As individuals, these artists are arguably two of the most talented in the genre – certainly right now, if not ever. Impossible though it might seem, by joining forces, they have reached yet higher altitudes: OneMind’s EP2 is the second comprehensive testament to this. The EP’s opener, Pullup, is a future classic for certain. Only Mako & DLR combined could lace such a simple bassline with such complex eccentricities, and the result is frankly breathtaking sound design.
In every tune, you can hear both of their individual influences shine through. Mako’s old school vibe oozes through Late Addition, albeit with a little help from Total Science (and of course DLR). This collab definitely ticks the dBridge-coined ‘beautifully aggressive’ box, being both relentless and delicate – something many artists will never achieve. Early Daze is yet another example of the vibe OneMind are championing, intricate combinations of old-school vocals and one shots with modern-day sound design that provides such a rich texture to the track. The final track, Quiet Fire, features genre-agnostic Throwing Snow, whose Houndstooth & Moda Black heritage shines through in bags. I look forward to the prospect of more D&B from him.
OneMind have truly distilled all the ingredients that make Metalheadz the greatest label in the genre’s history – combining a pioneering integrity for sound design with a nuanced, yet deep-seated appreciation of the drum & bass past. Long live this sound; let’s end this before I run out of superlatives. Hit up the ‘headz Store to pre-order the EP ahead of the August 25th release date.
Written by James Austin, aka DJ Auzi, label manager at Terabyte Records
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.
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!
DLR and Warm Communications are two names we can’t get enough of here at DNB Dojo; quality vibes pretty much every time from both parties, and the latest release is no different.
Standing In The Dark delivers a classic slice of DLR tech-funk, replete with funky drum breaks, satisfyingly warm basslines and crisp sonic details. Still Alive sees DLR on the collab mission once again, teaming up with M-Zine & Scepticz for a softer roller with a hint of dub and a generally laid-back vibe. Tasty stuff on both counts! Check out the clips below and grab this on vinyl or digital right now.
CIA mark 20 years in the game with a massive new LP, and ahead of the main event there’s a cracking sampler just out featuring some top tracks from familiar label names.
DLR jumps in on the remix for Q Project’s anthemic ChampionSound, retaining the original’s distinctive synth hook but pairing it with an appropriately hefty selection of beats and bass for the current era of D&B. Sure fire dancefloor weapon!
Elsewhere Calibre delivers a characteristically smooth pinao-led roller in the form of Under Bars, and label dons Total Science throw down some fine break choppage on the dub-tinged Respect Due. There’s also a cheeky second remix of Champion Sound with DLR swapping out the beefy modern tech underpinnings of the 2016 remix for something a bit more jungle-y. Tasty stuff! Check out the clips below and hit up the CIA Bandcamp to grab this on vinyl or digital right now.
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 →
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.
After a strong showing for the Metalheadz XX series Friske returns with another solid EP, this time for ‘headz Platinum. The work follows on nicely from where the last EP left off, providing tough groove-led techstep with a hint of soul.
DLR & Ant TC1 step up with a super crisp remix of Requisite to open the EP before clearing the floor for Friske to do his thing. True to form the man serves up a pair of solid head-nodding rollers in the form of the hypnotic Temperamental and the smooth, jazzy tones of Down.
Out into the back end of the EP things get a bit more old-skool in flavour, with some rougher break chopping and classic vocal slices filtering through the mix on Your Loving before Question closes things out on a darker and more militant tip. Tasty business all round as usual from one of the leading labels in the scene! Check out the clips below and hit up the Metalheadz store to grab a copy on vinyl or digital now.
The wait is finally over – DLR’s debut solo LP Seeing Sounds has arrived, and it’s every bit as good as I’d hoped it would be! Having deliberately avoided listening to the preview clips I sat down with the full LP for a start-to-finish listen, and I wasn’t even remotely disappointed.
Understandably enough, this record feels like a spiritual successor to Octane & DLR’s 2012 LP Method In The Madness. The same cinematic sampling and atmosphere is present, as is the sonic detail and creativity. DLR’s sound has been refined further over the past three years, and the album seems less bent on complexity for complexity’s sake; the emphasis seems to have shifted slightly towards groove and weight over technicality, and the compositions really shine for that emphasis.
Above all else this is a record that firmly injects the funk back into the techstep sound, from the playful basslines of Charlie Brown and Break collab Human Error through the chunky lower tempo breakbeat workout of I Found Out and plenty more besides. There’s room for some surprises too, such as the melancholy liquid of Hydro collaboration Empyreal and the jazzed up tech of Minds Eye. There are also two fantastic MC-led steppers, with Gusto repping the mic on The Author and Fokus providing vocals on the politically minded Ask The Question.
Many of the LPs best tracks have been pressed loud and proud onto four slabs of that black crack we love so much, and having given them a thorough mix on the decks I’m happy to attest they all sound as tight and punchy as you’d expect from the Dispatch family. The vinyl releases are already sold out via the Dispatch Store, though the digital version is still available and the vinyl plates can all be picked up via Redeye.
The first couple of listens give me the distinct impression that this is an album which will grow and grow over the coming months while we wait with anticipation for DLR’s collaborative LP with Mako. Check out the clips below and go grab yourself a copy of what is undoubtedly one of the best D&B albums we’ll hear this year.
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!