Ivy Lab – 20/20 Volume One [20/20]

Ivy Lab’s sonic journey since the trio’s pre-alias collaboration in 2012 on the sublime Oblique has been a treat to watch. While initially known for silky smooth liquid rollers, it didn’t take the Lab long to start experimenting with a distinctly different style of beats that they refer to loosely as “halftime”, starting with the infamous Sunday Crunk and continuing with many of the tracks on the Twenty Questions EP.

That “halftime” moniker really doesn’t do the style justice though, especially since it’s a term used to describe a lot of the deeper, half tempo music created by producers like Homemade Weapons and Cirrus that has little if anything to do with the hip-hop infused sound that Sabre, Stray and Halogenix have pioneered. “Halftime Hip-hop” might be closer to the truth, but as yet noone has really found a suitable handle for their mixture of LA bass, crunk, hip-hop and glitch.

All of this brings us to now, and Ivy Lab’s decision to separate this “halftime” material from their more traditional D&B excursions, start their own 20/20 label and release a full album of it. With nary a 2-step breakbeat in sight (or should that be earshot?) this is a firm division of styles, with the trio already having stated that we can expect more D&B via Critical Music in the future.

The results here should definitely appeal to fans of EPROM, Alix Perez, and anyone who appreciates the swagger and funk of this style of beats. Low end heft, sexy vocal cut ups and great use of space define a confident and exciting sound from a production team that surely have tons more to show us. Get your groove on with 20/20 Volume One – you won’t regret it! The album is out now via the 20/20 website, and there’s a sick album mix by none other than the legendary DJ Craze below.

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