Review: A throwback to early '90s hardcore rave here, courtesy of tight knit UK producers Objekt and Call Super. Running with the story of the mythical DJ Bogdan: legend and resident DJ of Berlin's fictitious Q Bar in the city's Schoeneberg district - which ran from the early 90s until its closure in 2012. "Love Inna Basement" is presented here in its two original versions: the Morning Dub which is cited by Objekt as the inspiration behind his 2016 tribute "Theme From Q", and 'Midnite XTC', hailed by Call Super as 'the track I've taken the most garys to in my entire life'.
Review: There are no prizes for guessing the sort of music that defines Rave Or Die. Next up with some dynamite club tracks are Stranger and Umwelt, who take one side each of this new marbled 10". Stranger's "Motief" is a techno crescendo that builds on hard hitting techno drums. The urgent synths and increasingly brash hi hats work you into a manic state that is all consuming. Umwelt then gets even more abrasive with caustic synths and retro rave stabs, slapping metallic hits and pounding broken kick drums all forcing you to move on "Shut Up & Dance". This is truly arresting stuff once again from Rave Or Die.
Review: The Well Street family continue to bloom with this assured grip of adventurous steppers from Significant Other. You know you're onto something serious as soon as "Postdrome" fires up in a tangle of break slices, percussive rattles and poised kicks. The sparse drum-focused style continues in a quicker fashion with the tense and twitchy "Delos", while "Brain Fingers" amps up the bass flex to make for a dance-wrecking-ball of a track. "Memory Drum" completes the set with interlocking patterns balanced between organic and electronic and draped in tones of icy dread.
Review: Integral by label name, integral to the scene full stop: Glenn and Zula's AI partnership has been a prominent and consistent voice over more than a decade. Since 2010 we've seen them dig deep into the album artform with "Stand Alone" kicking off a slew of LPs, currently climaxing with "The Series". Delivered over four parts - two last year, two this year - the full set spans their full gamut touching deep daydream rollers such as "Savour" to much darker, heavyweight pieces such as "Isolate". Each made for the club but executed with depth and restraint that lends itself to any scenario, it's a great way to sign out of this decade and prime us for what's to come. Integral by nature.
Review: Lost On Purpose takes four tracks from Random Movement's 15 track full length and offers a great cross section of his style. The title track is a philosophical journey on crisp boom bap and rolling liquid drums, while "Somewhere Back There" is defined by its exquisite piano chords, which add plenty of tenderness to the drum work. "Breaking The Mold" gets down and dirty with a spraying baseline that will screw up any face, then the good times roll thanks to the feel good vibes of closer "Living In A Dream".
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: It's about time! Berlin-based badman Ill K returns with his first release in two years, and the wait is most definitely worth it. Three stinking cuts ranging from dubstep to hardcore, "Warp 6" takes the lead and brings us all up to speed with its rolling breaks, cathedral-sized bassline and ethereal tones. Two hefty collaborations follow; "Ninja Technique" sees Chad Dubz joining the fray for a stern-and-spacious mechanical funk tear-up while "Walking Home" (feat. Koobas) flips the 140 feels into a savage breakbeat workout. Watch out for the classic GQ sample and be careful where you park your car next time.
Higher State Of Consciousness (Adana Twins remix One) (8:20)
Higher State Of Consciousness (Adana Twins remix Two) (7:00)
Review: Following up Hamburg duo Adana Twins' super re-work of Patrice Baumel's "Roar" that dropped on Watergate last year, this fresh reinterpretation of American legend Josh Wink's 1995 classic "Higher State Of Consciousness" confirms the duo's golden touch on the remix front. Considered by many to be the quintessential acid techno anthem, the Hanseatic heroes impresses with a clever rework on "Remix One" which utilises the "French Kiss" style tempo slowdown, before reaching an epic escalation point with which is bound to cause mayhem on the dancefloor. Flip over for another strong remix where the duo injects a pounding modern techno groove for maximum speaker dynamics.
Review: Back to 94! AKO bossman Stretch digs deep into the DAT vault for these hefty piece of jungle dubplate history. "Dem Want It (VIP)" is all about those rolling percussive breaks and that bulging sub. Minimalism with clarity and soul, this still pokes the hell out of systems to this day. "Ganja Dub" on the B brings a little more soul to the jam with some beautiful keys before dropping back into Stretch's signature ruffage, sub-led sound. Released as part of AKO Beatz 150th release celebrations - and already sold out on picture disc - neither track have seen the light of a full vinyl release until this year, yet both sound as future as they did 25 years ago. Beatz working.
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: 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: Valencia's Pepe has built up quite a discography over the last few years, with this fine outing on Church following similarly impressive releases for Let's Play House, Lobster Theremin, Loose Fit and Sprung. The EP's impressive title track is available in two variations: the sparkling, breakbeat powered "Roll Mix" - think hip-house style drums, weighty dub bass and occasional dreamy chords - and a "Bleep Mix" that beefs up the sub-bass while adding some suitably sparse, computer game style electronic melodies. Another clear highlight is "You Must Not Be Me", a fine combination of rush-inducing, sunrise-ready electronics and bustling breaks, while closing cut "Recollection" is a rather lovely drift into opaque ambient territory.
Review: Have a word. One of Special Request's heaviest, most sweat-inducing tune of 2019 getting remixed by Mall Grab and Sully on a pink vinyl? Is this even real? Yes it is. And these remixes absolutely slap. As the titles suggest, Mall Grab takes it down to 135 and in doing so has created even more of a heavier punch to the mix. Man-of-the-moment Sully, meanwhile, flips the original "Vortex 150" into a 164 jam. Once again the breaks are set to throat-slice, the processing makes you feel like you're being zapped by high voltage electricity cables and the whole vibe is 100% long dark tunnel. Immense remix business here.
Review: Active for the past couple of years, Burnski's Instinct alter ego has been a revealing window into the ruder side of this seasoned producer's repertoire, and so it continues on round seven of this self-titled label series. The A-side jam "Operation" finds the Leeds stalwart in UK Garage mode, riding a mean bassline flex and amping up the 2-Step shuffle. Jack Michael takes up the B-side mission with a razor-sharp electro workout that matches bleepy electronica with badass breaks and nasty bass to get bodies freaking all over the joint. This is a record precision primed for basement sessions - if you're looking for some sounds to do real damage in the dance, look no further.
Review: It's been 10 years since Alix Perez blessed the world with his debut album "1984". To celebrate, Shogun Audio are re-releasing the album with all tracks available on vinyl for the first time and it sounds every bit as good as you'd hoped it would. A stark statement of intent that's aged incredibly well, this is where the London Belgian sowed some of his deepest seeds; from the beat variation and playful twists of space on tracks like "Voices" to the evergreen soul of "Forsaken" (still the only Peven Everett-fronted drum & bass track to this date) via the glitchy grime of "Calm Of Cast", it was clear, even back then, that Alix would go on to set whole new levels and benchmarks. This is a pivotal slice of history.
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: Pure, infectious, filthy, brilliant club energy. Steve Marie takes the a-side by the horns, first with the ravey, jacked up acid cut "JuplVtrax", then the nimble drum work and ducking and diving synths of "Psychedelia", which brings to mind flickering old VHS of illicit field gatherings from the nineties. Astral Body then takes you even deeper down the rabbit hole with the manic 303 and hyperdrive drums of "Galaxy Beat". "Equinox" closes things out with surging solar waves, rippling acid modulations and kaleidoscopic colours that leave you breathless. Reach for the lasers, etc.
Review: UK tech house hero Burnski has been serving up some serious heat of late under the Instinct alias, channelling that old school UK vibe of drum & bass, speed garage and 2-step. His exploration into these styles bring about this sixth instalment of his eponymous series with 3 cuts set to cause havoc on dancefloors this year. A side cut "Overthrow" rides on a slick tech house groove before moving into a swing-fuelled rhythm and razor-sharp sub-bass and it's business as usual. On the flip, shadowy stepper "Phased" fuses Artful Dodger's classic swagger with the dark sci-fi aesthetic of Ed Rush & Optical. Finally, put your lighters up for the furious junglist roller that is "Free Life".
Review: For the first volume in their brand new Toxic Funk 45s series, the Breakbeat Paradise crew has turned to two stalwarts of the breaks scene, Easy Now Recordings co-founder Tom Showtime and long-serving DJ/producer Badboe. They hit the ground running with A-side "We Funk Tings", a cut-and-paste workout that peppers a head-nodding, bass-heavy hip-hop groove with funk licks, hazy horns and sneaky vocal samples from a variety of ragga and rap records. They continue in a similar vein over on side B, where the horn and piano-heavy hip-hop-funk of "We Have It Hot" is followed by the boom-bap booty business of "The Time Has Come".
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: 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: Andre Sobota is Bungle, the Brazilian producer tearing up the contemporary drum & bass landscape with his hard hitting rhythms. He only tends to put out one EP a year, but that changes this autumn with three missives all landing in the space of two months. This is the first and features four cuts on two slabs of wax. "Mutant" starts out as an icy liquid roller before being ripped apart by rasping synths, "Dictate" is a glistening stomper with raga vocal stabs and melodic shimmers while "Enigma" is a dark, twisting and turning track that takes you down a rabbit hole. "Step Two" finishes things off in rump-wiggling jump up fashion and closes out a devastating release.
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: We've been waiting a LONG time for this! Loxy & Resound's most demanded dub since 2008, "New Age" has cult status and it's not hard to hear why; super spacious and so broad and vital in its sound, it still sounds futuristic to this day. "Stone Cold" kicks ass for a 2009 track, too. Once again unreleased and demanded by the heads for the last 10 years, this one takes us deeper down Loxy & Resound's rabbit hole, before that divine vocal cuts through the mix and it's game over. Ageless.
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.