Tag Archives: Tokyo Prose

Tokyo Prose – Wild Grace [The North Quarter]

The arrival of a new album from Kiwi liquid maestro Tokyo Prose last month took everyone by surprise; in a world where even EP releases are often stage managed and teased one track at a time over a period of weeks, to find out that a full album was in the offing and the first tracks were available instantly was a breath of fresh air. But when the artist and the material are as good as this the hype is unnecessary.

Tempting as it was to jump in with an instant reaction review, this one seemed worthy of a little contemplation…so with the dust now having settled and Wild Grace having been on rotation fairly regularly for a month, how does it stand up in the cannon of Tokyo Prose?

The first thing to note here is that Tokyo Prose hasn’t lost his gift for understatement; as the only artist besides LSB who really gets close to Calibre in the evocative roller stakes, the “less is more” aesthetic of previous work is present again here. Moving piano chords and crisp breakbeats reign supreme, and any temptation for over-editing tracks has been ignored in favour of smooth progressions and disarming simplicity of form.

Wild Grace lives up to it’s title too; the tracks conjure a sense of natural beauty through soft, mostly organic instrumentation and a deftness of touch. Highlights include Trick of the LightInnate Motion and Impressions, all of which tread that fine line of mellow yet uplifting, beautiful but not cheesy, a kind of muted euphoria that is at once imbued with a sense of speed and also a sense of stillness.

If we have a complaint, it’s that the vocal work on this album doesn’t quite live up to the standard set by 2014’s Presence; whereas the Riya and Zoe Klinck collaborations of that LP are among the highlights, the instrumentals are definitely the tracks we’re more drawn to at Dojo HQ this time around. Overall though it’s still a stunning collection of music from an artist we’d love to hear from more often. Wild Grace is out now on vinyl and digital at all good stores.

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Tokyo Prose – Dawn Chorus EP [Samurai Red Seal]

Tokyo Prose is a rare producer in the scene, a man whose creations never fail to put a smile on my face. While Sam Reed certainly wasn’t the first to ply the deep, melodic style of Drum & Bass, he’s certainly developed his own voice over the years and his latest work is amongst his best.

Following last year’s Presence LP was always going to be tough given the quality and diversity of that record, but the Dawn Chorus EP feels perfectly pitched in that regard; lesser in scope but finely crafted and showcasing that warmth and emotion that makes his work so special. Whether on the beautiful string section of Dawn Chorus, the effortless downtempo of Vanishing Point or the bright chimes and crisp breaks of Windtalkers, the instrumentation remains beautiful and evocative.

Anyone yet to be persuaded by the gentle depth of the liquid sound may not find anything new to change their mind here, but if you appreciate the more musical side of Drum & Bass then the Dawn Chorus EP provides four tracks you will lose yourself in again and again. Serenity and bliss, softness and speed, feeling and thought, all lovingly packaged at one hundred and seventy beats per minute; it doesn’t get much better than this.

Check out the clips below and hit up the Samurai Store to grab a copy on wax before it inevitably sells out.

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Best Albums of 2014

2014 has been a great year for D&B and another great year for LPs, so with the year drawing to a close we thought we’d run down our favourite full length releases this year. In no particular order…

Kimyan Law – Coeur Calme [Blu Mar Ten Music]

Kimyan’s debut LP impressed us greatly upon it’s initial release, and it’s an album that has only improved upon repeated listens. Blending influences from D&B with elements of soul, world music, ambient and plenty more besides, this is one of the most musical releases this year and a great start to what should be a promising career.

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Tokyo Prose – Presence [Samurai Music]

Samurai’s reputation for quality and depth is legendary, and the debut LP from kiwi producer Tokyo Prose fits that MO perfectly. Featuring some excellent collaborations with the likes of Synkro, LSB and Lenzman, the album features a coherence and flow that many LPs lack, and some of the finest deep liquid tracks of the year. Essential listening.

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Cern – Under Another Sky [Dispatch Recordings]

Cern’s LP slipped under the radar here at the Dojo on initial release, but thankfully we got the chance to catch up with it over the holiday season. The level of atmosphere and depth on show here is stunning, not to mention the precise engineering, intricate drum programming and overall detail that Cern has brought to the table. The album is an unapologetically dark, experimental release, with few (if any) of the tracks aimed at the dancefloor, and is all the better for it.

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Future Beats: The Album [31 Recordings]

31 Recordings late entry to the 2014 LP battle has garnered near universal acclaim, and with good reason; few other compilations bring such a breadth of styles at such a high quality across such a massive selection of tracks. It’s great to see the label supporting new producers alongside old hands like Calibre and Klute, not to mention pushing the envelope with truly innovative sounds.

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Ulterior Motive – The Fourth Wall [Metalheadz]

Last but by no means least, Ulterior Motive’s sonic journey through their experiences of Drum & Bass has provided both dancefloor anthems and deeper vibes. Tracks like Tape Pack and INTA-National have been killing floors at raves across the world since the LPs release, and the duos range has never been stronger.

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Tokyo Prose – Continued Presence [Samurai Music]

It’s not often we love an album so much that we blog it twice, but Tokyo Prose’s debut for Samurai Music is not just any album. Presence has been on rotation here at Dojo HQ pretty steadily since it’s release earlier this year, and being fans of vinyl we were excited to see more of the label’s tracks getting a wax release. Continued Presence sees four more of Sam’s favourites from the album being committed to a beautiful blue and white disc, and you get a free digital bonus in the form of My Soul. Check that out below and head to the Samurai Store to pre-order the 12″ now.

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Tokyo Prose – Presence [Samurai Red Seal]

Living up to the promise of early releases is no mean feat for any artist in any scene. For D&B, it’s not so much the “difficult second album” of rock and pop as the “difficult first album following several great EPs or singles”. The album format may have become more popular in recent years, especially for purveyors of the deeper side of the music, but that makes it no less difficult to do well, and many have released competent LPs which nonetheless either feel too filler-heavy or merely like a collection of singles rather than a coherent body of work.

Thankfully, Tokyo Prose’s debut suffers neither of these criticisms. The quality and depth of the production is breathtaking, and the tracks flow effortlessly together through commonality of tone and spirit. Make no mistake though, there’s more than enough detail and variation to hold your interest across the LPs 13 tracks.

Picking favourites is a difficult exercise as with all top quality LPs, especially with the likes of Lenzman, Synkro and LSB popping in for collaborations. The soft strings of Covet, the effortless downtempo of 16 Bar Cycles and the uplifting piano and reverb drenched vocals of Small Gains all stand out, but this is an album where different tunes are likely to speak to different listeners. One thing is for sure; from the opening  chimes to the beautiful, beatless outro of Dance With You, every new track is a treat and a pleasure. Check out the clips below and grab yourself a copy on vinyl or CD from the Samurai Store.

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Horo Vision [Samurai Horo]

Samurai make an unusual break from their vinyl releases to bring us a retrospective digital release of the previously vinyl-only Horo series. In order to stay true to the series (and presumably avoid angering the vinyl collectors who’ve spent a significant amount of cash collecting the original releases), the new digital compilation only features one track from each of the 12″s; the rest will remain vinyl exclusives.

As fans of the label’s output will expect, the tracks on show are deep, dark and experimental, pushing the boundaries of what D&B is or should be. ASC’s contributions prove varied and excellent as usual, bringing together lush deep-techno and ambient influences with his unusual percussive elements. Other highlights come from Synkro’s Kiyoko alias on the lush downtempo ambience of Track 3 and from Clarity & Overlook on the ominous and angular Rohypnol. Honestly though picking favourites is tough; every track on here is more than worthy of your time and attention.

The limited edition CD being offered has already sold out, but you can still snap up the digital bundle direct from the brand new Samurai web store. Check out the clips below and grab the release now.

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Tokyo Prose – Presence LP Sampler [Samurai Red Seal]

As Samurai prepare for the release of Tokyo Prose’s debut LP next month, the first glimpses have appeared via the LP sampler, and they’re a bit of a treat. Waiting On sees the ever talented Riya stepping up to the mic to deliver her trademark soulful vocals on an effortlessly smooth, piano-led roller. It would be easy to dismiss this as yet another deep tune with a Riya vocal, but while this may not be treading particularly innovative ground the execution is faultless. Perfectly reverbed vocals, soft, warm piano and crisp breaks come together in a perfect storm of mood and beauty.

Over on the flip Ventura proves no slouch either, kicking in with a slightly more insistent break and deep sub bass but keeping the tone somewhat distant; definitely one for the heads. Vinyl addicts can pre-order the 12″ from Samurai’s brand new store (along with pre-order options for the album itself) and the digital can be picked up right now exclusively from Samurai’s Bandcamp.

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February Mixtape Roundup

Our favourite mixes this month span the range of D&B sounds from banging to experimental and everything in between. Kid Drama follows up his excellent Heart Drive podcasts with a mix for Hyp taking in his 170 sounds both old and new and keeping things deep and unusual as ever.

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Tokyo Prose have mixed the latest volume of the Sun & Bass podcast series and deliver a deep, rolling mix featuring their own productions alongside tunes from the likes of Calibre, Mutt and Ivy Lab.

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Automate return with podcast number 30 featuring a belting tech selection from Midlands DJ/Producer Critical Error.

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Evol Intent’s Gigantor is on the controls for the second in their new Evolcast podcast series with a selection of typically up-front, no nonsense dancefloor neurofunk. Some nice new VIPs and mashups in here!

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French D&B crew Vandal serve up the latest edition of their podcast with a storming mix from Miss Leia featuring heavy tunes from the likes of Mindscape, Audio, Prolix and Nickbee.

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Last but by no means least Mako, DLR & Villem celebrate their recent release for Metalheadz with a tidy 30 minute mix featuring tracks from the trio and other members of the Metalheadz/Utopia/Warm Communications family. Deeper beats!

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Sun & Bass – 10 Years Selection

Sun & Bass continue their tradition from last year and release another stellar compilation featuring cuts from the festival’s regular DJs, with a host of big names on board. The first half of the compilation leans heavily in the deep liquid direction, with a collection of rollers and steppers from Triad, Fracture & Mark System, Seba, Alite & Arp XP and more. Tokyo Prose steal the show for me with the sublime, twinkling piano and crisp breaks of Goodbye Hands…truly a tune you could lose yourself in.

The second half of the selection sees the heat turned up with harder beats from Klute, Chris SU and Nymfo, Dom & Roland and more. Ulterior Motive turn in a strong, squelchy stepper with Fragola Invisible and Audio Habitat collaborates with Mad Vibes for a good old fashioned dirty roller. The LP closes up with a few more soulful numbers from dBridge, Code 3 and Zero T for good measure.

Check out all the beats below and watch out for the release dropping on digital from December 16th. Don’t forget you can also pick up the sublime Calibre/Paradox remix 12″ from Surus now!

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Sun & Bass 2013 Review – Part 2

Our review of Sun & Bass continues with coverage of the second half of the week. Check out part one here if you missed it, otherwise read on…

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