Review: They're back! Serum, Voltage and Bladerunner return with their first new originals since last year's album and, as the title "Main Event" suggests, it's a pretty big deal. "XXX" opens with disarming stripped back intent. There's a bleepy techno twist in the tale and the tension is higher than Voltage's monthly fashion budget. Elsewhere "Somebody Else" sees them re-enlisting the scorching vocal diesel of Lydia Plain for another emotional skin-burner and "Solar Heat" ends the EP on a real groany, smelly distorted introspective vibe. Tremendous... And we haven't even got to the dessert event, which is a super sweet Circuits remix of "Burnt Ends". Crumbs!
Review: Jazzsticks and Blendits affiliate/Konfront Audio member Simstah makes his debut on a label from his own hometown Bern with "A Lost Path". One of his most comprehensive solo EPs, it showcases his deepest, most contemplative tendencies as we're soothed by stripped back arrangement and organic textures that get deeper the further we explore the path. "Oblivious" opens with some deep jungle science and heavy atmospheres before "2020" takes us on a dark, tribal halftime roll. Meanwhile on the B, "A Lost Path" is a mournful reflective piece that nods at the work of Asa, Sorrow or Phaeleh before "The Untold Story" closes the show with piano-tickling ambience. Time to get lost.
Review: Those interested in the roots of UK bass music have been well-served of late, with a number of books and compilations focusing on the first wave of British dance music in the late 80s and early 90s. Soul Jazz's latest compilation is a superb addition to this growing list. It showcases music made in the post-bleep and early breakbeat hardcore period, where basslines got bigger, drum breaks faster, and ragga influences started to come to the fore. The selections are on-point throughout from the dub-wise rave rush of Babylon Timewarp's "Durban Poison" and the bleep-and-breaks-meets-proto-jungle shuffle of DJ Dubplate's "Tings A Go On", to the rave-rap goodness of The Freaky's "Time & Age" and the heavily edited darkcore/early jungle insanity that is Krome & Time's terrific "Ganja Man". In a word: essential.