and unique sounding drops and grooves we've heard for quite some time, the spooky arpeggio and playful sense of tension on 'Rizla' and the vocal textures and creepy radar-style hook on 'Transparent'. Show some love for this, Refracta is missioning it right now!
Review: Not content with making his debut on Born On Road this week, the one and only Refracta also returns to Pick N Mix with this highly-springy, highly-vibed trip across the continent to the French capital. Another one-track head-shot from TJ's non-stop Pick N Mix, 'Paris' carefully balances everything that's exciting about this Scottish rising talent; grit, vocals, light, dark and an unusual groove that consistently stands out. C'est tres bien.
Review: Watch out for the red lights! When it comes to contemporary jungle partnerships it can't get much more on-point and exciting then DJ Hybrid and Rider Shafique who've linked up for this haunted-yet-badass slice of timeless, emotional breakbeat science. Complete with an instrumental and a crucial 2021 update on DJ Hybrid's infamous banger 'Shockin Out', this is a very serious release from Liondub International.
Review: US donnies Sub Killaz go straight for the jugular with this savage 420-flavoured collection on Digital Terror. 'Rollin Stoned' takes a classic vocal sample and big string clip and create a moment of sheer euphoria before flipping things into the spikiest bassline the duo have ever whipped up. Elsewhere 'Twist Em Up' is a well-oiled filth locomotive, 'Pre-Roll' crushes with mind-meltingly slapping snares and a confident air of preparation while 'Status' seals the deal on more of a stripped back steppy UK flavour with plenty of subs. Roll up, roll up.
Review: It's been a busy old year for rising talents Shadre & Salvage as they've released consistent sluggers on the likes of Grid, Shadow Demon and Zombie. Now comes their debut on Heist's Calypso Muzak. Four cuts in total, each one of them tickles in a unique and nicely off-beat type of way. The bassline on 'Bumba' is go grungey you feel you need a shower after listening to it, 'Don't Be Afraid' flips the triplet groove into something sharp, shuffled and incredibly contemporary while StillZ joins the crew for the deadly 'Salamanca Rhythm' before the duo complete the EP with another quirky and original drum flavour on 'Infinity'. Don't be a sleeper on this.
Review: Following their massive compilation to raise money to protect and save the Amazon rain forests, Masterpeace return with this turbo charged VIP collection. Six tracks in total, some serious 2021 juice has been poured into each of the tracks. VIP highlights include the sledgehammer dynamics on Sikka's 'Check Yourself', the epic switch and riotous Amen fills on DJ Direkt's BRASic' VIP' and K Jah's disgustingly sludgy and twisted take on Ly Da Buddah's 'Lemon Punch'. Massive, as they say in the jungle.
Review: Since launching the Undagrnd Freqz label imprint, the famous duo of Matt Jam Lamont and Echelon have been on absolute fire. This latest offering sees them unveil the second edition of their 'New Heroes' series, welcoming four fantastic production talents inside for a selection of spicy collaborations. We begin with Soulecta's involvement by the name of 'Need A Friend', a tremendous exploration into old school garage flavour with some jittering drum action and groovy chord maneuvers for good measure. Next, 'Massive & Crew' sees TuffCulture arrive with a more more unusual input, focussing on unusual bass grooves and unique rhythmic switches, before Fraktion joins the party for the blissful vocal slices and sweeping atmospherics of 'Surrender'. Finally, Frankly throws us right back into the heart of old school garage as 'N.S.T' delivers a wicked combination of saxophone melodies and tidy vocal samples to bring the house down.
Review: The unstoppable behemoth that is the 'Katakana Edits' series reaches Vol 110, with regular contributor DJ Laurel back at the controls. The EP opens with 'What About You' and 'Asking For Trouble', both of which draw on sadly unidentified sources - but think 60s soul/deep funk (Georgie Fame, maybe?) for the former, and blues/country-infused 70s soul for the latter. We then fast-forward to the disco and boogie era, with Melba Moore's 'You Stepped Into My Life' (1978) and the Michael Zager Band's 'Don't Sneak On Me' (1980) both getting the Laurel treatment. All four are very playable, making for a strong addition to the Katakana catalogue.