Utopia Music have been quiet for some time now as Mako concentrates on his work with DLR as OneMind and his forthcoming LP for Samurai Music, so it’s great to see the label making a return on this brand new 12″ from longtime label collaborator Mikal.
Under The Earth sees Mikal and Mako teaming up on a trademark Utopia cut; exquisitely crafted breaks, bassline scuzz and tons of detail. The fusion of jungle sensibilities with a hint of ‘headz and a taste of techstep darkness has long defined the Utopia sound and this one fits that bill perfectly.
On the B-side Mikal gets militant with an angular kick-drum rhythm and a selection of aggy bass hits. This one should produce more than a few screwfaces; proper stomper! Check out the previews below and hit up the Utopia Bandcamp to grab the release right now…
Break should need no introduction; possibly the hardest working man in Drum & Bass and a producer and DJ with a long and amazingly consistent career. His latest work finds him on top form once again, dropping a sick new single for his own label Symmetry Recordings.
Got A Feelin’ has its sights firmly on the dancefloor, stripping things back to the essentials; sparse but weighty drums, a wonky melody, wobbly sub bass and a memorable vocal hook. Vintage Break, this one manages to be both very “drum & bass” and nothing like most of the rest of the music dropping right now.
Over on the B side, Sesame Seeds hits a more jungle-y vibe, with crunchy break-chopping and funk samples a-plenty, recalling some of the classic sounds of old Moving Shadow.
Another essential release from one of the best names in the scene! Check it out below and hit up the usual digital outlets to grab this one now…
LSB and DRS should certainly need no introduction; the former one of the finest liquid producers of a generation, a rare pretender to Calibre & Marcus’s throne, while the latter is undoubtedly one of the best and most versatile lyricists in D&B. A handful of previous collaborations have proved their chemistry, not least the anthemic The View from DRS’s Mid Mic Crisis LP. So an LSB & DRS album should be something special, right?
Right indeed. The Blue Hour is an undeniable joy, a melding of minds and a proper musical journey. For one thing it’s almost equal parts soulful D&B rollers and equally soulful hip-hop beats; the yin and yang of an MC’s twin musical expressions filtered through the lens of the producer’s unique style.
Whether riffing on laid-back downtempo cuts like I’m Changing and Umbrellas, or bearing his soul on emotional rollers like Faded or Like It Used To, DRS is on fine form, and his thoughtful poetry finds a perfect match in the fluttering, delicate, jazz-infused beats found across the record. Mellow and melancholy but always with an uplifting edge, this is pure, honest and moving music…just as it should be.
The Blue Hour is out now via LSB’s Footnotes imprint; check out the tracks below and hit up your favourite store to grab a copy right now.
Eagle-eyed scene-watchers will doubtless have already noticed news of the return of Kemal over the past few months but what may have passed people by is the slow drip-feed of both new and classic material onto a new Kemal & Rob Data Bandcamp page.
Apparently top quality Drum & Bass albums are likes buses…you wait a while for one, then four come along all at once! November has seen the release of some absolutely essential artist LPs, so we though it only right to give you a quick roundup…read on for our thoughts on the new records from Philth, Misanthrop, Kimyan Law and Klute.
Trace’s return to Drum & Bass production over the last year has been most welcome. While his work as an A&R / label boss for both jungle-focussed imprint 117 and legendary techstep label DSCI4 has been thoroughly on point, his brand of no-nonsense rolling darkness has been thoroughly lacking from the scene until the surprising drop of the Zone EP last year. Clearly Trace is back on it with gusto, and this year we’ve got four new cuts courtesy of Kid Drama’s CNVX.
If ever it was possible for a release to sound both retro and futuristic, Trace’s productions here do. Stylistically they’re not dissimilar to his legendary output in the heyday of the late 90s techstep explosion, and they definitely hark back to that slightly forgotten sound…but at the same time the ethos of that material always drew on sci-fi for an ethereal, futuristic sonic palette, which definitely feels more than present here. Combine that with the razor sharp production available in 2019 and you’re back to the future in a big way.
For anyone sick of the ever-so-slightly-ADD hyperactivity of modern neurofunk, the Opaque EP is the perfect antithesis. Rolling breaks inject the funk, dark bass riffs give the tunes their weight, and the focus is very much a less-is-more aesthetic; groove and progression over endless variations and switchups. We don’t know what Trace has been listening to but maybe there’s a techno influence in the song writing creeping in here? Either way this is a delicious collection of techstep grooves, and a cracking take on a vintage sound. Hit up the CNVX Bandcamp to grab it straight from the source now…
When it comes to legends of the D&B scene, there are fewer more unsung (or at least under-sung) than Muffler. Producing since the tender age of nine and releasing music for nearly twenty years, Muffler has notched up releases with Spearhead, Hospital, Moving Shadow, DSCI4 and dozens more, flying the flag for Finland with a wicked cross-section of tracks that span the spectrum from dark to light and hard to soft.
Just before Christmas he dropped his fifth album, launching new imprint Muffler Music into the bargain, and we’re extremely pleased to report that it’s full of the sort of high class, emotional music that has made Muffler a Dojo favourite ever since we heard his 2003 Sounds of the Future LP.
The first few tracks of the album are an absolute treat for anyone who likes a charged piano roller, with Heavy Heart and Composer both standing out as masterclasses in key-work. Zürich Jungle lives up to it’s name with a nod to the more break-focussed style of days gone by, while Dark Funk and Low Frequency show that Konsta still knows how to lay down dark club bangers with ease.
While it might not be pushing too many envelopes, Composer is a love letter to the classic D&B form, and one penned by a supremely talented producer at that. Check out the clips below and hit up your favourite outlet to grab a copy right now.
When it comes to pristine A&R, Blu Mar Ten Music might just be the most consistent label in the scene. Chris’s knack for signing innovative artists to produce albums is pretty much unparalleled, and every single one has been superb, from the cinematic depths of Conduct, to the eclectic sounds of Kimyan Law and through the dark jazz of RQ. Now we can add another name to that list, as Akuratyde drops his debut long player for the label following on from his excellent Embrace EP back in 2015.
Tonally the album occupies a similar space to that EP; a mixture of natural instrumentation and synthetic elements, soft but warm tones, and bright, uplifting atmospheres. Where the LP differs though is in the tempo and energy of the compositions – where Embrace leaned towards the ultra-deep, autonomic-esque end of the beat spectrum, Past Lives isn’t afraid to bring in more up-tempo percussion and heavier bassline elements.
That trademark Akuratyde depth is still present though, and while there are more obviously “drum & bass” numbers by way of Monika collab Come True and sublime break-driven roller Lost Summer, the rest of the tracks tread that middle ground between more autonomic and even ambient territory and full tempo rollers, with breathtaking results.
Overall this is a stunning debut from a producer who can make detailed and intricate compositions sound gliding and effortless, and despite the obvious production effort that’s gone into the album it never feels over-engineered; no mean feat in the current age of D&B. Check out the previews below and hit up the BMT store to grab a copy on vinyl or digital now.
We first came across Mitekiss here at DNB Dojo back in 2014, when he released a crisp little single for now defunct Leeds imprint Sub:mission Audio. From there the young producer moved on to running his own label Goldfat, before catching the attention of first Shogun Audio and now Hospital Records. Now he lands on Tony Colman’s legendary liquid imprint for his debut album, and we’re pleased to say it’s everything we’d hoped it would be.
Naturally there’s plenty of that emotive liquid that we’ve come to know and love over the years, with higlights coming via Goolab and it’s effortless cascades of piano, the sultry licks of Body Move and the crispy breaks of Hutan. There are also tasty outings into different stylistic territory to enjoy though; rumbling tech aptly vocalised by frequent collaborator Mr Porter on Lenz and a nod to classic jungle on Human being the highlights.
At first glance Crate Six Seven could be dismissed as just another selection of D&B rollers, well-produced but forgettable, but there’s a lot of depth hidden away in these compositions; give it a few listens and we’re sure that the album will get under your skin, just as it has for us here at Dojo HQ. Check out the clips below and hit up the Hospital Store to grab a copy on vinyl, CD or digital now.
For all that we love a classic 2-step roller, one of the things that makes D&B in 2018 so exciting is the diversity of releases within the scene, and particularly those releases which blur the boundaries between what is traditionally considered “drum & bass” and other areas of electronica. So then, to the new Books LP for Detuned Transmissions…
Following on aptly from 2016’s Ensō EP for Ortem, the Station LP explores the deepest chasms of the 170 sound, working with ominous atmospherics and plodding halftime drums for a sound that owes as much to ambient, techno, industrial and noise as it does to D&B or jungle. That cross-section of influences has been melted down in some other-worldly sonic furnace, and the results are stark, ominous, bizarre and rewarding in equal measure.
From the creaking bass vibrations of halftime stomper Block1, via the throbbing textures of Endless Depths, through the biting drums of 7.7766 Gauss and out into the beatless space of Hopeless Unromantic, this album is a journey through soundscapes that while tonally dark and somewhat minimal are nonetheless rich and detailed. A desire to experiment with no consideration for the needs of the dancefloor or the DJ booth has led Books to produce a body of work designed purely for listening, and it’s all the more powerful for that focus.
The Station LP is out now at a variety of digital stores; follow this link to grab a copy.