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: Arriving on vinyl that sits somewhere between gold and caramel is "Machines", a suitably expansive and futuristic stepper from husband and wife duo, ASC and Vaccine. Heavily pressurised bass rumbles the foundations of a punchy rhythmic thrust whilst a surfeit of industrial sonic textures adds a somewhat glacial depth for a track that demonstrates the continual fracturing of the drum and bass template. ASC goes alone on the B Side "Bleep Test", a digital rude boy strut through murked out sub bass frequencies led by a surfeit of bleeptastic melodies and metal tipped drums.
Review: Limited to a pressing of just 250 (with a promise of no represses) this clear vinyl release is special in every sense. Powered by some of the most exciting names on the fringes of bass and electronica; each of the four cuts strut with raw melodic futurism. "The Noncolour Entity" rumbles with a dubby techno groove a la Funk D'Void. "Irradiate" comes with an almost Bonobo-like dreaminess while "Lovesick" shakes and shudders with a sub-soaked groove and bright, bold swinging breakbeats. "Glimpse" closes the show on a timeless analogue note. Coming on strong like an old Guy Called Gerald record, it's all synths and classic electro breakbeats. Outstanding.
Review: Bungle and Villem on IM:LTD - what a fusion of forces! First up Villem takes Bungle's super-steppy "You & Me", jettisons any unnecessary beef and sprinkles it with essential star-gazing elements such as lilting pads and soaring synth progressions. Villem's own "Bring Us Closer", meanwhile, shoots straight for the cosmos with a series of immersive weeping bass textures, a warped filtered loop and dreamy arpeggios before dropping into an absolutely stunning bassline that's so elastic it can flex itself inside out. Essential.
Digital & Response - "Silver Lining" (Seba remix) (6:03)
Digital & Villem - "Lost Civilisation" (6:01)
Review: Heaviness klaxon: Digital is unleashing his fifth album right now and it's one of his best bodies of work in his 22 year production history. The tone is set by the currently unavoidable "Motherland". Smashed by the likes of Storm for well over a year now, its vocal charm and beat weight are so well balanced you'll never want the track to finish. Elsewhere Seba applies his own stripped back charm on the mystic "Silver Lining" while Villem taps in for an Aztec odyssey. Ridiculously on-point. And there's more to come.
Living Together (feat MC Fats & Stamina MC) (6:07)
On The Floor (4:34)
Aint That Bad (feat DRS) (5:21)
Review: Brazilian don Patife returns with his new gen wingman Vangeliez. Following last year's "The Vibe Is Comin'" on V's Sun And Bass album, the duo step up with a full quartet of dreamy soul rollers. "Living Together" features MC royalties Fats and Stamina in a harmonic sun-kissed stand off over a light afternoon groove while "On The Floor" takes us much deeper into the night with an LSB-style deep roll. Flip for more MC premiership as DRS unleashes more wisdom on the soft, restrained groove of "Ain't That Bad" before "Unexpected" closes with the darkest treat of the set; a loose drummed shaker that sounds like it landed 15 years ago on Soulr. Accolades don't come any higher.
Review: If bustling, bass-heavy jungle sweatiness is your thing, head this way. First released digitally way back in 2016, this joint EP from DJ Shadowplay and Vital Link offers up quartet of floor-pounding peak time anthems rich in unashamedly weighty sub bass, fizzing old school breakbeats and heady samples. The brew is arguably at its most potent on opener "The Box Remix", a raw and powerful revision of a track by fellow Kemet artist Human Being. The bass-weight and rhythmic pressure continues elsewhere on the EP, from the sampled Balearic guitars and insane beats-and-bass of "Man Child", to the overheard phone chat and aggressive bass of "Code 64" and Roy Ayers-sampling sunshine-jungle of "Jungle Life".
Review: "Cyclops", by Dom & Vicious, has acid bleeps, machinery beats, a seething bassline and menacing samples. Sinister and relentlessly hypnotic, this proves you don't have to be obvious to be dancefloor.
Ed It & Pennygiles - "Set Theory" (Ulterior Motive remix) (4:46)
St Files & Response - "Wanna B 3" (6:19)
Total Science & FD - "Found A Reason Why" (6:25)
Villem & McLeod - "Strange You" (4:56)
Review: Player central: Not one artist on this EP doesn't command serious respect. Ed:It and Pennygiles's 2014 firecracker gets the treatment from Ulterior Motive, adding just a lick or two of shade to the already solid groove. ST Files and Response follow with a beautifully restrained deep stepper that's not dissimilar to erstwhile ST collaborator Marcus Intalex. Total Science and FD maintain the deep theme with a soulful rolling track that's not dissimilar to their Funky Technicians material. Villem and McLeod anchor the EP with a unique halftime roll that balances dark and light tighter than your nan's 1950s television. A truly spotless EP.
Review: Just the words 'Break' and 'remix' alone should pique your interest regarding this 12" from the Fokuz crew. Break tackles the touching sounds of Taking Facing Jinx and Alexsia Louca collaboration "Now You're Gone" and adds his trademark drum punches and snarling-but-never-OTT bass. The results? Break has, once again, smashed it. Flip for a full scale soul shock out from label mainstays Soligen, Type2 and Vandera. Wonderful.
Review: A lucky few have been teasing drum & bass audiences with the VIP version of Fierce & Vicious Circle's 2010 collaboration "Section" for far too long, so the arrival of it on this limited vinyl pressing via Fierce's Quarantine imprint is good news! Despite the delay in release, this version has lost none of its rippling potency, all industrial strength metallic riddims angled with unrelenting pressure, darkly menacing sub growl and just the right dash of Soundclash swagger. The junglist style continues on the stupendously good rinse out that is "Feedback" housed on the B Side, a Vicious Circle cut that featured on Fierce's recent album Oblivion.
Review: [Quarantine] present the third in a series of vinyl samplers preceding the much awaited [Oblivion] album that pairs tech step stalwart Fierce with some of his most respected peers. This twelve opens with "Waterboard" by Optiv, a liquid propelled juggernaut that arises from the dubby ether with nasty intent, all finely sculpted drums and jagged stabs raining down on the viscous bottom end. It's a classic [Quarantine] tech roller that harks back to the 90s heyday, as does the flipside collaborative effort. "Fiend" pairs Fierce with Jubei and Vicious Circle and is a rowdy barrage of rolling breaks, expansive rhythms and driving, devious bass work.
Review: Whilst Joe Goddard's attentions have since turned back to his day job as affable foil to Alexis Taylor with Hot Chip, the enduring qualities of summer solo hit "Gabriel" refuse to go away quietly, with Soulwax providing a high profile remix of the track on this remix 12". The Dewaele brothers' remix retains only Valentina's fragile voice amid the sort of acid techno madness they grew up on, but it's the Calibre version that really impresses, flipping the track into a heavy stepping drum and bass rhythm that matches the delicate vocals with piano tones of equal measure.