Review: Sneaker Social Club are not messing around! Following their previous outings from the legendary trio 2 Bad Mice comes remixes from two impeccably forward thinking break crafters; Sully takes "Gone Too Soon" into some fantastical places as the breaks scream jungle but the big breeze pads scream Alex Reece but both elements work together emotively. Falty DL, meanwhile, gives us a hardcore schooling on "Limit Of Paradise" with its heavily layered breaks, wall of sound pads and dynamic drops into spacious hooks. Bad to the (clear vinyl) bone!
Review: Alien atmospheres, bassy sonar blips, crackling ambience, fizzing white noise and a barely-there groove makes the A-side of this second Nautil 12" a delight for ambient, industrial, drum and bass, techno and by and large experimental lovers alike. 943 has all the hallmarks of a Felix K production only without the rolling D&B beats, but who needs them when you have spatial textures like this! Toolshop drums with the rhythm of a hammer hitting a nail out of time provides the B-side with a awkward groove while dubby stabs form and disappear in the background behind the sound of hissing pistons from a make-believe steam works.
Review: Artificial Intelligence welcome Austrian duo Air K & Cephei back to the fold with this gorgeous four-tracker. Their first full EP for the label, they've delivered in all directions; "All You Know" is a vocal hurricane armed with an equally hair-raising bassline, "Smiles" is an introspective-yet-sensual piano-tickler while "Reflections" is a genuine cosmic crusade built with layers and textures that go on for days. Finally "My Way" closes the show with a nice bit of closure. With added touches from Concept & Shnek, it's a powerful orchestral piece with all the essential drama you need in a summer set. Epic.
Review: Some 15 months after the first multi-artist "Folio" EP landed in stores, 1985 Music has dropped a sequel. It's another all-action affair, with all four cuts hitting home hard. Label founder Alix Perez kicks things off with "White Lies", a minimalist roller where metallic percussion hits and evocative soul vocals rise above a thoroughly filthy, wobble-powered bassline. Label favourites Submarine step up with sub-heavy hot-stepper "Grunge", before Scepticz and Lavance take things up a notch or two via the industrial strength distorted bass, mind-altering electronics and punchy beats of "Flatline". To round things off, Hyroglifics and Visages get together on the skewed but energy-packed creepiness of "Searching".
Review: Previously spotted flexing his deep dark wares on Med School and Hospital, Kent craftsman Anile is now officially part of Lenzman's North Quarter collective. And he fits right in with his own sound and his own take on the currently unstoppable TNQ movement. Heavier and more spacebound than previous releases on the label; across the EP we're flatted by the rolling "Nothing Makes Sense", we're rocketed around the solar system on the already massive "Earth & Mars" and brought back down to earth with more soulful, piano laced charms of "Back On Days" before "Vitalogy" closes this stunning clear vinyl story with a creeping sombre twist. As with all TNQ releases; this pushes some serious buttons.
Review: According to Integral head honchos Artificial Intelligence, their latest EP "comprises four exhilarating episodes that will take you on an exhilarating journey". It is, then, a box set of sorts: a short season of all-action cuts designed to entertain from start to finish. They fittingly begin with something suitably filmic - the sweeping cinematic movements, head-in-the-clouds atmospherics, punchy beats and sumptuous vocals of "Degrees of Separation", before fusing elements of soul and neo-classic on superb liquid roller "Missing Piece". The experienced duo cleverly ratchet up the tension on the creepy, heavy and intense B-side opener "Tannan", before reaching a triumphant conclusion via the smooth and life-affirming brilliance of "Street Scense".
Review: A brand new label from Deep Space operator Aural Imbalance (aka long-time contributor Simon Huxtable) Dedicated to the future-fringes that are often overlooked in the pursuit of something more instantly heavy-hurting, this launch release is the consummate mission statement: "Nine Tease" is straight of out of the Omni Trio book with its lavish hooky melody skipping over the space-aged beats, "Spiral Divide" continues the cosmic theme with a little more jazzy, loose-limbed drum magic while "Alpha Protocol" is an abyssal stepper soaked in dense atmospheres and twinkling hooks. More of this.
Review: Utopia are back with a long-awaited release and what's more, it's from the mighty Break! Pretty much only seen on his Symmetry label these days, here he returns to Mako's buy-on-sight imprint with two sides to his universally loved sound. "Gunpowder", as you might expect, is a snarling, gnarly electrified piece of high voltage tech-edged rollage while "The Way Things Are" is much deeper, spacious piece where the drums scream jazz and the subs do more talking the louder you play this. Near perfect.
Superior Selectionz & Ben Soundscape - "Justa" (5:37)
Roygreen & Protone & Ben Soundscape - "Ruffneck" (5:39)
Luch & Joakuim - "Lifespan" (5:41)
Review: Since 2003, the Intrigue crew has been providing Bristol clubbers with regular doses of liquid funk and musically expansive drum and bass, first at their regular parties and, since 2008, on their offshoot label. Predictably, there's much to enjoy on this celebratory 12". Old pal Break steps up first with a veritable warm summer breeze of a roller, "Mind's Eye" - all punchy, snare-heavy beats, acoustic guitars, rumbling bass and dreamy freestyle vocals - before Superior Selectionz and Ben Soundscape join forces for the slightly more weighty but no less attractive "Justa". Over on side B, Soundscape returns to action alongside Ryogreen and Protone on the wobble bass-propelled stepper "Ruffneck", while Lurch - a lesser-known stalwart of the Bristol scene - delivers some delicious, Afro-tinged liquid funk alongside Joakuim. Rock solid.
Review: He's back at the controls! Breakage has been in his element since launching Index, rolling out jam after jam after jam. Rooted in the foundations, stripped back to the bare bones and designed to make both you and your speakers shake, everything he's delivered on the label so far has been prime mixing material and supported across the board. These are no exceptions; "Yeah" is a cantankerous shakedown with all the funk you'd expect from the man, "Liff Up" is minimal, bouncy and unhurried in its momentum while "Wicked" closes with a snaking sub that will both squeeze and bite you. Wicked and indeed bad, respect to Breakage.
Review: Boy oh boy has Breakage found his jungle groove again. Deep, playful, dark and everything in between, after years of experimenting in the electronic ether, he's returned to his cornerstone rolling signature with a vengeance. The brilliantly-titled "Ric Flair Strut" hits with pure swagger and a buzzy electrified bass that flickers up at the end of every eight. If it doesn't have you showing off your hairy chest and saying 'whoo' a lot, nothing will. Flip for the equally forthright "Sanctuary". Dubby funk with slapping drums and a breakdown that takes you right back into the rushing heart of rave ground zero, its venue namesake would be proud of this homage. On-point.
Review: One of the most prolific and consistent men in drum & bass, Calibre returns to Total Science's CIA with a quartet of golden rollers: "Another" hums with silky subs and perfectly positioned vocal echoes, "Posh Boy" reminds us of Calibre's darker underbelly as alien bass tears squiggle and sneer over crisp two-steps, "Dreamz Dub" opens up with beautiful strings and distant horns before switching into an immense classic jungle retrospective while "Believe It" closes the show with another simple vocal sample that wraps itself around his lean skippy beats. Perfect.
Review: Calibre has been on fire this year, serving up two albums, a swathe of killer collaborations and a handful of fine solo singles. Here he rounds off 2018 in fine style with a pair of polished cuts on his own Signature Records imprint. A-side 'Taciturn" is as musically vibrant and expansive as you'd expect, with poignant piano motifs, sustained chords and breathtakingly beautiful, high register soul vocals rising above punchy breakbeats and warm but weighty bass. Flipside "Butter Love" operates along similar lines, with Calibre wrapping spacey electronics, melancholic strings and liquid synths around a snappy, bass-heavy groove. It's perhaps a little more sub-heavy than the A-side, though both tracks are equally as polished and glassy-eyed.
Review: Aussie breaksmith oft spotted lurking under the alias Sean Thomas or T McAlister, Cop Envy brings the broken heat to Cry Baby for the label's second release. Two sides, two stories; "Balanced" is a woozy aquatic halftime affair with big blunderbuss drums and rich abyssal textures while "Leisure" brings the tempo down for a groove that digs right into the genus of the hardcore continuum. Rolling, iced but not without its machine funk warmth. Nothing to cry about here at all...
Review: Fresh from a fine outing on Bahnsteig23 under the alternative Cassiard DJ alias, Thomas Cassiard dons the C.R.K alias for an expansive outing on Comic Sans. There's a surprisingly symphonic feel to opener "Sad React Only Plz", which flits from a deep space ambient number to a shuffling IDM wriggler midway through, but there's more forthright fare to be found elsewhere across the EP. Check, for example, the off-kilter drums and sparkling melodies of "100g De Balls" and the intergalactic jungle-techno revivalism of "Plus Loin Que La Police". Arguably the EP's greatest moment, though, is closer "Les Etoiles Sont Plus Hautes Que La Ciel", where elongated chords, bubbly beats and tumbling melodies combine to create a poignant and melancholic mood.