Today’s premiere comes from Methlab’s deepest release yet for their BNKR imprint. Taken from Acid Lab’s Evora EP, Origami features the man under his ‘Kodama’ alias delivering a stark, minimal slice of “grey area” dub-techno influenced 170BPM business. Lush synth work and stripped back percussion define a track that has the atmosphere cranked up all the way to 11. One to lose yourself in…look out for the EP dropping Jan 23rd on Bandcamp with all other stores following on the 25th.
Methlab’s dark and minimalistic BNKR imprint returns for it’s 3rd outing with Utopia Music’s Hydro on the buttons accompanied by familiar partners in crime Villem, War and Mateba.
Unsurprisingly given the artists involved, the release has a very ‘headz-y vibe, combining crisp modern production with the influence of golden era techstep D&B from the likes of Source Direct and Photek. Despite the grimey basslines and dark, ominous atmospheres there’s still an emphasis on funk and groove which can be lacking in some of the hyper-clean productions of 2016. In amongst the sharp snares and carefully tuned reverbs there’s still plenty of analogue distortion and warm, organic tones, melted together into compositions that feel both driven and hypnotic.
The drum programming on show here deserves a special mention too; after the more straightforward steppers beat of opening track Ethos Hydro and friends have gone in on hyperactive funk drum chopping that is an absolute joy to listen to; think somewhere between the chaos of a Paradox break and the sharpness of DLR’s best efforts and you’re in the ballpark. This back to basics approach, revelling in the origins of the genre and the most central elements of the D&B sound while still leveraging modern techniques is what makes these tracks such a joy to listen to.
If you’re a fan of precision, dark edged techstep with depth beyond the dancefloor then BNKR continue to deliver right at the top of the game! Check out the clips below and look for the EP dropping at all good digital stores from Nov 29th.
Methlab are back with the third release on their BNKR imprint with Utopia Music regular Hydro at the controls! The Ethos EP showcases the deeper, more minimal sound that BNKR have been making their mark on and this is exemplified in the stripped back aethetic of Hydro & War’s Faux Amis (or ‘False Friends’ in English).
Intricate drums, myserious vocal samples and growling bassline grit characterise a typically introspective track from a production duo that always bring an exciting take on the D&B sound. Check it out below and watch out for the EP dropping from Nov 29th.
Given their roster of artists one might have expected Methlab’s new BNKR imprint to be dishing out the neurofunk smashers a la Eatbrain, Blackout etc, but so far the label’s output has shown a surprising depth and diversity, much to our delight here at Dojo HQ.
Fans of Utopia Music, Dispatch, Horizons or any of the other esteemed imprints he’s released on should already be familiar with French-born, Bristol-based War. Despite being only 23 years old he’s already made quite a mark on the D&B scene, both with his frequent collaborators Hydro and Mateba and on solo joints like his latest EP for Methlab.
On then to said solo EP, and the first thing that stands out is the drums. Drawing on the long heritage of precise yet organic percussion honed by the likes of Mako, DLR, Photek and so many other producers, the tracks all harness a raw funk so often lacking in today’s 170BPM stylings. This isn’t the over-polished crispness of Hospital’s liquid breaks or the synthetic pew pew lazer snares of modern neuro; this is the sound of the funkiest drum machine out there, channelling breaks, kicks, snares and fills through the mix with a touch of analogue distortion and tons of soul.
If the drums are the first part of the equation that binds these tracks together, atmosphere is the other; from the skittering, tribal halftime of title track Invisible through the hypnotic stabs of The Hundred Lights and out into Metalheadz-esque tech smashed Snow Blind the EP is replete with subtle pads, and a faintly ominous tone, beckoning the listener in to War’s slightly dystopian world.
Rounding the EP off with another cracking curveball, Methlab have recruited the ever versatile Djrum for remix duties on Invisible, and true to his eclectic pallet he’s twisted it into a throbbing slice of techno well worthy of a dingy Berlin dancefloor. Overall this is a cracking EP for those that like their D&B to tread the line between dancefloor sensibilities and cerebral appeal; check out the clips below and hit up the Methlab Bandcamp to grab a copy right now.