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: DJ Central presents three new aliases on this elegantly put together 12". Conjuring up the perfect recipe for a DJ Cake, Central blends and explores the likes of pulsating atmospheric techno on the track "Balast", smoothly escalating breaks on "Ko Ko Dak Dak" and hazy crackling ambient on the finale "Daeksel". Unique, inspiring and truly excellent works from the one they call DJ Central.
Persian Prince - "Revolutionary Junglist" (CS mix) (5:21)
Review: Those DATS keep getting unearthed and remastered as Dlux and Persian Prince hit the fifth volume in the series. Once again, it's an open and shut case of music that was decades ahead of its time. Spacey to the point of psychedelic, freeform to the point of jazz; Dlux was a master at those lean unpredictable grooves that have stood the test of time so well. Highlights include the sudden chops into funk breaks on "Drummer's Return" and the frantic gamey 8 bit bubbles of "I Gotcha Part 2". Ageless slammage.
Icicle & Proxima - "Outer Planes" (feat Ben Verse) (4:38)
Icicle - "Dust Me Off" (4:32)
Proxima - "Retrace" (4:33)
Icicle & Proxima - "Deep Dreaming" (4:12)
Review: Icy's Entropy imprint hits its second outing and he's brought along his equally talented and uncompromising cousin Proxima for the ride. "Outer Planes" (with ex Pendulum MC Ben Verse) kickstarts the adventure with grainy, scratchy bass while Icy goes solo for "Dust Me Off" with a lolloping, technoid hypnosis jam and Proxima gets squelchy and savage on "Retrace". "Deep Dreaming" maintains balance with a final colab between the two... And it does so with serious wind tunnel harmonic drama. Feel the burn.
Review: Long-time sonic sparring partners and kindred fusion spirits Paradox and Nucleus return to their Esoteric imprint for more glacial goodness. "Beatbox" is a perfect example of the two OGs' sonic palette. Unhurried, spacious and colder than an overnight party-for-one in a morgue. "Plexus", meanwhile, takes us even deeper down their rabbit hole. Stripped back to a well-chiselled two step, rolling break, cosmic pads that constantly mutate and a velvet sub bass that really pops when you drop this on a big rig, it's perfect hypnotic fodder for the 4am crew.
Review: Back to 2005! Straight off the heat of their debut album The Esoteric Funk, Nucleus & Paradox release this alarmingly savage 12" and we've been waiting for a reissue ever since. "Love Her" sounds like a swarm of bees trapped in an Akai. Buzzing, high voltage, strange harmonics, grumpy bass groans and flashes of venom amens, it's been a cult classic for 14 years. "Dilenttantes" is even more fitting of their Esoteric title with Foley sounds, strange twisted textures and more precision breakbeats. Two timeless bumps from one of drum & bass jungle's most longstanding and visionary duos - grab this while you can.
Monic & Grebenstein - "Cutting The Ties That Bind" (7:31)
Review: Following Overlook's EP on the label this spring, the young UK experimenter returns with a whole gang of Osiris affiliates. He takes the lead with the airy tribal soul of "Former Self" before we're hurled deep into the humanised pads and creeping arpeggios of Pessimist's swampy subs on "Indigo". Flip for two slices of Monic; first a physical percussive trip in the form of "Stampede", then a much more sedate, exploratory and introspective experiment with Grebenstein for a far out finale.
Review: Coming out of the Audio Plants fraternity, Ukranian drum & bass artist Pageant brings a bright and breezy musicality to the scene on this expansive debut album. The beats come through clear and punchy while the instrumentation takes its lead from LTJ Bukem's smoother moments to results in a very palatable kind of liquid drum & bass. This is as feel good as the genre can get, and with its wide scope for natural and synthetic sound sources it never tires on the ears. Whether it's the soaring vocal of Elena Aki on "Space Song" or the expressive guitar trills on "Taxi Driver", there's always something catchy to draw your ear in to Pageant's smooth as silk soundworld.
Review: 20 years old and still sounding more future than most jungle records: Paradox dusts off his only release on the late, great, criminally over-looked Partisan imprint. "Too Dissimilar" rides on an absolute pearl of break (even by Paradox's unique standards) that charges out for over eight minutes, digging you deeper and deeper into its dark, alien universe. "Idiosyncrasies" is even further out in the singular solar system. Opening with the clean break (which Paradox has always encouraged sample creativity with) it then drops us into a gravity-free vacuum as we float and sway to classic icy pads before the break is sped up and twisted right before our very eyes. Jazzy, floaty but unrelenting; it's a perfect example of Dev Pandya's truly unique voice in the game.
Review: Moscow-based Okbron Records has been doing a terrific job in serving up long lost and previously unreleased cuts from the formative years of jungle and drum and bass. Their latest white label 12" offers up two tracks from long-serving quartet Pariah, which were recorded during the late 1990s around the time when they were weighing up a "major deal" with LTJ Bukem's "Good Looking Records". Bukem used to rinse the dubplate of "Urban Score", a wonderfully warm, spacey, bass-heavy and dreamy chunk of intergalactic drum and bass underpinned by the classic Amen break. Flipside "Montage" is, if anything, even more intergalactic in tone, with an extended ambient intro making way for bustling electronic beats and wavy, supernova synths.
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.
Review: Hugely prolific pioneer Persian Prince returns with yet another haul (and indeed pull) of unreleased DATs from the foundation era. His breakthrough "Persian Inna Jungle" track takes the lead with a dubplate remix never-before-released. It's back by pure gully fire as "Drum & Bass Soldier" takes us straight back to 95 and Kool FM absolutely running things. Deeper into the mix "Interlude" takes us on the scenic route with some very spacey treatments on the breaks while "Truth" plain shaves our head off with serious amen pressure. Finally, "Desertism" drops us in the middle of the Sahara with only a drum kit to keep us alive. Mystical business.
Review: Since kickstarting the Existence Is Resistance label back in 2011, Persian has been on a mission to offer up sleazy, forthright and downright inspired UK bass music. He's at it again on "Revolution", joining forces with various like-minded fellow producers to lay down more scintillating and searing sounds. He first joins forces with DJ Staf for a bombastic revivalist jungle affair (the ace "Revolution"), before inviting Nick Dunton to help wrap wild electronics and gentle melodies around a more off-kilter D&B rhythm on "Milton 21". Elsewhere, Lauryn adds evocative vocals to the dreamy breakbeat flex of "Not Nuff Time", while solo salvo "D Dub Retwist" sounds like a more sub-heavy take on the mid-90s Ninja Tune trip-hop sound.
Review: Building on a healthy body of collaborative work, neuro A-listers Phace and Mefjus combine their schnitzel collections for their debut collabo EP. A full flavour four pack that still leaves time for a pint, we're treated to some of their raffish and unruly tracks to date; the techno glitches and weird switches of "Wastemen", the jumpy riff flavour of "Malmaison", the electrified funk frazzles of "Decisions" and the pure purring bass and sci-fi drama of "Swerve" all comprise some of their best collaborations to date. Time to get wasted.
Review: More 20/20 goodness from longstanding Dutch imprint Fokuz. First up is a Total Science refix of Phaction's 2015 liquid vocal workout "Stratos" where the duo add more weight to the drums, space between the elements and big dubby plunges to the bass. Flip for a brand new original from label mainstays Malaky, Sati and Silence Groove. Blessed with breathy vocals, slinky drums and big washy textures, it's a great warm-up device that builds with cinematic effect throughout.
Review: Phil Tangent & Philth - AKA the two coolest Phil's since Mr Mitchell of Albert Square - return to Artificial Intelligence's imprint Integral with four more heart-massagers. Glistening with a selection of much-loved and precision-positioned samples, "Eclipse" takes the lead and has potential to be one of the biggest tunes this summer. It's backed by the equally delicious and soulful "Consequence" where plucky guitar strums and a gilded vocal join forces to bring you to your knees, the heads-down and contemplative Soul:r-style dreamer "Star Song" and the powerful drum-led celestial wounder "Meditation". Phil up while you can.
Pola & Bryson - "Find Your Way" (feat Charlotte Haining) (5:17)
Glxy & Gzb - "Yes Jah" (5:13)
Mitekiss - "Some People" (4:34)
Signal - "How Will I Know" (3:57)
Review: Shogun Audio dig deep into the vaults once again for a collection of long-demanded vinyl outings. Taken from right across the label's broad spectrum, we kick off with Pola, Bryson & Charlotte Haining's anthem sing-along "Find Your Way" before GLX follow with one of their darkest steppers to date "Yes Jah". Meanwhile on the flip Mitekiss's piano-massaging dreamweaver "Some People" before Signal's hurricane vocal headbutt "How Will I Know You" shuts down the session in timeless style. Grab it while you can.
Review: Proc Fiskal used to run a party called Shleekit Doss that was ecstatic and transcendent while still being fun and silly. He tries to capture the magic of the party on this new EP and does so admirably. The 6 tracks on the EP feels clever but charming. It's a collision of hardcore flurries, warped synths and day-glo keys that is often chaotic but also comforting. Drum & bass, rave, future grime and more all colour its grooves, but the resulting sound is pretty much impossible to define (in a good way).
Review: Refreshingly far-out beats from the ever-understated Profane. "Guardian" jitters like a robot on a pogo stick in a sea of bass sludge and there's a touch of the Dilla on "Iceberg 74" as the Torontarian artist splices a rattled-snare and hot tin roof break with faltering dreamy waves. Flip for some darkside pummelling from Shift: "Juju" is a rattling roller with heavy cymbal accents and freaky loose string bass twangs, "Totem" flexes a fretless bass and more sinewy drums. Speaker shattering.