There’s a number of artists in contention for 'most original', but it feels to me that Left/Right is always one step ahead of the game. When it comes to making those emotive bangers that transcend the oversaturated tropes of modern dance music, he’s quite simply on another level. This is his most audacious beat to pop in a hot minute. Featuring some seriously obnoxious low-end heat and attitude, but rooted firmly in the tasteful fields of authenticity, thanks to his trademark bank of boundary-pushing minor key atmospherics and melodies, this is a top five tune of the year.
After a couple of years in obscurity, it’s dope to see that the lights are back on at Boss Mode, one of the scene's most imposing labels, and a personal fave. With good looks comes good sounds, and this new beat from Pressa brings all kinds of waves to the party. This is a raw, Amen riddled beat with, dare I say, a Prodigy 'Experience' vibe. Guaranteed to have the whistle crew on lockdown.
'ADSR (Leeroy Thornhill Remix)'
I bought my first Empirion record back in 1996. Their 'Firestarter' remix was a pivotal part of my childhood, so it’s with this in mind that I’ve been so excited while listening to these new beats. Their 'ADSR' release has dropped Empirion right back onto the front-lines where they belong, and with wicked mixes like this one from national treasure Leeroy Thornhill, I’d say they're back to stay. Iconic remix for some real OGs of the scene.
'Back To The Motherland'
Aciiiiiiid! It’s so good to hear tunes like this getting some shine after negligence from the public at large for far too long. The solid kIck/snare beat vs 303 lead-line combo has always been a force to be reckoned with, and dynamic Leeds duo Prospa have modelled this tribute into something undeniably fat for your soundsystem. Prospa becoming serious head turners this year, look out.
'Freedom Song '
A full opening minute of four-four kicks suggests that this one was written as a curve ball for the house heads. But, with a solid five minutes of "golden era” breakbeats soon taking centre stage, this is a festival anthem in the making if I’ve ever heard one. There’s no denying that the “feel-good” piano sound is still sounding fresh when pinned to an appropriate backdrop. Can’t wait to hear this in the fields.
Figures of Eighty
Dystopian soundscapes as good as these are capable of transporting you straight to the futuristic battlefields of 2076, where Zuckerberg's army of drones have finally waged war on that civilian uprising they've been worried about. Featuring colossal shellfire booms, and dissonant military vox, when this tune drops, it’s easy to imagine yourself right there, fighting the droid army on your way to blow up the mainframe. Another pure fire release from FOE.
Negativ's beats punch well above their weight. Their notoriously slick programming consistently places them among the scene's heavyweights, and rightly so. This latest offering via the super-team at Brøken delivers snappy drums, raw Amen breaks, laser-dipped bass leads and a sparse low-end energy that could knock you out. Extra points added for finding a sound that hasn’t been rinsed in 2019.
Fresh By 6
'Superstars feat Dylan Wilde '
This really is a fantastic record from London outfit Fresh By 6. Pulling influences from that early noughties big beat pool of awesomeness, they've conjured up an authentic jam that naturally flatters that era more than I could have hoped for. Drums, melody, vibes, all on-point; and more importantly, these guys are clearly fantastic songwriters. Echoing Chemical Brothers, Rone, Basement Jaxx and all that good shit, these guys kick arse.
Trippy Ass Technologies
Trippy Ass Technologies are on an absolute tear right now. There’s something about these minimal/analogue beats that’s bringing some seriously fresh and tasteful vibes to the scene. This new one from Lenny Kiser is a perfect example of that: a HUGE, rising sub bass synth glues a bank of sparse, trancey lead lines and a basic drum track together perfectly. One of the more beautiful soundscapes I’ve heard this year.