Madders Tiff launches herself onto the beat on J Fresh’s ‘Oh My’, a bolshy slice of grime that finds the MC stomping over an instrumental firing on all cylinders.
One third of YGG, PK, drops ‘Yuck’, complete with vomiting emoji artwork. One of the most talented vocalists out there, PK keeps it cold over a bleepy video game instrumental.
'Cool & Calm'
Blay Vision can’t stop releasing fire - both a vocalist and producer, he manages to handle both duties with excellence, and on the laid-back ‘Cool & Calm’ he demonstrates his flexibility once again.
The fresh young artist is pouring new blood into the 25 year old label established by the one and only Grooverider. Dark ad rolling dancefloor with a full and weighty oscillating sub, cold echoing atmospherics and a killer vocal.
'Eyes Open '
This is very pretty little roller, with a beautifully serine feel. Pan flutes and soft vocal provide a little lift and texture. Simple and delicate with a deep and unassuming bassline. Bigger isn’t always better.
A particularly colourful and energetic record from Notaker, that features him in particularly good form, packed with electro melodies, visceral big room energy and knockout broken beat thunder.
France’s Cosmic Boys beat Drumcode at their own game with a stupendously huge melodic techno banger, that piles on the predictable thrills before unleashing a bass grind at the drop that will leave no dancefloor unshaken.
'Gangster Trippin (Sultan + Shepard Remix)'
It’s difficult to even remember a time when Sultan and Shepard weren't producing classy deep progressive, though to be fair they’re equally as classy in a different kind of way as prolific big room producers. Their mastery is well on display here, with a party-starting rework that nails its vocal samples and jacks directly into the wildness of the Fatboy original.
Koozah feat Killer MC
'Time To Detonate'
I always love the energy in Koozah tracks. Despite being brutally hardcore and intensely fast, there's something about the warm production that make them inviting to the ear, and I knew I’d be supporting this one for some time after just one listen.
No Label/Self Released
One of the handful of new UK hardcore artists who are destined for bigger things in the future, Macks Wolf is back with another euphoric and energetic happy hardcore track to put a smile on everyone's face and get any dancefloor moving.
'Never Fear Them'
One of the fastest rising talents in the UK, since signing to Nightbreed, Crystal Mad has shot up the ranks with his raw hardstyle sound, infused with elements of rap and rock. 'Never Fear Them' is another high quality production, that is getting huge support domestically and further afield.
There’s a string loop on Leap’s dubstep roller ‘Phantom’ for the Viennese Sub Audio label that comes before the drop, which is so fucking amazing, but it’s used so fleetingly that it’s actually a bit annoying. I do, however, respect the restraint.
Presenting a slew of four ever-so-spacious, off-kilter, techno-leaning cuts, Caldera follows up his work on WNCL with '13 17' for the Boogie Box label. ‘Anaconda Legs’ is the shining star: a taut and fractured, slowed up roller of distinction.
Poker Flat Wax
Impossibly syncopated vibes from Greek producer Thanasis Voulgaris via Poker Flat's vinyl-only imprint. This is four tracks of pure fire.
Hardmatter's JVXTA is on firing form here for Distant Hawaii, with 'SS Anne' bringing the George Benson vibes, a gloriously soulful vocal number, while 'Orange Islands' is tough yet giving.
'Familiar Faces No.2'
Leipzig's Riotvan all-stars assemble. Co-founder Panthera Krause's 'Tropical Redux' is reassuringly firm, but 'Drumbaeck' from Black Spuma (aka Lauer and Fabrizio Mammarella) is majestic.
'Ready To Die'
Young Liverpool-based singer-songwriter Bel releases this dazzling soft-rock / Balearic pop number via Claremont 56. With some very subtle disco adjustments, label boss Paul Murphy takes ‘Ready To Die’ for a glide over the West Coast under his Mudd guise.
A robust filtered disco nugget from Mexico’s Pato Watson, whose ‘Everything Baby’ just manages to keep itself on the right side of bombast. It’s big and bold like an old DJ Sneak tune, and has some hectic micro-edits that point to artists such as Soundstream.
Jack Beats & DJ Zinc
'Raise It Up feat MC GQ'
As you’d expect, the forthcoming 'Remedy' EP from Jack Beats is encrusted with dancefloor gems. Serving up four pure fire jams, you could easily rock any of these, but there’s something quite special about this collab with DJ Zinc & MC GQ. Embracing their signature LFO wobble sounds, this one is an instant Jack Beats classic.
'Leave It All Behind'
Future Sound Of Egypt
A paradox: ‘Leave It All Behind’ is repetitious. It’s also an absolutely top-notch and instinct-driven (if somewhat unseasonal) sun-kissed trancer. Is it then a problem that it’s 30 per cent longer than it needs to be? The mind boggles.
Aevus Vs. Skoopman & Phab
'Age Of Love'
High Trance Energy
Befitting HTE's remit, this is as forceful a treatment of ‘Age Of Love’ as you’ll come across. Off its line quicker than a toupee in a hurricane, it piles on sonic pressure, replete of course with that urging, urgent, ‘come on, come on’ vocal refrain.
'Running For Peace'
You’ll hear a hundred different emotions in ‘Running For Peace’s vocal. Sadness, though, is probably the most overriding one. So melancholic is it, that some parts are actually hard to hear. Alex’s production is a best-possible counterweight, pegging its contrasting musical uplift superbly. Nonetheless, be aware: this song will have an effect.
Hunter Siegel & Seelo
Simple and effective, this jam goes straight for the jugular. Hunter Siegel & Seelo have seized the power of the call and response formula in perfect style here. Descending sirens take centre stage, complemented by just the right amount of bass sounds and atmospherics to keep you grooving. The vocal is a little bit Marmite, but this is an undeniably big record.
Bor & Mar
Gold Digger Records
Two-thousand-eighteen’s dopest label, backed up by an ocean of exceptional tunes, Gold Digger is well on its way to becoming one of the scene's powerhouses. This new one from two of our favourite French fancies Bor & Mar sits perfectly in the catalogue. It's a quirky four-four treat, with low-slung bass and an infectious groove.
'Dark Society (Incl. Loco Dice Remix)'
Timo Maas offers up a dark and menacing sound with his ‘Dark Society’ single. Falling just into techno territory, it's the other legend, Loco Dice, who pulls things straight back with his high paced, rolling tech-house refit. Pair of belters.
'3D Print (Incl. Ricardo Villalobos & Einzelkind Remix)'
Sneak’s bass-heavy original combines rolling percussion with a catchy, lewd vocal. Ricardo Villalobos and Einzelkind draw out two tough, deep remixes — one with an utterly twisted vocal. Naturally, both are 11+ minutes long.
‘Spiritual Zombie’ is a class act from the ever-excellent Sascha Dive. It’s a techy, deep, balanced selection for Cassy’s blooming Kwench Records.
See, I'm not really a fan of emo music, so this doesn't appeal much. You Linkin Park fans might dig it. For the rest of us, two words: shit sandwich.
'Tropical Edits '
Wah Wah Dubplates
More dubplate heat from Wah Wah, who invite Såo Paulo DJ, producer and digger DJ Tahira into the fold for the latest Tropical instalment. Expect all the usual Afro Latin goodness, with a bit more besides.
Yet another wonderful new Warp signing. This time, it’s composer, producer, keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Kelly Moran who gives us an insight into her forthcoming long-player with this sublime five-minute homage to all things synth, organ and prepared piano.
'Horses (feat Tegan & Sara)'
The PR says it’s been six years since his last LP? Shit! Feels like he’s never been away. ‘Horses’, then, provides us with a timely reminder of why Matthew Dear is such a favourite on these pages, combining all that is great about his unique brand of genre-traversing electronic pop.
French producer Maelstrom is really stepping up the pressure. His latest for CPU has the intense, though beatless pulse of ‘Fragment’ and rapid acid madness of ‘The Scope’. But it’s the disintegrating 303s and slow funk of ‘USSIDD’ that win first prize.
'Move Like Atoms'
The latest experimental brilliance from Mor Elian finds her midway between electro and abstract breaks, in an Ilian Tape kind of way. The title track wriggles with sinuous beats and unearthly synth figure, and ‘Agora’ is outer dimensional weirdness with tough beats powering it along.
'War On Drugs '
Backbone are affiliated with Naked Ape Records, and like the Chrome single, this is fast — great beats and samples marshalled with the kind of agitational feel of an early Paris album, the House Of Hippies providing incisive verbals throughout. Essential.
'Shockwave feat Andy Cooper '
Deftex's Chrome comes correct with an absolutely banging little seven-inch of hyperkinetic, scratchadelic break-based hip-hop, featuring a barnstorming cameo from Ugly Duckling's Andy Cooper. Way faster than anything else in contemporary hip-hop, and a total thrill because of it.
‘Remnants’ is a promising EP from new artist Julia on Czech label Nona. ‘EUEX’ is a deft stepper, ‘Hoist’ is a straighter, linear affair and best of all, ‘Mute’ sees Julia disappear down a minimal wormhole.
'Express Route '
Swedish producer Dold is the latest artist to appear on Blue Hour. ‘Colliding Worlds’ is a deep breakbeat number, while ‘Horizons’ sees him drop the kind of hypnotic, musical techno that used to be a staple of labels such as Pacific.
‘USSID’ is a tweaked acid affair, while the title track is a pacy, bleep techno-inspired workout. The standout tracks, however, are the hyper-speed electro-funk of ‘Utility Shift’ and the acid-soaked, industrial-inspired ‘The Scope’, which recalls vintage Decal.