Review: When it comes to sunny, summer-fresh drum and bass, few producers are quite as capable as Spearhead Records supremo Steve "BCee" Jefroy. Further proof of his mastery of soulful-but-punchy D&B comes courtesy of Jefroy's fifth solo full-length, "Shouting About Nothing". Highlights come thick and fast, from the gentle pianos, rolling breaks and stunning vocals of "Sincerely Yours (feat. Leo Wood)" and the weighty low-end rumble of "All Fired Up", to the ruffneck early jungle/vintage D&B fusion of "For All Your Worth", cinematic drum and bass soul of "Wanderer" and the dub-wise, hot-stepping dancefloor skank of the title track "Shouting About Nothing".
Review: Since debuting on the label 18 years ago, Danny Byrd has become one of Hospital Records most reliable and prolific artists. Even so, Atomic Funk - his fourth album - marks his first full-length outing for five years. It goes without saying that he's in fine form, gleefully flitting between heavyweight 21st century jungle revivalism ("Salute", 'Starting It Over", the piano-laden badness of "Roll The Drums"), sunshine ready disco drum and bass ("IDragon", Patrice Rushen-sampling "Holy Star"), shimmering electro-fuelled rollers ("Supreme", "Atomic Funk") and the kind of soulful, radio-friendly fare that's become a hallmark of Hospital releases in recent years ("Hold Up The Crown", "Money Calling Me").
Review: While Calibre's studio albums are invariably superb, his periodic Shelflife compilations of unreleased tracks and tried-and-tested dubplates are often even better. Predictably, this fifth volume in the series not only hits the spot, but also contains some genuinely grade-A material. Many will naturally gravitate towards high-class DRS hook-up "City Life" and the sought-after Marcus Intalex collaboration "Bluesday" (a typically warm, melodious and soulful affair), but there are plenty of other highlights amongst the 12 tracks on. These largely tend towards the more sun-kissed and breezy end of the D&B spectrum, though there are some tougher and darker workouts (see the low-slung sci-fi growl of "Jaboc") amongst Calibre's waves of dancefloor positivity.
Review: Austrian twosome Camo & Krooked have become genuine drum & bass heavyweights since making their debut back in 2006, thanks in no small part to a string of well-received albums on Hospital Records. Now residing on the similarly established Ram Records, the duo regards Mosaik as their most intricate, well-produced and musically expansive body of work to date. It's hard to argue with this assessment. Weighing in at 13 tracks deep and chock full of collaborations with guest vocalists and fellow producers, the tracks not only fizz with their usual colourful synths and punchy, minimalist D&B rhythms, but also the simmering beauty of sweeping orchestration, the familiar jangle of acoustic guitars, and all manner of ear-pleasing flourishes. DJs will be happy to hear that they've not left the dancefloor behind, with all but a handful of the tracks being primed for club play.
Review: Prolific producer Christoph De Babalon has always been hard to pin down. In recent years, his releases have tended towards experimental electronica and techno, though he started out in the '90s making scattergun drum and bass on Alec Empire's Digital Hardcore Recordings. It's these roots that he returns to on "Exquisite Angst", his second full-length of 2018. Starting with the unearthly ambient sounds of "Gaseous Invertebrate", De Babalon fuses sharp, ruffneck jungle rhythms, creepy field recordings, out-there electronics, IDM melodies, fuzzy hip-hop beats, sludgy sounds and scattergun percussion hits. The result is an inspired, mind-altering sound soup that rewards repeat listening sessions.
Review: Despite beginning their ascent through the bass music ranks in 2010, it was 2016 brilliant debut album "Paradise Lost" that turned Delta Heavy into global underground stars. Since then, anticipation has been building for this belated follow-up. Happily, there are no signs of the duo succumbing to "difficult second album" syndrome; in fact, "Only In Dreams" is, if anything, even more effervescent than their lauded debut. It's still rooted in drum & bass and dubstep, but this time round they've blurred the boundaries between disparate styles of bass music even further, with an impressive list of guests and collaborators - Kuuro, Rae Hall, Zeds Dead, Muzzy and Modestep included - taking turns to make their presence felt.
Review: And the Shogun album heat just keeps on coming... Fresh from launching Ed:It's album series, Friction's label flings Document One's debut upside our features. And it's another essential addition to our collections. As an act renowned for covering the spectrum and subverting the styles, the album format is perfect for the Oxford duo as they guide us through the spectrum... Launching with sing-along sunny-side jungle ("Shutdown") and closing with epic Sigma-esque gospel business ("Newborn") they pack every shade and style in between from soothing chime-laced deepness ("Temporal"), introspective soulful steppers ("Fortitude") and absolute grizzlesome grit ("Holy Moly") A highly accomplished debut album.
One Tribe - "Is This All" (feat Gem - Instinctstrumental) (7:07)
Lennie De Ice - "We Are IE" (5:01)
Zero B - "Lock Up" (2012 Remaster) (5:32)
Wots My Code - "Dubplate" (3:52)
Foul Play - "Being With You" (6:40)
Noise Factory - "The Future" (4:31)
Fallout - "The Morning After" (Sunrise mix) (8:31)
Review: This year marks three decades since the launch of Rage, the weekly London club night that not only made Fabio and Grooverider stars, but also proved hugely influential in the development of hardcore and jungle. To celebrate, the long-serving DJ duo is offering up an epic compilation of Rage favourites split over four double albums. Part One offers a great introduction to the series, flitting between familiar favourites (the throbbing, bass-heavy Dub of Leftfield's "Not Forgotten", Lennie De Ice's hardcore anthem "We Are I.E"), lesser celebrated gems (the dreamy deep house of One Tribe's "Is This All"), proto-jungle classics (Wots My Code's sub-heavy, bleep-sporting "Dubplate", Foul Play's lusciously hazy "Being With You") and genuine rude boy smashers (Noise Factory's "The Future").
I Adore You (feat Natalie Williams & Ulterior Motive) (6:04)
I Think Of You (7:11)
Truth (feat Jose James) (4:55)
Tu Viens Avec Moi? (8:47)
The Ballad Celeste (5:10)
This Is Not A Love Song (6:25)
The River Mirrored (5:38)
Tomorrow's Not Today (4:30)
Run Run Run (6:05)
Review: It would be fair to say that excitement has been building since Goldie announced the release of The Journey Man earlier this year. You see, the expansive, triple-vinyl full-length is the Metalheadz man's first album since 1998's patchy Saturnz Return, and is being trumpeted by those who've heard it in full as a triumphant return to form. It naturally features some sweeping, classical instrumentation, but there's nothing as self indulgent as the hour-long "Mother". Furthermore, Goldie has wisely delivered a set of high quality drum and bass that ticks numerous boxes - dancefloor darkness, jungle revivalism, liquid funk warmth - with a string of suitably impressive collaborators (Ulterior Motive, Swindle, Jose James, Natalie Williams, Terri Walker) swinging by to ensure the set oozes soul.
Review: While he may have released a multitude of singles since making his debut on Metalheadz way back in 1995, "Full Circle" is only James Spratling AKA J Majik's second album (his debut full-length, "Slow Motion", was released in 1997). It's a fitting title, all told, because the majority of the ten tracks on offer recall the kind of punchy-but-dreamy jungle/early D&B fusion that marked out Spratling's earliest releases. That means a succession of killer cuts that wrap deep space chords, ambient synths and heady electronic melodies around bustling, jungle style breakbeats and booming, mind-altering basslines. It's a giddy, unashamed blast from the past, but one that's certainly in keeping with the D&B scene's current wave of misty-eyed nostalgia.
Review: Last year, D&B heavyweights Serum, Voltage and Bladerunner joined forces to deliver two rave inspired EPs of heavyweight club jams under the Kings Of The Rollers alias. Here the experienced trio offers up its eponymous debut album, an unashamedly heavyweight affair packed to the rafters with punchy rollers, mind-mangling tech-step tear-outs and gargantuan future D&B anthems. It's a little more varied than their DJ-friendly EPs, with the pandemonium-inducing smashers being joined by a variety of vocal numbers (see the Inja-sporting "M-O-V-E", grandiose "The Sky Is Falling" featuring Lydia Plain and thrillingly weighty MC Bassman hook-up "Rockers") and occasional forays into jazzier and more melodious territory. Yet for all the subtle variety and surprise diversions, it's the sheer club-ready heaviness of the whole thing that really sets the pulse racing.
Review: The moment the quintessential rave synths, rolling breaks and cooing female vocals on album opener "North Winds" hit you, you know Krakota's put together something special. Coming on strong like a young Logistics but with his own soul-flecked signature, Krakota has weight, a strong sense of history and scope. The footwork beats and New York sounding synths on "Turn Of Fate", the big band flourishes of "Powder Coated", the writhing jazz snakery of "Elastic" the horror movie spikes and MC venom of "Weirdos & Creepers". Pick a track, any track, and we guarantee Krakota's smashed it. Hospital don't mess around with artist albums... Here's a perfect reminder why.
Not Alone (feat Duckfront, MVE, Frae - album mix) (4:09)
Just Be Good (feat Nymfo) (4:32)
Don't Forget (4:11)
Falling (feat MVE) (4:10)
Solarize (feat Logistics - album mix) (4:34)
Review: Young Dutch firebrand Maduk continues to scorch the D&B landscape with his first full length body of work. Showcasing his full spectrum, we stretch from barbed-soul, heads-down rollers such as "One Way" to the poppier, song-based hand-raisers such "The End" and the pumping filtered funk of the title track by way of off-tempo sideswipers such as the 150 breakbeat cut "One Last Picture". A highly accomplished album: As the entire scene watches his every move, the Liquicity champion continues to make all the right moves.
You Might Not Get Another Chance (feat Pete Simpson) (6:25)
The Points (4:09)
Wind Of Change (feat Karina Ramage) (4:00)
I Don't Wanna Wake Up (feat Karina Ramage)
Sending Back Your Love (feat Pete Simpson)
Expand (feat A-Sides)
Salvation (feat DRS)
Too Late (feat Robert Manos)
You Might Not Get Another Chance (feat Pete Simpson)
Wind Of Change (feat Karina Ramage)
Review: When it comes to making soulful drum and bass and liquid funk, few are quite as good as Japanese D&B legend Makoto Shimizu. Given his status and track record, it's little surprise to find him finally popping up on Hospital Records - a label that seems a natural home for his particular brand of shimmering, summery breakbeat science. Salvation is his sixth solo studio album, and may well be his strongest to date. Packaged with guest appearances from a variety of like-minded producers and honey-throated vocalists - think DRS, Pete Simpson and Karina Ramage - the 14-track set is little less than a kaleidoscopic romp through soaring D&B, piano-laden liquid rollers, soul-soaked jungle and spacey, jazz-flecked dancefloor escapades.