Review: Hanzo on Repertoire. You don't even need to press play on this one. Both artist and label are making consistently sharp moves, exploring jungle and drum & bass' furthest quarters and this one is no exception. "Maya Warfare" puts you in the driver's seat. Skittered breaks and haunted tones, there's a schizoid sense of tension running throughout. It's backed by three more remarkable schematics; the ghostly, pipe-wield "Kali Ma", the dark mind-altering pads and classic hardcore elements of "Mindblock" and the dense, swathing rain forest romp "Nodowa". Immense.
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: Eliphino continues to explore his emotionally charged, modern sound with this new mini LP for Secretsundaze. Following the trend laid out by his previous turns on Hypercolour, The Love Below and Meda Fury, he unfurls a richly harmonic sound that places emphasis on melodic progression to tell a particularly personal story, ranging from the emotive "Studio Time" to the crooked break-flecked "Old Lemons". "Second Sunday" flirts with electro and "Breaking Up Is Hard" veers towards jungle, but throughout Eliphino's personality binds the record together in fine style. Thoroughly contemporary and unbounded by genre restrictions, this is the sound of someone making the record they want to make.
Review: Now THIS is how you launch a label. Response and Pliskin present Northern Front's first release and it contains three highly respected names across the game. First up is a collab with Deadman's Chest, "Control State" sets the glacial tone and some cold hard truths over a hardcore jam that stinks of 1992 before Digital joins the fray and adds a little cosmic poetry, mystical pads and hurricane breaks on "True Story". Finally, Need For Mirrors glides into the mix and brings a deeper, rolling vibe on "Ruins", a track that gets darker the deeper as we progress. Three blinders, three totally different shades. We can't wait to hear what the Northern Front deliver next.
Review: 1985 is a London based platform for forward thinking electronic music, basing its roots in 170/85 BPM and beyond. Label head honcho Alix Perez takes charge of the label's next release alongside label staple Montgomery Brimley from Toulouse (aka Monty) and London based Jeroen Snik aka Icicle (Shogun Audio/Entropy Music). Perez first flies solo on the darkside techstepper "BXL", while "Caligo" (with Monty) builds the suspense with its industrial edged atmosphere. On the flip, "Live With It" (with Icicle) is minimalist breakbeat science with a futurist edge, featuring pitch shifted and melancholic vocals, with a sub-bass that tears through your speakers like a chainsaw.
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: 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: 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: 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: He's back at the controls! Breakage has been in his element since launching Index, rolling out jam after jam after jam. Rooted in the foundations, stripped back to the bare bones and designed to make both you and your speakers shake, everything he's delivered on the label so far has been prime mixing material and supported across the board. These are no exceptions; "Yeah" is a cantankerous shakedown with all the funk you'd expect from the man, "Liff Up" is minimal, bouncy and unhurried in its momentum while "Wicked" closes with a snaking sub that will both squeeze and bite you. Wicked and indeed bad, respect to Breakage.
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: Last year, Ashley Tindall aka Skeptical treated us to his first full length, "Enjoy This Trip", and it ended up being one of the best bass music LPs of 2018. It's too early to tell whether "Fibonacci Sequence", his first outing since, will be a 2019 standout, but we can confirm that it's certainly impressive. Check first opener "Charge", a moody and razor-sharp D&B stepper full of metallic drum hits and elongated analogue bass before turning your attention to the experimental D&B/IDM fusion of "Snail Trail". The producer's quality threshold remains high on side B, where the bustling, stripped-back heaviness of "Mechanism" is followed by the creepy, atmospheric and surprisingly tribal title track.
Review: Sneaker Social Club are not messing around! Following their previous outings from the legendary trio 2 Bad Mice comes remixes from two impeccably forward thinking break crafters; Sully takes "Gone Too Soon" into some fantastical places as the breaks scream jungle but the big breeze pads scream Alex Reece but both elements work together emotively. Falty DL, meanwhile, gives us a hardcore schooling on "Limit Of Paradise" with its heavily layered breaks, wall of sound pads and dynamic drops into spacious hooks. Bad to the (clear vinyl) bone!
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: Rewind to 2014: the duo previously known as Technicolour & Komatic galvanize everything they'd done before with a debut album that boosted them several levels. Four years later and Desire Paths remains a vast and vibrant set rich in emotion in all directions. From evergreen soulful, highly strung roll-outs such as "Beneath The Skies", "Music Is Music" and "Night Vision" to darker pacers like "Innermost" and "Tectonic" via off-piste surprises like the jazzed out "Mucky Jeff", this debut album stands the test of time perfectly. Last pressed two years ago, now's your chance to grab the vinyl if you missed it before.
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.
Review: Dom returns to his Dubs Dungeon once again and re-opens the Dillinja crypt for two more long-coveted dubplates. "You" is fresh from 94 with subs so thick and misty they'll freeze you to your bones and breaks so sharply edited you now have pierced ears just reading this short review, this was a major missile for the AWOL massive. "King Of The Beats" is a year or two deeper into Dillinja's unmatchable discography with a killer b-boy sample, rocket fuel drums and a waspy bassline that stings from a 10 mile radius. Jungle royalty.
Review: Rupture regular Outer Heaven will tickle your inner badboy with this highly anticipated return to the underground nuclear bunker of UVB-76. Four tracks of solid dark sonic matter "The Last Men" takes the lead with a powerful percussive hook maintaining a marching sensation that breaks into momentary splashes of breakbeat chaos. It's backed up the three more equally disarming and trippy tracks. "Blemish" is a swampy drill laced cut with noxious harmonics, while "Still Waters" takes us into the murkiest two-steppy territories you might imagine. Finally "Trapline" shuts, locks and bolsters the front door with a pounding steppy rhythm that's coated in echoes and dubby warmth. Buckle up.
Review: You know a new label is serious when they launch with vinyl. You also know a new label is serious when they launch with an act as on-point and skillishly sharp as Sully... And commission a remix from Critical's stinky breddah Sam Binga. Yeah, Rua Sound are doing everything right: "Lifted" nods lightly at Horizons-era Bukem but with more amen addling while "Rotten" packs a skankier jungle punch. Binga's remix? Wonderfully sludgy. More of this please Rua.
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: Those whose jungle history goes all the way back to the formative days of drum & bass culture may remember Flatliner, an East London/Essex producer whose 1994 release on RAM Records, "The Big Bang", was something of an anthem at the time. The two previously unheard cuts showcased on this 12" - his first since the 1990s - were both recorded in 1995 when the producer was at the peak of his powers. "Just Stop" is particularly potent, with stabbing analogue bass, weighty sub-bass tones, minimalist bleeps and dreamy pads rising above a crunchy, pitched-up Amen break. "Flatline" is a little more rough and tough, with creepy chords and female vocal snippets riding a fiendishly edited, cut-up jungle rhythm and insanely weighty sub-bass.
Review: Sub Terrain One is the first in a series of split EPs featuring high tempo bass music by ffliktion & dreamlogicc. Three cuts from ffliktion on the A side pair classic jungle breaks with hazy atmospherics and weighty basslines. Two cuts from dreamlogicc on the B side touch on hypnotic trance progressions with deep spacey textures.