Simztek & Dubz – Creating Genres EP

March 19, 2016 in Singles

Simztek & Dubz Creating Genres EP New Politics RecordsSeeing as it’s Saturday night let’s end on a slightly more ‘now’ and ‘up’ tip with this latest from New Politics Records.

Four tracks to choose from here. Get Up is a now-sounding, peaktime-friendly but non-cheesy house jam with old skool pianos, hefty warping bass that’s actually applied quite subtly and an R&B-ish “what’s up, what’s up, get your hands up, get your hands up” vocal sample, though I couldn’t tell you where it’s from. Innocence ploughs a deeper furrow and is reminscent of the more soulful end of late 90s UKG. Minimal Fuss starts out as an eyes-down, bass-and-drums workout, but as the track progresses attitude-y bass and looping fem vox join the party, while finally So Long is a big n’ bouncy future garage/bass house affair with wailing fem vox, gnarly rave bass and an overall ‘last half hour before the club shuts, let’s f***ing ‘ave it” kinda feel.

All four are probably best served to younger floors but Innocence should appeal to the older heads as well.

Out: This week on Beatport, everywhere else from 28 March

About: Find New Politics Records on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Cup & String – Make It Rain

February 28, 2016 in Singles

Cup & String Make It Rain Slime RecordingsWe finished off last night in garage/bass territory, so let’s pick up there again tonight with this three-tracker from the ever-checkable Slime Recordings.

There are three tracks to choose from. Ain’t Nobody (feat Sarah Pellicano) kicks us off in future garage/post-dubstep pastures, with a sweet female vocal, stuttery, steppy beats and a big bass wobble that, at times, sounds a little bit like the start of the original Dr Who theme. Still Deep In Love is a more straight-up 4/4 UKG banger, and then finally we get to Make It Rain itself, which veers towards rave/breakbeat.

A pleasingly varied EP then, and all three tracks are well executed, but if pushed Ain’t Nobody takes the gold.

Out: This week

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

Kachina – Broken Lines EP

February 27, 2016 in Singles

Kachina Broken Lines EP Affectionate GroovesTo end on tonight, a truly superb four-track UKG/bass music EP from Affectionate Records, a new label in the NexGen Music group that was only set up in December, and that’s based jointly in Washington DC and London.

My Love gets the ball rolling, which has that soulful, Tuff Jammy vibe but underpinned by stuttering, thoroughly contemporary-sounding beats. Gangsta is a fine concoction of smooth, rolling beats and hefty warping bass that, as befits the label’s transAtlantic heritage, samples dialogue from both Ray Liotta and Michael Caine (with some ragga shouts in there too).  More reggae vox grace Broken Lines itselfwhich also features a proper dub bassline*. And then finally there’s the proper retro two-step bizniss of Breakaway.

Quality all round here, but if pushed then Gangsta takes the gold (as they’re prone too, I guess!)

Out: Yesterday

About: As stated above, Affectionate Grooves are the latest addition to a label camp (NexGen) that also includes NexGen Records (D&B) and Migration Recordings (dubstep). They describe their remit as “UK garage, two-step, speed garage, deep house, funky house and more” and you can find ’em on Soundcloud or at their own website.

* As a side note, some of my favourite UKG back in the day was the raggga-tinged stuff, always thought it was a shame when that kind of got edged out by the more R&B-ish end of things.

Midi Killer – Gentleman Joker

February 5, 2016 in Singles

Midi Killer Gentleman Joker Sound Vessel RecordsAnother two-track offering here, but we up the pace considerably in the company of US label Sound Vessel Records and Slovenian producer Midi Killer.

Gentleman Joker itself is billed on the hype sheet as house but there’s a distinctly UK garage-ish flava to its bumpin’ bassline, hip-swayin’ beats, muted organ chords and R&B-ish male vocal snips, a feeling that’s only enhanced by a Cockney-accented MC saying “Dapper!” every 20 seconds or so*. A pacey cut that should work on a range of floors, it’s accompanied by Face 9, which again has garage-y elements but also nods to vintage rave (the old skool synth stabs) while the drums have something of an early 00s tribal timbre, if not rhythm.

The A’s the one for yours truly, though.

Out: This week

About: Sound Vessel are based in San Diego and can be found on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

*BTW I didn’t actually measure that in any way, before anyone writes in to tell me “It’s every 14 seconds, ACTUALLY”

Andi Rivera – In My Mind

December 27, 2015 in Singles

Andi Rivera In My Mind Xylo MusicSo here we are, the little baby Jesus’s birthday has been and gone and it’s time to get back in the reviewing saddle, starting with this UKG-leaning offering from Andi Rivera on Xylo Music.

Four mixes of In My Mind to choose from. The strutty, stuttery Original is in some ways closest to that original late 90s vibe, but my money’s on the slightly smoother Jamie George, which has something of a Tuff Jam/Baffled Republic feel, albeit the big rasping bassline clearly sounds a bit more contemporary. Elsewhere, Secret Sinz’ remix is just a little less frantic than the original while the Soul Academy rub strips things right back and adds house-y, rave-y keys – I could’ve sworn it was gonna break out into Xpansions Move Your Body at one point!

All good, but as I said, Jamie George takes the gold for me here.

Out: This week

About: Find Xylo Music on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Andrew Greatorex – On & On EP

December 20, 2015 in Singles

Andrew Greatorex On & On EP Endemic DigitalMixes to suit a range of tastes on this latest from Endemic Digital.

In its original form, On & On is a mid-paced chugger with garage-y keys underpinned by rock-solid 4/4s and a simple throbbing b-line, and topped with a familiar spoken male vocal (“we found our place and shared our home/house in our heart, our cornerstone”). Basement 15 up the peaktime ante with a mix that owes more to garage from this side of the pond and keeps the full vocal, while Grant Bodent takes us into more heads-down, tribal-tinged 4am territory and puts the vox through the FX mangle. Completing the EP is bonus cut Get Together, an energetic tech-house workout with a “tonight could be… the night that we… get together” vocal that’s got Ibiza terrace written all over it.

Basement 15’s rub and the original share top honours for me.

Out: This week

About: Find Endemic – on Soundcloud or at the Krafted Music Group  website.

South Royston – Zapp

December 12, 2015 in Singles

South Royston Zapp Throne Room RecordsOnly the third release here from a new house label based up in Newcastle – Liam Armstrong’s Throne Room Records.

You get three mixes of Zapp to choose from, plus bonus cut Inside Of Me. In its Original form, Zapp is a very solid lil’ deep house chugger that’s got a hefty enough bottom end to sound thoroughly ‘now’, and that comes topped with shouts and FX which are vaguely reminiscent of Gunman, Fly Life etc. Lee Walker supplies a bigger, bouncier remix that ups the BPMs and foregrounds the vocal, which is married here to a different but just as weighty b-line, while Ryan Padley & Johnsson’s Bumping Drums Remix has percussion that harks back to vintage Chi-town, “I said bass!” shouts, whistles, cowbells and a general feeling of energetic dancefloor abandon. Finally, Inside Of Me is a rawer, even more garage-leaning affair with a looping “inside of me” vocal and a defiantly hip-wigglin’ bassline.

The likes of No Artificial Colours, Cristoph, Hot Since 82 and Riva Starr are already supporting this one and with further releases already lined up from Reset Safari, Jerome Price and Architech, the future for Throne Room Records looks bright!

Out: This week

About: You can find out more by hitting up Throne Room Records on Soundcloud and Facebook, or at their own website.

Deejay Astral AKA Palace – Deejay Astral EP

December 11, 2015 in Singles

Deejay Astral Deejay Astral EP W&O Street TracksA pleasing variety of styles on this three-tracker from W&O Street Tracks and the young Romford producer known as Palace, who’s as of now adopting a new alias, Deejay Astral.

Phantasy is a sparse, throbbing slice of the deepest garage, its pounding, muted 4/4s and echoing organ stabs topped with a full female jazz vocal. Junction takes us into darker territory with its ominous speed garage b-line and ghostly cut-up fem vox, while closer Zen is a stripped, echoing bass beast topped with ethereal keys and male R&B “I don’t wanna lose your love” vox, that should appeal to older and younger heads alike.

Out: This week

About: W&O Street Tracks is headed up by Waze & Odyssey, and this is their 15th release. You can find them on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Harrison BDP – Transcend EP

October 25, 2015 in Singles

Harrison BDP Transcend EP Gents & Dandy'sA very fine three-tracker here from the always on-point Gents & Dandy’s.

Transcend itself is up first, an understated but still fairly energetic deep house groover built around sumptuous chords, muted kicks, warm bass and some pleasingly raw-sounding keys, atop all of which sits a poetry-style spoken female vocal. Groove Til Tha Grave is a superlative slice of stripped-back, bumpin’ deep Jersey-style garage, while completing the EP is the skippier Don’t Watch, which looks more to early UK garage for inspiration and which sports some killer organ work and cut-up fem vox.

Really strong stuff all round here, but if forced to pick a fave then Groove Til Tha Grave just nudges it for me.

Out: This week (on general release)

About: Find Gents & Dandy’s on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Dee Brown & Ufuk K – Street Love EP

October 14, 2015 in Singles

Dee Brown & Ufuk K Sweet Love EP Svogue MuziqAn international affair here, as Bradford’s Dee Brown teams up with Swiss producer Ufuk K for a release on Spanish label Svogue Muziq.

In its Original form, Street Love is a tuff, percussive houser with garage-y warping organ chords and yearnsome fem vox. The accompanying Dee Brown Edit takes us into more straight-up garage territory (think UKG of the Tuff Jam/Grant Nelson persuasion), while completing the package is Feelings For You, which marries slamming 4/4s to dreamy, lingering chords and tops the lot with another female vocal, in this case a simple “I’ve got a feeling, yeah, I’ve got a feeling” loop.

All good, but Dee’s edit takes the gold for me.

Out: Yesterday

About: You can find Svogue Muziq here, here and here.