For his new EP on Flexout Fearful has teamed up with a selection of the capital’s best underground producers for the collaborative delights of Collective Conscience. We grabbed Chris for a quick chat about all things team based…
When it comes to D&B MCs, you can count those worth hearing outside the rave on one hand (and even those worth hearing inside the rave on a few hands more…). The jump from host in the club to the true lyricism required to spit bars on record isn’t one that all wannabe microphone fiends have the talent for, but thankfully Sense has more than proven himself worthy of the task.
Many years in the making, The Elephant In The Room sees the self-described “illegitimate offspring of a scouse and a cockney” land on Diffrent Music accompanied by some of the best producers in the scene, with a plethora of material spanning D&B and hip-hop, dark and light, hype and chill. There are plenty of highlights in the uptempo region, from the coy and playful rhymes of Lynx-produced Disconnected to the aggy lyrical duel of After Dark, where Sense is joined by longtime friend and equally talented MC Codebreaker.
The lower tempo beats tend towards beauty and introspection, such as album opener Love Is… which muses on romance against an eclectic beat from Frank & Furter that brings to mind Frederick Robinson’s work. Two Planets brings in jazzy influences and rhymes on an intergalactic tip, while Just A Ride closes the album with thoughts on the meaning of life.
Descriptions struggle to do the work here justice; the important point is that The Elephant In The Room is a polished selection of songs with depth beyond the usual hype-man lyricism or catchy verses found on MC-led tracks. We’ve no doubt this is only gonna get better on repeat listens too. Check out some of the tracks below and hit up the Diffrent Store to grab a copy on digital, CD or vinyl…as they’ve been telling us for weeks, #BuyTheAlbum.
The latest release from London imprint Flexout sees Coma stepping up to the plate with a four track EP full of deep, dark flavours and some tasty collaborations.
Gritty tech minimalism is the order of the day here, with plenty of crisp percussion and grimy bass to drive the tunes along. Dionysus is one of the obvious highlights, combining the swaggering vocals of Sense MC with an ominous combo of kick, snare and heavy sub.
Out into the back side of the EP there are also some slick collabs with Arkaik and Semitone, and overall this is a tight cross-section of murky tracks for those who like their D&B threatening and minimal. Check out the clips below and hit up the Flexout Bandcamp to grab the release right now!
Belgian duo Mtwn return to Diffrent Music with a fantastic new release featuring top class production and some really interesting ideas. Embers kicks the EP off with a cracking progression from deep, sombre half-step with a cheeky riff that sounds like a 90s hardcore line run through the washing machine a few times, before morphing into a frenzy of break chopping that brought an instant smile to this reviewer’s face!
The Diffrent family get involved on the oddly titled Tales of a Tonka Truck Driver, with Arkaik, Dexta and Mauoq all lending their studio chops to an angular and moody slice of halftime D&B driven along by super tight percussion. Spinal Groove sees Mtwn continuing that theme, contrasting darker bass and drum elements against soft, ethereal pad sounds to great effect. Last up, Four brings a sparse but effective groove that should get more than a few heads nodding along at the speakers.
The release is out right now via the Diffrent Bandcamp so check the clips below and go grab it!
Arkaik’s productions first caught my ear via his early releases for Diffrent Music and since then I’ve kept an eye out for more of his stripped back stylings. His latest EP for Flexout is possibly his finest work to date, bringing five slabs of gritty techstep to the table that should get fans of this deep yet edgy end of D&B excited.
The titular My Love opens the EP nicely, combining a tough but clean rolling break and dark bass with a warped yet soulful vocal line for a track that treads the path between dark and smooth with aplomb. Other highlights come on the dingy, threatening halftime of Doppelganger, which makes great use of shuffling hat fills, and the simple yet insistent staccato clicks and pops of Wusi Street.
As usual you can grab this one from your favourite digital outlet, so check out the clips below and go grab it now!
IM:Ltd’s latest release sees Pennygiles’ Stories Untold getting the remix treatment no less than three times. Nymfo turns in a dank dancefloor refix which keeps the soul of the tune but bolsters it with a tough break and a hefty wall of sub bass, while the flipside of the 12″ sees Pennygiles teaming up with French liquid producer Redeyes for a typically deep and satisfying roller.
Out into the digital extras, Diffrent Music’s Arkaik twists up Stories Untold into a darker and altogether more angular form, while Robustus turns drops things down even deeper with a half-time rework and some nice glitchy touches. Great work as ever from the IM:Ltd camp – check out the clips below and grab this on vinyl and digital now.
With so many great freebies surfacing over the last few weeks we thought it high time to round up our favourites here at the Dojo. First up, the ever busy Quentin Hiatus dropped a tidy free track in conjunction with his recent interview for KMag. Brooding atmosphere, deep sub and a plodding half-time riddim combine on this genre-blending slice of 170BPM business.
Evol Intent continue their steady stream of free giveaways with the typically monstrous Cognitive Divergance; described by the trio as “a modern exploration into the late 90s tech era of drum and bass”, this one is full of big bad reese bass and a relentless drum line.
Terabyte/Transmission/Sub:mission boss-man Altered Perception brings us a tight techstep roller in the form of Neurosis. Swirling bass groans and a crisp break are sure to do some damage.
Arkaik celebrates 1000 Facebook likes with a deep dark remix of Shiver’s Crossover, featuring some top notch angular riddims. Head to DNBShare to grab this one.
BSE’s Blackout imprint get ready for the launch of their next EP with a freebie from Concept Vision & Segment – big nasty rolling neuro vibes as you’d expect! Head to the Blackout Facebook page to get it.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAd7U1EnT3I]
Amen badman FFF presents us with a full 6 track EP of his raggacore stylings – if you like your breaks chopped to hell and back, look no further! Download at the Murder Channel Bandcamp page.
Last but not least Dojo head honcho Hex gives away an old school techstep roller in the form of The Law to celebrate 500 Soundcloud followers. Big distorted 808 hits and gnarly reese bass are the order of the day here, with a few choice samples from Dredd thrown in for good measure.
Purveyors of all things eclectic Diffrent Music celebrate their 20th release with a various artists LP featuring a varied cuts from the extended label family. The tone of the material varies greatly, from the beautiful, laid-back beats of Fybe:one and Kolectiv, through the slouching, tripped out dub of Jekyll’s Horcurso and out into the brutalised industrial bass and heavy snares of M-Zine, Skepticz & Mtwn’s Choices.
The common thread is that almost all the tracks on the album eschew the familiar drum patterns of most D&B compositions in search of percussive innovation, the only real exception being Arkaik’s broody stepper Wax. If you’re looking for DJ friendly crowd pleasers this definitely isn’t a collection of them, but it’s proof that the 170 tempo range continues to be a hotbed for experimentation and truly interesting music. Watch out for this dropping via CD and digital from December 9th.
To celebrate the release of the album Diffrent are throwing a party in London this Friday. With a stellar lineup of the label’s best producers and tickets available for only a tenner, those in the nation’s capital should be sure to check it out – details over on Facebook here. As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also giving away a free track from Fybe:One – check it out below and head to the Diffrent Facebook for your download.
DNB Dojo: How do you go about finding artists? Or do they come to you? Diffrent certainly have a knack for finding and releasing tunes that are firmly D&B while being fairly unlike most of the rest of the genre.
Dexta: Thanks!! Well luckily we have a few exclusive artists who we managed to find before we got any real notice based on endless nights on SoundCloud and putting up posts on forums that we’re looking for music etc. Paid off pretty well. With the success of the GiraffeCast we get loads of tunes sent over from all kinds of artists and producers from over the globe and some from Mars, a fair few of these submissions tend to make it into the pink giraffe CD wallet and sometimes even make it onto the Diffrent release schedule. So keep em coming.
DNB Dojo: The latest release from Arkaik seems to move away from the styles of some previous releases (e.g. from Stanza and Fathom Audio) and into the territory of labels like Noisia’s Invisible imprint. Was this a deliberate move, or is it just a case of getting sent good tunes and putting them out?
Dexta: Pardon the obvious pun, but we do like to keep things different. All of our past releases have a big contrast from the flip sides, and each release moves into new grounds, Arkaik’s EP is no exception to this theory. Pete (Arkaik) is a very busy guy, and we try to give him as much freedom and space in the studio so we tend to have a lot of top quality tunes to try and distribute from him. It’s really rewarding now to see the love and attention that he is getting as such a new comer artist to the D&B music scene. I think he suits the label very well and he is part of the foundations here and this comes across in all of his musical output!
DNB Dojo: Have you got anything exciting lined up for 2013? Anything big you wanna tell us about?
Dexta: Well, as we all know 2013 has just began, we’ve about 6-7 releases pretty much ready to unleash, so these will be played and mentioned in our podcast and mixes as much as possible. We’ve got our 3rd birthday party coming up March 22nd at a secret location in East London (tickets are being put on sale now from our website www.diffrentmusic.com). The new website has been put together, we’re planning on setting up a YouTube channel and hopefully construct a life size Giraffe head/neck sculpture! TBC!
DNB Dojo: Any tips for budding producers who’d like to get music out on your label?
Dexta: The bets way of getting music into our speakers is by sending your music over, only if you seriously think it is the right kind of vibe for us, listen to the podcast do some homework, and send us a couple of tracks that we can suck in and debate about… the email is firstname.lastname@example.org
DNB Dojo: What’s the deal with giraffes?
Dexta: There is no deal, but did you know that due to their long neck, the vocal cord is so stretched that the only noises they make are in the Sub Bass frequencies!?
Check out the release below and grab yourself a copy from your favourite store, out now!