Zere – Outsource/Interval (Remixes)

April 25, 2016 in Singles

Zere Outsource/Habitat E-Motion RecordsAs promised last night, a couple of bits from last week to catch up on before we start with this week’s release. First up: this superb D&B slab from Birmingham-based label E-Motion Records.

Two very different remixes to choose from here. The Habitat Remix of Outsource is an uptempo, liquid-y roller with a vague air of menace at the bottom end, and atmospheric “oo-ooh” sounds that don’t half remind me of a D&B remix of Tony Di Bart’s The Real Thing I’ve got on 10-inch somewhere, which makes me think they’re probably from something dead famous and I’m an idiot for not knowing. Anyway, it’s good, but the minimalist Sam Binary Remix of Interval on the flip is even better, a red-eyed half-step headnodder powered along by dark, rumbling sub-bass.

Out: Now

About: Find E-Motion on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Soulful Nature – Going Nowhere EP

February 28, 2016 in Singles

Soulful Nature Going Nowhere EP NexGen MusicFour tracks of liquid D&B goodness from NexGen Music here.

Going Nowhere itself features a soulful male vocal and elements of piano, sax and strings, and is reminiscent of early Hospital material… the hype sheet’s “think Marvin Gaye meets High Contrast” is as good a description as any! Still Love U operates in similar territory, but it’s a female vocal this time, buried deeper in the mix and accompanied by faster-rolling breakbeats. Something New brings another male vocal and while still quite fierce is also a notch lighter/poppier, while completing the EP is Doing To Me, which has echoes of vintage Acen-style hardcore, but in a smoooooooth kinda way.

They’ve chosen the lead track well here, but liking Still Love U as well.

Out: This week

About: Find NexGen Music here, here and here.

Jigsaw ft Ziddy Sharma – Break The Mould

February 27, 2016 in Singles

Jigsaw Break The Mould E-Motion RecordsAnd from a deep house record that, confusingly, shouts “strictly drum and bass!” (see Alek Soltirov review below) let’s move on to an actual drum & bass record that, helpfully, doesn’t feel the need to shout “strictly deep house!”. Lord knows there’s enough confusion what those two words mean already…

Just the two tracks to choose from here. On the A, Break The Mould is a techy, minimal-leaning stepper with a downpitched male vocal from Sharma and a pleasing “dark n’ moody without getting stoopid about it” feel overall. Flip it over, and She Wasn’t Ready is a rolling liquid affair, much lighter in feel than the A but not without, in true yin/yang style, some inner darkness of its own in the bass department.

Both are cool but it’s Break The Mould I’m feeling the most.

Out: Tomorrow

About: This comes on E-Motion Records, a Birmingham-based D&B label who took a break for most of 2015 but are clearly back in full effect for the 016! Find ’em on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Nixon – The Subculture EP

January 23, 2016 in Singles

Nixon Subculture EP Punks MusicJust one word for this one, and that word is ‘ohmigosh’… cos this BEAST of a tune really is stupidly, ridiculously good.

Coming on the Stanton Warriors’ Punks label, Subculture sees breaks producer Nixon teaming up with D&B MC GQ to concoct a feast of bowel-threatening bass, rolling breaks and exhortations to “make some motherfucking noise”, tempered in parts by floaty, atmospheric synths, gently tinkling ivories and sultry female “mmm-mmm-mmms”. A track that’ll appeal to ageing ravers, junglists and UK garage lovers alike, expect to be hearing this one out RATHER A LOT in the coming months*.

What’s more, flip it over and you also get Step In To The Light, which is even bigger, darker and moodier and even more blatant in its homage to early 90s raving, and which uses the same Yunie I Can See For Miles sample that was made famous on Lick Back Organisation’s 1994 Suburban Base classic Ruff ‘N Rugged.

There ought to be laws against records like this one… but I’m very glad there aren’t.

Out: This week

About: You can find Punks on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

*If you don’t, I may as well pack this “writing about dance music” lark in now, because 20 years of it have clearly taught me nothing

BCee, Saxxon & Surplus – STR008

January 16, 2016 in Singles

BCee, Saxxon & Surplus STR008 Soul TraderAnother abrupt switch in style and tempo now with this excellent liquid D&B V/A four-tracker from Soul Trader.

Spearhead boss BCee gets the ball rolling – pun fully intended! – with Understanding, a hi-octane liquid dancefloor slammer that makes great use of a pitched-down vocal lift from Loleatta Holloway’s classic Dreaming. Saxxon keeps things pretty firing with Blue Harbour, which tops steppy beats and LARGE, subby bass with jungle noises, house-y pianos and snatches of reggae vox. BCee, Saxxon and Surplus then team up for Tripped Up, a just-slightly mellower affair with dreamy fem vox and a Korg M1 line that seems to have wandered in from the house room circa 1995 and decided to stay, while BCee plays us out with Only You, a riot of house-y female vocal snips, tinkling ivories, subtle nods to ’91-vintage rave/hardcore and an absolute MONSTER of a bassline.

There’s a lot of insipid ear-candy peddled in the name of liquid; the best stuff, though, will unite the scowling junglist man-dem and the happy-clappy househeads in one great surge of dancefloor euphoria. This superb EP sits firmly in the latter camp, so check it!

Out: This week

About: Find DJ Surplus’s London-based Soul Trader on Soundcloud and Facebook. As the more perceptive among you may have realised, this is the label’s eighth release.

Various – L.T.D EP Vol 2

November 29, 2015 in Singles

L.T.D EP Vol 2 Soul TraderWe ended last night in drum & bass territory, so let’s pick up there again tonight with this pleasingly varied V/A sampler from West London’s fledgling Soul Trader label.

Spearhead Records boss BCee is up first with the soulfully inclined liquid roller Thought I Knew, which sports melancholy strings, gently tinkling ivories and a looping female “I thought I knew you” vocal. HLZ’s Broken Lights sits somewhere between liquid and deep/minimal D&B with its cavernous bass drops, steppy beats and female vocal wails, while McLeod’s Stolen Kisses operates in similar territory but with more frenetic rolling beats. Salaryman’s more strident In The Stories then nudges towards ‘stadium’ territory, before the Simplification & Translate remix of Random Movement’s Chop Shop Burn plays us out on a mellower note once more, albeit when that bass drops you’ll know about it!

It’s the BCee and HLZ tracks I’d head for first, personally, but the range on offer makes this a package that should have broad appeal.

Out: This week

About: Find Soul Trader on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Altered Perception – Engage/Creep

November 28, 2015 in Singles

Altered Perception Engage/Creep Plush RecordingsOkay, last one for tonight so let’s flip the script before we dip with some deep, dark D&B vibes courtesy of the ever-checkable Plush Recordings.

Alchemic Breaks boss Altered Perception is the man at the controls, serving up two serious dancefloor bullets your Nan probably wouldn’t like much. On the A, Engage is packed full of the kind of ominous, industrial sounds you find in the deepest of techno and minimal, albeit in this instance they’re married to rollin’ techy beats and a dark, warping main synth hook. Over on the B, meanwhile, Creep has a similar sound palette but fiercer drums – not much more I can tell you, really.

Two to reach for when you want to turn the dark up!

Out: This week

About: Find Plush Recordings on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Mutated Forms – Let You Go EP

November 21, 2015 in Singles

Mutated Forms Let You Go EP Spearhead RecordsFinally for Saturday night, let’s up the tempo with some quality soulful D&B vibes from BCee’s Spearhead Records.

Let You Go itself starts with a long, atmospheric intro before bursting out into fierce rolling beats, a big ruff-edged bassline and male “I shoulda let you go” vox. They Know feat Luke Truth is a steppier cut with slightly saccharine R&B male vox counterpointed by the gnarliest of descending basslines. Your XTC operates in similar territory, while finally In Your Mind is the paciest and most frenetic of the lot, with cut-up soulful vox sitting atop stop-start bass rumble and militant rollin’ beats.

All four are plenty playable but the title track’s the one.

Out: This week

About: You can find Spearhead Records herehere and here.

Thomas B – Cavitation Project EP

November 16, 2015 in Singles

Thomas B Cavitation Project EP Plush RecordingsWe end tonight in the deepest of drum & bass territory with this superb EP from Plush Recordings.

Textured Red gets the balling, an uptempo but nonetheless fairly laidback lil’ roller that sits somewhere between ‘liquid’ and ‘minimal’ on the D&B spectrum, and that sports a melancholy muted horn riff I definitely should know from somewhere but can’t place right now. Tetrakt collab Nayam sits firmly in the deep/minimal camp and indeed veers towards the ambient in places, albeit there’s also a cheeky little break from days of yore if you listen closely. MDZ is a downtempo piece and quite cinematic – and at just 2:58, doesn’t outstay its welcome – while finally Sky Island starts out all delicate and ethereal, then introduces half-time steppy beats and ends up sounding a bit Massive Attack-ish.

A varied EP that’s home to some interesting sonic experiments, but it’s the more straight-up deep D&B vibes of the first two tracks that I’m feeling the most.

Out: This week

About: You can find Plush Recordings on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Various – Our Little Secret EP

October 31, 2015 in Singles

Our Little Secret EP Soul TraderOkay, last one for tonight and what we have here are some more quality liquid vibes courtesy of a label who I don’t think have featured on TIWWD before, DJ Surplus’s west London-based Soul Trader.

Up first is Our Little Secret from US producer Dave Owen, which marries fierce rolling beats and warm-like-chocolate bass to sax and guitar that suggest a few 70s west coast jazz-fusion LPs lurk in Mr Owen’s record collection, while two different vocals do battle on top: a sweet sampled/treated female one, and a male one from featured Jamaican vocalist Dorsh that flits between rap and ragga stylings. The accompanying remix from Poland’s Satl & Skeletone takes us on a slightly smoother ride. Brazil’s Simplification & Translate then supply the EP’s other two tracks, with Back To Life coming on like the liquid remix of a 60s/70s sitcom theme (think Bewitched or Man About The House), while The Look Of Love is a more typical liquid roller with some fine jazzy flourishes and just a hint of, yes, the vocal you’re probably already thinking of!

All good stuff, but Back To Life stands out for sheer quirkiness/originality alone.

Out: This week

About: Find Soul Trader on Soundcloud and Facebook.