Review: Sometimes the road gets too rough. Sometimes you just have to annihilate a punching bag due to the high levels of gully coming into your ears. Whatever you do when things get too stinky, however you deal with the body-blowing pressure of absolutely foul tracks, we know you're going to do it to this new EP from Perez who is on such a roll right now it's crazy. Following his dubstep EP "Last Rites" comes this awesome back-to-dnb-grit session. Opener "Trinity" is just utter high voltage darkness, "Phantonym" takes things even deeper with some proper gruesome bass bubbles while "SWRV" takes us back to Alix's soulful side and "Vibrations" plays the perfect game of contrasts and shade. What an EP.
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: Okbron are a new Russian label dedicated to giving unreleased dubs from the golden D&B oldies a fresh lease of life. Limited (naturally) so not to be slept on, the first in the vinyl series kicks off with Furney. One of the hardest working, underrated D&B craftsman to come through the Goodlooking school of the 2000s, both these cuts come with heavy samples (hence their unreleased status) and hit with epic levels of soul and funk. Timeless and perhaps timely as the classic big-balls liquid sound seems to making its way back. Either way, this is a highly impressive launch release from a label with serious promise.
Review: Boom: 7th Storey bossman Tim Reaper slams down his unavoidable hammer once again. This time on the blink-and-miss Lickshot series. Going right back to the roots for this, both sides are crusty, clattering and rougher than a cat's tongue. Just the way we like them. Real reggae samples, warm dubby bass, unpredictable twists and more groove than a carpenter's worktop; this is proper jungle. Don't fear the Reaper... and don't sleep on this!
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: 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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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: 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".
Horace Andy & Marcus Visionary - "Sound Killer" (Jungle VIP) (6:25)
Visionary - "Hustlin" (feat Camp Souljah) (6:26)
Truespirit - "Deep In The Jungle" (4:06)
Review: Reissue time! As New York jungle pillars Liondub International celebrate 10 years they've put together some of the hardest hitting bangers of their previous "Jungle To The World" collections on this powerful piece of wax. All the right vibes in all the right places, these all sound future fresh: DJ Hybrid's swashbuckling Dread bass backflips on "Special Request", the absolute bashy bless from Horace Andy and Marcus Visionary on "Sound Killer", the warmer reggae soul bubbles of Visionary's "Hustlin" and Truespirit's purring late 90s two-step homage "Deep In The Jungle". No filler in sight whatsoever.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Skee Mask, who only recently was found out to be called Bryan Muller, comes through with his second LP to date, making a wonderful follow-up to 2016's Shred. Compro is, ironically, comprised of a much more explorative palette of sounds, with many corners of the album veering off into otherworldly ambient, often through a striking new-age sensibility. The most impressive element of this album is its flow and evolution across its 12 tracks, sounding a lot more like one single-minded thought rather than a collection of disparate dance-not-dance tunes. The quality of the recording is noticeable, too, with tracks like "Rev8617" or "Via Sub Mids" sounding professional, both in vision and style. Through an intricate collage of breaks, samples, polyphonies, and subtle electronic manipulations, Skee Mask has truly mastered his own art, and is giving a new direction to the wider 'UK rave' sound. BIG.
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.