Tag Archives: Symmetry

Top 10 Albums of 2015

2015 has been another strong year for the D&B LP in what seems to be a growing trend for more established artists to explore their sound across a full length record rather than just churning out singles. As the year draws to a close, here’s our run down of the then best albums we’ve heard this year. In no particular order… Continue reading

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Break – Simpler Times LP [Symmetry]

Some things about Drum & Bass never change, and one of the constants of the scene over the last decade or more is the consistent quality of Break’s output. His third album, released this week on his own Symmetry Recordings imprint, is quite possibly his most polished work to date, and it’s certainly a focussed body of work – the LP weighs in at just 12 tracks and when you’re talking about a producer who knocks out a new single every six weeks we get the impression it could easily have been 30 tracks with less careful curation.

If Simpler Times has a theme, to our ears it is funk, or more broadly the incorporation of organic musical elements alongside the synthetic to give the tracks a less clinical and more musical tone. That funk certainly shines through in the drums, which are heavy hitting but still retain that natural quality that made early jungle so endearing and potentially makes modern D&B (and particularly neurofunk) sound sterile.

That musicality shines through on the likes of Kyo collab Nevaeh, with it’s lush, spacey intro and loose jazz drums, and on the smooth, loungey vibes of Pushing Me On, but there’s still plenty of dancefloor heft to be found even on the more musical tracks. While the LP doesn’t feature any out and out tech bangers a-la previous cuts like Kicked To Death or Too Much, there are certainly more upfront tracks to be found such as the punchy synth-led sci-fi vibe of Confidential and the bouncing halftime hip-hop of Kill Dem.

More than anything this LP sounds like Break having a lot of fun with the formula, whether on the fantastically crisp jungle of Late Exclusive or the exuberant album closer Hope. We can only imagine the grin on his face when he was chopping up James Brown for stripped back weapon The Flux! Another top notch album from one of the scene’s brightest talents; check out the clips below and hit up the Symmetry Store to grab it on vinyl or digital right now.

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Break – Temptations / Right Now [Symmetry]

Break brings us a tasty stocking filler just in time for the festive season! Temptations is all about groove, providing a funky but minimal D&B jam that lives up to the usual quality of the man’s productions. Right Now heads in a totally different direction, harnessing the spirit of 90s jungle for some serious break chopping. Ruuuuude business! Check out the clips below and grab this one from your favourite store right now!

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Xtrah – Lost Time EP [Symmetry]

Xtrah returns to Break’s Symmetry label with a tight selection of techy beats. Lost Time gets things rolling nicely with a gritty vibe and crisp breaks that are nicely offset by an unusually melodic vocal from Codebreaker. Always New sees Break and DRS getting in on the action and the riddim dropping to half-time; this one is as much hip-hop and dub as it is D&B, and fantastic for it too.

Out into the digital only tracks and we’re back to full speed 170 territory; Groove Shadow heads for dark stepper realms while Break’s remix of Cyrax does the dancefloor damage with some serious bass modulation and hefty snare impacts.

Check out the beats below and watch out for the EP dropping on vinyl and digital from September 30th.

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Break – Music Is Better [Symmetry]

DIGITAL

Hot on the heels of the mighty Steam Train Break drops another essential 12″ on Symmetry. Music Is Better on the A-side hits up that classic Break sweet-spot between tech and liquid that we’ve seen him leverage so well over the years on tracks like Love So True, Slow Down and Winter Sun. Jazzy piano and vocals on the intro give way to a meaty bass drop to give the tune equal parts summer vibes and edge. Liquid with teeth!

Backing things up on the flip the familiar team of Fields, Hydro, Mako & Villem give us Celestine. Crisp drums and soft synths on the intro once again give away to a tasty bassline, though the character is definitely in the infectious percussion rather than the low end, and the little flourishes over the top ice the proverbial cake in style. Look out for these two from August 5th on vinyl and digital!

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Break – Steam Train [Symmetry]

In the wake of the excellent The Other Side LP and a seemingly endless series of remixes and collabs for other labels, the ever prolific Break has found time to cook up another doozy for his own Symmetry imprint. Steam Train rolls into the proverbial station with some nice hissing samples, classic chord stabs and a beefy bassline that’s sure to move the crowd.

Over on the flip Detail & Tiiu go in deep with Days Go By. Mournful synths and an echoing, folorn vocal intro the tune before a brooding sub rumble adds the bass weight. Soulful, introspective and brimming over with musicality, the simplicity of the production is what makes this tune; rather than crowding the mix with unnecessary layers, Detail has stripped it back to the bare essentials.

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

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Break Presents…The Other Side [Symmetry]

Symmetry Recordings, the label owned by drum & bass legend Break, have been gearing up for a while now to release The Other Side, the label’s third album and the first to feature tracks from artists other than Break. Ahead of the release we caught up with Break for a quick Q&A about the album.

DNB Dojo: Since this is a collaboration album, who would you do a collab with if you could pick any musician alive or dead, and why?

Break: Its very hard, the list could be very long…would love to work with Marlena Shaw or Sade, they’re two of my favourite singers.

Ooh or Seal if it was a guy!

DD: Was there a deliberate decision to shift the output of Symmetry away from your own productions and onto releasing more tunes from other producers, or did it just evolve that way organically?

Break: A bit of both…I have been releasing tracks from other artists for a little while, but so many great tracks were getting sent, it seemed right to do an album. Could probably do another one soon, there’s so many good producers Im feeling at the mo.

DD: What’s your favourite track out of everything you’ve ever written? For me it’s probably between Is This What You Want and Too Much, though I also have a lot of time for Our World (from the Breakout EP you did for Eastside back in 2003)

Break: Bit like the first question pretty hard to say. Pleased you remember Our World,  that was one of my favourites at the time, sounds a bit gnarly now, but the vibe is rolling. I really like Let it Happen, Last Chance Remix, Love So True, and Evil Twin. Lightspeed also gives me goosebumps everytime…there’s not many DnB tunes that do that for me…Think I’m more into the musical ones with heavy bass, my favourite combo.

DD: What’s next for the label after this album? Any exciting future plans you’d care to tell us about?

Break: We will be releasing some exciting remixes from the album, and there are several tracks that I’m trying to get my hands on, so a few more singles to come soon as well.

Ive been working on a non Dnb album with the singer Kyo, the band is called “Degrees of Freedom”, watch out for the first single coming soon. I’ts basically everything we’re into that isn’t DnB.

DD: The album features a nice variety of styles from more liquidy stuff to the really hard hitters like Kicked To Death. Which styles of drum & bass do you find it more fun to write, and to DJ?

Break: It kinda is 6 of one half a dozen of the other…Kicked To Death totally smashes it in every rave I’ve played, but it was designed to do that, after working on that in the studio for a while, can give you a bit of a headache… it’s so loud and lairy…whereas working on Who We Are, which is one of the more liquidy tracks on the album, I find more enjoyable and satisfying… basically I’m more into piano than synths!

DD: Any tips for budding drum & bass producers? What can make a track great rather than just good?

Break: I think there is an element of hit and miss. Not every tune can be amazing….you can’t expect to be able to do that…..whenever I try and make my best ever tune it’ss totally rubbish and contrived! When you nail a vibe that you’re really into, that usually will come through in the music. Often less is more….I find that all you need is 4 or 5 tracks in your arrangement to have a killer….any more is usually just filler.


Check out previews of the album below and grab yourself a copy from your favourite shop on digital and vinyl, out now!

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