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.
Review: Seven 12"s all boxed up and beautiful, Fokuz enter the collector's league with this gorgeous 28 track opus that explores drum & bass's deepest, most soulful side. Highlights abound in every direction, notable compositions include Dreazz & Emery's Alice Russell-sampling "Riding High", a subtle VIP twist on Silence Groove's 2014 Bukem-esque soully roller "Playing With Fire" and the jazzy, loopy sample sprinkles of Paul SG's "Faso". Testament to Fokuz's curation and talent identification, this is a bold and ambitious release. Highly recommended.
Review: Shogun duo Technicolour and Komatic cut their third album to deluxe wax comprising two white 12"s and two coloured 10"s... And it sounds every bit as good as it looks. Soulful yet varied in its scope and range, it's the most confident and clearest LP the duo have given us so far as it ranges from the darker, gnarlier minimal twists of "True Believer" to the more signature flourishing orchestration of cuts like "Weightless (feat Lucy Kitchen)" and naked introspection such as "The Nightfall (feat Jono McCleery)". And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Potential drum & bass album of the year.
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).
Bcee - "Back To The Street" (feat Philippa Hanna - Bcee's remix) (5:02)
Saikon - "Eastern Shimmer" (4:50)
Johnny L - "Bass Break" (Nu Tone remix) (5:09)
Villem - "Reflections" (feat Jevon Ives) (5:01)
Airshots - "Can't Catch Me" (feat Ben Shemel) (4:51)
Seba - "My Love" (6:37)
Anile - "Turn Around" (4:49)
Bcee - "Hand On My Heart" (4:55)
Riya - "We Belong" (feat Maverick Soul & Frank H Carter III - Bcee remix) (5:23)
Low R - "Other Side" (feat Anna Pancaldi) (5:19)
John B - "If U Need Anything" (5:17)
Utah Jazz - "Handle It" (feat DRS - Pola & Bryson remix) (5:18)
Dexcell - "Missing Pieces" (5:16)
Macca & Loz Contreras - "One Love" (5:14)
LSB - "My Squeeze" (6:22)
Zerozero - "Before" (feat Lameduza) (4:53)
Bcee - "Wanderer" (Black Barrel remix) (6:01)
Villem & McLeod - "The Sea" (feat Heidi Vogel - Bcee remix) (4:24)
Walk:R - "Wallflower" (5:39)
The Vanguard Project - "Is This Love" (feat Lucy Kitchen - Dexcell remix) (4:59)
Review: 14 years after he launched the label via a collaborative 12" with pal Lomax, BCee's Spearhead Records has finally notched up a century of releases. To celebrate, the veteran producer/label owner has gathered together a killer selection of previously unheard cuts. There's plenty of gems to be found within the 24-track selection, with highlights including the dub-wise D&B skank of Bungle's "Northern Dub", the elongated sub tones, jazzy breaks and dreamy melodiousness of Redeyes' "Outlines", the angular bass-weight and sunshine shuffle of John B's "If U Need Anything" and the drowsy deep jungle revivalism of Technimatic and LSB's "Sight Lines". As you'd expect, there are some great contributions from BCee dotted throughout, including a sublime personal "re-fix" of his own "Back To The Streets".
Violent Circuit Autonomy (feat Lewis James) (5:11)
Your Bit Crushed Heart (4:48)
Lost In A Memory (2:07)
Filtered Scenes (6:23)
Wij Zijn (feat Lewis James & Kid Drama) (4:38)
UR A Star (feat Alia Fresco - reprise) (5:17)
Review: Ten years after his debut solo album Gemini Principal, Exit bossman, D&B sage and ardent futurist Darren White tells us where he's at with his sophomore A Love I Can't Explain. Taking us several thousand leagues into his abyss, the vibe is heavy, moody, pensive and synthetic. Created on a whole arsenal of outboard machines, and not a sample in sight, this is dBridge in his most creative and narrative; political themes can be felt in the slo-mo autonomic purrs and glides of "Monitored Meanings", tension, pressure and hope combine somewhere in the distant future on the Lewis James collaboration "Violent Circuit Autonomy" while "Nachtlus" takes us even deeper into the machine where the distortion and textures are so strong you sense you can feel the circuits throbbing around you. Closing with his regular set opener "UR A Star" (a cover of his brother Steve Spacek) he leaves you writhing in the sudden twist of light at the end of a long dark tunnel. Immense, perplexing and built to last... This is an album we'll keep coming back to for years to come.
Review: In today's climate, the term EP is surely one of the most misused by record labels; we've lost count of the number of two track 12"s that arrive at Juno HQ labelled as EPs in error by thems that don't know. Dutch drum and bass troupe Noisia are fully aware that it means Extended Play as this Purpose EP demonstrates with a full grip of some eight tracks slapped across four 12"s! Housed in a gatefold sleeve featuring artwork from Nik and Khomatech, Purpose features collaborations with contemporaries Phace, Prolix and Evol Intent. Noisia Fans will probably already have soaked up the viciously ill opening track "Oh Oh" and the remainder of the EP doesn't relent one bit with "Running Blind" a particular highlight.
Review: While their powers may have waned in recent years, there was a time when each new Autechre release was nigh on essential. This sumptuous box set from Warp revisits that time, collecting together all 47 tracks from their singles between 1991 and 2002. Naturally, it runs chronologically, beginning with their hard, rave-era floor fillers (see "Cavity Job") and early IDM experiments (various versions of the brilliant "Basscadet"), before moving on to the clattering rhythms of the Anvil Vapre and Envane EPs, the smacked-out bliss of Cichlisuite and the dystopian worlds of EP 7. Along the way there are two Peel Sessions, a raft of forgotten favourites and a skip load of cold and weary gems.
Review: No other artist in the game could pull a stunt like this off: Such is his proliferation, Calibre's Shelflife series are his way of gathering ideas that he felt weren't right for single releases, or dubs that he just never got round to putting out. As with previous editions, the whole collection rolls like an album due to his consistent, spacious signature. Highlights: How about every track? You need specifics? The piano-slapping sunny-side opener "Latin Way", the big jazzy washes and lolloping rolls on "Model Way", the pushy, gritty breaks on "Spirit Catcher", the wriggling drums, stark minimalism and mid 2000s techno feel to the hook on "Underfire". We could go on and on. It's Calibre - you know what to do.
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.
Review: Om Unit takes it to the bridge once again. His label's first V/A collection since its evergreen "Cosmology Selections" in 2017, it's another vast plain ripe in sonic depths and textures from some of the most left-minded, boundary-fusing captains in the bass game. Featuring two crucial link-ups from the bossman himself with two kindred spirits Djrum and Synkro plus a whole cosmic cornucopia of voyages from the likes of Danny Scrilla, J:Kenzo, Vromm and stacks more, every track is a highlight in its own beguiling way. No label flares with the same level of dark vitality, there's more than enough for our brains to chew on right here.
Review: While Calibre's studio albums are invariably superb, his periodic Shelflife compilations of unreleased tracks and tried-and-tested dubplates are often even better. Predictably, this fifth volume in the series not only hits the spot, but also contains some genuinely grade-A material. Many will naturally gravitate towards high-class DRS hook-up "City Life" and the sought-after Marcus Intalex collaboration "Bluesday" (a typically warm, melodious and soulful affair), but there are plenty of other highlights amongst the 12 tracks on. These largely tend towards the more sun-kissed and breezy end of the D&B spectrum, though there are some tougher and darker workouts (see the low-slung sci-fi growl of "Jaboc") amongst Calibre's waves of dancefloor positivity.
Review: One of the most vital and innovative producers drum & bass has seen in years, Skeptical comes correct with his debut album on the impeachable Exit and it's every bit as heavy, spacious and thoughtful as you'd expect it to be. From the opening mechanical purrs and well oiled halftime of the opening title track right through the dusty soul echoes of the album's downtempo finale track "Violet", Enjoy This Trip is the type of album that sucks you right in and refuses to let you go. With stacks of dancefloor weight in there too (see "Grub", "Void", "Duck Soup" to name but three), this is an exemplary LP that hits the spot at home on the headphones or home at the controls. Take a trip today.