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…
UK dance music’s cross-pollination of musical styles and influences has contributed to the excitement, longevity and innovation of the scene from the very genesis of rave in the late 80s, with everything from jazz to metal at some point playing its part in the evolution of some corner of the electronic sound. Perhaps the strongest of those influences though is that of dub and reggae, without which it’s difficult to imagine the early Jungle sound ever having emerged at all.
All of which brings us to Sam Binga and his new LP, Wasted Days. To say that Jamaican soundsystem culture informs this album would be a vast understatement; while there are many other elements being smashed into the aural supercollider that is Binga’s sound, the reverberations from Kingston can be felt everywhere from the patois of the vocals to the deep bass hums and beyond.
This isn’t mere cultural appropriation though, but more accurately a fantastic melding of musical styles by one of Critical Music’s most exciting and relevant artists. Bring together the positivity of dub with the urgency of grime and footwork, topped off with the polish and engineering expected within the D&B scene and you have an album that couldn’t feel more potent.
Refreshingly, this also feels like an album engineered for listening rather than for the selector’s convenience. Tracks weigh in at two and three minutes rather than five or six, and you’ll find few yawningly DJ friendly intros amongst the material. Rather than relying on breakdowns to change the energy, the track sequencing changes the pace instead, such as the fantastic switchup as the hyperactive grime of Run The Dance gives way to the beautiful, deep ambience of Hyroglifics collab Dark Day.
Speaking of collaborators, Wasted Days is stuffed with so many featuring credits that the whole thing should probably be credited to “Binga & Friends”. Deft, Chimpo, Om Unit and Hyroglifics all get in on the beats while vocal stylings come from Warrior Queen, Fox, Rudey Lee, Rider Shafique, Romaine, TT The Artist, Slick Don and of course the inimitable Redders. Quite a roster!
Overall this is one of the best albums we’ve heard in a year that continues to prove not only the quality but the diversity of the 170BPM sound. Absolutely essential listening! You can check out a selection of the tracks below (including some fearsome remixes from Ivy Lab available on a special edition 10″) so get yourself a flavour of Wasted Days before you hit up the Critical Store for a copy.
If you feel like doing something charitable this festive season (and you think that Bob Geldof should do one) then Critical Music have the answer! Kasra’s label have collected together a full album of tracks from the label’s usual suspects and all you have to do to get your mits on it is head over here and donate some money to Oxfam.
The LP features a selection of stomping new tracks from Enei, Mefjus, Foreign Concept, Halogenix, Emperor, Kasra, Hyroglifics and Klax, and the quality is every bit as high as you’d expect from the Critical stable. Check out the clips below and give generously!
Foreign Concept lands with a new EP on Critical Music featuring a fair variety of styles. Title track Make Meals is sure to garner plenty of attention as the most unusual work on the release, but for me it wears it’s hip-hop and trap influences a little too obviously on it’s sleeve, and the end result is big and boomy but not that interesting.
The EP comes into it’s own elsewhere, with beautiful liquid roller Endless Fade and huge stomping techstepper The Volks proving the highlights. There’s also a solid (if a little tame) remix of Falling Stars from labelmate Hyroglifics, and an autonomic-esque Klax collaboration in the form of Ask Yourself. A mixed bag then, but with some gems; check out the clips below and grab this one from Beatport or the Critical Store now!
Fresh from his futuristic bass excursions for Critical’s new Binary imprint, Hyroglifics touches down on Dispatch as part of the latest release in their LTD series. Terra is all about the bass textures, with ominous pads and a solid techstep backbeat providing the framework for a hefty bass growl, powering the tune along with tons of sizzle.
Tize sees Hyroglifics teaming up with Kolectiv for another slice of dark, atmospheric tech business; this time the emphasis is definitely more on the beats with the tune rolling along to a fearsome kick/snare riddim punctuated by weighty sub and all manner of additional bassline stabs.
Last but by no means least, The Fear rounds off the release with another deep dark stepper. This time it’s a huge team at the controls as Kolectiv, Dexta, Maouq and Kyrist all get in on the act. Angular rhythms and more creepy pads are the order of the day here; one for the heads as much as the dancefloor, but weighty nonetheless. Check out the clips below and head over to the Dispatch Store where you can grab this now prior to full release on Monday.
Critical Music present their latest sub-imprint in the form of Binary – a digital only label that will seek to put out the freshest new music by embracing the speed and agility of the digital medium. The first release comes from Hyroglifics, who turns in three tracks at the cutting edge of the 170 sound.
Bay City Ballers Club melts down influences from Footwork, Jungle, Ragga, Dub and Hip-hop into a crazy bubble of drum syncopations and bass weight which is sure to resonate with fans of the latest beats from Sam Binga and Alix Perez. Killamanaman continues the trend as the sounds of LA Bass and Trap collide with the 170 template, massive synth lines giving the tune its character. Finally My Own rounds things out with a slightly more chilled out slice of Hip-Hop-esque beats with soft vocal cut ups and twinkling synths a plenty.
Check out the clips below and head to Beatport or Surus to grab this now, with full release following from June 16th.
Nurtured Beatz have been carving a nice little niche for themselves since the label’s inception in 2013 and their 5th release sees them upping the ante with a 15 track Various Artists LP featuring up and coming producers alongside scene stalwarts like Genotype, all turning in deep dark 170BPM business.
Highlights come in the form of the kick heavy drum lines of Kolectiv & Incognito’s Circle Of Sound, the gloomy half-time atmosphere of Mystic State’s Street Talk and the menacing distorted snares and 90s techstep vibe of Paragon’s Detractors. Check out all the LPs tracks below and grab a copy from your favourite digital outlet now!
Vandal Records have lined up quite a release schedule for 2014 with their latest selection of dark tech following hot on the heels of some big releases from Nickbee and Primal Therapy. This time it’s Hyroglifics at the controls who comes in with a pair of tasty collaborative tracks.
Ed:it collab Why Don’t You hits down with a heavy break and modulated bass, plus a nicely chosen vocal hook which brings to mind Break’s classic Slow Down. Over on the flip Philth gets in on the act, building atmosphere on the intro with eery synth work before a crisp drop and a big hulking bassline shuffle the tune along. Grimey! Check out the beats below and watch out for the release dropping from April 20th.