Tag Archives: Critical

February Roundup Part Two

Once again we’ve been inundated with quality music in the Dojo inbox and despite the bonus extra day February has vanished before we could write it all up! Here’s some coverage of the best of the rest including new music from Alix Perez & Ivy Lab, Calibre, Hanover, SCAR, Bone and more…

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Enei – Rituals LP [Critical]

Enei returns to Critical with his sophomore LP following up 2012’s excellent debut MachinesRituals feels very much like a continuation of the themes found on Machines, with perhaps a slightly broader array of tones reflecting the evolution of Enei’s production in the intervening years.

The moody tech which formed so much of his debut LP (and indeed his discography) is still present here on tracks like Bad Proof and Iron Curtain, but there are also a selection of brighter cuts featuring some excellent vocalists. Frank Carter III (who you should recognise from Ivy Lab’s seminal tracks Oblique and Afterthought) turns in a typically deft and soulful performance on the playful, jazzy Moment of Now, while Charlie Brix steps up to the mic for up front roller Homeworld and the darker and more introspective Just One Look.

It wouldn’t be a Critical LP without a few label roster collaborations and these don’t disappoint either. Kasra & DRS get on board for a pessimistic ode to the music industry on Lessons, providing one of the album’s punchiest tracks. Elsewhere Foreign Concept gets involved on the more melodic and contemplative Forgotten Planet, fellow Russian producer Eastcolors joins Enei for the raved up flavours of Jungle Business and neuro badman Mefjus climbs aboard for the typically relentless Dead Space.

Polished and punchy but with more than enough variation to keep things interesting, this is a solid album from a producer at the top of his game. Check out a minimix of the album’s tracks below and hit up the Critical Store to pre-order on your pick of physical and digital formats; the LP drops Friday 4th December.

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Dojo Damager: Phace & Culprate – Logic Bomb

This week’s Dojo Damager comes from German neuro powerhouse Phace and Bristol wunderkind Culprate who bring us the dangerously tweaked out vibes of Logic Bomb. If the sound of a super computer completely losing it’s silicone mind could be digitised and imbued with a hefty layer of sub bass, the result would be this; relentless scattershot percussion and savage bass stabs combined with that ultra precise Phace engineering makes for quite a tune!

Check out the Noisia Radio premiere of the track below and grab it as part of the Phace & Friends EP on Critical from Nov 13th.

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Top Tracks of 2014

Following our run down of our favourite albums of the year, we felt it was only right to put the spotlight on our top tracks. These are the ten tunes that haven’t left our record box since their release…

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Sam Binga – AYO [Modulations]

Critical sister-label Modulations continues it’s fine tradition of putting out the less conventional end of the 170BPM sphere with it’s latest release from Bristol’s Sam Binga. AYO kicks things off with an MC-led halfstepper featuring the vocal talents of Redders over a distinctly trap-influenced beat that brings to mind Fracture’s half-time explorations in terms of drum structure, but moves off into synthier territory for the lead and bassline. The influence of EPROM and the glitchy LA hip-hop sound shines through here to give the tune real character, not to mention a healthy swagger.

Freezy keeps things bouncy and half-time but ups the syncopation, drawing on classic jungle breaks and some ghetto-tech/footwork style vocal cuts for an effortless blend of slow and fast. a hypnotic lead line and some tasty old-skool rave stabs fade in and out of the mix for extra sizzle. Lastly for the digital buyers 8 Barr ups the glitchyness with a tune that’s sure to have crowds raising a gun finger or two for the deadly subs.

Check out the tunes below and watch out for the release from October 7th on vinyl and digital.

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Enei – Liberation EP [Critical]

Russian super-producer Enei returns with his first fresh cuts for Critical since the release of the excellent Machines LP. Opener Liberation sees him team up with Welsh rising star Emperor to craft a tidy stepper with some serious bass heft; warm, squelchy low end and that classic helter-skelter Enei percussion are both on show here to great effect.

Not content to merely tread familiar territory, track two immediately sees a switch of styles, with Enei teaming up with Chimpo to deliver a track that’s distinctly Dub Phizix-esque. Huge sub, half-time kicks and a distinctly trap influence all pervade the mix on Headtop.

Elsewhere on the EP Sam Wills provides some nice vocals on the dark but soulful roller Circles, and we get a couple of straight up techstep belters in the form of Mosquito (with its rather appropriately insect-like bass swoops) and the hard hitting percussion-led vibes of The Bonebreaker. Check out the whole EP below and look out for the release on June 24th.

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In The Mix…Klute

Klute gets behind the decks to deliver the 14th entry in the Sun & Bass podcast series, mixing up a fine selection of beats from Critical, CIA, Subtitles and Innerground alongside a healthy spread of tunes from his own Commercial Suicide imprint. Techy vibes with a hint of depth and a wealth of character. Check out the mix below and watch out for the Sun & Bass lineup dropping very soon!

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In The Mix…Xtrah

To celebrate the release of the rather excellent Shock Treatment 12″ Xtrah has dished up a tidy little 30 minute mix for SGN:Ltd featuring a great run of techy selections. Emperor’s new cuts for Critical and the tasty Break remix of Cyrax (c’mon Break, release it already!) are some of the highlights in a mix full of great tracks, smoothly blended for your listening pleasure. Check it out below and grab a free download!

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Stray – Ginseng Smash / Akina [Modulations]

The ever versatile Stray steps up for Critical sub-label Modulations to deliver a pair of cut-up jungle smashers! Ginseng Smash combines ’94 era jungle breaks with some heavy sub stabs and a vocal that is as weird as it is infectious, while Akina takes a few notes from Fracture’s book of production, cutting up the breaks and another odd vocal to create a seriously hyperactive juke-infused belter. Syncopation ADHD! Look out for these dropping on vinyl and Digital May 20th.

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Mefjus & Kasra – Signalz / Cypher [Critical]

2013 is looking like quite the year for Mefjus; hot on the heels of announcements about releases for Neosignal and Virus comes the news that his debut 12″ for Critical is about to drop! The Austrian rising star has delivered two slices of crisp, tight techstep, and is busy cementing his position in the scene nicely.

Signalz on the A side delivers an impressive roller with superb drum machine percussion and some meaty bass, while Cypher sees him team up with label head-honcho Kasra to deliver a tidy stepper with some nice filtered low end. Definitely tunes you’ll be hearing again and again in the coming months!

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