The Utopia dream-team combine forces once again for a predictable but nonetheless satisfying slice of rolling tech-funk. Fans of the crew’s output will know what to expect – crisp breaks, grimey bass and the kind of production values that 40 odd years combined experience brings to the table!
Over on the flip Mako has signed up something distinctly mellower in tone from rising liquid producers Chromatic, who turn in a blissful slice of melodic D&B which is smooth as silk as it washes over the eardrums. Once again, maybe not the world’s most original stylings but the execution more than makes up for it, and the warmth and groove are up there with the best of the scene. Check out the clips below and look out for this on vinyl (which you can pre-order now at Redeye) and digital from 27th October.
Symmetry Recordings return with a fresh double A side from label regulars Break and Fields. Break goes in on the A side with the rolling charms of Duck For Cover, focusing on groove over the hyperactivity that much of modern Techstep embraces. Hypnotic vibes and tons of atmosphere.
Over on the flip Fields presents his first solo outing for the label with an unusual beat structure, chunky bass textures and tons of little details sprinkled into the mix. This one’s all in the percussion, with bongos punctuating a shuffling, cymbal heavy drum workout.
Check out the clips below and grab this one from the Symmetry Store now.
With all his recent collaborations with head honcho Mako (and word of an album from the duo forthcoming) it seemed only a matter of time til DLR touched down on Utopia and their latest single sees exactly that. Old Soul proves another fruitful Utopia family jam session with Fields and Mako joining DLR in the studio for a big atmospheric techstepper that effortlessly blends soulful musicality and meaty basslines to great effect.
Over on the flip DLR goes in alone on Bridge The Gap, building tension with lush soundscapes on the intro before dropping into a crisp rolling break punctuated with tasty filtered bass stabs. The tune has all the hallmarks of a DLR composition but make no mistake, his style is in no danger of sounding formulaic. Check out the B side below and grab this one on vinyl or digital now!
Utopia Music continue their recent run of absolutely top notch releases with a solo 12″ from Fields, a name you should recognise from previous releases on Utopia and Symmetry. On Your Own kicks things off nicely with a tasty modulated bassline and a cheeky gangster-rap sample that brings to mind the classic 2005-era Techstep of Ewun or Evol Intent.
Over on the flipside Colours sees Fields deliver a stripped back, high energy techstep roller; forget melody, this one is all about drums, bass and sheer groove. If you like your D&B dark, techy and rolling this one is right up your alley. Check out Colours below and watch out for the release dropping September 30th on vinyl and digital.
Hot on the heels of the mighty Steam TrainBreak drops another essential 12″ on Symmetry. Music Is Better on the A-side hits up that classic Break sweet-spot between tech and liquid that we’ve seen him leverage so well over the years on tracks like Love So True, Slow Down and Winter Sun. Jazzy piano and vocals on the intro give way to a meaty bass drop to give the tune equal parts summer vibes and edge. Liquid with teeth!
Backing things up on the flip the familiar team of Fields, Hydro, Mako & Villem give us Celestine. Crisp drums and soft synths on the intro once again give away to a tasty bassline, though the character is definitely in the infectious percussion rather than the low end, and the little flourishes over the top ice the proverbial cake in style. Look out for these two from August 5th on vinyl and digital!
Warm Communications returns after a 6 month hiatus with a tidy little 12″ from Mako and friends! Whatever Whatever sees him teaming up with Villem and Fields to deliver a masterwork of skittering breaks and growling, warped low end. Seriously schizophrenic percussion is definitely the highlight of this tune!
Over on the flip Mako serves up a solo outing that dials back the breaks in favour of pure groove and hefty sub hits. Tasty half-step banter for the heads. Watch out for these dropping June 3rd!
Symmetry Recordings, the label owned by drum & bass legend Break, have been gearing up for a while now to release The Other Side, the label’s third album and the first to feature tracks from artists other than Break. Ahead of the release we caught up with Break for a quick Q&A about the album.
DNB Dojo: Since this is a collaboration album, who would you do a collab with if you could pick any musician alive or dead, and why?
Break:Its very hard, the list could be very long…would love to work with Marlena Shaw or Sade, they’re two of my favourite singers.
Ooh or Seal if it was a guy!
DD: Was there a deliberate decision to shift the output of Symmetry away from your own productions and onto releasing more tunes from other producers, or did it just evolve that way organically?
Break: A bit of both…I have been releasing tracks from other artists for a little while, but so many great tracks were getting sent, it seemed right to do an album. Could probably do another one soon, there’s so many good producers Im feeling at the mo.
DD:What’s your favourite track out of everything you’ve ever written? For me it’s probably between Is This What You Want and Too Much, though I also have a lot of time for Our World (from the BreakoutEP you did for Eastside back in 2003)
Break:Bit like the first question pretty hard to say. Pleased you remember Our World, that was one of my favourites at the time, sounds a bit gnarly now, but the vibe is rolling. I really like Let it Happen, Last Chance Remix, Love So True, and Evil Twin. Lightspeed also gives me goosebumps everytime…there’s not many DnB tunes that do that for me…Think I’m more into the musical ones with heavy bass, my favourite combo.
DD:What’s next for the label after this album? Any exciting future plans you’d care to tell us about?
Break:We will be releasing some exciting remixes from the album, and there are several tracks that I’m trying to get my hands on, so a few more singles to come soon as well.
Ive been working on a non Dnb album with the singer Kyo, the band is called “Degrees of Freedom”, watch out for the first single coming soon. I’ts basically everything we’re into that isn’t DnB.
DD: The album features a nice variety of styles from more liquidy stuff to the really hard hitters like Kicked To Death. Which styles of drum & bass do you find it more fun to write, and to DJ?
Break:It kinda is 6 of one half a dozen of the other…Kicked To Death totally smashes it in every rave I’ve played, but it was designed to do that, after working on that in the studio for a while, can give you a bit of a headache… it’s so loud and lairy…whereas working on Who We Are, which is one of the more liquidy tracks on the album, I find more enjoyable and satisfying… basically I’m more into piano than synths!
DD: Any tips for budding drum & bass producers? What can make a track great rather than just good?
Break:I think there is an element of hit and miss. Not every tune can be amazing….you can’t expect to be able to do that…..whenever I try and make my best ever tune it’ss totally rubbish and contrived! When you nail a vibe that you’re really into, that usually will come through in the music. Often less is more….I find that all you need is 4 or 5 tracks in your arrangement to have a killer….any more is usually just filler.
Check out previews of the album below and grab yourself a copy from your favourite shop on digital and vinyl, out now!
So much great drum & bass has come into the inbox this month, it seemed like a good time for another roundup post!
First up, Ingredients have been going from strength to strength with their recent releases. The 29th label release saw them release a quality wee EP in the form of Mis En Place Pt. 1, featuring some great tracks by Villem, Mark Recoil and Foreign Concept, alongside my pick of the EP, dBridge‘s smooth remix of Kodo‘s The Jackal.
Not content to rest on their laurels, the label are gearing up for their 30th release with a 12″ from newcomers Ruffhouse, with a very tribal feel to it. Fans of the recent Loxy & Resound album on Exit should definitely have a listen to this.
Shogun sister label SGN:Ltd are back with another beauty from Technimatic (formerly Technicolour and Komatic) and as we’ve come to expect from this duo it’s smooth liquid vibes all the way. Unfinished Business leads the release but it’s She Knows It on the flip that really caught my attention.
Utopia Music‘s 10th release sees legendary producer Break teaming up with Fields, label owner Mako & Villem on a heavy techy roller. The deep atmospheric intro lulls the listener into a false sense of security before the drop, all clattering toms and low end growl.
French label IM:Ltd are back with a new EP featuring a versatile selection of tracks from a number of relatively unknown producers. You can check out the whole EP below; my picks of the bunch are Nuage’s Above Time (a lovely piano lead deep roller) and Atmospherix’s In This Life, which features some beautifully crisp breaks and a warm, simple bassline that proves just irresistible.
Critical are back with another deep release, this time featuring collabs with the vocal talent that is Riya. A side Injustice sees Riya teaming up with Sabre for a beautiful deep roller while the b-side switches production to Foreign Concept for an autonomic style melancholy half stepper. Essential purchase as usual from the Critical stable!
RAM‘s new sister label ProgRAM are back with another chunky dancefloor number from Kove in the form of Iodine/Open Ground which does the business exactly as you’d expect.
Last but not least, Lifted sister label Breed 12 Inches are back with an absolutely phenomenal release from Memtrix, who at the young age of 16 is already setting the world of drum & bass alight. Mind Control and Slipper both deliver some seriously heavy neurofunk business…one to watch for 2013, definitely big things coming from this guy!