Category Archives: Releases

Samurai Breaks – Boss Battle [Tsunami Bass Weight]

Samurai Breaks has been a busy man this year; between building up the Tsunami Bass Weight imprint alongside label partner VYKing and dropping releases for Plush, Halogen Music, Electrikal, Fragmented and more, 2017 has given us lots of output from the English-born, Prague-based producer. Between all of that he’s also found time to write his debut album, the Boss Battle LP, which dropped on Tsunami Bass Weight last month.

The album sees Sam honing in on the heavyweight halftime sound he’s explored on some of his other recent releases, taking cues from the likes of Ivy Lab and Signs with sparse beats, hints of trap and monsterous neuro-influenced basslines the order of the day. The album is at it’s best when it combines the head-nodding quality of a punchy halftime drum rhythm and a simple but weighty bassline with playful glitchiness, as on LP hightlight Special Delivery.

It’s not all sluggers though; rapid-fire breaks come into play on the chaotic Devil’s Lettuce and the antagonistically named Swivel, switching things up from the slower and more hip-hop influenced mainstays elsewhere on the record. Overall this is an impressive body of work – while perhaps not as varied as it could be it is still well worth a listen. Halftime bassheads, this one’s for you. Check out the clips below and hit up Bandcamp to grab a copy now.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Kid Lib – Blue Dreamers [Foxy Jangle]

Irish tastemakers Rua Sound launch a new sub imprint this month in the form of Foxy Jangle; having focused on the intersection between grime, jungle, d&b and other bass music for the main label, the new outlet will focus entirely on more conventional jungle releases. They couldn’t have picked a better artist to kick-start the label either – Green Bay Wax boss and all round junglist badman Kid Lib is at the controls for the first release, and as you’d expect it is straight fiya!

A-side Blue Dreamers goes in deep with lush pad atmospheres and trippy samples on the intro, lulling you into a false sense of security before the breaks crash into the mix. When the drums come they come hard, replete with tasty edits and classic snare rolls. Flipside That Special Way follows a similar template, with pitched vocals on the intro taking us back to the spirit of the mid 90s ready for another helter skelter selection of kicks and snares.

As with much of the jungle-revival sound there’s nothing especially innovative going on here, but as love-letters to a largely bygone sound go it doesn’t get much more finely engineered than this. Foxy! Check out the clips below and hit up the Rua Sound Bandcamp to pre-order now; vinyl and digital drop Oct 27th.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Alix Perez – Nighthawks EP [1985 Music]

Alix Perez has much of the drum and bass scene in the palm of his hand. With a career spanning 12 years he has constructed masterpiece after masterpiece across several different styles; Alix has come a long way from Get It On in 2005 and his latest EP Nighthawks is concrete evidence of that progression.

The EP features an enticing menu of sounds and vibes; Blip stands out as a harsh, stripped back stepper perfectly punctuated with one-shots and FX that give it texture and depth. Similarly, Lucky Charm has drum work that is characteristic of Alix’s output in recent years, matched to a rolling low-end that will see this track being reloaded again and again.

If steppers don’t tickle your fancy, there’s plenty more to satisfy your D&B cravings. The EP’s title track Nighthawks takes the listener down a deeper road, although that doesn’t tell the full story here. Nearly two minutes in the mids start to growl at you in this dBridge-esque way that remind you of the variety of sounds Perez is so adept at manufacturing.

Finally, for those that don’t have a taste for the darker sounds of the genre, there EP is rounded off by a killer collaboration with Javeon, which reminds me a lot of Alix’s earliest material. Javeon’s cool voice gives this tune an R&B vibe that rolls out endlessly; something achieved by only a handful of artists playing in that space.

So, the EP in a nutshell: something for everyone, but by no means generalistic. Alix Perez clearly demonstrates he is at home designing all styles and all vibes (although there is a notable absence of half time on this one). But after the musical journey he’s had and his rise to the top of the pile, he barely needs to demonstrate anything to anyone anymore.

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

Facebook: facebook.com/auzidnb

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Gerra & Stone – Polarism LP [Dispatch]

It’s safe to say that Gerra & Stone are not new kids on the block. With releases on ProgRAM, Dispatch, Proximity and more, they have been mastering their craft for several years. After this period of gestation and incubation, the boys are dropping possibly their best work to date for Dispatch in the form of the Polarism LP.

With interludes and intros punctuating throughout, fans of all the rightly or wrongly noted sub-genres will have plenty to take from this LP. Tracks like Time Not Wasted, The Fourth State, and Preditor (among plenty of others) represent the harder sound that this duo is well known for.

That said, pieces such as On the Outside and In Disguise (featuring the elegant voice of Peta Oneir – my personal favourite) reflect a more liquid sound that Gerra & Stone are less known for, but nevertheless have a back catalogue speckled with. Finally, there are tracks that blend both styles. Repeat Process has smacks of Halogenix in its synth sections, while Take Me Home has more rhythm and groove to it than efforts of yesteryear.

Clearly the well balanced styles are testament to this pair’s acumen. There is something for everyone here, which represents a change to Dispatch’s more usual techy output. What we can be certain of is the beginning of a changing of the guard in D&B, as once emerging talents begin to take centre stage. I for one am excited at that prospect.

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

Facebook: facebook.com/auzidnb

Tagged , , , , , ,

Fybe:one – New Soul Music [Diffrent]

Fybe:one is a producer we’ve had half an eye on for a few years here at Dojo HQ; while his usual explorations tend towards lower tempos, he is nonetheless one of the most interesting musicians in the electronic sphere. Having contributed some downtempo reverberations for Diffrent’s Evolution of the Giraffe LP back in 2013, Dexta’s London imprint was the clear avenue for a move into the 160+ tempo range and the results are top notch.

Fans of the likes of Frederic Robinson and Machinedrum will find plenty to enjoy here; there’s a playfulness and an old school sampling methodology at work with plenty of influence from more “conventional” D&B, but without the music becoming trapped in the confines of the more traditional genre hallmarks. Jazzy synth hits, rapid-fire percussion and unusual rhythms are the order of the day here, and there are some tasty collaborations to boot as Sense MC steps up for vocal duties and the ever talented Hyroglifics comes in to push some buttons on With You.

As you’d expect if you’ve kept an eye on Diffrent, this EP embodies the label’s ethos by doing its best not to sound like anything else out there, and while it might not quite be revolutionary it’s certainly off the beaten track. Combine that with a loving craft and that mix of club-heft and armchair sensibility and you’re onto another winning release from our favourite London giraffe-enthusiasts. Check out the preview mix below and hit up the label Bandcamp page to cop the EP now.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dave Catalyst – Play Your Hand EP [Deconstructed]

In a little under two years, US imprint Deconstructed have already carved a solid niche for themselves as purveyors of high quality deep liquid rollers, and their latest EP from Dave Catalyst is possibly their best release yet. From the ethereal and faintly melancholy opener Strong Suit, through the noodling jazz piano and swing vocals of Slim City over to the darker bass-led vibe of Distant Notion and out via the playful, uplifting tones of Room for Manoeuvre, this is a joy to listen to from start to finish. If you like you D&B detailed, melodic and full of soul then this EP is for you! Check out the clips below and hit up the label’s Bandcamp Store to grab it right now.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Love You Forever LP

As if the recently released Grenfell LP from Nurtured Beatz wasn’t enough, another corner of the D&B community has come together to support the survivors of the Grenfell disaster via another packed charity album. The Love You Forever LP  features a whopping 25 tracks of mostly dancefloor focused D&B from some of the biggest names in the game, including Whiney, Kenny Ken, Kasra & Enei, DJ Fresh, Genotype and many more. Hit up the iTunes store to grab a copy and help out this essential cause.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,