Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Breakbeatscientist's Strictly NuSkool Blog 2014 End Of Year Round Up

Where to start? The Strictly NuSkool Blog has tasked me with prestigious role of compiling the 2014 End Of Year Round Up. So much good music to cover!

Well first off 2014 has proven to be yet another outstanding year for all forms of breakbeat music from all realms of the spectrum. From Hardcore, Hardcore Breaks, Jungle, Drum & Bass, Future Jungle, Breakcore to the rise of Footwork/Juke, Acid Breaks and Jungle-Tek music scenes. The year has seen a multitude of singles, artist albums, free releases and 12" vinyl releases for any fan of rave-based music.

Below is my personal overview of the artists and the music which I has kept me listening this year....

The Music Labels To Follow In 2014:

Mandidexterous and her Amen4Tekno label pushed the jungle-gabba hybrid, JungleTek sound this year (think pounding kickdrums, dancehall chat merged with tearing amen breaks), with the release of several, heavyweight digital singles and the speaker punishing 'AMEN4TEKNO 002' 4-track 12" EP. Which featured tracks, collaborations and remixes from T-Menace, Stivs and CB3 as well as Mandidextrous herself. Amen4Tekno proved it's loyalties in championing the JungleTek sub-genre in 2014, and with the upcoming 'AMEN4TEKNO 003' vinyl release next year 2015 is gonna be bangin' too!

Alex Breako's Criterion Records firmly established itself within the drum & bass community by leading the way in the promotion of deep and atmospheric, yet dancefloor friendy 12"s from the cream of the new school of drum & bass. The label recently celbrated it's 7th release and has so far seen contributions from Stunna, Lm1, Griever, Scenic, Ricky Force, Blade, MsDos / Malaky and Tim Reaper. Be sure to follow Criterion in 2015 as it seems like they aren't looking to stop their quality out put anytime soon!


Dave Skywalker's Endor Recordings label unleashed the excellent joint CD single release, 'Tag Team EP Volume #1 & #2'. Featuring 10 tracks from MoodyBoy, Jow, AleX Tune, Shadowplay, Namik, DaveHat and of course Dave Skywalker himself in the inimitable Endor Recordings "anything goes" neo-hardcore style.

The legendary DJ Fav of Hardcore Will Never Die fame, returned to the fray with the seriously heavyweight freebie, the 'Dying Light EP'. Featuring 2 dark junglistic-hardcore slammers, 'Book Of The Dead' and 'Fear The Unknown', a pounding HWND remix of Dave Charlesworth's 1992 classic 'Energizer' and the surprisingly uplifting 'Don't Worry Son'. Hardcore breaks which takes absolutely no prisoners!



Ted Rockstead-E's HC Recordings continued on with their drum & bass & rave manifesto, with an astounding batch of singles from Yell-O-Phase, DJ Wislov, Abyss, Rockstead-E's 1993 styled euphoria-fest 'Phantasy', Nicky Allen, Tima and most recently, Bleetz & Fav's techno-jungle 'Temporal Rift'. A top and varied selection of singles ranging from the darkest of dark to uplifting euphoric numbers yet all encompassing frenetic and hard hitting breaks. HC Recordings is a label to watch out for.

Serbia's Belgrade based, Hi Headz label continued on with it's bombardment of free releases with a staggering selection of 25 singles, EP's and the sublime, downtempo breaks album from Ogi Feel The Beat. Expanding on from it's mostly drum & bass/jungle template, Hi Headz embraced chilled breaks through the release of EP's by Mockwar, Whisper, Muhamed Mali, Immex, Moz and Longsighted Chained Hippos. They also explored leftfield electronica with the release of Alg0r1thm's haunting 'Continuum EP'. Hardcore breaks with Clark-E Cat & Triple Sod's 'Present Nostalgia EP'. Deep dubstep vibes with VRH's 'Sunce EP'. As well as maintaining their support for rapid drum & bass, with EP's by Speak, J-Pegg, Mr. Beatselector, Riffz, Charlie Turbo, Dubious, 'Erbal Jam, Omni Rhythm, Jonny 5, Pigis, Tropmanga & Dublinjah, Million Stylez, Genotype, Fokus, Tony Jungle and Mysimiakos.
A superb collection of varied genres and all free to download. Hi Headz you are spoiling us!

Luna-C's Kniteforce Again label was on top form firing out EP's from Idealz & Shift, Dynamite Crew, Doughboy and Empyreal. Not forgetting Luna-C himself returning back to his hardcore roots at the close of this year with the release of the slamming 'A Whirlwind Of What?' EP. A welcome comeback from a veteran of hardcore music.

As if this wasn't enough the long defunct Kniteforce Records label was resurrected to run alongside Kniteforce Again, focusing on the release of exclusive Limited Edition CD's featuring 3 brand new tracks on each and selected re-mastered tracks from the Kniteforce Records back catalogue. So far Cru-l-t's 'No New Ideas EP' and Kingsize & Vibena's 'Midlife Crisis EP' have spearheaded the Kniteforce Records revival to devastating effect. Can't wait to hear what they have up their sleeves for KF063.

Kode 5 Recordings, now in their 2nd year of operation continued to dominate the breakbeat music spectrum with an unbeatable 40 singles being issued in 2014. Covering all bases from jungle to drum &bass and hardcore breaks, the label represented the cream of today's underground breakbeat music.  With a 2014 artist roster including Sonic Fixation, Karnage, Sparki Dee, Fringe, Billy No Mates, DJ Mark C, Avro, Scratch & Sniff, Abyss, Nicky Allen, Silent Force, Mystery & Kosine, Exit Point, Mastergroove and many, many more. Kode 5 Recordings remains a highly esteemed leader of the scene and will continue to do so for many years from now.

The ever present and mighty hardcore breaks label Paranoid Recordings enforced it's presence within the scene with the release of Volumes 9 & 10 of their long running series of compilations, which was accompanied by RenegadeGenius' warped 'Too Much Acid' single and the most excellent, 6-track 'The Main Event' and 'The Re-Match' EP's by 1st Science and Mellow Dee. All Paranoid Recordings releases from 'Volume 7' onwards are for free, so go get them and make sure to follow the label on Soundcloud to see what they have planned for 2015 and give them a big-up for the tunes and all the hard work that went into getting them out there!

Drum & Bass/Jungle label Rancid Records was on fire with their release schedule this year. Not being content with just putting out an incredible 51 singles and 28 EP's, they provided the junglist massive with an artist album from DJ Sideeffect, the heavyweight 'Pathway To The Jungle', 'Outrage', 'Motivation', 'Make Noize' and 'Darkness Falls' compilations. Not forgetting the massive 'From Da Heart 2', '4 Da Cause 2', 'Headrush Live Drum N Bass Presents Think Pink Bow' and their most recent 'The Big Purple One' charity albums supporting causes including The British Heart Foundation, leukaemia and lymphoma research, breast cancer and epilepsy charities. A label with true heart.

The Strictly NuSkool Blog continued on from last year with the release of 4 free EP's showcasing the very best of underground music talent, including The Supersonic Army's 'Hardcore Chapter 2006-2007', Paul Cronin's 'The Ecstasy Revival E.P.', Pursuit's 'WAV Killed The Youtube Star EP' and Chiqui's 'Annihilating & Tranquilizer EP'. As well as offering up our very first 17 track 'Strictly NuSkool Volume One' compilation album in February.

Be sure to follow us to see what we have planned for release in 2015, with confirmed EP's from Gareth Monks, Bassraver and 'Strictly NuSkool Volume Two' coming soon.....


My personal favourite label of the year, Abyss' Switchblade Digital unleashed a barrage of rough and rugged jungle, all laced with an mid nineties, oldskool twist. Abyss' own tracks featured on several releases, as well as the remarkable talents of Abyss, DJ Wislov, Nicky Allen, Lucky Dime, Beatgem's original unreleased '90's, Amiga jungle track, 'Missing', 2Brainz, Pursuit and Fringe's wonderful 'He's Nuts'. If you have a fondness for the deep and murky sounds of classic jungle, but want to avoid the more 'jump-up' style then Switchblade Digital comes highly recommended!
To top off a year of excellent releases, Abyss also ventured into the realms of physical media and released the very first Switchblade Vinyl 12", his very own 'The 'Ardcore Schwarzenegger EP' to treat vinyl fans and to bother many a sound system.
Top Albums & Compilations For 2014:
The Beat Rapist, in preparation for the coming Winter months spread the darkness with his aptly named 'The Filth' album. Collecting an apocalyptic selection of heavyweight tracks laden with hard-hitting breaks, doomy bass dirges and barrages of stabs and hoover riffs firing off in all directions like laser gunfire. From the bleep, amen and bass 'Total Filth' starting the album off, the rave steeped hard house banger 'Suck My...' to the mental air-raid siren and hardcore stab-fest that is 'Overdose', it is clear that 'The Filth' is not an album for the feint hearted. This is the album that the killer androids will be listening to on their heaphones in when Skynet starts eliminating mankind in 'Terminator 2'!!!
Be sure to check out Beat Rapist's Soundcloud page for this awesome free album.


November saw the mammoth 'Beats For Gaza' charity compilations. With the 21-track drum & bass focussed 'Volume 1' and the more cross-genre 30-track 'Volume 2' and spanning techno, future jungle, hardcore breaks, conscious hip-hop, breakbeat and dubstep. Music fans were guaranteed to be spoilt with listening pleasure on purchasing either of the albums.
The Beats For Gaza music project was set up in support of Oxfam with 100% of all funds raised going straght to the Oxfam Gaza Appeal. The appeal is purely non-political and humanitarian based to provide aid for Palestinian civilians who require shelter, access to medical supplies and even drinking water due to the devastation caused by the recent Israel, Palestine conflict. Please give your support to this worthy cause and enjoy the wicked selection of music too.


Prolific DJ and producer, Sparki Dee bookended the year with his excellent first artist album, 'The Oldskool Experience'. Featuring 10 tracks covering all areas of the rave spectrum. From the acid-house inspired opening track 'Acid Rain', Sparki's innovative take on energetic, bangin' techno with 'What Is Techno' to the gorgeous riffs on hardcore breaks track 'Hi-Octane', the rolling drum & bass trip that is 'Tribute To Atlantis' and the epic, mental, BPM-twisting, happy hardcore euphoria-fest 'The End'. It is clear that Sparki has a proven fondness for the oldskool styles and an adventurous attitude to drag those styles into the future.
Did I forget to mention that 'The Oldskool Experience' is a freebie? Get on it!

Boomsha Recordings unleashed Schoco's massive future jungle album 'Welcome To My Jungle' this Summer showcasing his inimitable flair for dub bass, cinematic soundscapes and breakbeat manipulation. The album features 11 beatifully crafted 140 jungle tracks, including the deep opener 'Enter The Jungle', the decivingly summery vibed 'I Wanna Dance' with it's 'sting in it's tail'. the oppressive mentasm laden 'Only A Dream' to the moody, western-tinged, 'Desert Jungle' and the unnervingly 'gangsta' 'My Weaponz'.
A serious collection of deep future jungle for the real Headz out there.
The Strange Rollers released their album, 'Break It Down' on the Held II Ransom label in February featuring 14 dancefloor shaking, future jungle bangers. The menacing 'When The Saints Go Marching In' opens up the album closely followed by the bass heavy, junglist call to arms 'Jungle Massive'. The upbeat 'Break It Down' with it's vocal manipulations and the hip-hop influenced 'Stick Up Kids' expertly bring forth more playful elements to the usually moody 140 jungle template. While the chilled break pattern on 'Falling' winds 'Break It Down' to it's concluding track, Strange Rollers ravetastic remix of Ben Venom's 'Futures Past'.

An excellent introduction to Strange Rollers varied take on the future jungle sound, showing that it isn't all just dubstep with breakbeats.


February saw the release of the 'Unity Breaks Vol. 1' compilation which championed the 38 Degrees campaign group, set up to challenge injustice in the UK. Collecting together the best artists from the underground breakbeat music spectrum, 'Unity Breaks Vol. 1' features 23 rabble-rousing tracks covering the drum & bass, future jungle and hardcore breaks genres. Proving that hardcore music doesn't have to be apolitical.

The 2014 Resurgence of the Vinyl Release:

2014 also saw a huge increase in the release of vinyl singles from many an oldskool legend from the hardcore, jungle, happy hardcore scenes as well as newer artists and labels on the scene...
January 2014 saw a very special EP release from DJ Spangle8 who collaborated with the legendary Bay B Kane to put forth the 4-track, 'Spandangle Selection Volume 1'. Which featured two re-released rarities from the vaults of Bay B Kane. 'Attack II Turbo' and 'Crack Of Dawn' (under his The Rood Project alias) alongside two unreleased jungle smashers, '1, 2, 3 & 4' and 'Wheel 'Em Up'.


DJ Monk resurrected his old KLP Records label to bring us some unreleased, dubplate jungle pressure from the vaults with 'Deal Wid It Pt 1 / Give Me Some More Pt 1' and his joint release with Skeleton Recordings, DJ Monk & Tico / DJ Monita & K-Rox 'Good Body Girl (VIP Mix) / Don't Take It (DJ Monk VIP Mix)'. Two serious slabs of vintage juglism.


FX started the year off in a dark style with 'Demonic Possession Volume III' which featured the pitch black 'The Devil's Work / Legion Of Doom'. 2 huge slabs of hardcore jungle coming straight from the darkside and only available on 12" vinyl. Keep an eye out for 'Volume IV' coming soon to haunt your tuntables.


Jerome Hill sneakily released this wonderful 1991 oldskool sounding 12" in March this year with little announcement, causing many an oldskooler to think that this may have been a little known unearthed classic. The Hornsey Hardcore, 'Touchdown / Control' vinyl was sheer, uncomplicated, yet devastating stab heavy hardcore rave at it's best. Honsey Hardcore will be returning next year for part two in the series of warhouse rave revisionings.

The Drumtrip blogsite in conjunction with Graham Mew (A.K.A. The Invisible Man) delved deep into the archives to compile 'The Unreleased History Of The Invisible Man' and unearthed 3 exclusive tracks from 1996, 1995 and 1993 respectively as well as a 12-track Exclusive digital album for all who pre-ordered the vinyl release (and a thank you for the well documented pressing delays). The EP contained lushly atmospheric jungle rollers with intricately chopped up breaks, soothing synths and swooning vocals all in The Invisible Man's trademark style.

Manix followed up last years legendary oldskool inspired 'Living In The Past' album with yet another retro hardcore/jungle revival with his 'Coolin' Out EP' on Reinforced. Featuring 4 huge jungle-hardcore tracks, the 'Coolin Down EP' has a more junglistic vibe, compared to Manix's previous 1992-style EP. Classic sounds that show that the Reinforced sound from yeasteryear is still as fresh as ever!

The Jungle Rollerz camp followed up their astounding debut release form last yer with Necrotype and Junglistic' s 'Jungle Rollerz Vol 2' which included the brain bashing, neo-darkcore 'Bright Lights' and the absolutely sublime 'Rhythm & Culture' (that stuttering pad!!!). Two wicked, oldskool tinged jungle monsters from a label that is definitely going to pull out the stops next year for the upcoming 'Jungle Rollerz Volume 3'.


Rave legend DJ Slipmatt returned to his vinyl roots this year with the release of the long awaited (20 years!!!) and final 'SMD #5' 3-track EP. Which featured unreleased happy hardcore gems from Slipmatt's vaults from the years 1996 and 1998 and a brand new acid stomper with some cheekily familiar sampling going on. A hugely fitting end to the beloved SMD series.

Steve C & DJ Monita released 'The Razors Edge 2014' on the newly revitalised Skeleton Recordings which featured a remastered version of the 1994 jungle classic alongside cutting edge drum & bass remixes from mSdos and Blade.

Official oldskool repress label, Keeping Vinyl Alive offered up another lost gem from yesteryear, this time hooking up with drum & bass legend Klute who dusted off his old D.A.T.s from his 1993 Supertouch alias to bring together the mellow jungle, 4-track 'The Dreams EP'. The EP included a remastered version of the rare-as-hens-teeth, 'Alive' which was originally released on Deep Red Recordings back in 1994, and three other unreleased beauties from 1993-1994, 'Beaten 2 A Pulp', 'Feel So Good' and 'Alive (Remix)'. Classic, warm jungle sounds meshed in with some seriously tearing breaks.


The Soundcloud Freebie Massive:

Not forgetting all of the Soundcloud artists who have kept the oldskool hardcore, jungle, hardcore breaks, drum & bass, future jungle scenes alive and fresh and who have given out their music for free for all to enjoy. Huge shout out goes to Paul Cronin, Pursuit, DJ Nexus, Beat Rapist, Leonized, DJ Pink Champagne, Sparki Dee, DJ Mark C, Jam-One, Nefti, Firefox Demon, Bassraver, Abzolution, Strange Rollers, DJ Nicky Allen (and his exemplary NAD series), Exit Point, NewKoncept, Worldwide Epidemic, DJ Tony-D (good to hear some trax from ya!), Manaboom, Matt XJ, Impact Beat, Gareth Monks, dJ fLow, Vinyl Junkie, The Advanc3d, Luffy, Rudeboi Ray, DJ Rave In Peace, Simon Harris, Amiga Breaks/DJ Fuzzbuzz (hope all that Soundcloud crap is sorted now!!!), Mr Sin, Eddie Voyager, Yell-O-Phase, Champion Breaks, and many, many more unsung heroes of the underground music scene.



No comments:

Post a Comment