Review: Hot on the heels of Phil:osophy's latest treasure trove comes another bounty of bliss from Artificial Intelligence's Integral. This time with old friends Zero T and longstanding vocalist Steo. "Can't Hide" is pure soul heaven; delicate layers of Steo's harmonies arranged softly over a spacious beat and lilting pianos, it's T and Steo at their most evocative and feel-heavy. "Make Time" kicks with more urgency as techno-like synths stab hypnotically, balanced by Steo's falsettos and gently rising instrumentation. Elsewhere the unstoppable Monty gives their evergreen 2016 soul-out "Too Close To See" a bittersweet twist. There's no hiding from this one.
Review: One of drum & bass's most in demand and distinctive singers Collette Warren gets her first artist EP on Marky's Innerground and she's rolling deep. Marky provides an Intalex style hurricane for Warren and current golden soul man Tyler Daley to duet on, while Random Movement gets his little jittery clipped funk flare on that complements Warren's jazzy signature perfectly. Halfway in, Calibre turbo charges up the amen and organ machine for one of the strongest cuts of the set before Seattle's Quadrant & Iris cook up a rolling pacer for the most energetic, insistent cut on the 12". Four unique designs, one singular voice. We hope an album drops in the future.
Review: Madrid's man in London Vromm has already made some resounding moves on the likes of Critical and Doc Scott's seminal 31 imprint but this could be his boldest move to date on this Cosmic Bridge debut. "For The New Age" is a powerful future soul slicker, all shiny, hopeful and sprung with jazzy flourishes, "Restart" switches to a slimline, jittering cosmic jungle aesthetic while Cosmic Bridge builder Om Unit himself taps in for a beautiful collabo finale "Stargazing". Freeform in its feel and focus, it's a near 10 minute trip that's once again tinged with a jazz mindset thanks to its heavy layers and percussive variations. Beautiful.
Review: After 12 years in the game, Spanish D&B stable Melting Pot hasn't lost its appetite for promoting rising talents. Here, they offer a vinyl debut to Adrian Moreno AKA Voltage Voodoo. Significant contains four tracks from his recently released debut album of the same name, and is as punchy, raucous and industrial-fired as you'd expect. Choose between the fizzing, concrete-clad electronics, rolling breaks and mutilated rock riffs of "Significant", the bass-heavy jungle-rap of MC Mood hook-up "Make Up", the savage sub-bass and percussive aggression of "No God" and the Nine Inch Nails-goes-D&B growl of closer "King Kong".
Review: Nodding to the days of widespread dance anonymity, where the focus was firmly placed on the music rather than reputations and brand hype, Bring Back's fourth release is soaked in hardcore and jungle tones in keeping with both the mysterious artist tip and the label's name. Basically music to make you sweat. 'Night Selector' is perhaps the least rave-y of the lot, and that's saying something considering its stretched amens and mysterious, futurist ambience. 'Light In Ghetto' throws itself fully into the revivalist movement, beautiful female lyrics and pitched vocal cuts crying out over a rhythm section that's stripped enough to make room for choppy, distorted keys. 'Lobster', meanwhile, plays with time signatures, paying respect to the roots of these sounds- dub and soundystem culture- in between full-throttle nastiness.
Quadrant, Iris, Ulterior Motive - "Intuition" (6:04)
Review: Guidance strike again! Two sides, two vibes: first up the label bossmen Ulterior Motive continue their ripping vein of form with the weapon's grade stepper "Trip Hammer" that hits with serious space around every gritty funk element. Flip for a hook-up with dynamic US duo Quadrant & Iris as we're taken down a wormhole of dark delights at a white knuckle pace that doesn't let up. Huge shouts to Guidance right here.
Review: It's now official: Future Cut are back and they're not mucking around. After years in the pop game, making number one hits for more songs than you care to sing along to in the shower, the Renegade Hardware renegades return to D&B on wax with the able co-piloting from Bournemouth's do-no-wrong duo Ulterior Motive. The result is three cuts that cross the entire breadth of jungle's craggy landscape. "Flash Mob" an all-out, balls-out roller with menacing late 90s undertones, "Bagleys" is a Spirit-esque stepper with sublime percussive Q&A "Second Nature" closes the show on a beautiful Bristolian funk flex. Welcome back Future Cut, big up Ulterior Motive. History has been made right here.
Review: A brand new label and brand new chapter for Ulterior Motive. Guidance was the name of the night they held in Bournemouth as they cut their teeth and chowed down on their craft. Now the Headz alumni return to these roots with four stark, stripped back and roughened constructs; "The Wobbler" takes the lead with its woozy synth hits and SP's distinctive flow. "Clap Ya" is all about the sci-fi bashy steppery while "Anode" sees them sparring with Icicle on a brittle, sinewy one-note jam that gets very messy very quickly. "Kamakura" sends us packing to the Orient for the final excursion as eastern strings and scales shroud a wriggling, spacious drum arrangement that smacks of the duo's originality. We need more Guidance like this.
Review: Oh gosh. Total Science ante up for the summer with this exceptional V/A EP on their CIA imprint. Kicking off with a crucial new remix of their classic "Nosher" by their new hybrid gang comprising of themselves, DLR and Hydro, full breadth and variation abounds as we dip into the gilded soul of Zero T & Phase's "Talk To Me", the gnarled grizzles and dubby danger of their own "Devils Gate" with Scar member Script and the grand finale; a heavyweight purring roller from two of the most respected newcomers in the game right now: Ill Truth and SATL. Each one a persy for different chapters of the night, any further information is classified.
Review: 32 years after they first bonded over a mutual love of hip-hop, Oxford drum and bass duo Total Science are still going strong. You'd have expected their form to dip in that time, but this two-tracker - a second collaboration with French pal Samy Ponsar AKA War - is as on-point and exciting as the pair's classic works. A-side "What Now" is particular potent, with the trio peppering a surging bassline and fizzing D&B drums with all manner of crazy effects, redlined percussion hits, reggae vocal samples and dreamy chords. If anything, flipside "Cool & Deadly" is even better, primarily thanks to snappier beats, dub style sub bass and more loved-up chord sequences.
Review: What a year to be a Threshold enthusiast: first came his crucial "Blackboard" EP on AKO Beatz, now his return to Fresh 86 with four more singular cuts. As the title suggests, it's a deep space mission from the off; those big paranoid chords and foreboding organs on the title track, the zero gravity breaks and textures of "Velvet Pum", the turbine bass and creepy harmonics of "Talking Reece" and the all-out asteroid bounding jungle finale "Mars Attacks". Galvanised by a strong nod to Moving Shadow but done packing a 2020 punch, Threshold's on an incredible roll this year.
Review: Hot on the chem trails of his Dispatch EP "Posse", Cologne's SubMarine returns to Alix Perez's 1985 with his first EP for the label. It leads with "Xertz", a sinewy roller data spitting roller that's been heavily supported by the likes of Monty, Halogenix and Perez himself. "Dive Alarm" is pure cascading panic while "Luna" rumbles with a creepy sense of gothic suspense and pure alien purrs on the bass. Finally "Angler Beat" bigs up all fishermen out there with a bassline that will catch us all hook, line and stinker. Take a deep dive today.