With autumn beginning to close in Hex is back with the 11th episode of the DNB Dojo Podcast. This month the mix features cuts from Forbidden Society, Makoto, Jazzatron, Black Opps, Ordure and many many more, as always representing the full spectrum of the D&B sound.
Fragmented have rapidly secured a place as one of our favourite labels here at Dojo HQ through their varied A&R, attention to detail and knack for signing forward-thinking beats from promising new producers. With their eighth release just around the corner, we grabbed label boss Dyrekt for a chat, plus we’ve got the premiere of brand new track Corrugation from Screamarts forthcoming EP The Void…
It’s nothing but Delta9 Recordings beats on our latest mix as label DJ Rili showcases the best of the label’s recent output! 51 minutes of dark techstep and halftime including tracks from Logics, Kela, Mystic State, Altered Perception and many more. Get to know Delta9…
Fybe:one is a producer we’ve had half an eye on for a few years here at Dojo HQ; while his usual explorations tend towards lower tempos, he is nonetheless one of the most interesting musicians in the electronic sphere. Having contributed some downtempo reverberations for Diffrent’s Evolution of the Giraffe LP back in 2013, Dexta’s London imprint was the clear avenue for a move into the 160+ tempo range and the results are top notch.
Fans of the likes of Frederic Robinson and Machinedrum will find plenty to enjoy here; there’s a playfulness and an old school sampling methodology at work with plenty of influence from more “conventional” D&B, but without the music becoming trapped in the confines of the more traditional genre hallmarks. Jazzy synth hits, rapid-fire percussion and unusual rhythms are the order of the day here, and there are some tasty collaborations to boot as Sense MC steps up for vocal duties and the ever talented Hyroglifics comes in to push some buttons on With You.
As you’d expect if you’ve kept an eye on Diffrent, this EP embodies the label’s ethos by doing its best not to sound like anything else out there, and while it might not quite be revolutionary it’s certainly off the beaten track. Combine that with a loving craft and that mix of club-heft and armchair sensibility and you’re onto another winning release from our favourite London giraffe-enthusiasts. Check out the preview mix below and hit up the label Bandcamp page to cop the EP now.
Leeds imprint Ronin Ordinance continues their steady flow of deeper D&B with their eighth release, and this time it’s Discipline Records co-founder Fortune on the buttons. Gram Negative channels the spirit of old school techstep and drumfunk into a dark landscape of break-switchups, hefty sub and ominous atmospherics; serious business. Check it out and watch for the release dropping 23rd October.
Lossless Music, Soul Intent’s increasingly diverse and incredibly reliable imprint continue their Exkursions output with the second EP to drop on the sub-label since its inception early last year. Better yet, they’ve tapped Concealed Identity for production duties, and as usual for one of our favourite producers he doesn’t disappoint.
First up comes a remix of Soul Intent’s No Answers from the previous Exkursions EP. Where the original’s drums had a sharp-edged urgency, Concealed Identity has spun intricate percussion into subtle reverb, dulling the edges for a more euphoric, tripped out sensibility that perfectly matches the floaty pads and atmospherics of the original. The proverbial cake gets a layer of icing later in the progression via a tasty reese bassline swelling out of the mix in warm, jubilant waves. Lush!
Concealed Identity original Zahir delivers more along similar lines; the use of space and reverb that have characterised most of his recent output (see his absolutely sublime 12″ for Narratives if you missed it last year…) is present again here in abundance, and his compositions are rich and detailed. Think Conduct but with an edge of Photek and you’re in the ballpark.
As if two slices of cinematic D&B deepness weren’t enough, Soul Intent brings us a slice of 140BPM heat to close the EP via his Odyssia alias. Hints of the stripped-back tone of early dubstep and a steppy garage-ish beat characterise a tune that straddles the dancefloor and more cerebral space with aplomb. Another tasty selection from a label we can’t get enough of! Check out the clips and hit up the Lossless Bandcamp to grab this on vinyl or digital right now.
Australian imprint Beat Spectrum return with a tidy new EP from Danish producer Mindloader, and we’ve got the exclusive on lead track Bad Faith! This one is all about the progression, shifting from shimmering liquid depths in the first half to a darker vibe on the second drop as beefier tech bass sizzles away in the mix. Look for this at all the usual digital spots from September 30th…
Diffrent’s latest sees a clash of underground heads as production trio Kolectiv team up with Bristol experimentalist MEDIKA for a seriously weighty slice of dark D&B. Echoes of hip-hop punctuate the heavyweight beats and bass on this system-shaking halftime beast. Badman sound! Check it out below and look for the release dropping October 6th via the Diffrent Bandcamp.
Ill be honest, until I did my homework I had no idea that QZB are the artists formerly known as QBig & Zenith B. I should have known better. Perhaps their latest EP on Critical Music will cast a net even wider than their old alias did. Systems Vol. 9 definitely demonstrates the full breadth of their talent.
WYGD features entrancing whispers of vocals throughout the track, a style that pops up elsewhere on the EP. Lace that with clever percussive elements for a perfect example of a techy roller. Apollo – my favourite on the EP – features that repetitive vocal again, but in a very different manner. A totally screwed and chopped vocal alongside jazz-funk elements make this sound like Die & Break’s Grand Funk Hustle, Octane & DLRs Let Me Go, and DJ Rashad managed to pop out a child from a threesome gone awry.
Turning Point is true to its name, as for me this is where your attention turns from the vibe to the sound design. QZB seem to have captured the perfect snare, alongside a bassline that provides both textures to applaud and a vibe that matches it. I’m ready for the slating, but for me this bassline is ‘grown up jump up’. That really was the turning point on the EP. Revenant is far more stripped back, but with the same attention to intricacy and quality. The track is punctuated by open snares and fidgety percussive FX, and dare I say it an arpeggiated synth that is perhaps a nod to the Stranger Things soundtrack.
Its apt that the final track of the EP is named after the mythological Norse heaven, Valhalla. Another concrete demonstration that technical prowess in sound design can be matched with the atmosphere it creates. A heavily reverberated siren in the breakdown brings that Valkyrie-esque soundscape into focus. And rightly so that QZB sit atop the mythological heavens. For me, Critical are returning to sounds that got me into the label in the first place. Whilst its clear that Kasra is building a team of artists with distinguishable traits in sound – something any team-builders should aim to replicate – I would speculate that most of their UK audience prefer their tunes deep, dark, and intricate.
Hit up the Critical Store to grab Systems Vol. 9 on vinyl and digital right now.
Written by James Austin, aka DJ Auzi, label manager at Terabyte Records
With releases for Blendits, Citrus, Fokuz and Demand, Dutch duo Mindmapper & Silvahfonk have made quite a name for themselves over the past 5 years as purveyors of soulful yet dancefloor worthy rollers. With their latest creations dropping this month on Dispatch LTD, we grabbed them for a chat about production, studio vibes and what’s next for the rest of the year…