Archive for the ‘Hardcore Lives!’ Category

New Release: I Can’t Stand It

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Long-time aficionados will know of my long-time association as graphics bloke with Hardcore Lives! Records, a small label specialising in new, high-quality breakbeat music with a 90s rave flavour.  There’s not been many releases this year, but one has just popped up and it’s an absolute belter:


Nefti’s crisp and frenetic breaks are always a joy to hear, and they don’t fail to hit the spot here, either – importantly, I Can’t Stand It manages to pick a short, looped vocal sample that isn’t incredibly annoying when layered heavily throughout, which is definitely a good thing.  The whole package of 3 similar mixes hold together as a solid, cohesive whole, but my personal pick is the Orestiz mix, which ramps up the contrast with some warm, padded breakdowns, big stabs and pleasant flourishes that ensures a last tune-style flow from beginning to end.

I’ve been listening to this heavily for the last couple of days – genuinely recommended.

Some other beats ‘n’ pieces

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Happened to be sitting here upon a Sunday afternoon, so I thought I’d rootle around for a couple of other things I made a while back.  They’re below.

I’ve kicked off or exhumed a diverse range of projects, so now I’m running around after doing a load of graphics, some tongue-in-cheek music production (just to keep my hand in, y’know) and some websites too, natch.

All in all, it’s proving a thoroughly enjoyable pastime.  Making something you like from scratch is one of the best feelings in the world.


Today’s trip down Memory Lane begins with the first of two Hardcore Lives record covers.  This moody number is for one of the more recent releases by Sparki Dee, which I put together during an astonishingly late evening at the keyboard.  Required about three attempts at getting the typography right, partly due to the fact I kept falling asleep.

Our second excursion is an earlier version of the Electrux cover I posted a short while back.  On reflection, I think I prefer this one as it’s less lurid and the punched-through text reflects the title more accurately.  A candidate for a Special Edition release or similar in the future, then.

That’ll do for now.  Keep on truckin’!

Review – Strange Rollers & Lucas : The Plan E.P.

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Ever heard of 140 Jungle?  No, neither had I.  But if you’re anything like me, you’ll be glad that you have now.  A multi-monickered genre essentially reminiscent of – I imagine – 4am in the quiet backroom at Dreamscape in the early 1990s, it’s a rolling, slo-mo collection of breaks ‘n’ bass that’s as at home in your lounge at 1am on a Thursday as in a grimy tent in a forest.  Just as well, because the former is where it sat on heavy repeat just this morning.

The Hardcore Lives crew dropped me a promo of their latest offering just yesterday and it’s quite unlike anything I’ve heard – from them or otherwise – for some time, and all the better for it.  As dark and minimal as the cover implies, yet retaining a head-nodding accessibility and memorable bassline that leaves you reaching for Repeat.

A Roni Size-esque rumble underpins There’s Something Out There‘s minimal stylings, gaps between percussive breaks filled with sirens, telephone and ragga shouts evocative of jungle history.  Thin, lush pads, looped 30s horror-movie backgrounds and the occasional horn leave the listener’s old-skool desires satisfied.

Does progressive drum ‘n’ bass exist?  If so, The Plan is a great example.  Building around the rise and fall of a wonky, lethargic but catchy riff alongside choppy amen, an intriguingly quiet 4/4 pushes the tune along at an urgent pace.  A sparkling secondary synth line adds an unexpectedly sparkling atmosphere, and it’s easy to expect the whole tune to be verging on a big breakdown or reveal – that this never happens it’s no bad thing.  For me, this is the gem of the two; extremely listenable indeed.

The Plan E.P. is out soon on Hardcore Lives Records.

Hardcore Energy 2 Storms the Charts

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Just a quick one for fans of the old-skool vibe.  The latest Hardcore Lives mega-compilation (featuring a smattering of the best bits from their last few releases) has stormed into the Trackitdown Breaks chart; its highest position so far has been 2, pipped to the post by the Plump DJs (well, fair enough then.)

Congratulations to the HCL guys for their hard work!  (And yours truly for the lovely cover, natch.)

Hardcore Energy 2 – The Second Coming

Exclusive! Hardcore Lives Giveaway – 3 classic EPs available now for free

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Get your free old-skool.  Get your free old-skool ‘ere.  (Well, the modern equivalent anyway.)

You read it here first.  I’m pleased to announce that Hardcore Lives! are re-issuing 3 of their previous EPs – 003, 005 and 008, for free over at HCL Records right now.  Yep, absolutely nothing.  That’s 6 tunes of breaks loveliness that originally you would have had to pay for.  Now you don’t.

While they’re all obviously worth picking up, my particular picks are ManBearPig’s Can You Old Skool? and T92’s Autimate.  The former is a glorious melange of piano, rap cuts and a breakbeat like banging saucepans against a dustbin.  The latter hinges on a gargantuan, growling bassline and a desire to lull the listener into a false sense of security, and then unleash terror.   To further entice you, there’s an earlier full review of T92’s EP here on Shinypixel.

Regular readers will of course realise that as I tend to favour the quirky standout tracks over traditional forms in much music, you can reliably assume that the other 4 tracks are good old solid hardcore breaks groovers to get your teeth into.

Kudos as ever to Pete & Richie at Hardcore Lives Records for bringing it all together.

3 free EPs at Hardcore Lives! Records