Full Circle is only the second solo full-length from J Majik, a drum'n'bass pioneer whose early singles for Metalheadz, recorded while he was still a teenager, were among the most awe-inspiring releases of the genre's early days. Since then, he's released more accessible material, often co-produced by frequent collaborator Wickaman. He reached the Top 40 of the U.K. singles chart twice during the 2000s, both through house-inspired collaborations with American diva Kathy Brown, and flirted with dubstep during the early 2010s. After 2013's Out of Sight (with Wickaman), he dropped out of the music scene for a while, but he felt re-inspired after playing a set at a 2016 Metalheadz reunion and a 2017 gig at Rupture, a London club night and record label at the epicenter of the late-2010s revival of jungle and breakbeat hardcore. J Majik reactivated his own Infrared label and began releasing vintage unreleased tracks as well as new productions by himself, Adam F, Peshay, and others. Full Circle is a revisit of his classic early sound, but it's so faithful to that era that you start to wonder if the teenage Jamie Spratling owned a time machine and transported himself two decades into the future. As with his older work, the tracks are filled with lush synths, which blur the lines between wistful and ecstatic, and slamming breakbeats that are intricately and inventively programmed. Unlike his first album, 1997's Slow Motion, there's no mellow downtempo excursions -- it's all heavy yet atmospheric jungle, and all of it is completely astounding. It's not a mere retro exercise either, as tracks like "Meridian" and Sense co-production "Escape from Lando" clearly show a progression from J Majik's formative work, while keeping its spirit intact. "Hold You" and "Point of Return" are the most laid-back, old-school sounding tracks, while "The Crow Knows" and "Full Circle" are dark, menacing, and brutal. Usually when a veteran artist tries to recapture the essence of their vital early material, the results end up falling short, simply because the artist isn't the same person they used to be, and the world has moved on since then. Full Circle is far too good to be tagged as a return to form. It's easily J Majik's best album, equal to 1995 classics "Your Sound" and "Arabian Nights," and one of the best drum'n'bass albums since the 1990s.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson