Whether it’s in their capacity as label curators or as artists in their own right, we’re big fans of Blu Mar Ten here at DNB Dojo. In a time when so much music, drum & bass included, is a packaged commodity designed to appeal to a very specific marketplace and lacking or devoid of originality, BMT stand as a beacon of the creativity and inspiration that makes the best music so exciting. If you subscribe to the adage that 99% of everything is rubbish, then these guys are the 1% of the 1%.
Enter Empire State, the team’s seventh studio album and their fourth for their own Blu Mar Ten Music imprint. Picking up pretty much exactly where Famous Lost Words left off, the album plays like a love letter to all the facets of D&B, focusing on the deeper and more melodic side of the music but with some unashamed dancefloor rollers thrown into the mix. More experimental tracks like Monologue and Fall From Grace dial back the beats, allowing Blu Mar Ten’s knack for shimmering synth work to shine through, while straight up rollers such as Immortal Beloved provide that uptempo euphoria the duo do so well.
Robert Manos makes a welcome appearance on the effortlessly crispy Keep It Together, while the rest of the album’s vocal-led tracks feature the enigmatic strains of Kite, a female vocalist that we can literally find nothing about anywhere. The pair clearly have a talent for spotting gifted singers; as with Agnė Genytė’s contributions to their previous LP, Kite lends raw emotion and a less obvious style of delivery to the vocals here, and the album sounds fantastic for her presence.
Empire State probably won’t convince the naysayers of the merits of the more melodic end of D&B, nor is it packed full of cutting-edge, genre-bending or trend-setting material. If however you want an album featuring some of the most finely crafted D&B and a ton of depth and feeling, Blu Mar Ten deliver in spades. As always. Check out the previews below and hit up the BMT Store to grab a copy on vinyl or digital now.