Methlab’s dark and minimalistic BNKR imprint returns for it’s 3rd outing with Utopia Music’s Hydro on the buttons accompanied by familiar partners in crime Villem, War and Mateba.
Unsurprisingly given the artists involved, the release has a very ‘headz-y vibe, combining crisp modern production with the influence of golden era techstep D&B from the likes of Source Direct and Photek. Despite the grimey basslines and dark, ominous atmospheres there’s still an emphasis on funk and groove which can be lacking in some of the hyper-clean productions of 2016. In amongst the sharp snares and carefully tuned reverbs there’s still plenty of analogue distortion and warm, organic tones, melted together into compositions that feel both driven and hypnotic.
The drum programming on show here deserves a special mention too; after the more straightforward steppers beat of opening track Ethos Hydro and friends have gone in on hyperactive funk drum chopping that is an absolute joy to listen to; think somewhere between the chaos of a Paradox break and the sharpness of DLR’s best efforts and you’re in the ballpark. This back to basics approach, revelling in the origins of the genre and the most central elements of the D&B sound while still leveraging modern techniques is what makes these tracks such a joy to listen to.
If you’re a fan of precision, dark edged techstep with depth beyond the dancefloor then BNKR continue to deliver right at the top of the game! Check out the clips below and look for the EP dropping at all good digital stores from Nov 29th.
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…
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!
Villem & McLeod continue their extremely fruitful collaborative efforts with a new selection for esteemed US imprint Warm Communications. Ain’t No Way builds the tension with lush but faintly ominous synths before an old school combo of big whomping bass and tough breaks kick the tune into orbit. Heft!
Make Tomorrow follows in the footsteps of Inner Revolution, showcasing the duo’s knack for crisp liquid rollers; soft piano, well articulated breaks and warm sub are the order of the day here, but the track is definitely far more than the sum of its parts. Last up, Saved You takes things grimey once again with a dark stepper to close the EP.
Neither Villem & McLeod nor Warm Comms have disappointed lately and this release is no different – look for it on 12″ (with the first 100 copies being white & red marbled) and digital from June 29th.
The Utopia family return with a silky smooth liquid roller from bossman Mako alongside familiar partner in crime Villem and his erstwhile sidekick McLeod. Inner Revolution is pure bliss! Over on the flip Villem & McLeod go in deeper, swapping the uptempo breaks for a downtempo half-time beat but retaining the lush synth work and soulful vocals of the A side. Musicality and feeling all the way on this one. Hit up Redeye to grab this on vinyl right now, with digital release to follow very soon.
Dispatch have been making waves once again with the launch of their latest project, the Dispatch Dubplate series. Featuring new tracks, remixes and VIPs from the Dispatch Stable (including one vinyl exclusive track per release) and a limited press of 300 copies per release, vinyl fans will need to be quick off the block to lay hands on these!
The theme from the series so far has been no nonsense rolling techstep, with the first release featuring a big dirty Break remix of DLR, Hydro, Mako & Villem’s The Formula and DLR & Xtrah’s long sought after Direct Approach. Vol. 2 is no slouch either, with Survival serving up the Outlook VIP of Dub Soldier and the flip featuring two fresh cuts from SCAR, including a vinyl only VIP of Call To Arms.
Volume 1 has already sold out on the Dispatch store and volume 2 looks set to follow, so head over to Redeye or the Dispatch store swiftly if you want to pick up the vinyl releases; digital is set to follow from November 10th. The latest news from the Dispatch Facebook feed has unveiled the tracklisting for Vol.3 including Break & DLR’s Murmur VIP, a new VIP of DLR’s Tugboat and a fresh new DLR track in the form of Regeneration, while Ant TC1’s latest mix for Bassic reveals that Zero T & Alix Perez’s 2007 banger Ladders is set to finally receive a release via the Dubplate series.
Here at the Dojo we’ve enjoyed the first two releases so much we decided to put together a cheeky vinyl only Dispatch Dubplates mini-mix; check that out below (or directly on Mixcloud here) and head over to your favourite outlet to grab the plates while you still can!
The Utopia dream-team combine forces once again for a predictable but nonetheless satisfying slice of rolling tech-funk. Fans of the crew’s output will know what to expect – crisp breaks, grimey bass and the kind of production values that 40 odd years combined experience brings to the table!
Over on the flip Mako has signed up something distinctly mellower in tone from rising liquid producers Chromatic, who turn in a blissful slice of melodic D&B which is smooth as silk as it washes over the eardrums. Once again, maybe not the world’s most original stylings but the execution more than makes up for it, and the warmth and groove are up there with the best of the scene. Check out the clips below and look out for this on vinyl (which you can pre-order now at Redeye) and digital from 27th October.
Mako continues to cement his position in the scene with a new EP for Dispatch Recordings featuring four tracks inspired by the classic sounds of 90s D&B origins. Utopia Music alumni and frequent collaborator Villem brings his studio skills to the table for the first track, bringing tonight intricate break-work, atmosphere and bass heft in the style that Mako exercises so well.
Planet Physical takes things in a darker direction, blending modern techstep bass and production sheen with the helter-skelter drum patterns of jungle. Vocal snippets interspersed in the track explore Mako’s obvious interest in philosophy; maybe a few ravers might scratch their heads in the dance a bit for good measure. Ya Know What I’m Sayin continues the drum workout, with simple sub hits and a driving energy giving the composition tons of pace.
Last but by no means least, There’s Nothing We Can’t Be brings huge reverbed snares and atmospheric synths for a softer, more melodic track full of quirky samples and musicality – a great swan song to an EP that feels like Mako really settling into his abilities as a producer and experimenting freely with the flexible form that is D&B. Check out the clips below and head over to the Dispatch Store to grab an early copy before the general release on July 7th.
Metalheadz continue their winning form with a super collab from Mako, DLR, Villem & Ant TC1! The four D&B masterminds apparently ensconced themselves in Mako’s Bristol studio to write this one, which blends beautiful deep pads and cinematic sample work with a tough break and some fantastic warped bass. This one is all about texture and delivers it in spades.
Apparently Ant TC1 had to return to the real world but the other three continued the sesh and went in hard on the B side. A Certain Flavour delivers kick snare sucker punches a plenty with a big dirty bassline to boot and is sure to be doing the damage on dancefloors. Serious business.
Check out the clips below and grab this on vinyl or digital from Monday!
Hot on the heels of the mighty Steam TrainBreak 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!