Review: This new one on Martyn's 3024 might be a various artists affair but the tracks sit rather well together, which is even more remarkable given the diverse backgrounds of those involved: Noire with his super hard drums, Metalheadz affiliates Gremlinz & Jesta who link here with Sin, and Parris who makes some truly bonkers club music. Martyn's own "Frozen Bread Snaps" is the opener that most impresses with its delicate and skeletal drum programming and heartfelt chords. Elsewhere, "Door Of Guf" is a high octane rough rider while "Ballas" is perfectly off kilter and funky. "Dusty Glass Bubbles" somehow sounds exactly like it should with that title.
Review: Proc Fiskal used to run a party called Shleekit Doss that was ecstatic and transcendent while still being fun and silly. He tries to capture the magic of the party on this new EP and does so admirably. The 6 tracks on the EP feels clever but charming. It's a collision of hardcore flurries, warped synths and day-glo keys that is often chaotic but also comforting. Drum & bass, rave, future grime and more all colour its grooves, but the resulting sound is pretty much impossible to define (in a good way).
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: A master of all things dark and gritty when it comes to jungle and drum & bass, Ray Keith is back with a vengeance here across two devastating cuts. A side "Jungle Fi Dread" is built on his archetypal dread bass sound, stepping breaks and flailing hits, and it adds up to a controlled bit of dance floor frenzy with numerous peaks and troughs. "What Time Dread" on the flip has a rude vocal stretched and warped over rinsed out breakbeats that shimmer while a droning bassline conjures up some sort of doom-laden final level boss scene from your favourite RPG.
Review: Brazilian producer Coastdream has been seen previously on the likes of Deeptrax, Paling Trax and Renascence and now shows up on London purveyors of dreamy lo-fi house X-Kalay. The title track will take you back to that Second Summer Of Love with its retro euphoric vibes, as will the deep tribal house of "Oh La La". It's over to The Windy City circa '89 on the dusty and saturated emotions of "About You" while "La Esperanza" throws a right curveball at us launching a dark junglist stepper circa '94 right at ya. An EP that joins the dots between several seminal moments across dance music history in fine fashion. Tip!
Review: Metalheadz might be celebrating 25 years in the game in 2019, but they are not spending too much time looking back. Instead, Goldie's vital label continues to serve up forward looking drum & bass, this time from Jem One. A year after his debut on the label he's back with another varied three tracker. Form the swirling pads of liquid roller "Lotus" to the more angsty, tightly coiled drums of old school jungle cut "Transpose" and on to darkened minimal stepper "The Hardcore", there is a lot to love here.
Review: DJ Central presents three new aliases on this elegantly put together 12". Conjuring up the perfect recipe for a DJ Cake, Central blends and explores the likes of pulsating atmospheric techno on the track "Balast", smoothly escalating breaks on "Ko Ko Dak Dak" and hazy crackling ambient on the finale "Daeksel". Unique, inspiring and truly excellent works from the one they call DJ Central.
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: After the game-changing success of his debut album, "Timeless", Goldie could have easily repeated the same trick and cashed in. Instead, he went completely the opposite direction and indulged himself in an hour long orchestral symphony (many years before the current trend for such shows became a thing). Collaborations with Noel Gallagher (the vulnerable "Temper Temper"), personal tracks that address his mother, and a long lost suicide note. Musically, the now 21 year old "Saturnz Return" is mostly dark and broody jungle that will re-wire your brain, though "Digital" and "Fury - The Origin" offer moments of soaring beauty.
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: 7th Storey Projects welcome back Necrotype and Tim Reaper for the "Exclusive To Bandcamp EP", which isn't actually available on Bandcamp. It's an adventurous outing that covers all bases - Necrotype takes care of the a side with "Track 1": all pitch-shifted hardcore vocals and rinsing breakbeats with a mellow but euphoric feel, while "Track 2" is similar but with even more energy in the drums. Tim Reaper steps up first for the ravey banger that is "Track 3" before rounding things off with the a blissed out and intergalactic roller ("Track 4)". These two might be young guns, but they certainly know what they're doing.
Review: This brand new label and brand new artist is unknown, but also said to be widely known. The music itself brims with quality: "Track 1" is a real roller, with a haunting top line that could be an oboe for the way it drifts so enchantingly up top. The drums are clean and crisp, with diffuse synths bringing warmth and soul to this deepest and dopest of tracks. "Track 2" is more aggy with its rattling fills and hardcore drum breaks bringing a more menacing feel to the dance floor. At once old school but also decidedly forward looking, this is classy drum & bass that is sure to get plenty of attention.
Review: Stefan Senf is a man of many aliases. His most popular is Noize Creator but The Duke Of Juke is by far one of his wittiest. The tunes are just as sharp too. Gritty, glitchy and raw doffs a cap towards jungle's primordial melting pot ranging from the ballistic cuts and shunts of opener "Tuff Measures", to the twisted half/quarter time ghetto grunts and bumps of "Boomin' Dub". The staccato drum jitters of "High Plains Trouble Maker" and the peaktime break slammage and sudden dubby drops of "Undecided" are also not to be missed. Put your dukes up.
Review: Having set our world alight with his third Ilian Tape 12", 2012, back in the spring, Munich man Skee Mask delivers another essential collection of loose-limbed, broken techno workouts. Typically, he's on point from the word go, enveloping swinging, off-kilter techno breakbeats with swirling chords and cascading melodies on brilliant opener "Inti". His love of African-influenced polyrhythms is explored further on the ghostly, percussion-rich club cut "Kappelberg Chant" (which, incidentally, makes great use of choral chants), while "Routine" is a warm, loved-up and evocative tribute to rave-era British breakbeat-house. His debt to British dance music's formative years also comes to the fore on killer proto-jungle jam "Skreet Lvl Dub".
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.
Review: Classic alert! Doc Scott revisits his NHS alias for this very special release on 31. The minute you hear that dark, groaning, ultimately evil, bassline you're whisked straight back in the smoky mists of 1996 - even if you were there at the time or not. Still dropped heavily by DJs to this day, this remastered revisit comes with a storming contemporisation from the on-point Om Unit. Identifying the creative potential between the bassline and his trademark halfsteps, it's one of the best D&B modernisations you'll hear all year.
Sara Lugo - "Really Like You" (feat Protoje - Jamie Bostron remix) (5:15)
Sizzla - "I'm Living" (Ed Solo & Stickybuds remix) (5:33)
Review: Ahead of the Jungle Cake's third Welcome To The Jungle collection, Deekline drops two of the album's many heaters; Soulfire soulstress Sara Lugo gets the Jamie Bostron treatment as he retains the warm tones and emotional sentiments of the original while applying a slick rolling breakbeat. Looking for a heavier skanker? Flip for Ed Solo and Stickybuds' bass-flecked twist on the unavoidable Sizzla. Underpinned with a juicy bassline, Sizzla's urging lyrics and the dreamy melodica are both kept in check as we roll deeper into the dance. That's living alright.
Review: Back in the autumn, sometime Metalheadz regular Lenzman launched his own label, The North Quarter. Here he returns for a second outing, bringing with him a quartet of tasty tracks. IAMDDB lends a hand on the sweet, skittish and soulful opener "In My Mind" - all fizzing D&B breakbeats, tumbling piano lines and evocative vocals - before soul man Steo unfurls a heartfelt vocal on the similarly breezy "Tender Love". On the flip, you'll find the moody, urban-sounding D&B-rap roller "Park Hill" (which may or may not be a tribute to the infamously bleak Sheffield housing estate of the same name), and the jazzy D&B warmth of Subphonics' collaboration "Bayview".
Review: Skubi steps into the limelight with his debut release for Modern Ruin, an imprint reserved strictly for the finest in footwork killers. "Brain Music" is basically a modern hip-hop lick with cavernous low-ends and that familiar juke vocal stutter. The same goes for "Wet", a relatively darker, dreamier sort of affair. Remixes comes from none other than Slick Shoota and House Of Black Lanterns, the former opting for a jungle swing while the latter twists and funks that juke into an even nuttier bundle of drums and percussion. Large.
Review: Switching a lighter raising ballad with the energy and gusto of a sugar-high kid at Christmas, Delta Heavy's "White Flag VIP" has been anticipated since Andy C started teasing it around his Alexandra Palace show. Already loaded with feels, the new double time drums add even more emotion and euphoria. Flip for an out-and-out electrical fire as they team up with Metrik for a balls-out, peak time slap session. Excruciatingly good.
Review: Taken from their long-awaited debut album Paradise Lost, Ram roustabouts Delta Heavy deliver two distinct party bombs: "Oscillator" is a guttural growler with a staccato riff and tumbling tripletty drums and a second drop that shreds all the way up from Hades itself. "Fun House" shows the duo's more mischievous side as a post-jump-up riff licks with an atonal forked tongue over titanium beats. Immense.
Review: Busta Rhymes has Flipmode, but Audio has Beastmode! After a slew of heavyweight albums on Virus, Audio is returning to the format with Beastmode forthcoming on the mighty RAM with this 12" sampler the first of many tasters. "Overdose" sets a high marker for the album, finding Audio returning with a brutish, rolling bassline, diced up with gritty drum loops and underpinned by quaking subs. Face down and Audio's signature RAM cut "Ultron" is given the Mefjus treatment, resulting in the sort of techy soundscape the Austrian producer reigns over. Mefjus moulds the original around the unfaltering guns of his peddled drums and wavering bassline.
Review: Powerhouse Ram collab business as Anglo-Dutch duo June Miller play a mean head-butting game with Russian trio Teddy Killerz. "Rock 'N' Roll" has one of the best intros Ram have released in a while before dropping into a sweaty, moshy, air-guitar-snapping halftime groove. "Wildlife", meanwhile, is a sharp, steppy jump-up jam with staccato bass and a powerfully funky breakdown with big percussion and cinematic horns. A near-perfect example of collaboration science.
Unknown Error - "The Yearning" (Super VIP mix) (9:24)
Review: It's been seven months now since the death of Rob Dickeson AKA Apex stunned the drum and bass community. "Echoes" is the last known track that Dickeson completed and is being released by Hospital Records in order to raise funds for Help Musicians UK's Music Minds Matter campaign. It's rather good, too, with poignant pianos, stirring strings and melancholic chords floating over a snappy, liquid funk beat. It's accompanied on the flipside by a fantastic, floor-friendly "Super VIP" mix of "Yearning", a soaring 2006 cut Dickeson produced alongside Jim Gash as Unknown Error. Top tracks and a worthy cause: this should be an essential purchase for D&B heads everywhere.
Your Body (feat Jemimah Read - Bladerunner remix) (6:43)
Black Sky (feat Thomas Oliver - Lenzman remix) (4:54)
Had It All (feat Logistics - Monty remix) (5:15)
More Than Words (feat Charlotte Haining - Seba remix) (5:59)
Review: As the matter-of-fact title makes clear, this expansive EP offers up freshly remixed versions of tracks from Bcee's fine 2017 album Northpoint. LSB is first up to the plate, offering up a wonderfully warm and summery take on soulful roller "Surfacing" that's marked out by suitably loved-up build-ups and breakdowns, before Anile wraps fluid piano lines around a punchy rhythm on a beautifully judged revision of "Northpoint". Bladerunner provides a dose of doom-laden bass and cyber-sonic synths on a rip-snorting revision of "Your Body", while Lenzman's take on "Black Sky" is a soulful, liquid D&B delight. Elsewhere, Monty reaches for the heavy sub-bass and aggressive neuro-funk electronics on his remix of "Had It All" and Seba brings the curtain down via an anthem-like vocal take on "More Than Words".
Review: The second cheeky sensation to come on Jungle Cakes this week, wherein the mysterious JFB gives The Luniz "Five On It" a savage bass battering and The Champs' "Tequila" a gentle breakbeat update. The former is a powerful dance smasher that wouldn't go amiss in Andy C's current Alive rampage. The latter is less raucous but equally bubblesome: Think warm up rather than the sonic showdown that's on the A.
Review: You don't get much more junglistic than Ed Solo and on this latest release from Jungle Cakes, you've guessed it, some sticky, sweet jungle is the order or the day. "Smoke The Weed" is a classic jungle mashup, and with Canadian bass master Stickybuds on hand to provide some serious breaks it quickly escalates to an all-out skanking session. Before you can pass it on, "Joker Smoker" adds retro brass and guitar to build the reggae funk as the track fragments into not one but two different breakdowns providing the basis for some serious dancefloor workouts. Don't sleep on this.
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: The Head Hunter is back! An early jungle protagonist and consistent boundary pusher, Tony Justice returns to his less-is-more Modern Urban Jazz imprint with a brand new crop of timelessness. "Fried" sets the scene, all amen guns blazing, a gritty bass oozing like treacle beneath and cosmic arpeggios. Straight out of the book of 95, it grabs you hook, line and stinker for the rest of the EP: From the mournful synth lines and classic breaks of "Late Night Sweep", those early rave pads of "Edge Of Space" to the jungle techno style 4/4 bumps and jazzy keys of "Melt", this is top shelf material. Let's hope more is in the pipeline very soon.
Review: The start of what many fans are hoping will eventually be an album later this year, Andy C let rip into 2016 with a brand new jump-up party track that smacks of "Twist 'Em Out" era jump up mischief (before things got a little too silly on that side of the genre). Now finally enjoying a vinyl outing, its ballsy sub matches the spiky riff with a dynamic that was seemingly written with wax in mind. The VIP is an interesting approach too; rather than being wilder than the original, it's actually deeper and more heads-down. Classic Andy C subversion... Let's hope it does build to an album.
June Miller - "Robots & Romans" (audio remix) (5:53)
Kryptic Minds - "The Truth" (Insideinfo remix) (5:54)
Rene Lavice - "The Calling VIP" (4:53)
Review: Andy C's mega-label Ram celebrates the big 200 in style: triple vinyl in trifold sleeve with etched sixth side, each of the five cuts represent Ram's dark, start extremes. The touching depths of Culture Shock's long-awaited "Piano Dark", the Noisia-level antics of Audio on his June Miller, InsideInfo's deep throat bass on "The Truth" and the add bass fluctuations on Rene's VIP. 200 singles deep and still killing it, Ram have put together a serious package here.
Review: Over the last decade, few drum & bass producers have impressed more than Bristol-based Brazilian S.P.Y. While his default setting seems to be summery, string-drenched and giddily soulful, he's also capable of delivering dark and weighty dancefloor onslaughts. Certainly, that seems to be the idea behind the Alone in the Dark series, which launched earlier this summer. There's naturally much to enjoy on this second double-pack in the series, from the booming sub-bass, scorching beats, wavy vocal samples and twinkling pianos of "Get Up" and aggressive, stripped-back moodiness of "Cold Wave" (complete with both industrial sounding riffs and pulsating sub-bass), to the hip-hop/dark jungle fusion of "Mind Over Matter" and ridiculously heavy opener "Termination".
Review: Phil Tangent & Philth - AKA the two coolest Phil's since Mr Mitchell of Albert Square - return to Artificial Intelligence's imprint Integral with four more heart-massagers. Glistening with a selection of much-loved and precision-positioned samples, "Eclipse" takes the lead and has potential to be one of the biggest tunes this summer. It's backed by the equally delicious and soulful "Consequence" where plucky guitar strums and a gilded vocal join forces to bring you to your knees, the heads-down and contemplative Soul:r-style dreamer "Star Song" and the powerful drum-led celestial wounder "Meditation". Phil up while you can.
Review: More spatial exorcisms from the BFDM family. New and old faces alike, all French, it's the label's broadest and heaviest V/A wax to date. Basses Terres takes us deep in the machine with a well oiled slo-mo pneumatic break, Comic Sans-slinger C.R.K cooks up a spicy gumbo of militant apocalypse electro while Jonquera continues the electroid theme with a devilish pitched snare roll and wry synth slap bass pops and twang. Elsewhere Lastrack insists we travel to Jupiter by way of the Amazon while Daxyl's Jean Redondo closes the show on a schizoid broken techno freak out. Stark.
Review: Having made a name for themselves creating the most evil drum & bass music the world has ever seen, in recent months Noisia have been seen DJing at house clubs, releasing singles with prominent house labels and most recently remixing for the likes of Robbie Williams! However, it wasn’t long before they decided to go back to the dark side and join forces with good friend Mayhem to come up with something more disgusting than ever. Oh, and they got KRS One to provide the vocal on "Exodus"! A truly breathtaking intro, bursting with evil foreboding, sets the scene, before Noisia and Mayhem unleash the darkness with their signature drum programming alongside futuristic, never heard before beats and breaks.
Love Ain't Just A Word (feat Anne Marie & Dizzee Rascal) (4:02)
Rumour Mill (feat Anne Marie & Will Heard) (4:06)
Common Emotion (feat Mnek) (4:49)
Go Far (feat Will Heard) (4:31)
Foreign World (feat Anne Marie) (4:19)
Too Cool (feat Ella Eyre) (3:59)
Bloodstream (with Ed Sheeran) (5:10)
Treading On Water (feat Sinead Harnett & Will Heard) (5:15)
Needn't Speak (feat Lianne La Havas) (4:58)
Lay It All On Me (feat Ed Sheeran) (4:02)
New Day (feat Bobby Womack) (4:20)
Review: The second album from London's soul-loving, pop-munching, chart-bashing crew Rudimental enjoys a vinyl release. Peppered with big vocal appearances including Bobby Womack, Ella Eyre, Dizzee Rascal and Ed Sheeran, the album ranges from their signature shiny drum & bass to soulful house ("Go Far"), rare groove style funk ("Common Emotion") and all shades in between from sultry and smoochy to out-and-out festival unifiers.
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.
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: One year later, UVB-76's shadowy collective 4 6 2 5 strike again with two more unique startling schematics. Flexing across the tempo axis, "Sedition" leads with a fast 170 twist as hard pneumatic kicks cut through the dense foggy atmospherics before doubling up the momentum and taking unpredictable twists midway. "Crown Of Nails" maintains the hunchback pressure and that heavy foreboding sense synonymous with each member of the collective, but does so at a cool 105BPM pace giving space for each percussive element to ricochet around your purdy little pranged-out soul.
Review: Russia's D&B golden boy Enei hasn't released a bunk tune since he first emerged on Fokuz and Subway almost five years ago. So let's face it; he's not about to change this habit on his debut solo album. Yup, Machines is every bit - and club ready - as you'd expect it to be. Immersive bass depths laced with industrial force and just the right balance between clinical mastery and raw soul, it's Enei at his least bunk ever. Highlights include the hymnal dark bouncer "The Moment" (with DRS), the Reinforced-meets-"Up All Night" flavours of "Elephant" and the stark minimal theory of "Trainchaser".
Review: A tasty little teaser piece from his album Machines, here Enei calls up Eastcolours and Noel to revisit their 2011 hit "Cracker". Spacing out the darkness with a pneumatic bass plunge and more emphasis on the percussion it's more than worthy of its VIP status. Meanwhile on the B we find a brand new, non-album track "Crawlers". A tag-team with Mefjus, there's added edge and paranoia that gives it more than a faint whiff of Black Sun Empire. Tasty!
Review: Critical is a label synonymous with quality drum and bass and Kasra's latest signing, Stray, isn't about to disappoint. Kicking off with an eerie, horror movie style atmosphere and stripped down beats, the intro on "Erase" sets the mood nicely. With a growling bass, sprinkling of breaks and a dark, moody vibe, this minimal track drops heavily with enough weight for the dancefloor. "Locked Up" on the flip side is a much more uplifting affair, with thought provoking melodies, rolling breaks and a warm bassline..
Review: Ivy Lab... The new name for Stray, Sabre and Halogenix who, exactly this time last year, stopped D&B floors in their tracks with the utterly stunning soully roller "Oblique". Featuring Frank Carter III it was unlike anything else being released at the time and was one of the scene's highlights. Here they re-join Frank for an equally stunning follow-up that's every bit as delicate as it is heavy. Frank's honey-like vocals are a delight while the textured tune beneath is deadly simple but overwhelmingly effective. The grumpy upstart "Brat" on the B shows they've still got cohones when they want too. Unadulterated sonic satisfaction.