Album Reviews

Full Cycle Vol 2 – Various Artists

(Full Cycle) UK release date: 26 September 2005

Even if your listening threshold for drum and bass is high, this frenetic live hour from Full Cycle will test it to the max in the best possible way. This is music that absolutely demands to be heard, hammering on the door until it gets a response. Raw sounds, untempered beats, fierce vocals, unstintingly fast tempos – you get the picture.

Four DJs and an MC oversee the mayhem, and it’s thanks to the compere Dynamite MC that the showcase hangs together and pushes forward with inexorable momentum. The jockeys – Roni Size, Krust, DJ Die and the newcomer Clipz – acquit themselves well, the crowd noise audible when the beat cuts out, heightening the atmosphere.

In the spirit of their live mixes Full Cycle choose not to provide a tracklisting, but the roster is mostly that of the label’s own. Standing out in particular are the contributions from Size, with MC Skibadee an energetic guest on No Pictures, and the block chords of He’s Back threatening to leave a hole in the floor, and Flip Da Script, first of three collaborations with Die, getting things off to a strong start.

Dynamite MC is superb – it’s impossible not to warm to this man or share his enthusiasm for the music, while marvelling at his talent for incorporating snappy wordplay as he nods to a couple of anthems – Busta Rhymes‘ Give Me Some More and Leviticus‘ drum and bass cracker The Burial among them. Big, bad and heavy indeed.

The music pushes on with even greater urgency, the clatter of snare drums and the huge, throbbing bass sound doing some serious damage. Of course it’s difficult to appraise fully in a well-lit bedroom in a terraced house, but the atmosphere still comes across, Dynamite barking comments at even the most fraut of moments, exhorting the crowd to lose themselves but never overexposing himself. The crowd, swept up by it all, holler their approval.

Of course Full Cycle is the brainchild of Size and Krust, and it’s to their credit that the label has kept underground but forged the ability to cross over subtly, without losing credibility. That’s where the subtlety ends of course – you need to have no fear when approaching this music, and preferably no neighbours! An often exhilarating ride, with enough energy to power a small town.

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