Tag Archives: Break

DLR – Dreamland [Dispatch]

Dispatch are truly spoiling us right now. On top of their impending 100th release extravaganza and a ton of top notch releases over the last few months, Ant and the gang are treating us to a full length DLR album, barely more than a year on from his solo LP debut Seeing Sounds. Christmas comes early it seems!

The themes on the album couldn’t feel more topical either with the recent Brexit debacle in the UK and Trump’s election victory in the US. Where Seeing Sounds felt at times abstract and introspective, Dreamland is pointed and political, from the leftwing anti-capitalist patter of interlude tracks like Living The Dream to Gusto’s angsty attacks on modern society on standout title track Dreamland. Lyrics like “course politicians got their hand in the till” paint a vivid picture of disbelief at the status quo, and that fire in the belly comes across in the razor sharp production of whiplash snares and growling bass.

Production-wise this is very much evolution rather than revolution, honing DLR’s well tuned style of groove-laden tech-edged D&B. While this isn’t a tedious collection of “bangerz” by any stretch, pretty much all the tracks feel more than capable of causing some screwfaces in the dance, with Mako collab Anxiety Attack and the ominous, stalking basslines of album closer Time is Everything proving to be standout moments.

Dreamland is unlikely to convert non-believers to the DLR sound, but fans of his previous material will definitely be all over it. It’s great to see an artist using their music as a platform to make a statement and encourage social change too, especially in an age where so much music has little to no message beyond the intent to rip up a club. Props to DLR for balancing the dancefloor with a deeper message, and props to Dispatch for their continued belief in original independent music. Check out the clips below and hit up their store to grab this direct; Dreamland drops everywhere this Friday.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Break – 10 Years of Symmetry

When you think across the biggest names in the scene, it’s hard to find one both as well regarded and as prolific as Break. The Symmetry boss somehow manages to churn out a breathtaking quantity of originals and remixes, all possessing his trademark crisp drums, warm but punchy basslines and organic musical flourishes. If there were an award for the hardest working man in D&B, we’re pretty sure it would go to Break every year without fail.

This year sees him celebrating 10 years of Symmetry Recordings and for the occasion he’s put together a cracking new LP of material featuring collabs with many of the label’s familiar faces and some solo material to boot. Alongside big, stomping slices of dancefloor tech like Total Science collab Betamax and solo cut Ain’t No Turning Back there’s space for a take on the 20/20 sound on Inside (written with Spectrasoul), a reggae infused roller on Overdub and a couple of distinctly jungle-tinged beats like the cracking closing track Not Forgotten.

While none of the tracks here are particularly breaking the mould or pushing the envelope, the love, care, and detail that’s gone into their production shines through and the presence and vibe is absolutely undeniable; another fine album from a scene legend at the top of his game. Check out the clips (and a wicked 30 min promo mix) below and hit up the Symmetry store to grab a copy right now!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Dojo Damager: Chroma – Intermission (Break Remix)

Break on the remix…need we say more? The hardest working man in D&B turns in a chunky new take on Chroma’s Intermission for their new EP on CIA Records and it features that magical combo of crispy funk breaks and teched out bass that always gets the dance moving. Big! Check out the clip below and look for this one on vinyl or digital from Friday.

Tagged , , , , ,

Mikal – Wilderness LP [Metalheadz]

Mikal’s journey through the D&B scene has been long and varied, with appearances on a host of labels since his debut single back in 2007. The bulk of his recent material has been for Metalheadz, and it’s Goldie’s label that is stepping up to release his debut LP, Wilderness.

Perhaps the first thing that jumped out at me about this album is how “headz” it sounds; the label family have managed to craft a very distinctive sound in recent years and while each of the producers in question have their own unique take on that sound, there is a common thread running through it. It could be a shared appreciation of the heritage of the D&B sound, or a slightly old school tinge to the material, but either way if you’ve enjoyed recent releases from SCAR, Jubei or Om Unit then you’ll probably find Mikal’s new album floats your boat.

That’s not to say this is a copycat work, merely that there is a commonality of tone and vibe running through the recent headz releases. The distinctive feature which sets Mikal’s take on this sound apart from Om Unit’s halftime business or SCAR’s slick rollers is definitely the use of rhythm; tracks like At The Controls and The Ruff Life eschew the more traditional 2-step beat patterns for unusual, skittering syncopations which keep the listener guessing. The symbiosis between these unusual rhythms and the basslines and textures gives the tracks an undeniable groove and character, keeping things rapid without leaning too heavily on genre tropes.

Mikal has recruited some fantastic guests to aid him in conjuring said rhythms, with Xtrah, RIOT, Break and Chimpo all on board for a track each and some of the albums best moments. Chimpo’s distinctive vocal stylings certainly aren’t getting old for this reviewer, and he’s on fine form on the clattering drum workout of Brain Matter.

If you enjoy dark D&B with an emphasis on absolutely stunning drum programming then this is absolutely the LP for you, and it’s great to see an artist given the space to create an album of tonally consistent material that can focus on rhythm with such purity and purpose. Check out the clips below and hit up the Metalheadz store to grab a copy on vinyl, CD or digital right now.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Albums of 2015

2015 has been another strong year for the D&B LP in what seems to be a growing trend for more established artists to explore their sound across a full length record rather than just churning out singles. As the year draws to a close, here’s our run down of the then best albums we’ve heard this year. In no particular order… Continue reading

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

Break – Simpler Times LP [Symmetry]

Some things about Drum & Bass never change, and one of the constants of the scene over the last decade or more is the consistent quality of Break’s output. His third album, released this week on his own Symmetry Recordings imprint, is quite possibly his most polished work to date, and it’s certainly a focussed body of work – the LP weighs in at just 12 tracks and when you’re talking about a producer who knocks out a new single every six weeks we get the impression it could easily have been 30 tracks with less careful curation.

If Simpler Times has a theme, to our ears it is funk, or more broadly the incorporation of organic musical elements alongside the synthetic to give the tracks a less clinical and more musical tone. That funk certainly shines through in the drums, which are heavy hitting but still retain that natural quality that made early jungle so endearing and potentially makes modern D&B (and particularly neurofunk) sound sterile.

That musicality shines through on the likes of Kyo collab Nevaeh, with it’s lush, spacey intro and loose jazz drums, and on the smooth, loungey vibes of Pushing Me On, but there’s still plenty of dancefloor heft to be found even on the more musical tracks. While the LP doesn’t feature any out and out tech bangers a-la previous cuts like Kicked To Death or Too Much, there are certainly more upfront tracks to be found such as the punchy synth-led sci-fi vibe of Confidential and the bouncing halftime hip-hop of Kill Dem.

More than anything this LP sounds like Break having a lot of fun with the formula, whether on the fantastically crisp jungle of Late Exclusive or the exuberant album closer Hope. We can only imagine the grin on his face when he was chopping up James Brown for stripped back weapon The Flux! Another top notch album from one of the scene’s brightest talents; check out the clips below and hit up the Symmetry Store to grab it on vinyl or digital right now.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Break – Simpler Times LP Sampler [Symmetry Recordings]

The legendary Break gives us the first taste of his forthcoming third album Simpler Times with a two track sampler. The LP’s title track sees Kyo on vocal duties for a quality chunky roller with that unmistakeable Break balance of bass weight and soul. There’s nothing particularly surprising in the composition but the balance of the track is just too perfect not to enjoy, from the crisp breaks to the warm bass and up to the melodic flourishes sprinkled over the top.

Over on the flip we’re treated to a sampler exclusive tech roller in the form of Top Shooter. Apparently extensively road-tested by Break over the past few months, this one will certainly do the damage on the dancefloor. Check out the clips below and hit up the Symmetry store to grab this one now; digital is already out, with vinyl to follow in two weeks.

Tagged , , , , ,

Xtrah – Existence EP [Cyberfunk]

With a healthy selection of releases for the likes of Symmetry, Subtitles, Critical and Metalheadz, Yasin Elgohary aka Xtrah is the sort of producer worth paying attention to. He’s spent a few years cultivating a crisp, techy style with a nod to the old school while embracing modern production techniques to their fullest.

2015 sees Xtrah launching his own label named Cyberfunk (he apparently neglected to check that Quest already has a breakbeat label of the same name, but hey…) and the first release is out now, featuring two solo tracks from Xtrah, a beat from new discoveries Simple Technique and a collab with scene stalwart Break.

Operator opens things up nicely with a tune that owes more than a little to Dillinja’s classic material. That bassline scuzz! We Exist takes a slightly more militant, precise tone while hitting all the same techy boxes. Newcomers Simple Technique are up next with the appropriately titled Cold Steppin; as icey as the title suggests, this one is a tidy little slice of dancefloor damage. Last but not least Break & Xtrah get their breaks all chopped up for Forte, another cut that should be smashing up the dance plenty over the coming weeks.

A decent opening salvo for a new label then; few surprises but a solid offering nonetheless. Check out the clips below and look for this at all good stores now.

Tagged , , , , ,

DLR & Break – Dispatch Dubplate 003

As if the impending release of his debut solo LP wasn’t enough, DLR is back at it for Dispatch with the third release in their super-limited edition Dispatch Dubplate series, and the tracks on offer are pretty damn tasty! DLR & Break go in on a VIP of Murmur, twisting up the original with a longer intro and some gnarly bass modulations. If you’ve seen either of them play out in the last year you’ve probably heard this one smashing up the dance!

We’re also treated to two mixes of nearly lost DLR track Regeneration, a distinctly Konflict-ex slice of moody techstep. The deeper “Generated” mix lands as a dubplate exclusive, while the digital edition features the chunkier Metamorphosis” mix. As if all that wasn’t enough there’s two big fat stomping VIPs of Tugboat on offer to boot!

Vinyl heads who want in on this better act fast; pre-orders on Redeye have already sold out so get yourself over to the Dispatch Store pronto if you want to bag a copy!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Classic Track: Break – Is This What You Want?

Break’s debut LP Symmetry was host to many treats, the most rinsed of which was undoubtedly Is This What You Want? Featuring that inimitable Break combination of crisp breaks, big scuzzy bass riffs and an incredibly catchy hook, this one still slays floors to this day. The subsequently released VIP mix also got plenty of attention but for me the original is elegant in it’s simplicity. You can still snag the album from Beatport so grab yourself a classic if you don’t already own a copy!

Tagged , , , ,