Review: Defrostatica's latest release features a veritable rogues gallery of new and established drum and bass talents. Chief amongst them is long-serving producer Digital, who kicks things off with the pop-gun synth-bass, intricate percussion edits and manipulated rave stabs of "Uprock". Speaking of razor-sharp, quick-fire drum edits, you'll find plenty more on the post-jungle madness of 6Blocc, Calculon and Shamanga's superb "Call Out". Turn to the flip for Fanu's fearsome "Machine Drum Machine" - think punchy D&B with added pots and pans percussion - and the hot-to-trot, early morning sub-bass pressure of Agazilla's dark and creepy "Tessellation".
Review: If you're in the mood for some industrial-strength dancefloor experiments and lo-fi workouts saturated with noise, this collaboration from old studio buddies Felix Krone and Yu Aseada AKA Ena should hit the spot. It's an altogether more foreboding and paranoid beast than their previous joint excursion, hence the new "F&E" alias. After offering up a decidedly dystopian ambient intro, the duo slowly cranks up the pressure via the industrial dub techno/electro fusion of "Thesis" and the crackling lo-fi techno crustiness of "Premis I". "Premis II" offers a more percussive and rolling take on the same murky blueprint, while "Conclusion" is a suitably hypnotic chunk of dub techno.
Review: 10 PILLS MATE is on one hell of a roll in closing the year off; after Andrew Red Hand's absolute killers, here comes six more techno bruisers from newbie Faur. The young chap is in no mood to mess around, and it's clear that he means business given the raw jungle power of the opening "Track 1", and the jacking, tooled-up techno of "Track 2" and "Track 3", the latter of which slips steadily into a nightmarish wormhole of hypnotics and pure dread. "Track 4" is a loose, distorted arrangement while, on the flip, "Track 5" is totally dancefloor-bound with its stealthy techno slither, and "Track 6" ties this magnetic EP off with a rugged beat flex that reminds us of the golden days of the DJAX label. BAD-ASS.
Review: Over a year has passed since he last appeared on SUNANDBASS Records with his "Serious" EP, FD returns to his spiritual stomping ground with three more timeless jams. As always with FD, the record covers the full spectrum; "All Yours" has a silky, soulful, Lenzman feel resonating throughout, "Second Villain" sounds like Randall in a basement at 3am while "Wah Wah Track" is a sunset reloader in waiting. Think Marky, think Patife, think Calibre. You know the drill...
Review: Triple X rated jungle from the triple F flexing breakbusting Dutchman FFF. We all know the drill by now; floor-bound psycho soul with its feet firmly planted in 1995 and is made for your mixing pleasure. "The Prowler" is based around whirling paranoid pads and percussion heavy rolling breaks, "Miles Away" takes a more dreamy approach with lilting arpeggios and stuttering break rolls, "Death Warrant" adds some 707 ghetto jitters into the moody mix while "Our Planet" closes with more poignant rave elements and drums that slur so hard the police want to take their driving licence. FFFliping great.
Review: If ever there was a record that warranted a one-track single-sided pressing, it would be this one. The legend of this track harks back to the golden years of dubplate culture, when a track's infamy could be felt months before it dropped. Sherelle lay waste to the place when she dropped Fixate's utterly devilish bootleg of Double 99's timeless garage classic "Ripgroove," which artfully nudges the track back into the rudest jungle styles the original made such good use of. It had to get an official pressing, and who better than original label Ice Cream Records to do the business? This one is going to fly out, so don't hang around.
Review: Who is this deep space stranger? Who are Folklore? What's in the water in Toulouse? Because the city is churning out some impeccable bass talents right now... And we suspect some of them are involved in this mysterious project. Each track tells a different tale in a subtly circular fashion; "Kingwise" shimmers into a light, breezy UKG-style two-step, "Untitled" cranks up on channel one with its low and slow dub techno mysticism while "Flat 8" leans back on an icy Alaska-style jungle roll-out. Finally "Version 2" takes us back over familiar chords but does so with a sublime dub beat and sense-blurring clipped synths. The music has all the answers.
Review: Fracture rounds off 2018 by pushing at the boundaries of drum and bass via a sensational return to Exit Records, an imprint he last graced back in 2016. He begins in fine form via "Soundboy Get Nervous", where echoing and heavily manipulated soundboy vocal samples bob above mind-altering electronic motifs, rumbling sub and skittish, off-kilter D&B beats, before peppering a fast-paced, gabba style drum track with sharp rave stabs and weirdo vocal samples on stomper "Turbo Toms". Turn to the flip for "Makes Me Wonder", a futurist take on jungle packed with wonky bass and fizzing electronics, and the cut-up riddims, ghetto-house style samples and pulverizing low-end electronics of "No Screwface".
Review: Following his "All Four One" EP at the start of the year, Frankee returns with two more startling shock-outs. "Downtown" shows the Londoner at his softest, most emotional side as Simon Franks delivers a vocodered vocal over an almost trance-like dynamic. Floaty, evocative and rolling, its lighter-raising power is up there with the best work of Sub Focus and Culture Shock. Flip for "Power", a bassline damager with a toxic hook that's reminiscent of Mampi or Dillinja. Benchmark business.
Review: It's now official: Future Cut are back and they're not mucking around. After years in the pop game, making number one hits for more songs than you care to sing along to in the shower, the Renegade Hardware renegades return to D&B on wax with the able co-piloting from Bournemouth's do-no-wrong duo Ulterior Motive. The result is three cuts that cross the entire breadth of jungle's craggy landscape. "Flash Mob" an all-out, balls-out roller with menacing late 90s undertones, "Bagleys" is a Spirit-esque stepper with sublime percussive Q&A "Second Nature" closes the show on a beautiful Bristolian funk flex. Welcome back Future Cut, big up Ulterior Motive. History has been made right here.
Review: Deep in the trenches of the acid house revolution, Fabio & Grooverider were experimenting with a darker blend of sonics week in, week out at Rage, one of the UK's formative acid house nights. Detroit and Belgian techno, US house, UK breakbeats, hip-house, Sheffield bleeps were all in the mixing pot as they started to pioneer a sound that would eventually become jungle. Celebrating 30 years since this seminal event, they've curated a series of albums that join the dots between the movement's cornerstones. From Frankie Bones' "Just As Long As I Got You" (from his fabled Bonesbreaks series) to the much darker side of Balearic king Nightmares On Wax in the form of "Aftermath", these are some of the many key records Fabio & Grooverider dug for to create a culture that's just as strong now as it was when it began 30 years ago. One of a four part series, each one is a keeper.
One Tribe - "Is This All" (feat Gem - Instinctstrumental) (7:07)
Lennie De Ice - "We Are IE" (5:01)
Zero B - "Lock Up" (2012 Remaster) (5:32)
Wots My Code - "Dubplate" (3:52)
Foul Play - "Being With You" (6:40)
Noise Factory - "The Future" (4:31)
Fallout - "The Morning After" (Sunrise mix) (8:31)
Review: This year marks three decades since the launch of Rage, the weekly London club night that not only made Fabio and Grooverider stars, but also proved hugely influential in the development of hardcore and jungle. To celebrate, the long-serving DJ duo is offering up an epic compilation of Rage favourites split over four double albums. Part One offers a great introduction to the series, flitting between familiar favourites (the throbbing, bass-heavy Dub of Leftfield's "Not Forgotten", Lennie De Ice's hardcore anthem "We Are I.E"), lesser celebrated gems (the dreamy deep house of One Tribe's "Is This All"), proto-jungle classics (Wots My Code's sub-heavy, bleep-sporting "Dubplate", Foul Play's lusciously hazy "Being With You") and genuine rude boy smashers (Noise Factory's "The Future").