Review: Fresh from her Med School missions, Moscow's A.Fruit maintains the leftfield beat heat with another savage session, this time on Om Unit's evergreen Cosmic Bridge. "Make Them Shake" is a loopy ghetto/technoid mutant barbed with all manner of strange squelchy textures while "Polykarp" flips the motion sensors with a surprise drop into iced soul chords and skippy breaks. Meanwhile on the B we're struck with more beguiling gold: with its jazzy chords and pneumatic kicks "Deep Insight" stalks like a cat but punches like a bear while "Before You Go" brings us home on more of a mystic, percussive spacious trip. Crucial through and through, neither A.Fruit or Cosmic Bridge are messing around here.
Review: Artificial Intelligence welcome Austrian duo Air K & Cephei back to the fold with this gorgeous four-tracker. Their first full EP for the label, they've delivered in all directions; "All You Know" is a vocal hurricane armed with an equally hair-raising bassline, "Smiles" is an introspective-yet-sensual piano-tickler while "Reflections" is a genuine cosmic crusade built with layers and textures that go on for days. Finally "My Way" closes the show with a nice bit of closure. With added touches from Concept & Shnek, it's a powerful orchestral piece with all the essential drama you need in a summer set. Epic.
Review: One of the great joys of James Clements' music as ASC is its thrilling unpredictability. While his productions have always been rooted in drum and bass, he's released little straightforward D&B for the best part of a decade. His latest outing on Samurai is dark and hard to pigeonhole, offering tracks that variously mix and match elements of intense acid, Autechre-style IDM, the sub-weight of D&B culture, the aural haziness of ambient and the skittish post-D&B rhythms that have long marked out his work. Our picks of a very strong bunch are the buzzing experimental techno psychedelia of acid-laden closing cut "Currents" and the sparse, sub-heavy haziness of opener "The Siren", where high tempo acid lines bubble away above a suitably hazy and paranoid backing track.
Review: He's back at the controls! Breakage has been in his element since launching Index, rolling out jam after jam after jam. Rooted in the foundations, stripped back to the bare bones and designed to make both you and your speakers shake, everything he's delivered on the label so far has been prime mixing material and supported across the board. These are no exceptions; "Yeah" is a cantankerous shakedown with all the funk you'd expect from the man, "Liff Up" is minimal, bouncy and unhurried in its momentum while "Wicked" closes with a snaking sub that will both squeeze and bite you. Wicked and indeed bad, respect to Breakage.
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.
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.
Review: Med School's travelling wilbury Etherwood delivers his first collection of originals since last year's album "In Stillness". Written on the road throughout summer 2018 in his van, each piece depicts an entirely fresh view that ranges from the azure waters and soft sand of "See The Sky" to much darker, tense rollers such as "Driving Out". Highlights include the soft introspection of "Clouds", the delicate pianos and meany moody bass groan on "Lulerain" and the skippy bliss of "Away From It All". Time to get lost...
Review: If ever there was a record that warranted a one-track single-sided pressing, it would be this one. The legend of this track harks back to the golden years of dubplate culture, when a track's infamy could be felt months before it dropped. Sherelle lay waste to the place when she dropped Fixate's utterly devilish bootleg of Double 99's timeless garage classic "Ripgroove," which artfully nudges the track back into the rudest jungle styles the original made such good use of. It had to get an official pressing, and who better than original label Ice Cream Records to do the business? This one is going to fly out, so don't hang around.
Review: Goodness gracious; UVB-76 sublabel Droogs rises for the first time this year and it does so with these two troves of utter darkness. Both sides as tense and immersive as each other, coming from two rising new-gen artists, both "Carrier Wave" and "Echos" hit home hard. Holsten's former takes a while to set the misty theme before cutting through with a breezy rolling breakbeat while Artilect's latter kicks with more of a techstep bounce but heavily swung and wrapped up in taut strings and grizzly distorted bass. Absolute wounders.
Review: Oof! It's finally here; two east London mic dons link up over a heavy Chimpo beat on Jamakabi's Rhythm Rollers for a name that truly lives up to its name. Doing the rounds in various forms since last year, "Wickedest Ting" touches wax in two perfect version; the body-slamming original and a bashing jungle twist from the Ghosty Men. Wicked.
Review: Essential damagement jams from one of the most consistent and forward-thinking labels in the contemporary jungle game, "Full Repertoire Vol. 02" features fire from friends old and new. Label owner Law tags up with rising artist Kola Nut once again to ease us into the EP with "Somewhere New" where goodlooking-esque soft arpeggios and pipes disarm us before the darkness unfolds. Eusebeia returns to Repertoire with the pressure cooker hardcore pads of "Shape The Future", newcomer Mani Festo follows his killer Rupture debut with the equally menacing tightly coiled spring that's "Next 2 U" before Necrotype closes with the coldest cut of the collection, all strange humanised noises, melting droplets and complex breaks. Full to the brim.
Review: LSB returns with the third chapter in his Footnotes series. Four more originals spanning his stark, restrained style, the title track sums up the spirit perfectly; big strings, a classic rave vocal refrain and a dynamic that will melt your trousers. It's complemented by the much darker, tunnel technoid "Space Stepper", the metallic harmonies and salubrious future funk flare of "Do Your Thing" and the emotion-laden, introspective "Melrose". Get footloose for Footnotes...
Review: AKO welcome long-timer Madcap. Oxford-based and on the scene for a good 20 years, he's been slowly building up a powerful arsenal on the likes of Good Looking, Soul Deep, Fokuz and many more for the last 10+ years. With the backing of Stretch, on his fast-developing 10" label AKO 10, this is one of the biggest moves yet. "Out Of Reach" is big and breezy deep jungle, loaded with space for the pianos to smoulder and the echoed vocals to waft majestically in and out of the mix. Flip for "Sunshine Dub" where you'll feel you've heard it all before... In the best possible way. Don't sleep on this one, it's a cheeky one.
Review: Well hello there Mr Monty. One of the many super-talented producers to emerge from the thriving Toulouse scene in recent years, he returns to Alix Perez's 1985 with four new fire-ups. Arguably his best material to date (which is saying something), the EP takes up from the viper-like rattles and slithers of the lead track to the epic cavernous deep rollage of "Intoxication". In between we're treated to glacial soul ("Limbo" with Visages) and proper sandpaper funk roughage ("Legion") Never say goodbye...
Review: After a short break, Mako's Utopia Music have fired into 2019 all guns blazing with two long-awaited Break cuts and an album from Hydro and War. This label debut from Belgian MZine continues the heat with necksnap stepper sessions that maintain Utopia's consistent quality. "Equate" is all about those throaty moans under a yearning desert call while "Croon (feat. Afya)" takes us much deeper into the machine's stomach so you can hear every acidic gurgle and croak. Flip for two more danger sessions: "Brinkman" is made of springs and laced with glacial pads while "Generis" closes the EP with a star-gazing cosmic touch. On-point.
Jamalski, Rocker T & Mr Live - "Put It On" (Liondub & Bluntskull remix) (4:51)
Johnny Osbourne & Marcus Visionary - "Lend Me" (5:17)
Bladerunner & DJ Westy - "Original Bad Boy" (5:57)
Review: What a ting! North America's running wild with drum & bass right now but here are two of the realest, most enduring names: Marcus Visionary and Liondub International. Four tracks taken from Marcus's recent mix album, highlights include aggy dancehall hip-hop fusion of "Put It On" and the utterly disgusting roller "Original Bad Boy" from Bladerunner and DJ Westy. Featuring the likes of Navigator and Rankin Joe, there's some of the strongest voices possible on this collection. The Atlantic gates are well and truly open.
Review: Rupture regular Outer Heaven will tickle your inner badboy with this highly anticipated return to the underground nuclear bunker of UVB-76. Four tracks of solid dark sonic matter "The Last Men" takes the lead with a powerful percussive hook maintaining a marching sensation that breaks into momentary splashes of breakbeat chaos. It's backed up the three more equally disarming and trippy tracks. "Blemish" is a swampy drill laced cut with noxious harmonics, while "Still Waters" takes us into the murkiest two-steppy territories you might imagine. Finally "Trapline" shuts, locks and bolsters the front door with a pounding steppy rhythm that's coated in echoes and dubby warmth. Buckle up.