Review: Sub Terrain One is the first in a series of split EPs featuring high tempo bass music by ffliktion & dreamlogicc. Three cuts from ffliktion on the A side pair classic jungle breaks with hazy atmospherics and weighty basslines. Two cuts from dreamlogicc on the B side touch on hypnotic trance progressions with deep spacey textures.
Review: Manchester label Natural Sciences launches its new sub label Dolphin Traxx with a sterling effort by Durham-based D. Futers. As the label best describe themselves it's "a pounding two tracker of aqueous goo, molecular body deposits and corrosive laser stains, pressed up loud + harddd (sic)." On the A side we have "I Care" which is a gorgeous serving of feelgood classic house reminiscent of classic Strictly Rhythm or King Street with its pitched up vocals and uplifting pianos over a soulful groove. There is a bit of a curveball on the B side with the liquid junglist roller "Never Givin' Up" which likewise is brazen in its retroverted style tributes; think early Peshay or Alex Reece.
Review: Rewind to 1995: Mark Morris is neck deep in the dark stuff on labels such as Flex and Rinse Out before disappearing for 20 years. Now back and producing with his son, he's dug out four lost DATs from his first wave. All unreleased, covering every base and still sounding fully future proof; Slow and steady 160 jam "Dianetics" takes the lead with its deep poignant soul and lingering keys before "Take It Forward" hurls us deep into the jungle melee with steamroller breaks and trippy off beat layered percussion. Flip for the turbo editions as "Now Massive" kicks a white knuckled mule being chased by spirits while "Jack's Back" closes with a rampant breakcore finale. Spooky textures, horror movie vocals and beats that are so fast they have vapour trails. Dark by name.
Review: Long-serving, jungle-loving experimentalist Christoph De Babalon is on a roll. This rock solid EP comes hot on the heels of his latest inspired album, "Exquisite Angst", which slipped out in early December 2018. The four tracks offered up here are typically bolshy and bass-heavy, with De Babalon mixing and mangling IDM and Atari Teenage Riot style "digital D&B" insanity to suit his own twisted ends. In terms of highlights, we're particularly enjoying the bass-weight, skittish breakbeats and ghostly electronics of "Harakiri" and the more loose and languid - but no less bass-heavy - flipside opener "Shakes and Shivers". That said the dark and apocalyptic "Endless Inside" is also superb.
Review: Dead Man's Chest on MYOR off-shoot Diamond Life... You already know what type of damage this is going to cause before you drop the needle don't you? "Drum Shanty" lives up to its name. Coming on strong like you're coming up during a Ratty or Tango set in '92, there's mentasms, classic sensual vocal samples, a whole smorgasbord of breaks and pads that can shave every hair off your body. "Blue Mountain" (quite possibly a reference to the legendary Stokes Croft venue) is a little more pranged out with its reversed elements, deep shadows between the elements and alien textures that are designed purely to dark you out. Yes you.
Abducted (Digital's 'Is This A Dream' remix) (5:20)
Review: Blimey! As if Digital's originals aren't heavy enough, here come some absolutely flaming versions. "Waterhouse Dub" gets a savage tonking from Kiljoy that flips the breaks but retains all focus on that iconic riff of the original. US genre-flexers Sight Unseen take "Strictly DnB" to some dark, disturbing places behind those big warm horns while the main man himself takes on his own "Abducted" with a stark stripped back steppy feel that gives the bellowing subs. No one does it like Digital, right down to the remixers he gets on board. Massive.
Review: The mighty Digital steps forward with two stunning slabs of sound system science. "Strictly DNB" lashes and splashes with such a bright, energetic amen you'll swear you'll never miss another sermon at your local church ever again. Loaded with vibrant dub skanks, if you've caught any of his recent sets, you'll know how much this kicks off. Flip for "Time Out". A bubbling dub odyssey rolling at halftime tempo, it's Digital showing his roots and more reflective side with rich, precision sonic science. Pure class.
Review: Ding ding, round two. Following the long-awaited "Deaddial" and "Revolution", Digital & Spirit's latest EP continues to shatter a second slab of wax. "Phantom 2018" brings their 1999 game-changing bleep hypno-hurter "Phantom Force" up to speed with a full rebuild on all the elements that punch with a perfect balance of modern weight but the classic Digital & Spirit wall of sound feel. "Small World" is a brand new construction laced with their signature fabrics. Pummelling breaks, treacle subs and a strident dubby synth hook that's tailored for 3am+ moments. No one does it like these guys.
Review: The mighty Digital delivers the second vinyl instalment of his Total Control album and it's a devilish dark affair. The moment those drums on "Total Control" hit you with hardcore mischief, you know what type of mood Digital is in right here. No prisoners taken! Dig deeper for the crystaline rave ripples "To Meeeeeee" with long time compadres Spirit and Q Project before "So Fine" closes the show with crafty rolling breaks and dubwise dynamics. Digital is in a good place right here.
Review: While the world and their dog continues to drop his last hit "UK" in myriad creative mixes, Dimension follows it up with more peak time heavyweight massiveness; "Generator" is a big sing-along set-finale with a pumped-funk bassline while "Beg & Borrow" tips a nod at peers MTA mates Chase & Status with a stern spoken word vocal and a dangerous tech-edged drop. Then we have the special vinyl-only ">>>>_Error". What a twist to the tale... This can't be slept on.
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.
Horace Andy & Marcus Visionary - "Sound Killer" (Jungle VIP) (6:25)
Visionary - "Hustlin" (feat Camp Souljah) (6:26)
Truespirit - "Deep In The Jungle" (4:06)
Review: Reissue time! As New York jungle pillars Liondub International celebrate 10 years they've put together some of the hardest hitting bangers of their previous "Jungle To The World" collections on this powerful piece of wax. All the right vibes in all the right places, these all sound future fresh: DJ Hybrid's swashbuckling Dread bass backflips on "Special Request", the absolute bashy bless from Horace Andy and Marcus Visionary on "Sound Killer", the warmer reggae soul bubbles of Visionary's "Hustlin" and Truespirit's purring late 90s two-step homage "Deep In The Jungle". No filler in sight whatsoever.
Review: Brand new Marky! It's about time... Four years after his "My Heroes" album landed (and two years after his last single - "Silly VIP") the Sao Paulo don returns with two perfect soulful D&B gems. "Should I" looks back to the early 2000s with its powerful sample and Bingo-style bubbling bassline while "Love Break" takes off where "Silly" left us; swooping instrumentation that will have you leaping behind the decks and a break that will never ever quit. Don't leave it so long please Marky!
Review: Dona's Plant Texture lays down more fresh produce in the form of the left-sided Italian beat selection. Dona takes the A-side with three versions; his RaveONine blend is a warped, woozy joint that tips a subversive nod towards to the trippier side of Detroit, his jungle mix lives up to its name with some classic breakwork while the Slow08 version takes us right into the middle of a gluey dancefloor, all slo-mo and sedative. Flip for three twists from fellow Italian Simoncinco; a wriggling acid groove, a thundering bleep-style dub and some rolling 909 drums for add creative mix pleasure. What a package. Ready for takeoff?
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: Back to 94! AKO bossman Stretch digs deep into the DAT vault for these hefty piece of jungle dubplate history. "Dem Want It (VIP)" is all about those rolling percussive breaks and that bulging sub. Minimalism with clarity and soul, this still pokes the hell out of systems to this day. "Ganja Dub" on the B brings a little more soul to the jam with some beautiful keys before dropping back into Stretch's signature ruffage, sub-led sound. Released as part of AKO Beatz 150th release celebrations - and already sold out on picture disc - neither track have seen the light of a full vinyl release until this year, yet both sound as future as they did 25 years ago. Beatz working.
Review: Essex-based DJ Trax has been churning out the hits since 1993 (first hit single "High Time on Moving Shadow), making him one of jungle's survivors. He doesn't release that much these days, but what he does put out tends to be rather good. "20,000 Beats Under The Sea", the title track from this first solo single since 2014, is a wonderful blast from the past: a punchy, party-starting fusion of original jungle drums, jazzy samples and the kind of dreamy electronics frequently found on late '90s Good Looking Records releases. You'll find more ballsy, bass-heavy jungle pressure on the cracking "This Station" is a head-in-the-clouds early D&B roller built around metallic carnival percussion. On "No Name" KJ Sawka (Pendulum) delivers his live drums!