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: 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: After 12 years in the game, Spanish D&B stable Melting Pot hasn't lost its appetite for promoting rising talents. Here, they offer a vinyl debut to Adrian Moreno AKA Voltage Voodoo. Significant contains four tracks from his recently released debut album of the same name, and is as punchy, raucous and industrial-fired as you'd expect. Choose between the fizzing, concrete-clad electronics, rolling breaks and mutilated rock riffs of "Significant", the bass-heavy jungle-rap of MC Mood hook-up "Make Up", the savage sub-bass and percussive aggression of "No God" and the Nine Inch Nails-goes-D&B growl of closer "King Kong".
Review: Brazil's reputation for forward-thinking drum & bass has developed ever since Bryan Gee imported Marky and Patife almost 20 years ago. Now serving up its third generation of talent, Hospital's close ties with the country garner some of the best dancefloor tracks Brazil has given us to date: Highlights include Urbandawn showing off a much more dramatic string to his bow on "Messiah Complex", S.P.Y continuing to strip things back to bare-bone basics on the super-dark "Hidden Fire" and Nitri subverting jump-up with a classic nod to the squelchy signature set by Moving Fusion all those years ago. And that's only half the EP. File under essential.
Review: Om Unit takes it to the bridge once again. His label's first V/A collection since its evergreen "Cosmology Selections" in 2017, it's another vast plain ripe in sonic depths and textures from some of the most left-minded, boundary-fusing captains in the bass game. Featuring two crucial link-ups from the bossman himself with two kindred spirits Djrum and Synkro plus a whole cosmic cornucopia of voyages from the likes of Danny Scrilla, J:Kenzo, Vromm and stacks more, every track is a highlight in its own beguiling way. No label flares with the same level of dark vitality, there's more than enough for our brains to chew on right here.
Bcee - "Back To The Street" (feat Philippa Hanna - Bcee's remix) (5:02)
Saikon - "Eastern Shimmer" (4:50)
Johnny L - "Bass Break" (Nu Tone remix) (5:09)
Villem - "Reflections" (feat Jevon Ives) (5:01)
Airshots - "Can't Catch Me" (feat Ben Shemel) (4:51)
Seba - "My Love" (6:37)
Anile - "Turn Around" (4:49)
Bcee - "Hand On My Heart" (4:55)
Riya - "We Belong" (feat Maverick Soul & Frank H Carter III - Bcee remix) (5:23)
Low R - "Other Side" (feat Anna Pancaldi) (5:19)
John B - "If U Need Anything" (5:17)
Utah Jazz - "Handle It" (feat DRS - Pola & Bryson remix) (5:18)
Dexcell - "Missing Pieces" (5:16)
Macca & Loz Contreras - "One Love" (5:14)
LSB - "My Squeeze" (6:22)
Zerozero - "Before" (feat Lameduza) (4:53)
Bcee - "Wanderer" (Black Barrel remix) (6:01)
Villem & McLeod - "The Sea" (feat Heidi Vogel - Bcee remix) (4:24)
Walk:R - "Wallflower" (5:39)
The Vanguard Project - "Is This Love" (feat Lucy Kitchen - Dexcell remix) (4:59)
Review: 14 years after he launched the label via a collaborative 12" with pal Lomax, BCee's Spearhead Records has finally notched up a century of releases. To celebrate, the veteran producer/label owner has gathered together a killer selection of previously unheard cuts. There's plenty of gems to be found within the 24-track selection, with highlights including the dub-wise D&B skank of Bungle's "Northern Dub", the elongated sub tones, jazzy breaks and dreamy melodiousness of Redeyes' "Outlines", the angular bass-weight and sunshine shuffle of John B's "If U Need Anything" and the drowsy deep jungle revivalism of Technimatic and LSB's "Sight Lines". As you'd expect, there are some great contributions from BCee dotted throughout, including a sublime personal "re-fix" of his own "Back To The Streets".
Review: Alix Perez rallies up the troops once again for another smouldering selection of futurism from a truly all-star cast ranging from Tsuruda to Bredren. Playfully writhing amid that dark but so fertile bass hinterland that joins jungle, hip hop, beats and all shades in between, once again we run the gamut from somnambulant soul (Halogenix's super deep "Trouble") to lively steppy warped D&B (SubMarine's "IWY", Razat's "Simplicity", Monty's "Decisions") by way of the unclassifiable (Alix's switchy swampy beast "Poison Ivy", Deft's "Trips"). And we do say so with that awesome sense of unknown, unease and tension that Alix, his label and his equally innovative affiliates have made themselves known for. Welcome to the future.
Dip Vertigo & Dr Apollo - "Red" (feat Josh Phillips) (4:47)
Walk:r - "Solis" (5:32)
Review: Three words: "Police In Helicopter"... One of the biggest dubplates last year is finally here, and it's joined by 24 other exceptional bangers as the Hozzy team roll out another absurd stack of "Sick" freshness from across the board. Genuinely on point tune for tune highlights include Pete Cannon's outstanding drumfunk lash out "Ella", Flava D's first D&B tune (the breath taking "Return To Me"), a bone shaking duet from the next gen gems Unglued and Bou ("Ascendant Man"), both Fred V & Grafix's first solo tunes since they split and an absolute neck breaking gully snapper from Lakeway in the form of "War Dub". And that's just scratching the surface, this is a humungous V/A album and it's here in all its glory on vinyl. Hot enough to burn down a cane field or two...
Sam Binga X Lewis James X Rider Shafique - "Ever Fresh" (3:22)
Taso X Fracture - "Lose You" (3:43)
BSN Posse - "No Matter How Far" (3:54)
Moresounds - "Shut Up" (4:30)
Falty DL - "A Day At The Races" (5:09)
Groves - "Hennessy Brown" (4:38)
Proc Fiskal - "Soundwise" (4:30)
Dream Continuum - "Ride Away" (4:35)
ONHELL & Sigrah - "On Sight" (3:28)
DieMantle - "Be Right There" (3:47)
Fracture - "Dropping You" (4:38)
Sully - "Qualia" (5:30)
Review: Astrophonica's first Fracture curated "Gradient" compilation, released in early 2017, was something of an overlooked delight; a killer collection of imaginative and occasionally off-kilter drum and bass cuts that defied lazy categorization. Happily, this follow-up is, of anything, even better. Compare and contrast, for example, the razor-sharp, hot-stepping ragga/dubstep/D&B fusion of Sam Binga, Lewis James and Rider Shafique's "Ever Fresh", and the thrilling jungle/acid house fusion of Luke Vibert's brilliantly bonkers "165 303". Or, for that matter, the sax-laden depth of BSN Posse's half-time "No Matter How Far", or the bass-weight dubstep heaviness of "Hennessy Brown" by Groves. Throw in similarly impressive cuts from Falty DL, Sully, Dream Continuum and Fracture himself, and you have a wonderfully diverse and on-point set of tracks.
Oris Jay & Chris Innasound - "Ghost & Darkness" (5:11)
Krust - "Escape From Finland" (3:39)
Au & Jesta - "Just Don" (5:36)
Danny Scrilla - "Clockwerkz" (4:52)
Von D - "Ah So Let It Go" (4:40)
Akcept & Another Channel - "Don't Believe" (6:16)
Monic - "Storm Doris" (4:53)
Review: Let's just list the amount of stone cold bass OGs on this collection: Krust, dBridge, Om Unit, Danny Scrilla, V.I.V.E.K, Von D, Moresounds, AU, Oris Jay & Chris Innasound and whole load more of soundsystem culture's most innovative craftsman working at the deepest levels of the low end coalface all feature on this immense and forward thinking document. Including the curator Amit himself. Every track is a highlight, each one and abyssal, immersive experience but essential highlights include the toxic bass bounces of Moresounds' "They Can't Handle It", the 23rd century UKG of Oris and Chris' "They Can't Handle It" and Krust's big screen masterpiece "Escape From Finland". Amit deserves a holiday. Or a massive trophy. Or both. Bass compilations don't get much bigger than this.