Ran-D is best known for pioneering the rawstyle sound that's dominating the hardstyle scene worldwide these days, but this release proves his diversity as a producer. He's still able to deliver huge melodic anthems like this, with a strong vocal by E-Life, stadium-sized breakdowns and powerful drops keeping the kicks raw but the rest of the elements incredibly accessible. This is the definition of an anthem.
Starting life as grungy rave-up in a south London club, Seb Wildblood and his Church-going buddies have been doing well maintaining their musical reputation. And it’s only going to get stronger with this subtle, yet sublime EP of nuevo house riddims. It’s all about the soulful groove of the title track for me though, with its superbly restrained but ultimately groovy ethos.
Kicking the EP off is ‘Displaced’, a tough slice of wobbly brostep which just about reins in the oscillation enough to be bearable. Only to be totally upstaged by ‘Surreality feat Sue Gerger’ which employs a quirky synth heavy lead line and skippy drums that push things along nicely. Followed by the surreal funk of ‘In the Game’, and wrapped up with the pounding ‘Sonic Flux’. A mixed bag all round, but with some glimpse of quality.
High Focus, YNR, is this a golden age for UK hip-hop labels with focus and intent? I think it is — the 'Be Very Aware' album is one of High Focus' many many hidden treasures and this is an engagingly conversational, occassionally sharply incisive banger featuring great verses from Fliptrix and Cracker Jon as well as some great scratching on the hook from DJ Sammy B-Side. Don't sleep.