Tag Archives: Manchester

Chimpo – Frontline EP [Soul:R]

The Soul:R camp bring us tunes on a decidedly darker tip than usual from Manchester’s favourite MC/producer Chimpo. The titular Frontline sees Chimpo pass the mic to Fox for vocal duties while he gets on with the beats, delivering a moody half-time number imbued with bass and static in equal measure. Calibre steps in to deliver a remix and surprisingly avoids his usual smooth liquid territory in favour of a clattering amen refix of the tune, keeping things on a dark tip while significantly upping the tempo.

Elsewhere on the release Chimpo gets on the mic while Manchester buddies Dub Phizix & Skeptical provide a typically sparse, kick heavy beat for the man to air his unusual vocal style over. Finally All Over turns in a super-chopped up beat and ethereal, floaty pads to produce a style that sounds like the bastard child of drumfunk and dark garage. Truly innovative work on this one.

Watch out for this one dropping on vinyl and digital on July 15th.

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DRS – I Don’t Usually Like MCs But… [Soul:R]

MCs in dance music; often a contentious topic. And one that has been prominent in the drum & bass scene in recent times, with the rise of MC-led (or at least MC-imbued) tracks, particularly in the wake of the huge success of Dub Phizix’s smash hit Marka. So despite the excellent track record DRS has in the scene, I must admit I was a little ambivalent when I heard that he was doing a full length album of solo material. Would there be the necessary variation here to justify a solo LP, or would this merely amount to 14 similar tracks chucked together to cash in on the current trend for MCing over half-step D&B beats?

While the initial single from the album was promising, it was treading familiar ground for the MC. Thankfully the album doesn’t disappoint in any way – lyricism and production (from the host of guest producers including dBridge, Lynx & Genotype) are both top notch, and most importantly the album shows real variation in tone and musical style.

The first welcome surprise of the album comes on Autonomic, bringing the tempo down to the 120 range for a slice of stripped back but supremely funky hip-hop. “This beat’s so autonomic, automatic, supersonic” goes the chorus, with DRS settling into a beautifully laid back yet insistent flow that instantly has the head nodding. It Ain’t Easy provides another, with a pleasant cross between grime-esque 140 beat patterns and warm, soulful synth lines.

Even when the tunes are occupying more familiar drum & bass led territory there is a good selection of different offerings, from soulful liquid funk affairs like Star Voyager and Keep the Faith to slightly predictable but nonetheless high calibre grimey half-steppers like Play With Fire.

If MCs are stepping up to become a bigger feature of the drum & bass scene, on record as well as in their more natural habitat of the club, then DRS has certainly set the bar for what an MCs album should be on every level. Watch out for the full release via Soul:R on Monday – and to whet your appetite you can check out a teaser mix below.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFxZRcu-TJI]

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DRS – Count to Ten (feat. Enei) [Soul:R]

Marcus Intalex‘s Manchester based Soul:R imprint is gearing up to release the debut album from MC DRS, and ahead of that they’ve put together a quality 12″ taken from the album. The A-side sees DRS teaming up with Russian producer Enei, with tight rhymes over a  classic “steppa”-style D&B beat. Over on the flip is Holding On with Lenzman, Jehst & Riya, an altogether more soulful, liquid-funk affair with a warm, uplifting chorus.

DRS has also put together a youtube playlist of his influences which features a wide variety of quality tunes from the likes of Goldie, Otis Reading and The Pharcyde – well worth a listen!

Check out the video for Count to Ten below, grab the single (out Monday on Soul:R from all good outlets) and watch out for the album over the next few months.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm5gB3Yk9hI]

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