Tag Archives: Total Science

OneMind – EP2 [Metalheadz]

As individuals, these artists are arguably two of the most talented in the genre – certainly right now, if not ever. Impossible though it might seem, by joining forces, they have reached yet higher altitudes: OneMind’s EP2 is the second comprehensive testament to this. The EP’s opener, Pullup, is a future classic for certain. Only Mako & DLR combined could lace such a simple bassline with such complex eccentricities, and the result is frankly breathtaking sound design.

In every tune, you can hear both of their individual influences shine through. Mako’s old school vibe oozes through Late Addition, albeit with a little help from Total Science (and of course DLR). This collab definitely ticks the dBridge-coined ‘beautifully aggressive’ box, being both relentless and delicate – something many artists will never achieve. Early Daze is yet another example of the vibe OneMind are championing, intricate combinations of old-school vocals and one shots with modern-day sound design that provides such a rich texture to the track. The final track, Quiet Fire, features genre-agnostic Throwing Snow, whose Houndstooth & Moda Black heritage shines through in bags. I look forward to the prospect of more D&B from him.

OneMind have truly distilled all the ingredients that make Metalheadz the greatest label in the genre’s history – combining a pioneering integrity for sound design with a nuanced, yet deep-seated appreciation of the drum & bass past. Long live this sound; let’s end this before I run out of superlatives. Hit up the ‘headz Store to pre-order the EP ahead of the August 25th release date.

Written by James Austin, aka DJ Auzi, label manager at Terabyte Records

Facebook: facebook.com/auzidnb

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MDZ.02 2017 Re-Mastered [Metalheadz]

In 2015, the legendary DnB label Metalheadz embarked on a project to re-master and re-release all of its classic tunes from the 90s and beyond. This was presumably done for DJs, to give high-quality downloads of early-era songs to those who have updated their equipment but not their tastes.

What it has effectively done on top of that, however, is to expose younger generations of ravers to the wonders of the Metalheadz archives, as well as to producers and sub-genres which, if not forgotten, were buried in the record crates of first-and-second-generation junglists and D&B heads. Now even the grumpiest vinyl-loving old school heads can listen to a crisp, clean WAV of Marcus Intalex’s My Soul on their computers if they so choose.

The most recent release from the “Re-Mastered” project is of 2002’s MDZ.02. Just released on Friday, this 11-track retrospective contains classics from the likes of Klute, Teebee, Loxy & Ink and a special Usual Suspects track called Tribute, an homage to the influential D&B MC Kendo, who’d recently passed at the time the track was released.

2002 was an interesting transitional time for drum and bass. Beats became much faster, samples started to be influenced by hip hop, R&B and rave, and jungle and drum and bass structures started to merge in ways that many felt were unthinkable. Metalheadz was right on the forefront of this change and its surrounding controversy, riding the crest to emerge as the well-established and cutting-edge label it is today.

MDZ.02 2017 isn’t up on Discogs yet, but it can be purchased in a number of formats on the Metalheadz website and clips can be streamed on Soundcloud.

Written by Layla Marino

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

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Break – 10 Years of Symmetry

When you think across the biggest names in the scene, it’s hard to find one both as well regarded and as prolific as Break. The Symmetry boss somehow manages to churn out a breathtaking quantity of originals and remixes, all possessing his trademark crisp drums, warm but punchy basslines and organic musical flourishes. If there were an award for the hardest working man in D&B, we’re pretty sure it would go to Break every year without fail.

This year sees him celebrating 10 years of Symmetry Recordings and for the occasion he’s put together a cracking new LP of material featuring collabs with many of the label’s familiar faces and some solo material to boot. Alongside big, stomping slices of dancefloor tech like Total Science collab Betamax and solo cut Ain’t No Turning Back there’s space for a take on the 20/20 sound on Inside (written with Spectrasoul), a reggae infused roller on Overdub and a couple of distinctly jungle-tinged beats like the cracking closing track Not Forgotten.

While none of the tracks here are particularly breaking the mould or pushing the envelope, the love, care, and detail that’s gone into their production shines through and the presence and vibe is absolutely undeniable; another fine album from a scene legend at the top of his game. Check out the clips (and a wicked 30 min promo mix) below and hit up the Symmetry store to grab a copy right now!

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CIA 20 LP Sampler

CIA mark 20 years in the game with a massive new LP, and ahead of the main event there’s a cracking sampler just out featuring some top tracks from familiar label names.

DLR jumps in on the remix for Q Project’s anthemic Champion Sound, retaining the original’s distinctive synth hook but pairing it with an appropriately hefty selection of beats and bass for the current era of D&B. Sure fire dancefloor weapon!

Elsewhere Calibre delivers a characteristically smooth pinao-led roller in the form of Under Bars, and label dons Total Science throw down some fine break choppage on the dub-tinged Respect Due. There’s also a cheeky second remix of Champion Sound with DLR swapping out the beefy modern tech underpinnings of the 2016 remix for something a bit more jungle-y. Tasty stuff! Check out the clips below and hit up the CIA Bandcamp to grab this on vinyl or digital right now.

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Q&A – Digital

The ever-prolific Digital is back with a big new album featuring nothing but collaborative tracks. With Synthesis just out, we caught up with the man himself to find out about where the LP concept came from, working with Spirit and who has the best studio. Check it…

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Total Science – Notes of Blue EP [Metalheadz]

Metalheadz have been on quite a roll for the last couple of years; after arguably a little bit of a lull their recent release schedule has seen a stream of quality releases that even other labels of similar heritage have struggled to match. Their latest offering from Total Science continues that recent trend, bringing five tracks of crisp, forward thinking D&B to the table in typical ‘headz style.

Opener Notes of Blue is undoubtedly a nod to the legendary Blue Note sessions from the late 90s that proved such a formative time for so many notable D&B producers.  Eerie sound designs and the merest hints of jazz combine with deep dubby sub and beautifully processed breaks for a track that is at once playful and thoughtful.

That trend for “thinking man’s” D&B continues throughout the EP,  with one foot rooted firmly on the dance floor while the other meanders off into less genre bound territory. From the soft vocal manipulations of Soul For Sale through the tough jungle breaks and dubbed out echoes of Contraband, the EP works well both as a DJ tool and a selection of tracks for the listener alike.

Digital bonus tracks All Massive and Man Down round the selection out with two odes to the classic era of 90s D&B referenced in the EP’s title; the old school samples and the style of break manipulation still sound fresh today, and those polished modern mixdowns give them some serious punch.

We were pretty sure that Metalheadz and Total Science would prove to be a winning combination but this EP outstripped our already high expectations admirably. Check out the clips below and hit up the ‘headz store to grab a copy now.

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Classified V2 [CIA]

CIA are back with another storming selection on Vol. 2 of the Classified EP series and trust us, these are some pretty essential dancefloor selections. Ed:it & Pennygiles collab Set Theory gets the remix treatment from Ulterior Motive who keep the alterations subtle, retaining the vibe of the original but tuning it up for maximum punch. Next up, ST Files team up with Response for a characteristically deep outing on Wanna B 3; mellow high end floats along under an insistent, rolling break that seems primed to warm a floor before the bigger guns are broken out.

Label bosses Total Science join forces with FD for a classic liquid roller on Found A Reason Why, delivering that uplifting break-driven business that Total Science have made such a name for. Lush, sultry and sure to put a smile on your face! Last but not least, Villem & McLeod take things grimey on a stripped back halftime workout in the form of Strange You.

As usual CIA walk the line between musicality and dancefloor chops with ease and finesse, providing another fine selection for your record bag. Check out the clips below and hit up the CIA Bandcamp to cop the release on vinyl or digital right now!

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Select Files #2 [CIA Records]

CIA are on a retrospective tip once again with the second volume of their Select Files series and they’ve dug out another fine selection from the label’s near 20 year back catalogue. Leading the charge is the instantly recognisable Squash; that synth riff should bring back some fond memories for the older ravers!

There are tons of other fantastic rollers in the pack here including Marky & XRS’s jazz-hands-inducing Get Down, Chroma’s Knock Knock and Break’s satisfyingly chunky remix of Breakfast Club. Best of all you can grab all 14 tracks for a mere five British pounds from Bandcamp; can’t say fairer than that! Check out the tracks below and grab the compilation at your leisure.

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Total Science, Quadrant & Iris – Pushin Your Luck [CIA]

CIA are back, and that means only one thing – rollers! Label owners Total Science team up with Seattle production duo Quadrant & Iris for a weighty, old school roller on Pushin Your Luck, which wins zero points for innovation but 10/10 for being big, bad and generally dangerous!

Over on the flip Obsolete gets the VIP treatment, retaining the spirit of the original but adding some cheeky little rhythm and bass tweaks to dust the cobwebs off the track; worthy, but unlikely to trouble the A side for our money. Check out the clips below and grab this one from the CIA bandcamp right now!

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DLR – Seeing Sounds [Dispatch Recordings]

The wait is finally over – DLR’s debut solo LP Seeing Sounds has arrived, and it’s every bit as good as I’d hoped it would be! Having deliberately avoided listening to the preview clips I sat down with the full LP for a start-to-finish listen, and I wasn’t even remotely disappointed.

Understandably enough, this record feels like a spiritual successor to Octane & DLR’s 2012 LP Method In The Madness. The same cinematic sampling and atmosphere is present, as is the sonic detail and creativity. DLR’s sound has been refined further over the past three years, and the album seems less bent on complexity for complexity’s sake; the emphasis seems to have shifted slightly towards groove and weight over technicality, and the compositions really shine for that emphasis.

Above all else this is a record that firmly injects the funk back into the techstep sound, from the playful basslines of Charlie Brown and Break collab Human Error through the chunky lower tempo breakbeat workout of I Found Out and plenty more besides. There’s room for some surprises too, such as the melancholy liquid of Hydro collaboration Empyreal and the jazzed up tech of Minds Eye. There are also two fantastic MC-led steppers, with Gusto repping the mic on The Author and Fokus providing vocals on the politically minded Ask The Question.

Many of the LPs best tracks have been pressed loud and proud onto four slabs of that black crack we love so much, and having given them a thorough mix on the decks I’m happy to attest they all sound as tight and punchy as you’d expect from the Dispatch family. The vinyl releases are already sold out via the Dispatch Store, though the digital version is still available and the vinyl plates can all be picked up via Redeye.

The first couple of listens give me the distinct impression that this is an album which will grow and grow over the coming months while we wait with anticipation for DLR’s collaborative LP with Mako. Check out the clips below and go grab yourself a copy of what is undoubtedly one of the best D&B albums we’ll hear this year.

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