Monthly Archives: September 2017

Premiere: Fortune – Gram Negative

Leeds imprint Ronin Ordinance continues their steady flow of deeper D&B with their eighth release, and this time it’s Discipline Records co-founder Fortune on the buttons. Gram Negative channels the spirit of old school techstep and drumfunk into a dark landscape of break-switchups, hefty sub and ominous atmospherics; serious business. Check it out and watch for the release dropping 23rd October.

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Exkursions 002 [Lossless]

Lossless Music, Soul Intent’s increasingly diverse and incredibly reliable imprint continue their Exkursions output with the second EP to drop on the sub-label since its inception early last year. Better yet, they’ve tapped Concealed Identity for production duties, and as usual for one of our favourite producers he doesn’t disappoint.

First up comes a remix of Soul Intent’s No Answers from the previous Exkursions EP. Where the original’s drums had a sharp-edged urgency, Concealed Identity has spun intricate percussion into subtle reverb, dulling the edges for a more euphoric, tripped out sensibility that perfectly matches the floaty pads and atmospherics of the original. The proverbial cake gets a layer of icing later in the progression via a tasty reese bassline swelling out of the mix in warm, jubilant waves. Lush!

Concealed Identity original Zahir delivers more along similar lines; the use of space and reverb that have characterised most of his recent output (see his absolutely sublime 12″ for Narratives if you missed it last year…) is present again here in abundance, and his compositions are rich and detailed. Think Conduct but with an edge of Photek and you’re in the ballpark.

As if two slices of cinematic D&B deepness weren’t enough, Soul Intent brings us a slice of 140BPM heat to close the EP via his Odyssia alias. Hints of the stripped-back tone of early dubstep and a steppy garage-ish beat characterise a tune that straddles the dancefloor and more cerebral space with aplomb. Another tasty selection from a label we can’t get enough of! Check out the clips and hit up the Lossless Bandcamp to grab this on vinyl or digital right now.

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Premiere: Mindloader – Bad Faith

Australian imprint Beat Spectrum return with a tidy new EP from Danish producer Mindloader, and we’ve got the exclusive on lead track Bad Faith! This one is all about the progression, shifting from shimmering liquid depths in the first half to a darker vibe on the second drop as beefier tech bass sizzles away in the mix. Look for this at all the usual digital spots from September 30th…

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Premiere: Kolectiv & MEDIKA – Underground

Diffrent’s latest sees a clash of underground heads as production trio Kolectiv team up with Bristol experimentalist MEDIKA for a seriously weighty slice of dark D&B. Echoes of hip-hop punctuate the heavyweight beats and bass on this system-shaking halftime beast. Badman sound! Check it out below and look for the release dropping October 6th via the Diffrent Bandcamp.

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QZB – Systems Vol. 9 [Critical]

Ill be honest, until I did my homework I had no idea that QZB are the artists formerly known as QBig & Zenith B. I should have known better. Perhaps their latest EP on Critical Music will cast a net even wider than their old alias did. Systems Vol. 9 definitely demonstrates the full breadth of their talent.

WYGD features entrancing whispers of vocals throughout the track, a style that pops up elsewhere on the EP. Lace that with clever percussive elements for a perfect example of a techy roller. Apollo – my favourite on the EP – features that repetitive vocal again, but in a very different manner. A totally screwed and chopped vocal alongside jazz-funk elements make this sound like Die & Break’s Grand Funk Hustle, Octane & DLRs Let Me Go, and DJ Rashad managed to pop out a child from a threesome gone awry.

Turning Point is true to its name, as for me this is where your attention turns from the vibe to the sound design. QZB seem to have captured the perfect snare, alongside a bassline that provides both textures to applaud and a vibe that matches it. I’m ready for the slating, but for me this bassline is ‘grown up jump up’. That really was the turning point on the EP. Revenant is far more stripped back, but with the same attention to intricacy and quality. The track is punctuated by open snares and fidgety percussive FX, and dare I say it an arpeggiated synth that is perhaps a nod to the Stranger Things soundtrack.

Its apt that the final track of the EP is named after the mythological Norse heaven, Valhalla. Another concrete demonstration that technical prowess in sound design can be matched with the atmosphere it creates. A heavily reverberated siren in the breakdown brings that Valkyrie-esque soundscape into focus. And rightly so that QZB sit atop the mythological heavens. For me, Critical are returning to sounds that got me into the label in the first place. Whilst its clear that Kasra is building a team of artists with distinguishable traits in sound – something any team-builders should aim to replicate – I would speculate that most of their UK audience prefer their tunes deep, dark, and intricate.

Hit up the Critical Store to grab Systems Vol. 9 on vinyl and digital right now.

Written by James Austin, aka DJ Auzi, label manager at Terabyte Records

Facebook: facebook.com/auzidnb

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Q&A: Mindmapper & Silvahfonk

With releases for Blendits, Citrus, Fokuz and Demand, Dutch duo Mindmapper & Silvahfonk have made quite a name for themselves over the past 5 years as purveyors of soulful yet dancefloor worthy rollers. With their latest creations dropping this month on Dispatch LTD, we grabbed them for a chat about production, studio vibes and what’s next for the rest of the year…

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Premiere: Black Opps – MicroKosm

Time for another exclusive today from up and coming Brazilian artist Black Opps who lands on London label Addictive Behaviour with a sick new EP this week! Title track MicroKosm dials the atmosphere up to 11, keep the beats sparse and the composition minimal for a rhythmic head nodder that gets under your skin. Check it out below and hit up Beatport to grab a copy right now…

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Premiere: Draize – Tell Me

Weighty sub vibrations and creepy sampling on our latest premiere as Tesseract Recordings ready their latest release from Rafiki and Draize! Tell Me sees the latter half of the duo on solo production, delivering a weird and slightly unsettling halftime rumbler; yes yes! Check it out below and look for the Connections EP dropping September 15th.

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Initial Breeding LP [Black Crane]

A disclaimer; we’re not generally big fans of the compilation LP here at Dojo HQ. While the format has its strengths, it can be difficult to form a coherent narrative on a compilation, and the larger ones often feel too big to digest sensibly, allowing great tunes to get lost in the wash. When they’re done well however they can be a powerful statement of intent; enter new imprint Black Crane’s debut release, Initial Breeding. 

Fans of the deeper end of D&B will only have to glance at the artists involved to get an impression of the kind of label movement Black Crane is; beats are provided by Thing, Dominic Ridgway, DYL, Mark Kloud under his ‘Yushan’ alias and a host of lesser known producers, so as you’d expect this is an exploration of the more experimental and less club focused end of the 170 sound.

The danger with a compilation of this ilk is that it might easily become a morass of third-rate Samurai Music wannabe tracks that blend into each other in a “12 tracks of industrial halftime with not much character” sort of fashion. Thankfully Initial Breeding avoids this scenario via three key elements; breadth, quality and sequencing. The breadth aspect is truly impressive, taking in everything from the more obvious gritty halftime of Yushan’s Hitchhike and Cuelock’s Grey Crowned, through the IDM-tinged melodies of Snik’s Anxiety, dubby business from Thing, autonomic-inspired ambient explorations from Eusebeia and future jungle from Dominic Ridgway. The material is all left of field but the diversity is more than sufficient to avoid the sameness of your average VA compilation.

The quality of the tracks on show is really impressive too; from percussive precision to abstract sound design to just sheer rhythmic joy, all the producers have knocked it out of the park. Last but by no means least, the sequencing from Istota and the label crew is perfect, taking the listener on a journey that gives the album poise and glues the tracks together. This trifecta of excellence puts this LP in that rarest of categories; a truly enjoyable compilation rather than just a bag of vaguely linked tracks. Check out the previews below and hit up the label’s Bandcamp to grab a copy now.

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Premiere: Jazzatron – Bass Trump

Our favourite Italian label The Dreamers return to the Dojo spotlight with new beats from Torino duo Jazzatron. Bass Trump brings together halftime backbeats, jungle-tinged drum fills and a hint of samba for one funky-ass jam driven along by an infectious melodic hook. Sick! Look for this dropping September 15th at all the usual digital stores.

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