Review: Following seriously strong turns on Dat Pressure and Moodswing, the fast-rising DJ Perception drops another payload of 2-step firepower on us. Bringing the best of raw, stripped back garage to the party, "Reverse" is all insistent swinging beat, and it's a beat strong enough to keep you locked from start to finish. "Flyby" has a more broken beat flavour, not least thanks to the soaring, choppy chords. "Loose End" is a cheeky bouncer with some catchy chiming keys and rude bass to get silly to, and yet it still comes off incredibly classy. "Gonna Make You" rounds the EP out with a classy, smoky soul stepper - quite possibly the highlight of the whole record.
Review: Dubtraxx is new on the scene, as is their label Rhythm N Vibe, but don't let that lull you into a false sense of security - this is seriously heavyweight gear. "Soundbwoy Request" is especially dangerous, working plenty of dub, reggae and jungle motifs into a rugged garage structure and sounding utterly ruff in the process. "Towards '99" is no slouch either, albeit on a slightly housier tip than the raucous A-side. The "2000 Tribute Mix" of "Next Millenium" meanwhile sneaks out a few of the eerie tones you'd expect to hear around the time that dubstep first started to emerge.
Review: Highrise continues to pile on the pressure through his breakout year in the buoyant UK garage scene, following up crucial spots on Plastik People and Shuffle 'n' Swing with more of that immaculately rendered 2-step tackle to get you shaking uncontrollably. 'Groovin' is steeped in soul and vibe, while 'Not Because Of You' gets even craftier with its organ chops and vocal slices. 'Teedra' on the B-side follows suit, displaying a razor sharp instinct for the funkiest slithers of sound to get bouncing around that deadly swing. If you need proof there's plenty of fresh garage being made these days, then cop yourself one of these before they're all snapped up.
Review: Ukranian producer SE62 has been ducking in and out of the limelight since 2009, notching up impressive releases on labels like My Love Is Underground and Home Taping Is Killing Music. Now he returns to deliver the second release on Rhythm N Vibe, and does so in style. There's a tripped-out, heady atmosphere to "Secret Garden" that would sound incredible on a Sunday session at Panoramabar, while "Together" is a much rawer proposition. "Endorphins" is a curveball of a track, all uptempo stomp and off the wall samples, and "Insomnia" finishes the EP off with another switch up. The crafty breakstep flex of the drums and sparse atmosphere make for a cool and deadly variation to the rest of the EP.
Review: As the UK garage sound enjoys something of a boom time, Soul Mass Transit System slide up to Rhythm N Vibe with some absolutely on-point bumpers to get the party greased up good and proper. "Need U" is a slick, stripped down shuffler with classy, tightly clipped chords and vocal snippets, while "What U Did" leads in with a fuller vocal and a tougher beat. Crazy Bank's version of "Over" kicks off the B side with a cheeky vibe marked out by some wobbly synth touches like you'd hear on a micro house record from the mid '00s. The original version of the track is a more grounded, soulful workout that completes this package of piping hot garage tackle.