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: 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: 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: 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.
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: Hugely prolific pioneer Persian Prince returns with yet another haul (and indeed pull) of unreleased DATs from the foundation era. His breakthrough "Persian Inna Jungle" track takes the lead with a dubplate remix never-before-released. It's back by pure gully fire as "Drum & Bass Soldier" takes us straight back to 95 and Kool FM absolutely running things. Deeper into the mix "Interlude" takes us on the scenic route with some very spacey treatments on the breaks while "Truth" plain shaves our head off with serious amen pressure. Finally, "Desertism" drops us in the middle of the Sahara with only a drum kit to keep us alive. Mystical business.
Review: Sicknote's been on absolute fire this year what with his dubplate cutting business and a whole slew of collaborations firing on the likes of PAWS and Sonic Force. Here we find him returning to Abstract Illusion's 2017 "Lo Fi Selassi". The original (if you were lucky to get it) still cuts heads clean off to this day and Sicknote's maintained that tradition with even more bass rawness and savage amens. "Swiftly", on the B, sees him tagging in longstanding mates Dissect and Justice for more of a jazzy, spacious work-out. It's dreamy... But you know with these guys dreams can turn into nightmares very quickly. And we love it when they do. Limited so don't hang around.
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: Eight years after their ground-breaking "Resolution 653" full length, pioneering duo Instra:mental make a welcome return with their new album Timelines, and this first selection of tunes from it gives you a good idea why. "Pacific Heights" is a jumble of minimal drum beats and futuristic synth smears that is atmospheric, while "Sakura" is more sparse and zoned out thanks to forlorn chords which speak of romantic pain. Things slow down into deep rubbery rhythms on the lush "Photograph" while "End Credits" has an unexpected Balearic vibe to it, with breezy chords making for a mood that feels akin to gazing out to sea.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
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: 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: 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: Moscow-based Okbron Records has been doing a terrific job in serving up long lost and previously unreleased cuts from the formative years of jungle and drum and bass. Their latest white label 12" offers up two tracks from long-serving quartet Pariah, which were recorded during the late 1990s around the time when they were weighing up a "major deal" with LTJ Bukem's "Good Looking Records". Bukem used to rinse the dubplate of "Urban Score", a wonderfully warm, spacey, bass-heavy and dreamy chunk of intergalactic drum and bass underpinned by the classic Amen break. Flipside "Montage" is, if anything, even more intergalactic in tone, with an extended ambient intro making way for bustling electronic beats and wavy, supernova synths.
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.
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: 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: 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.
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: Fresh from releasing a massive co-lab album "Underground Vol 1" with the mighty Peshay, Sense jumps on J Majik's blueprint-setting Infrared imprint with two authentic jungle bashers. "The Edge" is a bonafide brockout, all pitched drums singing and elephantine reverse wobbles while "Let You Go" flips for a deeper experience. Velvet pads, sensual vocal samples and breezy skippy breaks. Both absolutely slay a dance. Don't sleep!
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.
Review: Dons like Justice & Metro return to last year's single "The Navigator / Moscow Calling" with two absolutely insane remixes. Sicknote turns the sinewy two-step alien funk-up into a Renegade-style bash jam. All thunder drums and twisted swampy bass gurgles. Tim Reaper does a similar soup-up on "Moscow Calling" as he gives it a savage drum overhaul. Flip for a skippy, time-defying new original from Justice and Metro - "The Hump" and an equally scatty, and slightly raved-up shakedown from Dutch doyen Coco Bryce. Outstanding.
Bladerunner - "Sound Killer" (feat Blackout JA & Da Fuchaman) (4:54)
Brian Brainstorm - "Call The Police" (feat Da Fuchaman - album mix) (6:04)
Run Tingz Cru - "Go Back Home" (feat Da Fuchaman & Wippa Demus) (4:28)
Serial Killaz & Run Tingz Cru - "Jungle Love" (feat Da Fuchaman) (4:48)
Serial Killaz & Run Tingz Cru - "Bun Babylon" (feat Tenor Fly & Blackout JA - DJ Hybrid remix) (5:14)
Run Tingz Cru - "Women Dem" (feat Top Cat) (5:05)
Review: Bristol's Run Tingz Cru look back over the last year or so of releases, precision select their bubbliest, bumpiest bangers and cut them to limited 12". Featuring the likes of Bladerunner, Serial Killaz, DJ Hybrid, Brian Brainstorm, Top Cat, Tenor Fly, Blackout JA, Da Fuchman and of course the RTC themselves, vibes are high throughout as we're schooled in breakbeat science. From the opening warped dread bass wobbles of Bladerunner's "Sound Killer" through to Run Tingz Cru and Top Cat's grand finale silky sub roller "Women Dem", this whole 12" is bulging with timeless jungle goodness. Strictly limited; grab this while you can.
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).