Category Archives: Other

Alia Fresco EP [CNVX]

Kid Drama’s CNVX imprint has always been an eclectic outlet; from the IDM-esque melancholy of his Mikarma alias, through beats from dBridge, Resound and Abstract Elements, the label certainly doesn’t like to be pigeon-holed. All of which brings us to the imprint’s latest offering, a quirky and sublime slice of autonomic pop courtesy of Drama himself and vocalist Alia Fresco, who you may recognise from her collaborative project with Loxy and Resound, The Levels.

The production here is stripped back to the barest essentials, minimalist arrangements that bring to mind The xx, albeit entirely lacking in indie-rock guitar twang. This use of space gives Fresco ample room to breathe, and her voice fills the tracks beautifully. From the brooding reflections of Ordinary Thing and Guys Like You through the more uplifting Let You Go and into the absolutely electrifying Break Me Out, the EP is powerful, gripping and original; a pure blend of autonomic aesthetic and heartfelt lyricism. My only complaint is that at 15 minutes, it’s nowhere near long enough. Give us an album!

The Alia Fresco EP is out now on vinyl and digital via CNVX.

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Audeka – Lost Souls LP [Methlab]

Methlab’s foray into record label territory over the past few months has resulted in some seriously impressive releases, and their latest from US production trio Audeka is undoubtedly the label’s most ambitious project to date.

Unsuprisingly given Methlab’s heritage and artist roster and Audeka’s previous work, the first thing that jumps out about Lost Souls is the quality and detail of the sound design. Bassline production geeks will definitely find plenty to be impressed by here, but despite the technicality the results are powerful and emotionally resonant. Neurofunk and it’s related lower-tempo cousins can sometimes become a biggest-bassline dick-waiving contest and thankfully Audeka have avoided falling into that trap.

There’s also a versatility on show here with the album’s first two tracks alone showing a huge range, jumping from dubstep-esque industrial-tinged destruction to beautifully soft trip-hop. Most of the tracks on the LP definitely lean more towards the former than the latter, but even within that signature Audeka sound of groaning bass distortion and heavy hitting percussion there’s room for tons of experimentation with both rhythm and sonic texture.

Most ambitiously still the album attempts to tell a complex story of a man’s journey from a small village through a forbidden underworld as he attempts to rescue his wife from the clutches of a dark magic. Given the album’s largely instrumental nature it’s difficult to imagine this narrative coming across without prior knowledge, but it’s nonetheless interesting to bear this in mind when listening to the sounds and moods of each track; it certainly conveys a journey through myriad fantastical landscapes.

Overall if you like your electronica a little avant-garde and have ever enjoyed productions from the likes of Broken Note, Amon Tobin or Noisia then this album is absolutely essential listening. Lost Souls is available right now from the Methlab Bandcamp; grab it straight from the source and net yourself some attractive artwork posters into the bargain.

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Premiere: Nuage – Shining (The Levels Remix)

We’ve got something a little different for your ears today as we present the premiere of The Levels stunning new remix of Nuage – Shining. For anyone not familiar with The Levels, it’s the collaborative project of Loxy, Resound and Alia Fresco, and their take Nuage’s original blends pop, R&B and years of D&B experience for a shimmering and understated rework with tons of soul.

Watch out for this dropping from August 5th alongisde remixes from Blu Mar Ten, Bop and Nuage on Translation Recordings, vinyl and digital.

The Levels:
Facebook → www.facebook.com/thelevelsmusic
SoundCloud → @thelevelsmusic
Twitter → twitter.com/thelevelsmsc

Translation Recordings:
Facebook → www.facebook.com/translationrecordings
SoundCloud → @translationrecordings
Twitter → twitter.com/translationrecs

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Owneath – Bokomaru EP [Demand]

Demand continue their Selects series with an EP from Ukrainian newcomer Owneath. Channelling the 20/20 LDN halftime sound which Ivy Lab have been championing of late, the vibes are low slung and full of swagger from start to finish.

Deeper cuts Overload and Juku will probably appeal to fans of the grittier breed of halftime, but for us the best outings are to be found on the more hip-hop influenced beats. Title track Bokomaru brings together an infectious hook and a cracking swung drum line for a sparse, crunked out banger, while Pay Me follows a similar line but with a slightly more menacing edge. Gun fingers at the ready!

Check out the clips below and hit up your favourite digital outlet to grab a copy right now.

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Koronis – Weave

In case you weren’t aware Mar 28th is Piano Day (the 88th day of the year for the 88 keys on a full size piano) so we figured we’d take a break from the usual coverage to celebrate one of the oldest and best musical instruments around.

Experimental composer and multimedia artist Koronis has put together a beautiful minimalist piece entitled Weave for the occasion and crafted a unique animation to go with the piece; we think you’ll agree they’re both soft, understated and generally awesome. Check it out below and go find yourself a piano to play with!

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Quentin Hiatus – I’m Neither Quentin Nor Hiatus Vol. 2 [Free Love Digi]

US beatsmith and sonic experimenter extraordinaire Quentin Hiatus returns with the second volume of his split LP, I’m Neither Quentin Nor Hiatus. After the mostly experimental and introspective sounds of the excellent Vol. 1the second instalment seems to shift focus towards the dancefloor while keeping that trademark QH playfulness when it comes to sitting slightly outside convention.

There’s certainly plenty of variety on show here; After Image kicks things off with a hypnotic slice of rolling, tech-edged D&B, while Always Sunny immediately flips things around into a moodier and more techno inspired groove. Elsewhere we’re treated to lower tempo garagey vibes on the fantastically groovy Danny Tanner, jacking house on Steppin Out and scuzzed up footwork on Edison before I Stop closes the album out with a slice of IDM-infused halftime hip-hop.

If Vol. 1 was the sound of a man’s innermost thoughts and feelings wrapped in an eclectic array of electronic instrumentation, Vol. 2 is that same man jumping out of the armchair and heading straight to the dancefloor to throw some mean shapes. Another thoroughly enjoyable outing from a producer who constantly impresses us here at the Dojo. Check out the clips below and hit up your favourite digital outlet to grab the LP now!

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December Roundup

Another month, another massive wealth of new drum & bass! We check out the best of the rest from Conduct, Skeptical, Benny L, Cybin and more… Continue reading

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Grand Royal Vol. 1 [Vandal LTD]

Vandal LTD’s latest release sees them celebrating a collection of tracks at the edge of the halftime D&B sound where the waters begin to get muddy and the influence of hip-hop, footwork and other bass music mutates the sound in new and interesting ways.

Signs, SKS & Skank get together for the EP’s opener, the swaggering and audacious Bliss Flop. This one undoubtedly owes a little to Ivy Lab’s seminal Sunday Crunk, but it’s still a fantastic slice of halftime hip-hop with a grin-inducing bassline and heaps of attitude.

Tim Reaper’s contribution to the EP (alongside Vanar and Mieur) takes things in a totally different direction, with a distinctly techno influenced beat driving along under spooky soundscapes for a hypnotic journey through 5am clubland and into weird early morning psychedelia.

Elsewhere the EP features some nice tracks influenced by the Chicago footwork sound, the best of which is undoubtedly Lumumba’s Exhale. Frantic high hats and rap vocal cut ups may well be overplayed by now but this one is still a hugely satisfying listen, and it’s nice to see this sound spreading and being played with by so many in the D&B community.

The Grand Royal EP is out now at all good stores, so check out the clips below and grab yourself an unconventional selection of beats at your leisure.

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Akuratyde – Embrace EP [Blu Mar Ten Music]

After a short hiatus, Blu Mar Ten Music are back with more effortlessly beautiful music, this time from US producer Akuratyde. The Embrace EP occupies the same sort of musical space as artists like Kiyoko or Ulrich Schnauss; glistening pads, an air of melancholy and the influence of ambient and IDM characterise the recordings far more than the influence of conventional D&B, particularly on the EP’s first two tracks. Embrace and Lights In My Eyes both relegate beats and bass to a modest supporting role behind the swathes of reverb drenched chords and lush sonic imagery, creating a sense of distance and longing.

The second half of the EP sees a slight shift towards more beat driven compositions, with Time Left Behind exploring the halftime tempo with crisp but understated percussion under a warm blanket of sub bass and blissful echoing melodies. Sway closes the EP out with what could well be a love letter to Seba or Blu Mar Ten themselves, the release’s most “D&B” track. As usual Blu Mar Ten Music are right on the pulse, bringing us fantastically creative work from a new name we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on in future! Check out the clips below and hit up the Blu Mar Ten Bandcamp to grab a copy right now.

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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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