Review: Back in 2016, Leo James stepped up to deliver the debut 12" on J.Sparrow's Navy Cut imprint. Here he returns to the label for the first time since, and this time he's got soul-soaked reggae vocalist J Appiah in tow (an artist last spotted lending his honeyed tones to a house record by Damian Lazarus). The vibe here is slow, sensual and emotional, with atmosphere taking precedence over any notion of appeasing peak-time dancefloors. That's a good thing, though, because "Struggle" - a deep, smoky dub-soul cut rich in delay-laden reggae instrumentation, weighty bass and heart-aching vocals from Appiah - is sublime. There's more of a dancefloor feel to the similarly dubbed-out and heartfelt "Lost & Found", with a rhythmic shuffle that's slightly closer to house than stereotypical dubstep.
Review: Kromie the homie brings the heat we've been hoping for since he previewed it in 2013; the sizzling, screaming, 1.21 gigawatt voltage bassline monster "Gravity". Every bit as heavy as its name suggests, it's Kromestar at his most venomous (and arguably very best). Flip for his ever satisfying game of contrast as "First Kind" switches to Ricky's equally satisfying deep side. All smouldering subs and cavernous space. An absolutely outstanding piece of 140 wax right here, Isaac Newton ya dun know!
Review: Rising 140 sculptor Samba proudly presents his own label 26.RAIN. Following a whole string of heavily supported releases on the likes of System Music, Deep, Dark & Dangerous and Encrypted, the label is a new outlet for a fresh synth-led fusion style he's been developing gradually. Deep, musical, not shy of an 808 or a two-step or two, there's a touch of UKG, wave and trap deep across both sides. "Acecloud" is the big neon dreamer of the duo while "Cookies" crumbles a little more delicately and introspectively. An excellent launch release, we're saving our rainy day money for 002.
Review: Not to be confused with Young Echo associates Jabu, the unrelated Lord Jabu is a 20-something producer with one previous release to his name. According to Albion Collective, his latest EP "synthesizes solid state trap with 64-bit dream-ware". We're not quite sure what that means, but opener "Treehead" is a distorted and mind-altering blend of lo-fi chip-tune melodies, mangled ice cream van chimes, bowel-bothering bass and rumbling post-grime dubstep beats. His passion for Sinclair Spectrum synth sounds is further explored on the flip, first on the trap style shuffle of "Folklore" and then via the pleasingly tuneful - if cracked and twisted - closing cut "Yagoda".
Review: Second time around for Hi5ghost's most famous and celebrated release, 2015 single "Nook Shot". A bombastic chunk of grime heaviness built around military strength drums, Melodica style hooks, scattergun percussion hits and weighty bass, the producer's original version remains one of his most potent and dancefloor-friendly outings. In fact, it's still something of an anthem within the bass community, a factor that no doubt inspired this re-press. Arguably even better is Commodo's flipside revision, an altogether creepier and more clandestine affair that re-imagines Hi5ghost's bustling original as a weighty slab of post-dubstep brilliance replete with scattergun drum fills and woozy electronics.