Review: A proper piece of history here, reissued for the first time since 1992; Tight Control was none other than A-Sides, one of drum & bass music's most long-standing and consistent contributors since before it even began. Here he is in formative hardcore mode, laying down three completely different designs: "Reggae, Reggae, Reggae" was a primer for ragga jungle with a high-vibed Dandy Livingstone sample, "Hardcore Piano" was a stately trip to outer space while "The Way Forward" takes you back down to earth through a shower of meteorite. It's really the way forward, too. A-Sides has always been in control.
Review: Long-time sonic sparring partners and kindred fusion spirits Paradox and Nucleus return to their Esoteric imprint for more glacial goodness. "Beatbox" is a perfect example of the two OGs' sonic palette. Unhurried, spacious and colder than an overnight party-for-one in a morgue. "Plexus", meanwhile, takes us even deeper down their rabbit hole. Stripped back to a well-chiselled two step, rolling break, cosmic pads that constantly mutate and a velvet sub bass that really pops when you drop this on a big rig, it's perfect hypnotic fodder for the 4am crew.
Review: Seba and Paradox... If ever there was a D&B dream team, it's these guys. With collabos going back to 2005 on labels such as Hospital, Critical and Bassbin (to name but a few) their complementary vibes reach a new height as they set up a label strictly for them. And it starts right here. "Over Now" is pure cosmic soul sent from the year 2319, all planet-bounding breaks and hazy atmospheres, while "Jupiterize" whisks us off on a dreamy magic carpet ride around the galaxy as a jazzier spring is added to the evocative mix. Precision tag-team business, both men bring their a-game as always.
Review: Fire in the hole! Following his Metalheadz EP earlier this year, Newcastle's Tyrone steps over to good mates Ulterior Motive at Guidance for a full four-track slab of D&B excellence. The title track is an absolute beast that slices through the air and space with incredible weight and width while elsewhere "Beg Of U" takes us on a tour of Tyrone's deeper space-aged side, "Lost Witness" rolls out with rattling menace and muscle and "Velvet" closes the deal on a deep introspective one with the label heads. Prepare to be severed.
Review: Brussels mandem Bredren get all arsonist with this scorching EP debut for Alix Perez's 1985. Four tracks, each one a flamer, we kick off with the forthright headbutt of "Inferno" where T Man holds court with savage bars. Deeper into the EP we hit their classic stripped back rolling sound on "Get Physical" before "Flick Knife" cuts straight to the chase with some sinewy, creepy low end flourishes. Last but not least "Undress" gets everyone naked with some beautiful light-at-end-of-tunnel barbed soul. Four out of four, Bredren are firing right now.
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.
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: 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: Heavy co-lab business, Bristol boys Mako and Mikal tag-up for a serious lesson on Mako's Utopia. "Under The Earth" takes the lead and you can spot the breaks as they fly by, all switching and cutting almost every beat at points before suddenly dropping out of the mix and leaving you in a bewilderingly oceanic breakdown. "Switch It", meanwhile, lives up to its name with a fantastically strange beat. Kinda 4/4 in spirit, there's a new sound lurking in this which is only just being explored here. Switch? Completely flip things beyond belief more like.
Review: Liondub's 10 year anniversary celebrations continue with this savage slab of ragga jungle. This time the captain Liondub takes to the controls himself alongside fellow US jungle veteran Jah Boogs while vocal guidance comes from one of the most distinctive MCs in the game: Bristol's Blackout Ja. Here we find him in fiery form as "Touch Up The Key" brocks out in all directions over a precision-tuned subby bass wobble. "Dread" flips for a sunnier side of the stack as Blackout pays homage to his roots with more of a melodic flow to his signature gravel-toned bars. Loaded!
Review: The well-established drum & bass label Circle Vision continues with its often mysterious, uncredited white label series. This third instalment comes under the Circle Vision alias, which could be one person, loads of people or whatever else. What we do know is that "Hollow" bangs - frazzled bass zips about under big jungle breaks, with sci-fi pads bringing a sense of futurism to this bassbin bothering banger. "Tings In Boots" hits just as hard with raved up, strobe lit chords and some brilliantly old school sub-bass. Dark, raw, physical, it is pure dancing music of the highest order.
Dare Balogun - We Could Have Had Brunch (Goldefish Breaks For Brunch remix) (5:42)
Review: We've been waiting for this for a while now... After some heavyweight support from Aphex Twin, west country artist Goldefish makes his debut with four seismic slabs of electronic bliss. "Radon" is a dreamy jungle joint, all roughly hewn and starry-eyed. It's back by the thundering stomps and 303 wizardy of "Acid Immersion", the freeform breakbeat chaos of "Moonlight" and an absurdly good remix of Vandelay founder Dare Balogun's summer-tinged house cut "We Could Have Had Brunch". Chow down!
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: 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.
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: 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".
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: 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: 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: In case you've not heard, Kings of the Rollers is a new D&B "super-group" featuring the combined talents of scene stalwarts Serum, Voltage and Blade Runner. This is their debut EP and, as you'd expect, it boasts far more hits than misses. As the Rave Alarm title makes clear, much of the material here is far more raw and intoxicating than your average Hospital release. Check, for example, opener "Euphoria", where razor-sharp electronic riffs bounce above fluctuating sub-bass and punchy jungle drums, and the rumbling gut-punch that is synth heavy title track "Rave Alarm". Elsewhere, Get Set Go is a fuzzy, hot-stepping workout, while closer "Running Man" wraps aggressive bass, creepy chords and ghostly flute lines around a retro-futurist riddim.
Review: Calibre has been on fire this year, serving up two albums, a swathe of killer collaborations and a handful of fine solo singles. Here he rounds off 2018 in fine style with a pair of polished cuts on his own Signature Records imprint. A-side 'Taciturn" is as musically vibrant and expansive as you'd expect, with poignant piano motifs, sustained chords and breathtakingly beautiful, high register soul vocals rising above punchy breakbeats and warm but weighty bass. Flipside "Butter Love" operates along similar lines, with Calibre wrapping spacey electronics, melancholic strings and liquid synths around a snappy, bass-heavy groove. It's perhaps a little more sub-heavy than the A-side, though both tracks are equally as polished and glassy-eyed.
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: Launched over the summer, the Rasta Vibez label looks to bridge the gap between drum and bass and classic dub and reggae that has grown somewhat since the heyday of Jungle. If you were swayed by the distinct charms of the debut drop Jungle On Broadway, it's highly likely you will be compelled to check out this second 12". There's no complex science to either "Ice Cream Sound" or "World A Jungle Music" just a well executed take on a formula that has worked perfectly well many times over; delay and fx meet classic dub strains and jungle rhythms uptown