Review: Inspired by her free party roots, Sydney's Anomie laments this year's Corona-related rave restrictions with the powerful SOS collection on Inna Riddim. Running the full gully gamut, we kick off with the gnarled and steppy 'Car Park RDM' where the two-step does all the negotiations. It's back by a full range of flavours: the Fracture-like bashy ravey monster 'What You Gonna Do About It', the big jazz swing and theatre of 'Machine Learning' and the blissful downbeat finale 'Makedonski'. All bass bases covered, Anomie's message is loud and clear.
Review: Brand new talent from Kenmore, Washington; Black Yukon Sucker Punch hurls himself into the ether with this foundation-fired self-release. Tapping into that classic late 90s/early 2000s techstep sound, both cuts rattle bones with minimal muscle and maximum tension. 'Fault Current' is a sci-fi inspired wriggler with twisted alien FX wrapping tightly around sinewy two-steps. 'Retrocognition' hits with a little more neuro, psychedelic touches. Think early Audio Blueprint and you're on the right dancefloor.
Break - "Whispers In My Ear" (feat MC GQ - Break remix) (4:16)
Break & Total Science - "Dog's Dinner" (Mefjus remix) (4:16)
Review: MC GQ has a pedigree that stretches all the way back to the early jungle nights of AWOL and his presence on this new version of Whispers In My Ear by Break shows he can imprint his personality on a piece of vinyl with a bare minimum of chatting. That's how good he is. Break knows what he's doing too, and his the gnarly electronic harmonics and descending one note bass riff, combined with fresh sounding, spacious breakbeat action, make this the kind of workout that DJs will build their set around dropping. Dog's Dinner with Total Science gets remixed by Mefjus in powerful fashion too, a little more roughneck perhaps than its A-side companion, but a choice selection of ruthlessly applied sonics all the same.
Review: Breakage is back on his own increasingly vital label Index with a fifth fine EP. It continues in the tradition set already by the young imprint by being of the highest quality across all tracks. The opener has a vintage sound, with crunchy breaks and fizzing static racing over the face of the tune, while Break gets the nod for the remix and goes for something more twisted, intense and high tempo. 'Jah' is a complex collision of drum breaks, tin pot hits and deeply buried bass while closer 'B Side Bubbler' is a stripped back and skeletal roller.
Review: Northern Ireland's Dominick Martin, or Calibre, to the drum & bass buying public, has a reputation for bringing new angles on this well-worn sound and these two new sides of vinyl are no exceptions. The VIP version of Falls To You sees his crisp, irresistible beats doing their magic but the piano, reflective vocal and minimal electronic flourishes lend this roller a spooky, eerie quality. The flip track End of Meaning has a slightly warmer, more optimistic vibe but is still reflective, the vocals being sent through echoey dub effects for maximum atmospherics. Definitely ploughing his own furrow, as ever, Calibre demonstrates here why those in the know will always check what he's up to.
Review: Calibre aka Dominick Martin pairs up with DRS, each taking one side of this 12" and each more than holding their own. Martin continues his current obsession with the pure sound of the real piano, a powerful antidote to the more synthetic sounds we're more used to hearing in the genre. Add a supreme male vocal in plaintive mood,. declaring "I've been looking for love in all the wrong places" and you've got something that really stand out of the crowd. Living For by DRS is more of straight anthem, with reggae influences and a hip-hop vocal giving it a proper lighters-in-the-air atmosphere, its conscious lyrics very much echoing the mood of Britain in 2020. Two very different tracks, for sure, but this package is strong in its diversity.
Review: Right in the midst of celebrating their 25th anniversary, Stretch's AKO Beatz drop two stunners from OG Colin Lindo. The man best known as Nubian Mindz and also Alpha Omega, here we find him in his lesser spotted De Elite guise with two brand new pieces of timelessness. 'Stargazers' is built around a spine-chilling arpeggio wile beautiful brushed drums shake around a warm subby bassline. Flip for 'Cerebral Junglist', where the atmospheres are similarly chilling but the breaks are chopped and re-woven within snares of their lives. Immense.
Review: Fresh from appearing on AKO Beatz Arcade series last year, Italian groove maestro Enjoy returns to Stretch's stable with two emphatic slabs of deep, soulful jungle. 'Crush' is an emotional whirlwind that wouldn't have gone amiss on Goodlooking way, way back in the foundations. Spacey but anchored with a nice dubby touch on the bass, 'Crush' is an ageless ode to breakbeats. 'Don't You Know' takes us even deeper down the soul hole with a surging vocal sample over more space-bound pads and beautifully crafted drum work. Enjoy!
Review: Friction's Shogun Audio return to update their "Shuriken" collection of classics from their vaults for a first-time, special collector's vinyl press. While previous editions have dug deep into the label's full repertoire, this one captures a much more recent snapshot of the label and the deeper sound it's been celebrating in the last few years. Friction takes the lead with the subtle, sultry charms of "For This" with Liam Bailey from the label's recent 15 year anniversary collection, before Pola & Bryson's 2019 chiller "Cold Love" raises the cosmic pressure. Flip for some superb double bass-slapping funk from Document One in the form of "Like This" before man-of-the-moment Monrroe shuts down the EP with the belting star-gazer soul of "Horizon". Stunning.
Review: We all deserve an Exkursion after the weirdness of 2020 and US artist Mark Kloud has the perfect trip with his debut album Moonquake. Already out in the wild, doing its thing digitally, here we find some of the best tracks on a special, not to mention limited, vinyl version. If you know Mark's output on the likes of Lossless, Paradise Lost and Onset, then you'll know the levels of deep we're talking here. Just as much informed by dub, techno and ambient as it is drum & bass, highlights include the palpitating dungeon jam 'Murder Too' and the stuttering, snake-like breaks of the untitled finale piece. And that's just the tip of this iceberg; tremors will persist for quite some time to come...
Review: The Bristol scientist returns! After a smattering of outings on the likes of Doc Scott's 31, one of drum & bass music's most important and influential boundary-breakers is about to drop his first album in 14 years... The Edge Of Everything drops on Crosstown Rebels in November, and here's the first teaser: 'Constructive Ambiguity', a cinematic 12 minute opus, it groans and yearns with a solemn musicality before eventually exploding in a two-step tear-out. 'Tree Of Life', meanwhile, is a much more militant piece of work with its hammering kicks, ominous drone and fearlessness. War music, pure and simple.
Vintage (Ontology Hard N' Mellow remix part 1) (6:29)
Guru Meditation (5:31)
Vintage (Ontology Hard N' Mellow remix part 2) (7:16)
Review: Old skool jungle flavours get put through the mincer of 21st century studio techniques on this double 12" pack from Mike Symiakos. The title tracks uses raging Amen breaks - all smashed up and re-built in wonderous new shapes, of course - some lovely sound system sirens, smooth synths and a reggae MC adding his echoing textures to create junglist heaven. The red, gold and green rasta credentials continue over into 'Guru Meditation', definitely one for fans of early 4Hero and Reinforced releases, and the two remixes of 'Vintage'. Everything here is firing on all cylinders, but it's executed with plenty of dynamics and technological dexterity.
Review: Last spotted shelling us with his 'Vintage Dubs', self-styled liquid gangster My Symiakos returns with some foundation fire. Four cuts heavy, 'Oldskool Flavours' is a veritable rave rainbow with pots of gold at the end of every tune. The title track warms us up at 160 with its dubwise beat that suddenly turns inside out with the help of some razor-sharp amens. Elsewhere 'Wind It Up Selecta' brings the breakbeat bashment with large helpings of chaos, 'Up For Tha Business' is choppy and hectic it wouldn't go amiss in a Remarc set while 'Rub A Dub Style' concludes affairs with more insane drum science, classic rave vocal samples and synths so beautiful you'll swear you heard them in a dream.
Review: Belgian badman Nickynutz has been flying the jungle flag for the best part of 20 years and his beats remain just as fizzy and unpredictable as they did back on his early Animal Breaks outings. Here we find him paying homage to the jungle drum & bass motherland LDN with four crisp sound system jams that all tap into that original inner city melting pot that lit the fuse in the first place. 'London Town' breezes with a touch of hardcore promise thank to the dreamy synths, 'Agony Fi De Body' and 'Lick It Back' are heavier on the ragga and breaks tips while 'It's Gonna Get Rough' signs out with a beautiful Trojan adieu. Wicked.
Danny Byrd - "Gold Rush" (feat Brookes Brothers) (6:27)
Logistics - "Jungle Music" (4:49)
Commix - "Bear Music" (6:12)
Review: There is one Hospital that you always want to visit, and that is the one overseen by these drum & bass legends. For the 12th instalment of their Classic Symptoms series they dive deep into the vaults to unearth four gems from the 2006 to 2009 era. Nu:Tone gets the appointment underway with the retells roller that is 'Missing Link' before things get super sweet with the liquid flow and soul drenched vocals of 'Gold Rush' feat Brookes Brothers by Danny Byrd. Logistics goes for a drilling old school beat with classic samples and heady vibes and closing things out is Commix, whose stripped back and shadowy stepper 'Bear Music' sounds as crucial now as it ever did.
Review: The brilliantly dark world of breakbeats and stripped back techno that Illian Tape call their own gets that bit richer with this new EP from Pessimist. It kicks off with some rugged jungle rides that are coloured by bird calls, wood block hits and booming bass before 'The Crawlers' is a flurry of snares and hi hats that tie your mind and body in knots. The excellent 'Ridge Racer Revolution' is a hardcore track that never lets up, with flailing hits and hundred mile and hour breaks all demanding you dance. The closer is a dystopian cut of unresolved loops ad frazzled bass that lurches back and forth and traps you right where it wants you. Thrilling stuff.
Review: Riffz and Green Wald take two tracks each per side on what proves to be a varied but accomplished showcase of styles. 'Doubtful Being' revels in deep, clunking sub-bass pressure, crazy effects and timestretching, nodding perhaps to the scrambled breakbeat glory of Goldie and 4Hero's early 90s collaboration Rufige Kru. Jungle techno - that often forgotten missing link between rave and jungle - informs the four-to-the-floor but breaks-splattered 'No Visibility', the second offering from Riffz, an unusual vein to mine but all the more refreshing for it. Green Wald also harks back to the moments before the big bang that was jungle, opting for a slightly slower than normal tempo but plenty of beat manipulation and mixing desk skullduggery on 'Hot Pushin', before closing proceedings with the heavy but jazzy 'Gangsta', probably one for those who loved T Power's early work on the SOUR label.
Review: With a collaborative history dating back to 2005, few producer/vocalist combos in drum and bass hit the spot as consistently as Seba and Robert Manos. Both enhancing what each other bring to the track, Seba never compromises on the emotional range and weight of his production yet always leaves more than enough space for the vocal house legend. 'Reflect' is a perfect example as Manos weaves between the fluctuating bassline and sudden breakbeat flurries creating a perfect balance of pure space and total soul. Delivered on red vinyl and complete with an instrumental, this Secret Operation won't be secret for too long.
Review: Serum and Critical Records boss Kasra join forces for three tracks that see the former's sharp edged sonics and the more atmospheric, experimental textures of the latter working in perfect harmony. 'Noodles' has a serious sci-fi vibe that harks back to the early days of Metalheadz, set to work across a sturdier, more rolling selection of steady, heavy beats. The shuddering bass and choppy rhythms of 'Fade Out' give space for plenty of modular synth action - ultimately a feature of all three tracks here - and affairs are topped off with an attitude=heavy spoken word sample. 'Blaze Heat' has a more hip-hop slanted vibe, slotting in neatly to the wall of drum & bass breakbeats, but again the over-riding focus is some fresh, unheard wigging out in the higher frequencies. Nice work all round, and a personnel combination with a lot to recommend it.
Review: Brought up on a strict diet of vinyl, capable of turning a floor into an en-masse gun-finger at the flip of a dub, Hozzy's jungle-loving nu-breed Unglued sounds like he's about 25 years older than he actually is. Here are four fresh examples of his extraordinary future retro abilities: "Total XTC" takes a hardcore standard and gives it the all essential 2020 bubbler twist, "Got 2 Have" jumps forward about 10 years to BC Recordings and Virus with its bouldering distorted bassline and relentless aggy energy, "War Dance" sees him tagging in fellow Hoz murker Whiney and Manny's finest Truthos Mufasa for another amen-lashed turbine funk jam while the spiralling chaos of "Pigeon Funk" doffs its cap to the late 90s Ram and Formation flavours while remaining fully in the new decade. Time to get sticky.
Review: The sound of filtered Amen breaks diving down and deep and then rising back up into the mix is not one that's ever likely to go out of fashion, and 'Transgressive Bells' makes the most of this evergreen sonic trick, counterbalancing the roughneck beats with floatation tank ambience. As its name suggests, '2093' has a futuristic vibe that echoes the ongoing drum & bass obsession with the Bladerunner soundtrack, set to hard but chopped up beats. If you're a fan of Dillinja's more celestial, soaring productions - we're thinking 'The Angels Fell', 'Jah' or 'Silver Blade' - you'll be lapping these two tunes up like the cat who got the cream.