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.
Methlab Agency has long been a familiar name for those who keep a close eye on the neurofunk scene but it’s about to become much more prominent, with the crew starting their own imprint in the form of BNKR. Their first release proper (following an initial collaboration with Bad Taste Recordings) drops tomorrow and it’s a strong 4 track selection from Brighton production duo Allied.
The first thing that jumps out about the tracks Allied have put together for this EP is their relative subtlety. In a subgenre where impact is king and technicality is often praised above musicality, sometimes the aggressive midrange and pounding drops can become overpowering, so it’s refreshing to hear a balance being struck between heft (and trust me, these tracks are still hefty) and atmospherics. A bass-line dick-waving contest entry this is not!
The aforementioned atmospherics are another of the release’s standout features; rather than being relegated to intros and bridges and elbowed onto the sidelines once the sub kicks in, tracks like Obscurity and Godspeed make space for interesting pads and tones to float on top of the crisp breaks and throbbing bass, making for a balanced sound that’s full of depth and detail.
While the whole EP is strong, Centaurus A stands out as the Dojo favourite with it’s funky, rolling rhythms and meaty low end combining for an unbeatable groove. Wicked vibes! The Obscurity EP drops tomorrow; check out the clips below and hit up the Methlab Bandcamp Store to grab the vinyl, or head to Beatport to grab the digital. If you’re quick on the draw you can join in the competition on the Methlab Facebook page to win a copy of the vinyl, but move fast; the winner will be drawn tomorrow!
Think you know your D&B snare drums? Well this might be the test for you…to celebrate the release of their forthcoming MethLab // 1 EP, the team at MethLab Agency are giving away a copy of the EP and a t-shirt to whoever can correctly identify the 15 MethLab artists behind each snare in the clip below, with one each from Allied, Audeka, Billain, Broken Note, Cause4Concern, Current Value, Disphonia, Disprove, Kursa, Maztek, Minor Rain, The Sect, Rawtekk, Signs & Silent Witness.
You’ve only got until Friday so get to it! Full details on how to enter (and how to get your hands on the pack of 30 free snares) are on the Soundcloud page here…get guessing crew.
Once again we’ve had too many good releases dropping into the inbox so here’s part two of our roundup for October featuring Arcatype, Silent Witness, Rockwell, Dub Berzerker, Soul Intent and more! Continue reading →