Author Archives: Layla Marino

Razlom – Thriller EP [Bad Taste]

The trio known as Razlom seem to be releasing EPs with rapid fire succession, as their new EP, Thriller, is out only one month after their Arrival EP. Thriller is out on Bad Taste Recordings, which is a good choice of imprint for them due to the weird and slightly retro nature of this sophomore EP.

The EP opens with the title track, which is an excellent mix of old school dnb beats, tech step synths and vocal samples, and modern sound design. The inter-beat is so fast it almost makes the track sound a little like gabber, but make no mistake: this track is well inside the drum and bass wheelhouse, with classic wind ups, drops and sweepdowns.

Another highlight is the neuro-fueled Storm is Coming, which also has some nice techy grinds to it as well as a techstep backbeat. This will likely be a single other producers will play out, but it’s still more arty and not as easily mixable as it sounds in the opening. Voyager is probably the raviest track on the EP, while album closer No One (Feat. MC Temper) has a more melodic quality, if Razlom are capable of such a thing.

While neuro seems to be the term of the day for many acts like Razlom, Thriller seems to be much more in the techstep realm, but done in a really modern and interesting way. Razlom are here to shake up the drum and bass norms with their brassy, techy way, and it’s definitely none too soon. Thriller is available now on all major platforms.

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Written by Layla Marino

Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science
Twitter/IG: @dropweirdsci

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Kursa & Seppa – SLG001 [Slug Wife]

Slug Wife is a burgeoning record label out of the UK focusing mainly on strange, experimental halftime beats, and who have recently signed producers Kursa and Seppa to do a series of EPs, beginning with SLG001. This four-track EP is full of aggressive basslines and hip hop samples, and has a crazy side story to go with it. The Slug Wife Soundcloud features a burn reel of the album and the first chapter of the story about a race of intergalactic slug people and their fearful plight. Beyond that, there is nearly no information to be found about these freshman producers, but the beats and the story are enough to get audiences’ attention.

Lard Monolith is the opener on the EP and goes well with the story. The funky, distorted melody on the intro could well be played at Jabba the Hut’s bar; one can almost hear the slime, in the best possible way. The track then evolves into a simple hip hop drum beat before the absolutely crushing bassline appears, washing out almost everything else in the track. It’s a chugging bassline but it also goes all over the place, morphing in different directions as the funky melody and old school vocal laser samples compose a sort of break in the action. It’s a wonked out, dirty track which represents the most creative ends of bass music, not to mention encapsulating the feeling of the weird, silly “Slug Wife” story.

While Lard Monolith is produced by both Kursa and Seppa, the EP also contains solo tracks by each artist: Watch Me is another bass-heavy chugger by Kursa, while Get Burned is more reliant on its repetitive vocal samples. The EP closes with another collab, Fucko Posse, which is a complete left turn from the rest of the EP. It contains what will likely be labeled as Kursa and Seppa’s characteristic bass, but it seems slower than the other three tracks, with more space between beats and more recognizable breaks. It’s a surprising way to end this weird, fun EP and will definitely leave listeners wanting more, both from the music and the story.

SLG001 is out now on Slug Wife records; grab it now on the label’s Bandcamp.

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Written by Layla Marino

Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science
Twitter/IG: @dropweirdsci

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Evolutions Vol. 4 [Blackout]

Blackout have just released their latest compilation in the Evolutions series, featuring tracks by Synergy, Cruk, Kolt, Fre4knc & Corteks, Disprove & Merikan and Ordure. The EP-length compilation brings the classic label sound that fans have come to expect, with fast, grimy basslines and evil samples.

The EP opens with Overdose by Synergy, a track which tricks the listener into thinking that it will be lighthearted and on the techno side, but the drop makes quick work of that. With a surprising sample from Method Man and Redman’s How High, the bass and synths kick in with brain-scrambling speed and accuracy. Said synths and some of the breaks in this track are reminiscent of earlier techstep, ca. 2003. With lashings of techno keyboards and the heavy drops, this track merges old and new in a fun, definitely Blackout-style way.

The album closer, Strike by Odure, is not nearly the amalgam that Overdose is, with hard-hitting drums, an alien-style synth track and little else, but it’s aggressive and fast-paced and once again shows the range of Blackout artists and styles. The rest of the tracks also showcase this diversity. Triet Munt by Fre4knc and Corteks starts out with an industrial-sounding intro but then smoothly merges into a tight neuro drum track. Cruk’s Full Tilt is much more techy with old rave samples, while Kolt’s Bloodsport is theatrical and warm, even featuring MC work by Coppa. Last but not least, Circle of Confusion by Disprove and Merikan is another highly syncopated grinder.

The Evolutions series, seems to be intent on bringing the characteristic Blackout sound, interpreted by different producers. This compilation, as is always the case with Blackout, brings the most technically strong production work in drum and bass today. Evolutions Vol. 4 can be streamed on the Blackout Soundcloud page or purchased on the label’s website.

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Written by Layla Marino

Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science
Twitter/IG: @dropweirdsci

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Alaska – Solace / Earthloop [Arctic Music]

UK producer Paradox has just released his latest 12″ single under his more chilled-out pseudonym, Alaska. While Solace is a sparse, sort of liquid drum and bass track with funky vocals and Paradox’s omnipresent jungle-style drums, Earthloop is a downtempo, almost trip hop-like track with slow, jazzy snares and beautiful, wintry synths. Paradox himself calls Solace “a sequence of sad violin loops set the tone over fast breaks and strings”, which is certainly accurate, but Alaska fans should be sure to check out Earthloop as well for its complexity and incredibly clean production.

Paradox as Alaska has created something really special with this release, conjuring a completely different vibe from his more well-known releases, and his continued dedication to high-quality 12″ presses makes this single as highly prized as anything else he’s put out under his main moniker.

The Solace/Earthloop single is already sold out in vinyl form on the Alaska Bandcamp page, but it appears to still be available on the Samurai/Arctic Music Group website. Check out the clips below and go grab a copy while you still can!

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Written by Layla Marino
Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science
Twitter/IG: @dropweirdsci

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MDZ.02 2017 Re-Mastered [Metalheadz]

In 2015, the legendary DnB label Metalheadz embarked on a project to re-master and re-release all of its classic tunes from the 90s and beyond. This was presumably done for DJs, to give high-quality downloads of early-era songs to those who have updated their equipment but not their tastes.

What it has effectively done on top of that, however, is to expose younger generations of ravers to the wonders of the Metalheadz archives, as well as to producers and sub-genres which, if not forgotten, were buried in the record crates of first-and-second-generation junglists and D&B heads. Now even the grumpiest vinyl-loving old school heads can listen to a crisp, clean WAV of Marcus Intalex’s My Soul on their computers if they so choose.

The most recent release from the “Re-Mastered” project is of 2002’s MDZ.02. Just released on Friday, this 11-track retrospective contains classics from the likes of Klute, Teebee, Loxy & Ink and a special Usual Suspects track called Tribute, an homage to the influential D&B MC Kendo, who’d recently passed at the time the track was released.

2002 was an interesting transitional time for drum and bass. Beats became much faster, samples started to be influenced by hip hop, R&B and rave, and jungle and drum and bass structures started to merge in ways that many felt were unthinkable. Metalheadz was right on the forefront of this change and its surrounding controversy, riding the crest to emerge as the well-established and cutting-edge label it is today.

MDZ.02 2017 isn’t up on Discogs yet, but it can be purchased in a number of formats on the Metalheadz website and clips can be streamed on Soundcloud.

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Written by Layla Marino

Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science
Twitter/IG: @dropweirdsci

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Overlook – Smoke Signals [UVB-76]

In a new musical era where the “banger” single is king, it’s refreshing when an artist, especially a drum and bass artist, puts together an LP which is meant to be a cohesive work in itself, to be listened to in progression. In the case of Overlook’s new album, Smoke Signals, out last week on UVB-76, both the album as a whole and its individual tracks can be appreciated on multiple levels.

Smoke Signals accomplishes its cohesive LP structure because of a few key elements, most of which hearken back to the structure and styles of the late 90s and early 00s. First, there is a binding theme in the form of a horror movie motif. The album opens with a beatless ambient track full of almost industrial-sounding samples and spooky noises, and almost every track thereafter has direct dialog samples from horror movies or thrillers. The other binding theme is that of ambient or intelligent drum and bass beats and samples. Snare-heavy beats and amen breaks pervade every track, as well as one-off synth samples the like of which no one has heard since about 1998.

There is plenty of diversity in Smoke Signals as well, and Overlook even crosses genres fully throughout the LP. The album moves from old school ambient-style snare tracks like Out of the Unknown well into industrial territory with the very next track, Who Is this Who is Coming. Apparition, featuring Ruffhouse & Gremlins, is probably the most grinding track on the album, followed by more industrial-tinged beats with The Dream Unfolds. From there it launches right into the very jazzy, almost Mushroom Jazz-y Travelling Without Moving and Into the Night. 

By the end of the album, the listener will feel a very distinct mood but find him or herself going back over favorite tracks. It’s a triumph of both the LP and single formats, and a great look back at dark ambient drum and bass. Smoke Signals can be streamed or purchased on Bandcamp and Discogs.

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Written by Layla Marino

Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science
Twitter/IG: @dropweirdsci

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Fanu – The Silent Watcher [Lightless]

The Finnish experimental drum and bass artist Fanu has just released his 10th album, The Silent Watcher. He seems pretty jazzed about it, and he should be. By his own admission, Fanu decided to use some older techniques on this record, and it really comes through. Snares and classic 90s-style D&B drum combos are employed on tracks like album opener Five Ounces and Otherworld. The snare and drum combo on Otherworld is so thick, in fact, that drum and bass heads worth their salt will wonder if this track is a re-issue of a mid-90s track. Also pervasive are the many and sundry vocal samples from TV shows and movies, another 90s staple.

The Silent Watcher isn’t all about vintage beats and vocal sample cuts, however. It appears Fanu, a more than 20-year veteran in the D&B game, is examining the history of this genre and, effectively, his own history right the way through to present time. Paracosm Part 2, for example, blends a modern half-time beat with grimy bass grind-downs the like of which have not been seen since the early noughties. The smoothed-out Presence even hearkens back to early dubstep, while album closer Agenda goes full-on ambient.

There’s a little something for every time period of drum and bass on this album, and it’s nice to see Fanu playing with all the eras he’s loved the most as well. The Silent Watcher is available to stream or purchase on Fanu’s Bandcamp, Discogs and Beatport pages and on the Lightless Recordings Soundcloud page.

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Written by Layla Marino

Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science
Twitter/IG: @dropweirdsci

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