Review: This expansive, DJ-friendly, triple-pack from Alix Perez's 1985 Music label was apparently designed as both a "statement of intent" and a snapshot of some of the producer/label boss's favourite artists "operating around the 85 BPM/170 BPM axis". That means that while the album contains a string of scorching, experimentally minded D&B floor-slayers - see Perez and Fracture's insatiable "Archetyp", Sabre's luscious liquid roller "Holy Water" and the heavyweight, industrial-tinged dubstep/D&B hybrid that is "Tribes" by Monty - there are almost as many blazed, bass-heavy cuts that operate at a much more sedate tempo. These include a number of compilation standouts, such as the skewed but exotic instrumental hip-hop bounce of Ivy Lab's remix of Epsom's "Oksana" and the dub-wise, deep space beats of "Around" by Deft.
Review: Alix Perez rallies up the troops once again for another smouldering selection of futurism from a truly all-star cast ranging from Tsuruda to Bredren. Playfully writhing amid that dark but so fertile bass hinterland that joins jungle, hip hop, beats and all shades in between, once again we run the gamut from somnambulant soul (Halogenix's super deep "Trouble") to lively steppy warped D&B (SubMarine's "IWY", Razat's "Simplicity", Monty's "Decisions") by way of the unclassifiable (Alix's switchy swampy beast "Poison Ivy", Deft's "Trips"). And we do say so with that awesome sense of unknown, unease and tension that Alix, his label and his equally innovative affiliates have made themselves known for. Welcome to the future.
Review: Delivered a year after Ivy Lab's inaugural volume, the trio's frontier-beat stable supersizes once again with a full crew ensemble: label regulars such as Deft, Shield, Havelock and Ivy Lab themselves are joined by infamous halftime murkers Fixate, Mr Frenkie, Sinistarr as we gear up for another futurist exploration of beats, space and bass. Highlights can be found on every track including the seasick swoons of Sinistarr's "#Accidental Deathing", Havelock's gully-galvanised juke stepper "Badbwoysound" and the tumbling, cascading almost drunken drum arrangement of Phazz's "Caution". Welcome to the future.
Review: Three years in the making; 7th Storey proudly present the stark, twisted foundation-setting work of Mark Loy under his Jungle Buddha guise. Originally released in 1993 on Poetic Justice, the originals have been excavated from DAT, mastered, restored and cut back to wax in all their OG jungle tekno glory. Chaotic, rough, ready and riddled with prang aesthetics to make an army of rudeboys run for miles, this is still sounding decades ahead of where we are right now. A serious artefact.
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").
Review: Deep in the trenches of the acid house revolution, Fabio & Grooverider were experimenting with a darker blend of sonics week in, week out at Rage, one of the UK's formative acid house nights. Detroit and Belgian techno, US house, UK breakbeats, hip-house, Sheffield bleeps were all in the mixing pot as they started to pioneer a sound that would eventually become jungle. Celebrating 30 years since this seminal event, they've curated a series of albums that join the dots between the movement's cornerstones. From Frankie Bones' "Just As Long As I Got You" (from his fabled Bonesbreaks series) to the much darker side of Balearic king Nightmares On Wax in the form of "Aftermath", these are some of the many key records Fabio & Grooverider dug for to create a culture that's just as strong now as it was when it began 30 years ago. One of a four part series, each one is a keeper.
Zombie Cats - "Life After Death" (feat MC Kryptomedic) (4:55)
Livewire & Soul Method - "Hologram" (4:32)
Review: Longstanding D&B bastions Drum&BassArena have been releasing their annual spring collections for many years now. This, however, is the first year they've pressed some of it to vinyl. Featuring the 12 exclusives they'd scored for the album, across the four sides you'll find unique buzz-cuts from the likes of Dub Motion (waspy, live electricity vibes) Mindscape (Devilish neuro) and Total Science (beautiful, slinky roller) and a whole heap more. Pressed in the brand's famous yellow uniform, it's a cool (and limited) flexback to the days when all drum & bass came exclusively on 12".
The Guyver Meets Threshold - "Pain" (Jedi Hifi remix) (5:59)
Tim Reaper - "Redux" (5:24)
Skitty - "Get Away" (5:55)
Prophets Of Soul - "Young Sinners (Street Crime)" (5:30)
Enjoy - "Criticize" (6:10)
Alpha Omega - "Atmosphere" (6:53)
Equinox - "Feelin' You" (7:37)
Threshold - "Bad Nah Bloodclarrt" (Theory remix) (5:22)
Djinn Album Mix (MP3 CD)
Review: Fire in the hole! Stretch's AKO Beatz stable levels up with their first full V/A album. Taking off where the Unknown Elements series left us, the album brings together AKO affiliates and like minds to form a who's who in jungle in 2018. Double O's dreamy "Regions", Kyam's jazz licked stepper "Home Time", Tim Reaper's funk slapped "Redux" and Enjoy's wild break wizardry on "Criticize" are just a handful of the many peaks on this massive four 12" vinyl bounty. Essential.
Oris Jay & Chris Innasound - "Ghost & Darkness" (5:11)
Krust - "Escape From Finland" (3:39)
Au & Jesta - "Just Don" (5:36)
Danny Scrilla - "Clockwerkz" (4:52)
Von D - "Ah So Let It Go" (4:40)
Akcept & Another Channel - "Don't Believe" (6:16)
Monic - "Storm Doris" (4:53)
Review: Let's just list the amount of stone cold bass OGs on this collection: Krust, dBridge, Om Unit, Danny Scrilla, V.I.V.E.K, Von D, Moresounds, AU, Oris Jay & Chris Innasound and whole load more of soundsystem culture's most innovative craftsman working at the deepest levels of the low end coalface all feature on this immense and forward thinking document. Including the curator Amit himself. Every track is a highlight, each one and abyssal, immersive experience but essential highlights include the toxic bass bounces of Moresounds' "They Can't Handle It", the 23rd century UKG of Oris and Chris' "They Can't Handle It" and Krust's big screen masterpiece "Escape From Finland". Amit deserves a holiday. Or a massive trophy. Or both. Bass compilations don't get much bigger than this.
Review: While Joker Records never achieved the cult status of early drum & bass labels such as RAM, Philly Blunt and Urban Takeover, the imprint nevertheless played a crucial role in the development of the style. Here, a clutch of productions from label founders The Dream Team gets a 21st century makeover. There's naturally plenty of tried-and-tested floor fillers present, from the bouncy jump-up stylings of Voltage, Malachi and Papa G's rework of "Sweetie", and the duo's own unreleased "96 version" of sweaty, bass-heavy roller "The God Father", to the bombastic jungle breaks, speedy ragga vocals and pulverizing bass of "Stamina (Bladerunner Remix)". Arguably best of all, though, is the throbbing jungle revivalism of Dj Westy's rework of "Lighter".
Review: Moresounds meets Astrophonica once more for further bassweight adventures. The Paris-based producer was last seen Fracture & Neptune's ever adventurous outpost in 2013, and aside from some work on Machinedrum's Vapour City project that was Moresounds last transmission making the Pure Niceness 12" a most welcome return. The fanatical appreciation of classic dub techniques is of course present, weaving it's way to the fore on opening track "Reality Tune" but as the 12" progresses it becomes a more subtle element. See the ruff junglist brilliance of "Altercations" and the title track, whilst Astrophonica's Neptune pops up on final track "Dead & Bury", a spacious roller that will definitely nice up the dance.
Sam Binga X Lewis James X Rider Shafique - "Ever Fresh" (3:22)
Taso X Fracture - "Lose You" (3:43)
BSN Posse - "No Matter How Far" (3:54)
Moresounds - "Shut Up" (4:30)
Falty DL - "A Day At The Races" (5:09)
Groves - "Hennessy Brown" (4:38)
Proc Fiskal - "Soundwise" (4:30)
Dream Continuum - "Ride Away" (4:35)
ONHELL & Sigrah - "On Sight" (3:28)
DieMantle - "Be Right There" (3:47)
Fracture - "Dropping You" (4:38)
Sully - "Qualia" (5:30)
Review: Astrophonica's first Fracture curated "Gradient" compilation, released in early 2017, was something of an overlooked delight; a killer collection of imaginative and occasionally off-kilter drum and bass cuts that defied lazy categorization. Happily, this follow-up is, of anything, even better. Compare and contrast, for example, the razor-sharp, hot-stepping ragga/dubstep/D&B fusion of Sam Binga, Lewis James and Rider Shafique's "Ever Fresh", and the thrilling jungle/acid house fusion of Luke Vibert's brilliantly bonkers "165 303". Or, for that matter, the sax-laden depth of BSN Posse's half-time "No Matter How Far", or the bass-weight dubstep heaviness of "Hennessy Brown" by Groves. Throw in similarly impressive cuts from Falty DL, Sully, Dream Continuum and Fracture himself, and you have a wonderfully diverse and on-point set of tracks.
Scared Of Love (feat Ray Blk & Stefflon Don) (3:21)
Summer Love (with Rita Ora) (4:19)
They Don't Care About Us (feat Maverick Sabre & YEBBA) (4:36)
Do You Remember (feat Kevin Garrett) (3:41)
Leave It For Tomorrow (feat Elli Ingram) (4:25)
Adrenaline (feat OLIVIA) (3:58)
Review: Rudimental's third full-length, "Toast To Our Differences", was originally slated for release back in September, but ended up being delayed. So was it worth the wait? It's certainly a colourful, vibrant and expansive affair, with the quartet drawing on a far wider palette of influences than were evident on their previous albums. Check, for example, the title track's glistening, South African style tropical pop, the piano-powered cheeriness of "These Days", the soaring power pop of previous single "Sun Comes Up" and the auto-tune heavy EDM-house stomp of "Scared of Love". Given their superstar status, it's unsurprising to see an impressive cast list of guests and collaborators - Major Lazer, Rita Ora and Ladysmith Black Mambazo included - while this "Deluxe Edition" includes a trio of extra tracks.
Jazz Juice - "Detroit" (DJ Lee unreleased 97 remix) (7:48)
Ray Keith - "Rare Groove" (7:16)
Soultec - "Entre L'Inconnu" (feat La Meduza) (5:56)
Okee - "Planet Blue"
Aquasion - "Respect The Game"
Headhunter - "Red Planet"
Paul SG - "This Is Jazz"
Silence Groove - "Take You Away"
Actraiser - "Soul Priestess" (instrumental)
Jrumhand - "Wonsaponatime"
Tidal - "Jazz Tonight"
Physics - "Sonic Area"
Jazz Juice - "Detroit" (DJ Lee unreleased 97 remix)
Ray Keith - "Rare Groove"
Soultec - "Entre L'Inconnu" (feat La Meduza)
A New Beginning (DJ Nibbers & Ben continuous mix)
Review: It would be fair to say that this weighty, quadruple-vinyl compilation is a significant release. Not because of its epic nature - that's a bonus - but because it marks the return to action of Basement Records offshoot Precious Material after a 20-year absence. Back in the day, the early drum & bass imprint was famous for championing jazzy, musically rich and sample-free (or at least sample-light) music that pushed the boundaries of the then nascent genre. This collection of new and recent cuts naturally explores similar sonic territory, drawing together superb, floor-friendly but hugely listenable cuts from the likes of Paul SG, Headhunter, Jrunhand (whose "Wonsaponatime" is a highlight), Ray Keith and original label artist Jazz Juice (the latter with a previously unheard mix of a track from '97).
Review: One of Source Direct's earliest aliases, the Oblivion project only released two 12"s - both of which usually get snapped up for over L50 on sight - but boy were they seminal. Stunning sci-fi soul laced with precision crafted breaks that shatter, melt and rebuild before your very ears, all four tracks across those original 1995 12"s have been carefully remastered and reissued on the freshly revived Basement imprint. From the schizo percussion and rhythm switches of "Night Windows" right through the soul-scorching sweeps and atmospheres of "Sands Of Time", this captures one of the most respected acts of jungle's mid 90s transition into drum & bass at their lightest, dreamiest. Pieces like this will never age.
Last Life In The Universe (Spectrasoul remix) (5:11)
Empire State (Pola & Bryson remix) (5:29)
Fall From Grace (Technimatic remix) (4:54)
Singularity (Need For Mirrors remix) (5:42)
Rollcage (Signal remix) (4:40)
Forest Fire (Hugh Hardie remix) (5:30)
Review: A little under 18 months ago, London trio Blu Mar Ten celebrated 20 years in the game with their seventh album Empire State. Now comes the all-essential remix collection as an all-star cast of BMTM friends and kindred spirits provide their perspective. From Conduct's outstanding desert storm twist of "Delirium" to Need For Mirrors' finger-clicking sci-fi serenade via Signal's doom-heralding tubular roll-out of "Rollcage", every remix commands attention and deserves its place on this collection. And that's before we even mention Calibre and SpectraSoul. Drum & bass remix packages don't get much bigger than this.
Review: Hot on the heels of their "Matriarch" prequel, Conduct stand firm and deliver the release of their lives; frothing out of an awe-inspiring, otherworldly cauldron of ideas, instrumentation and personal influences and dark energies, Oma is unlike anything you've heard before (including their still-ace Borderlands debut album) as it flexes from visceral tribal odysseys such as "The Rain It Come" and "San Bushmen" and 23rd century bloodclart jungle techno such as "RDM" to delicate, introspective excursions such as "Water & Oil" and the smoky blues of "Escapism" and beyond. Without question, one of the most vital and refreshing drum & bass albums of the year.
Review: 25 years and seven albums deep: Blu Mar Ten still have something important to say. With a barbed dystopian feel laced throughout the atmospheres, here we find the trio stepping back and contemplating on some of their finest motifs: the rough, slightly unfinished edge of tracks like "Rollcage", "Titans" and "Empire State"; their silkier, star-gazing introspective stance on tracks like "Forest Fire" and "Fall From Grace" and their widescreen, filmic narratives such as "Immortal Beloved" and "Delirium". Stunning, rolling and laced in soul; you could easily argue this to be Blu Mar Ten's best album so far. Yes, it's that good.