Headroom EP Part 5 [Viper Recordings]

Viper Recordings serve up the latest installment of their Headroom EP series with fresh new tracks from tech and neuro producers across the scene. Sadly Prolix’s Ringtone Raver proves a bit one dimensional (especially compared to the superb tracks on the recent Project Trendkill album) but elsewhere we’re treated to solid dancefloor business from Trei, NC-17 & Soulculture and Insomniax.

The highlight of the EP by a big stretch though comes on KG’s Woodblock Riddim, combining a tribal percussion line (with, you guessed it, woodblocks) with some tasty mid bass growls and some excellent atmospheres. Check out all the tunes below and grab the release from your favourite digital store now!

Alix Perez – U EP [Exit Records]

EXIT50 sleeve front

The release of Alix Perez’s second album for Shogun last year came as a disappointment to me – it felt like he’d been lured into the mainstream by the appeal of fame and fortune, with many of the tracks sounding completely unlike the style he’d been carving for himself in the D&B scene. News of an EP for Exit buoyed my hopes that he still had interesting tunes in him, and the results more than confirm that suspicion.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny8ACqYlZh8]

The influence of other electronica pervades the tracks on the EP, with trap, footwork and LA bass all playing into the sound, but thankfully the tracks make the influences their own rather than just copycatting new styles. kicks things off with a breakneck take on the trap/footwork drum pattern and a smattering of cut up vocals, while Stray collab Sludge drops the tempo in favour of a gigantic, stalking, EPROM-style bassline; serious head-nod business.

The footwork influence comes full circle on Make It Worth as the original pioneers of the style Rashad & Spinn get in for a collab. The heavy sub and frantic syncopations oft associated with the genre are present, but with a level of polish which only D&B producers seem able to achieve. The vocal hook ices the cake nicely; no doubt this will be huge both in and out of the 170 scene. Last up the appropriately named Gully Halves strips things back for another minimalistic sub-fuelled slice of electronica that simply oozes with the swagger of the LA bass scene.

Watch out for this one dropping on vinyl and digital from April 7th – preorders are available from Surus now.

Mob Tactics – The Wasted EP [C4C]

Mob Tactics follow up recent releases for Tactical and RAM with an EP of dancefloor killers for C4C Recordings. Wasted gets things going with a nice retro tech lead, blending the energy of jump up with the production and grit of the tech and neuro scene. Unbalanced follows it up with a pulsing sub line and some tasty reese growls.

Lifer aims for the chest with some pretty aggressive midrange modulations, while Grinder rounds things off with a solid slice of rhythmic neurofunk business. Despite the emphasis on dancefloor vibes there’s still more than enough detail and finesse to give these tunes lasting appeal. Check out the clips below and watch out for the release dropping Monday 31st via all good digital outlets.

SCAR – Fair Game / Later [Horizons]

SCAR follow up their epic debut for Dispatch Recordings with another pair of finely crafted slices of dark techstep for Horizons Music. Fair Game goes in with a rolling break and big, warm bass swells and a hint of wobble in the modulation…definitely one for the steady skanking crew.

Over on the flip Later kicks things off with echoing chords and weird squelchy samples before hitting down with massive bass stabs and a rough break which brings to mind the classic era of hard hitting techstep from the early 2000s.

You can pick up advance white labels of this from the Horizons Shop now – eyes peeled for general release over the next few weeks.

Cruel Culture & Keosz – Sorrow / Thought [Protect Audio]

Protect Audio take a break from their usual dark and minimal aesthetics for a softer set of beats from Cruel Culture & Keosz. Sorrow blends rolling breaks with microfunk-esque percussive touches and a nice piano hook for a great slice of deep liquid.

Thought keeps the vibe mellow with lush, shimmering ambience on the intro giving way to warm sub bass vibrations and a deftly crafted drum line as the musical elements fade in and out of the mix overhead. Those who like their D&B a little less dancefloor oriented should definitely give this release a look. Check out the clips below and watch out for the release dropping from March 31st.

Klute – My Black & White (Calibre Remix) [Commercial Suicide]

Commercial Suicide’s release schedule shows no signs of letting up with another essential 12″ following hot on the heels of the recent Dose LP Sampler. The legendary Calibre gets behind the controls for a rolling liquid refix of My Black & White in the mould of his previous remixes for Spectrasoul and TEED; this one hits the spot in the same way his productions always do.

Over on the flip CS boss man Klute dishes up the fresh (and oddly titled) Speak No Fish. Soaring melodic bleeps lead the tune over a backbone of techno-esque rhythmic sub bass and a sturdy, rolling break. This is definitely a tune with enough bounce for a dancefloor but enough beauty for the living room. Check out both tunes below and watch out for the release dropping on vinyl and digital from March 31st.

Calibre – Shelflife 3 [Signature]

The arrival of a new Calibre album is always a special moment, and the unexpected release of Shelflife 3 proved no less so than with previous efforts from the legendarily quiet producer. Despite being made up of the “off cuts” from Calibre’s various hard drives over the past few years, the tracks on show here are full of the soul and depth we’ve come to associate with his work over the last decade, and exemplify his “less is more” approach.

Much of the work is far from revolutionary, with tracks like Miraculous and Honey Dew providing classic piano-led rollers while Make Me Feel Alright and Fear of Letting Go hit all the usual soulful notes. There are a few surprises though, like the menacing bass swells of Instant and Off Key, the odd tones of Rooftops and the orchestral sampling of amen workout To And Fro.

Overall Shelflife 3 is a great selection of tracks, and a great addition to anyone’s record collection. Head on over to Surus to grab it on CD, LP or Digital and keep an eye on the newly established Signature Facebook page for more news from the world of Calibre.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7JuCEUAXrs&list=PL6FuEnLcUZw9z8sMJgYuf3poKkX6Vuev2]

Opsen & Primal Therapy – Paradox EP [Vandal Records]

Vandal Records return with another hefty neurofunk release from relative newcomers Opsen & Primal Therapy. Paradox ticks all the right boxes for neurofunk fans with heavy drum lines and warped bass, while Billain’s remix smashes the tune out of the park with a glitched up intro and the sort of relentless drop that only the badman from Bosnia can craft.

Hologram builds tension nicely on the intro with mechanical sounding FX and eerie pads which give way to tasty bass swells at the drop. Finally Analog Dream dials back the aggression for a moody, tribal stepper with more of the crisp, well crafted percussion that’s present throughout the EP. Another great release from a label that seems destined for great things!

Check out the clips below and grab the release from your favourite digital outlet now.

Aeph – Enter The Vision [Lifted Music]

Aeph returns to Lifted Music after the storming success of the Black Hoax single with a five track EP of futuristic neurofunk belters. As with previous releases the level of production detail on show here is staggering, and the balance between musicality and dancefloor sensibilities is finely tuned.

ETV builds tension nicely with orchestral samples and arpeggianated leads before dropping heavy snares and massive growling bass, teasing with a half-time beat in the first half before building up to a full tempo drop in the second. True Motion concentrates more on bass modulations, while still letting the synth leads peak their head into the mix for character.

Back To The Jungle showcases Aeph’s obvious affinity with 80s synth work, with a distinctly Night Rider-esque lead on the intro giving way to more warped neurofunk at the drop. Crusade dials things back slightly for a more groove-based approach, with rhythmic sub hits really driving the tune underneath catchy, bright synth work. Finally Aeph Is Dead drops the tempo for a surprising slice of funky electro house complete with slap bass!

Check out the tracks below and watch out for this dropping from March 24th.

Umbr3lla – Mercury / Fallen [Brain Network]

Brain Network bring another new artist into the fold and stay true to their vision with another pair of hefty neurofunk beats. Mercury builds tension with skittering breaks and grimey bass movements before Fallen lunges for the jugular with a morphing bassline and heavy snares. Serious business!

Check out the clips below and grab the release from Beatport now.