Tag Archives: Ruffhouse

Overlook – Smoke Signals [UVB-76]

In a new musical era where the “banger” single is king, it’s refreshing when an artist, especially a drum and bass artist, puts together an LP which is meant to be a cohesive work in itself, to be listened to in progression. In the case of Overlook’s new album, Smoke Signals, out last week on UVB-76, both the album as a whole and its individual tracks can be appreciated on multiple levels.

Smoke Signals accomplishes its cohesive LP structure because of a few key elements, most of which hearken back to the structure and styles of the late 90s and early 00s. First, there is a binding theme in the form of a horror movie motif. The album opens with a beatless ambient track full of almost industrial-sounding samples and spooky noises, and almost every track thereafter has direct dialog samples from horror movies or thrillers. The other binding theme is that of ambient or intelligent drum and bass beats and samples. Snare-heavy beats and amen breaks pervade every track, as well as one-off synth samples the like of which no one has heard since about 1998.

There is plenty of diversity in Smoke Signals as well, and Overlook even crosses genres fully throughout the LP. The album moves from old school ambient-style snare tracks like Out of the Unknown well into industrial territory with the very next track, Who Is this Who is Coming. Apparition, featuring Ruffhouse & Gremlins, is probably the most grinding track on the album, followed by more industrial-tinged beats with The Dream Unfolds. From there it launches right into the very jazzy, almost Mushroom Jazz-y Travelling Without Moving and Into the Night. 

By the end of the album, the listener will feel a very distinct mood but find him or herself going back over favorite tracks. It’s a triumph of both the LP and single formats, and a great look back at dark ambient drum and bass. Smoke Signals can be streamed or purchased on Bandcamp and Discogs.

Written by Layla Marino

Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science
Twitter/IG: @dropweirdsci

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Future Beats – The Album [31 Recordings]

The relaunch of Doc Scott’s 31 Recordings imprint has been the cause for much celebration across the scene, and the label’s output has been absolutely stellar. Rounding off 2014 in style, they’ve unveiled a massive 24 track compilation featuring artists from across the D&B spectrum, and frankly pretty much all of it is excellent.

The huge selection takes in half-time beats from Sinistarr and Ital Tek, future jungle from Moresounds, liquid rollers from Bungle and Calibre, rowdy techstep from SCAR and plenty more besides. Special mentions have to go out to the broody, militant syncopations of House of Lanterns’ Take Control, the ethereal atmospherics of Hidden Turn’s Dream of Tron and the bleepy, atmospheric vibes of Gremlinz Forlorn, but honestly the whole LP is of such a high standard that picking favourites is pretty tough. Check out clips of all the tracks below and head over to the 31 Recordings store to preorder the compilation on vinyl or digital now – the release drops on December 15th.

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Underground Sonics LP [Critical]

Critical Music are back with a vengeance with the Underground Sonics LP, a various artists compilation straddling all the styles of Drum & Bass via 18 tracks of cutting edge 170 BPM production from the label’s extended family. The compilation sees many artists exploring new territory away from their usual styles, to interesting effect.

Dub Phizix turns in an unusually mellow and unusually rolling beat in the form of The Clock Ticks, while Ivy Lab up the ante compared to their previous releases with a tougher and more energetic beat paired with the musicality we’ve come to know and love from the trio. Foreign Concept teams up with DRS to turn in the dark, skanking, hip-hop influenced halfstep of Falling Stars while Sam Binga and Redders blend trap, footwork and ragga to great effect on Lef Dem.

Elsewhere we’re treated to two surprising collaborations from tech heavyweights, with InsideInfo and Mefjus turning in a surprisingly minimal slice of tribal tech with Repentance while Noisia & The Upbeats put aside their usual aggression for a hypnotic deep liquid roller on Little Fling. Fans of brutal tech need not worry though – Stealth and Phace are both on hand to provide the dancefloor darkness, as are Emperor & Centra with the huge digital exclusive The Saboteur.

Enei and Kasra turn in a selection of characteristically heavy hitting beats, while Stray and Halogenix look to the experimental/hyperactive end of the spectrum with their individual takes on frantic drum syncopation with a footwork bent. Finally Blocks and Escher give Enei’s Thinline the old school tech workover with a huge beat and some serious menace on the low end.

Overall it’s hard to argue with this as the first essential release of 2014. Check out the tracks below and grab yourself a copy now from the Critical Surus store.

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Mosaic Vol. 2 [Exit Records]

It feels almost redundant to be reviewing this but just in case anyone has somehow slept on what is definitely one of the best compilations of 2013, then feast your ears on Mosaic Vol. 2. Bringing together some seriously deep and innovative cuts from thirty different producers and spanning four plates of vinyl for the wax enthusiasts, Exit have truly outdone themselves.

Among the standout tracks (and this is a tough choice given the quality on show from all concerned) are the glitchy madness of Rockwell’s *)*[808], the lush halfstep liquid of Synkro’s The Way and the classic Fist Level 2B from Insta:mental (only been waiting three years for this one guys…)

Elsewhere Kryptic Minds deliver a fantastic slice of moody halfstep with Burnt To Ashes (a rare return to the 170 tempo since their exit to Dubstep realms several years back), Om Unit and Sam Binga collab on some deeply hip-hop/footwork influenced business, and Fracture & Dawn Day Night bring us the sounds of the ghetto on Sick Wid It. Check out clips of every track below and watch out for this one dropping on digital July 29th with vinyl following on August 5th.

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In The Mix…Thing

Following hot on the heels of his excellent release for Blu Mar Ten Music, Thing has put together an hour long mix featuring some great cuts from the deep, dark end of the D&B spectrum. Including tracks from his own catalogue alongside selections from Stray, Clarity, Mtwn, Skeptical and Ruffhouse, it doesn’t get much grittier than this. Brooding halfstep lovers should definitely give this a listen.

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October Roundup

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!

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