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: 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.
FOI - "One More Stripe" (Lion UK & Drama1 remix) (5:39)
FOI & Fusion - "Treat All Girls Right" (Lion UK & Drama1 remix) (5:30)
Review: Kemet dig deep into their vaults and pull up a seminal 94 joint from James Grant Stephens under his FOI aka Family Of Intelligence guise (plus a collaboration with original Kemet soldiers Fusion) and get young Kemet guns Lion UK along with Drama1 to add the necessary 2020 production punch. "One More Stripe" is brought to life with warm drums and precision position of the ragga vocals while the deep soul of "Treat All Girls Right" is given an extra sun-kissed sparkle. Timeless.
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: 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: 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.
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: 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: Back on wax by popular demand (this time green), OG producer Chatter B's return to the game enjoys a re-boost and it still sounds every bit as vital; "Smoke Da Weed" has that bubbly Breakage feel that just hums through a system so sweetly. Elsewhere "Jam Hot" hits with a little more Bristol flavour, all minimal and bouncy, while the reggae-topped "Burn Down Da Dance" hits with much chunkier beats and more of a modern D&B feel. That's before we even get to the ravey jam from OG solider Potential Bad Boy. Jump on it or wait two years for another reissue.
Review: Time to clean up; anonymous D&B business on limited white label from a well-known techno producer. Three cuts deep, each one poking around a different foundation era; "Track 1" is all about the drone. Long and prone to moments of turbulence but otherwise smooth in an early Moving Shadow type of way. Both "Track 2" and its vocal counterpart "Track 3" are where the real hoover business kicks in, as do some Bizarre Inc style keys and a breakbeat so skippy you'll want to learn the Charleston. Get Shedded.
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: 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.
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: The mysterious Bakground returns to Lobster Theremin and he's rolling with esteemed company as Sangam adds his deep threads to the weave. "90s Living" lives up to its name; big immersive atmospheric jungle, all loose around the edges but held together so firmly. "Intermission" provides no respite - the only break is the one that rolls beneath the shimmering keys. Meanwhile the flip "Keeper Of The Lost" takes us down to 150 on a robust set of rolling breaks before "Carousel" brings us back down to earth softly, deeply and ambiently.
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.
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.
Review: Myor launch a brand new sister imprint Myor Massiv, and they're doing it in raucous ragamuffin style with double Dutch frontage; FFF ticks both sides of 1992 with the skank-soaked proto jungle era gem "Superhero Can't Trust" while the piano-pimping "Free Your Soul" reminds us of the happier side of hardcore. Flip for two equally heady bone shakers from Coco Bryce; "Deeper and Deeper" is all about the choppy amens and Good Looking pads while "Runnin'" dips a little lower in the tempo to pay homage to the original hardcore sound complete with pitched up vocals and GBH-level mentasms. What a way to launch a new label!
Review: Having set our world alight with his third Ilian Tape 12", 2012, back in the spring, Munich man Skee Mask delivers another essential collection of loose-limbed, broken techno workouts. Typically, he's on point from the word go, enveloping swinging, off-kilter techno breakbeats with swirling chords and cascading melodies on brilliant opener "Inti". His love of African-influenced polyrhythms is explored further on the ghostly, percussion-rich club cut "Kappelberg Chant" (which, incidentally, makes great use of choral chants), while "Routine" is a warm, loved-up and evocative tribute to rave-era British breakbeat-house. His debt to British dance music's formative years also comes to the fore on killer proto-jungle jam "Skreet Lvl Dub".
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: 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: Stefan Senf is a man of many aliases. His most popular is Noize Creator but The Duke Of Juke is by far one of his wittiest. The tunes are just as sharp too. Gritty, glitchy and raw doffs a cap towards jungle's primordial melting pot ranging from the ballistic cuts and shunts of opener "Tuff Measures", to the twisted half/quarter time ghetto grunts and bumps of "Boomin' Dub". The staccato drum jitters of "High Plains Trouble Maker" and the peaktime break slammage and sudden dubby drops of "Undecided" are also not to be missed. Put your dukes up.
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: Must Make made a fine start with their first EP back in May, and now they follow it up in quick time with a second volume of "Late Night Soundtrack". Once again, Workforce is the man in control and in case you missed it, that is the new alias of SpectraSoul's Jack Stevens, who is also behind the label. "Two Words" is smooth liquid with a distinctive nocturnal feel, soft focus piano chords and heartfelt vocal murmurs layering in the soul. SP:MC spits on the much more ragged and angsty stepper "Overnight Express" and "So Good" sits somewhere in between: the drums are frantic, the textures soar, but the vocal is sweet. "Common Interests" is minimal roller with focus on warped low ends and rattling jungle percussion. Hot stuff.