1/ So Low (Bad Boy Sound).
2/ Big Batty Gal.
3/ Rise (featuring Mighty Mini).
4/ Exit That Way.
5/ They Call Him Jugu.
6/ Blind Fold.
8/ Sound System.
9/ Latin Dancer.
10/ Straight Run Up.
We may be buried in an avalanche of saccharine sweet, Festive mulch at this time of year (I'm looking at you Buble`, Cliff, et al), however Ruff Guidance Records come to our rescue to wash away all signs of lingering Stilton with the release of XBass' 11 track, jungle/drum & bass magnum opus, 'First Bass'.
We are taken right back to the oldskool with opening track 'So Low (Badboy Sound)', which expertly incorporates euphoric, 1992 rave elements alongside a tearing, amen driven drum & bass backdrop. 'Big Batty Gal' up next takes us on a smooth yet rolling tip with it's use of crisp, snappy breaks and rasping bass perfectly juxtaposed by laid back male vocals and gorgeous, chiming pad sounds.
XBass utilises the vocal talents of Mighty Mini on 'Rise', a track which fools you with it's lush uplifting intro before sucker-punching you with a barrage of rapid-fire breakbeats and moody, rubber-band bassline. Things get even darker with the sinister jungle stepper 'Exit This Way', which lays down some seriously menacing vibes with it's use of punchy bass stabs, eerie sine-wave bleeps and aggressive ragga chatter.
'They Call Him Jugu' opens up to the sounds of lush pads set to a rugged Think break backing, before unleashing a tearing amen and twisted bass riff combo that's destined to give raver's a right old "screwface". We are first introduced to a metallic, time-stretched, half tempo combined with Rastafari soundbites on the "12 Tibes of Israel" with 'Blind Fold', which soon evolves into a potent maelstrom of rolling beats and thundering bass.
We take a step back from the jungle to fast-forward into the realms of sleek, futurist drum & bass with the hi-octane stepper 'The Core'. which expertly layers soaring female vocal "whooahs" over warm bass notes and frenetic 2-step breaks. 'Sound System' also combines retro-futuristic elements from the scenes rich history to create a contemporary jungle masterpiece, with it's use of rich, "Detroit" style pads set to a rugged junglist template.
On 'Latin Dancer' we are presented with a sound-clash of rough and smooth elements, with the opening melancholic piano melody which is contrasted by hard-hitting beats and sinister synth riffage. 'Straight Run Up' takes us back into jungle meets D&B hybrid territory with it's blend of rolling breaks, subsonic bass and snippets of dancehall MC-ing..
Rounding off the collection to a stilling close we have the feelgood, jungle stepper that is 'Discotek', a track that's destined to put a smile on faces and feet on the dancefloor!!!
To sum up XBass's 'First Bass' album, all I can say is that if you love your jungle, drum & bass with a huge helping of oldskool attitude, whilst still sounding current, then you will not be disappointed by this.
The Breakbeatscientist's pick of the bunch has to be the slamming 'Rise'!!!
The XBass 'First Bass' album is available to purchase now, exclusively from the official Ruff Guidance Records Bandcamp store in any digital format for £9 (or more if you wish to support the label and artists to fund future projects!!!).
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... And while you're at it, don't forget to check out the official Ruff Guidance Records Bandcamp store...