Review: Brand new Marky! It's about time... Four years after his "My Heroes" album landed (and two years after his last single - "Silly VIP") the Sao Paulo don returns with two perfect soulful D&B gems. "Should I" looks back to the early 2000s with its powerful sample and Bingo-style bubbling bassline while "Love Break" takes off where "Silly" left us; swooping instrumentation that will have you leaping behind the decks and a break that will never ever quit. Don't leave it so long please Marky!
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: 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".
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: Last year's hair-raising adventures of everyone's favourite jungle superhero Action Saxxon continue to see the light of day as Liondub drops this second EP of album favourite on 12". Running the full range, we kick off with gritty atonal groans with DJ Limited ("Way Back") and end with one of the fattest, distorted rollers the Norwich man has mustered ("Rollcall"). In between we're treated to sensual jazzy flutters ("Cherry On Top") and a wobbler so flabby it often swaps wardrobes with your dad. Action stations!
Review: Back to 93! Rave duo Hyper On Experience were absolutely dominating the sets of DJs like Seduction, Carl Cox, Slipmatt and Phantasy and anyone paying attention to the then-fledgling Moving Shadow imprint. Now part of a major remaster and reissue campaign from Kniteforce, their third EP enjoys a timely evaluation: "Disturbance" is the mischievous opener, all impish and no sense of direction (in the best way possible), "Monarch Of The Glen" takes us more into happier territories with some goosebumping pianos and cool halfbeats while "Lil Ruffion" nods heavily to a European drum, all techno and flighty. Reload.
Abducted (Digital's 'Is This A Dream' remix) (5:20)
Review: Blimey! As if Digital's originals aren't heavy enough, here come some absolutely flaming versions. "Waterhouse Dub" gets a savage tonking from Kiljoy that flips the breaks but retains all focus on that iconic riff of the original. US genre-flexers Sight Unseen take "Strictly DnB" to some dark, disturbing places behind those big warm horns while the main man himself takes on his own "Abducted" with a stark stripped back steppy feel that gives the bellowing subs. No one does it like Digital, right down to the remixers he gets on board. Massive.
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: Heavyweight material from Fresh 86 as always. This time we see the mysterious Kloak step up with four pressurised roll-outs that stink of foundations but thrust deep into the future. "Big Trouble" is all about those switchy processed breaks, "In Focus" flirts around the rim of a black hole, pulling us in and out of perspective while "Russian Troll Farm" provides the trippiest punch with its dense weave of reverse breaks. Finally, "Travels In Hyper Reality" ends on a dreamier Good Looking style. Floaty, emotional... But loaded with bite. Get your devices out.
Review: Back on wax by popular demand (this time green), OG producer Chatter B's return to the game enjoys a re-boost and it still sounds every bit as vital; "Smoke Da Weed" has that bubbly Breakage feel that just hums through a system so sweetly. Elsewhere "Jam Hot" hits with a little more Bristol flavour, all minimal and bouncy, while the reggae-topped "Burn Down Da Dance" hits with much chunkier beats and more of a modern D&B feel. That's before we even get to the ravey jam from OG solider Potential Bad Boy. Jump on it or wait two years for another reissue.
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.
Ill Truth & Satl - "In Your Soul" (feat Charli Brix - Lenzman remix) (5:17)
Total Science & FD - "3 Way" (4:54)
Review: One look at who's involved here should raise any drum and bass head's eyebrows. All genre A-listers, it's one of those release schedule entries that's guaranteed to get everyone excited, and thankfully the pudding is just as tasty as those ingredients. Break & Kyo lead the charge with 'Past North', a summertime anthem-in-the-making opening on acoustic guitar chords that wouldn't sound weird on a Me One record. Definitely one for festivals, boxfresh percussion ensures it fully fires off once the poppier elements temporarily subside. That said, DJ Marky's 'Hard Hands' trumps it for crisp drum work, delivering some typically exotic vibes. Ill Truth and Satl's 'In Your Soul', or at least its Lenzman remix, keeps the sexy and smooth warmth alive, with '3 Way' closing out on a dub-influenced tip courtesy of Total Science and FD.
Review: US skateboarding magazine Jenkem Mag has long hosted DJ mixes in a range of styles on its website, and in 2017 the spin-off Jenkem Records launched with a multi-genre compilation called 'Beginnings'. Now, over two years later (we're clearly operating on 'skater time' here), the label's second release is this four-track EP from Brooklyn duo and recently announced Rinse FM residents AceMoMa, and it's almost as eclectic as its album-length predecessor, taking in off-kilter melodic house ('Ethereal Stepping'), deep tribal techno ('Nothing Crazy') and drum & bass (the retro junglism of 'Lucky Number 12' and the Bukem-esque 'Soul Deep Management').
Review: The ever versatile and innovative Martyn goes back to his bass roots again with three explorations into three of the UK's most important offerings to the dancefloor: UKG, D&B and dubstep (the genre in which Martyn first made his name) The title track is an industrial strength two-step vibe-out with gloopy, oily textures around the molten steppy rhythm. "BC 2", meanwhile, takes us back to the late 90s/early 2000s. Think Photek, Johnny L, Source Direct and you're in the right dance. Finally "Rhythm Ritual" takes us back to 2008 with a bright bashy technoid twist on the ever-evolving dubstep schematics. Timeless.
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: Oof! It's finally here; two east London mic dons link up over a heavy Chimpo beat on Jamakabi's Rhythm Rollers for a name that truly lives up to its name. Doing the rounds in various forms since last year, "Wickedest Ting" touches wax in two perfect version; the body-slamming original and a bashing jungle twist from the Ghosty Men. Wicked.
Review: If ever there was a record that warranted a one-track single-sided pressing, it would be this one. The legend of this track harks back to the golden years of dubplate culture, when a track's infamy could be felt months before it dropped. Sherelle lay waste to the place when she dropped Fixate's utterly devilish bootleg of Double 99's timeless garage classic "Ripgroove," which artfully nudges the track back into the rudest jungle styles the original made such good use of. It had to get an official pressing, and who better than original label Ice Cream Records to do the business? This one is going to fly out, so don't hang around.
Jamalski, Rocker T & Mr Live - "Put It On" (Liondub & Bluntskull remix) (4:51)
Johnny Osbourne & Marcus Visionary - "Lend Me" (5:17)
Bladerunner & DJ Westy - "Original Bad Boy" (5:57)
Review: What a ting! North America's running wild with drum & bass right now but here are two of the realest, most enduring names: Marcus Visionary and Liondub International. Four tracks taken from Marcus's recent mix album, highlights include aggy dancehall hip-hop fusion of "Put It On" and the utterly disgusting roller "Original Bad Boy" from Bladerunner and DJ Westy. Featuring the likes of Navigator and Rankin Joe, there's some of the strongest voices possible on this collection. The Atlantic gates are well and truly open.
Review: A fierce n' firing D&B four-tracker here from Joe Rossiter and Liam Bailey, better known collectively as Chromatic, a UK duo who've appeared previously on Dope Plates, New Playaz, Formation Records and Flexout Audio, among others. Opener 'The Prayer' (feat Tim Cant) brings the mid-90s jungle vibes, while liquid, minimal and jungle influences collide on 'Roots' (feat Soul Intent). On the flip, 'Kavos' (feat RV) is another old school-sounding roller, and then finally 'Blend' itself is a smoother ride - liquid in feel without being all wishy-washy about it. It all adds up to an EP that'll do the pair's ever-growing reputation no harm whatsoever.
Review: AKO welcome long-timer Madcap. Oxford-based and on the scene for a good 20 years, he's been slowly building up a powerful arsenal on the likes of Good Looking, Soul Deep, Fokuz and many more for the last 10+ years. With the backing of Stretch, on his fast-developing 10" label AKO 10, this is one of the biggest moves yet. "Out Of Reach" is big and breezy deep jungle, loaded with space for the pianos to smoulder and the echoed vocals to waft majestically in and out of the mix. Flip for "Sunshine Dub" where you'll feel you've heard it all before... In the best possible way. Don't sleep on this one, it's a cheeky one.
Pola & Bryson - "Find Your Way" (feat Charlotte Haining) (5:17)
Glxy & Gzb - "Yes Jah" (5:13)
Mitekiss - "Some People" (4:34)
Signal - "How Will I Know" (3:57)
Review: Shogun Audio dig deep into the vaults once again for a collection of long-demanded vinyl outings. Taken from right across the label's broad spectrum, we kick off with Pola, Bryson & Charlotte Haining's anthem sing-along "Find Your Way" before GLX follow with one of their darkest steppers to date "Yes Jah". Meanwhile on the flip Mitekiss's piano-massaging dreamweaver "Some People" before Signal's hurricane vocal headbutt "How Will I Know You" shuts down the session in timeless style. Grab it while you can.