IMANU’s music has gone from strength to strength since moving away from his previous Signal moniker, and his latest work for Noisia’s Vision imprint sees him branching out into more experimental pastures.
Nagow and Cheren deliver the heavyweight neuro workouts that have become his trademark, with the former bringing a more colourful vibe via some deft melodic touches; Cheren by comparison pursues a more industrial aesthetic for pure sonic punishment.
The back half of the EP takes in some tempo drops; Whatever It Takes explores vaguely dubstep-adjacent territory with crunchy beats and grimy bass that’s sure to get your head nodding. After all that stiff competition it’s a pleasant surprise then that closing track Music To Stay In Your House To is potentially the strongest on the EP. Beautiful sound designs, wonky vocal textures and crazy drum rhythms combine on a genre-defying track that blends everything from hip-hop to IDM into a joyously chaotic melting pot.
IMANU’s new title (and doubtless a lot of encouragement from Noisia) seem to be inspiring some of his best work yet this year, and we can’t wait to hear what he comes up with next. In the meantime, you can check out the Cheren EP below – hit up your favourite store to grab it right now.
For those unfamiliar with his work, Nymfo cut his teeth on pretty much every important label under the sun: 31 Records, Innerground, Commercial Suicide, Renegade Hardware and Metalheadz to name only a few – no one can argue with that pedigree. With a long back catalogue of bangers spanning over of decade, the initiated shouldn’t need an introduction, but his latest EP on Dispatch is worthy of one.
Nymfo’s sound largely lurks at deeper end of the spectrum, yet there’s still plenty of variety on offer with this EP. There are stepping tunes like title track Forbidden Planet and Everything Will Be; tracks that roll – albeit unconventionally – like Breach; down right weird ones like Cold Mission; and some signature Nymfo qualities in tracks like Pathfinder with longstanding Dispatch general Hijack MC.
Throughout there is a definite nod to the techstep era of the late 90s and early 00s. The EP feels raw in a way that minimal, techy numbers of the last 5-10 years have often lacked. Perhaps this record will be one of several marker points in the months and years from now that show the pendulum swinging away from technology-focused beatmaking, and back towards focusing on the overall vibe. That focus on vibe helped carve out the techstep style in the earlier eras of drum and bass, and it’s EPs like this that help cement the style’s status amongst the D&B pantheon of sounds.
The Forbidden Planet EP is out now at the Dispatch Store – all other stores follow Oct 16th.
There are few drum and bass artists that are truly accepted across a multitude of styles and sub-genres. Calibre is almost certainly the apex of these select few. Another several blog posts could be written arguing about the other alumni of this club, but in this piece, I wish to suggest that Alix Perez is as good a bet as any another. His latest 8-track, Without End, is testament to this. The build-up and indeed acclaim to date feels very much as it did when his seminal 1984 album was released over a decade ago.
Whilst a shorter body of work than 1984 and his 2013 follow-up album Chroma Chords, Without End feels punchier for it; quality over quantity. Unlike his work above, Alix focuses purely on the 170 range, yet still encapsulates a variety of moods and vibes.
Sombre and melancholic tracks like the opener Wondering at Loss, Someone Else and the single Lost & Proud featuring the exceptionally talented Liam Bailey on vocals, are woven perfectly alongside more upbeat tracks like Moving On – again with Liam Bailey – and even the more style-agnostic Perfect Stranger with Halogenix. Distant Figures proves another highlight, featuring long-time friend and collaborator Workforce.
Despite these variations, Without End still feels like a holistic body of work, laced with the signature touches that make Alix Perez so universally adored. The deep sine wave basslines, the carefully measured and considered vocals – both sampled and recorded – and his elegant keys and chords, are clear and in abundance.
If 1984 was Alix Perez’ extraordinary freshman folio, and Chroma Chords his sophomore sound after several years of learning and devotion to his craft, Without End represents a most hard-earned (and quite long overdue) graduation ceremony into the genre’s hall of fame – if you still needed to be convinced, that is.
New music from Spor is a fairly rare treat these days, with the main focus of Jon Gooch’s time being his lower-tempo Feed Me alias, but what he lacks in quantity he certainly makes up for in quality. Anachronic lands four years after the Black Eyed EP and five years on from the Caligo LP, but if you’re looking for detailed, cerebral neuro that still packs enough punch for the dancefloor this will certainly scratch that itch.
In Rixa opens the EP with a Ghost In The Shell-esque intro before crashing into a helter-skelter of heavy hitting percussion and roaring basslines, maintaining that chaos until the final minute when the track drops into a more conventional rolling breakbeat. Beam Cannon picks up that energy, keeping things simmering along nicely with call and response patterns jumping between funk bass hits, synth growls and melodic flourishes.
Title track Anachronic brings a rock aesthetic to the table; snatches of distorted guitar intermingle with weighty drums and some characteristically twisted bassline modulations for possibly our favourite track from the EP. Things then take a left-turn for Your Mind is Water, which channels old Photek records into a deep and ominous journey through sub pressure and intricate drum programming.
Turning that energy back up to eleven for the finishing salvo, Cohesion provides the most obviously dancefloor-focused track, with a hooky bassline riff and pounding drum line. Finally Count My Blessings heads off into full pop & bass anthem territory with a vocal led number reminiscent of some of Pendulum’s later output. This one will probably prove divisive; certainly in danger of stepping over the line into outright cheese, it is nonetheless a very well-constructed tune.
Whatever your thoughts on Jon’s rock-star aspirations on the closing track, this is another varied and interesting release from one of the finest producers in the scene. Who knows when we’ll get more, but fingers crossed it won’t be another four years. Check out the tracks below, and hit this link to grab the EP on vinyl or digital from your favourite outlet. We’d also thoroughly recommend checking out Spor’s mix for UKF Hyper Vision, which features a number of tracks from the EP alongside some lives modular jams and as-yet unreleased material.
Every now and then a piece of music lands in the inbox that is instantly captivating and effortlessly beautiful. The new release from Capturelight is one of those rare gems.
Circles kicks things off with intricate and characterful percussion, and a grasp of melody that instantly hooks you in. The track has an ethereal, almost dream-like quality, with whispered shards of vocal peaking through the mix.
B-side Bubblewrap takes things in a more jungle-inspired direction via crispy breakbeats while retaining an emotive use of melody; more insistent than Circles but equally enthralling, and filled with a sense of muted euphoria and yearning.
This single is the first time the Bay Area producer has landed in the Dojo inbox but based on this we’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on him! Check out the tracks below alongside a guest mix to celebrate the release.
Locked Up Music drop their 20th release today, combining a celebration of the label’s output with some fundraising for a good cause; all proceeds will go to Love Your Hospital, a charity which fundraises for the West Sussex hospitals where Locked Up boss Section works.
Better still, if you wait until Friday to grab the LP then you’ll be doing a charity double whammy – Bandcamp will be donating their share of all sales on June 19th to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Check out the beats below, do some good and grab yourself a fistful of dark D&B to boot!
When it comes to updating something as classic as Dillinja’s Hard Noize you really want a safe pair of hands, and they don’t come much safer than Charlie Break. If anyone was well placed to give the track a new lick of sonic paint it was the Symmetry boss and scene stalwart, arguably the hardest working man in D&B.
Break’s remix retains all the spirit of the original (which, incidentally, still kills over 20 years on) but adds that modern punch to the drums, plus a few tasty switchups in the bassline for extra spice. Respectful but hefty; exactly the treatment we were looking for!
The flipside is no slouch either as Break presents his own ode to the Valve sound in the form of Tubes. Pure in purpose, this one is all bassline growl and gut punching snares, bringing to mind vintage Break tracks like Too Much. Dancefloor weaponry!
Break delivering the essential purchases as always with this release. Hit up the Valve Bandcamp to grab the digital right now, or go scouring Redeye and the like if you’re looking for the vinyl release.
Utopia Music have been quiet for some time now as Mako concentrates on his work with DLR as OneMind and his forthcoming LP for Samurai Music, so it’s great to see the label making a return on this brand new 12″ from longtime label collaborator Mikal.
Under The Earth sees Mikal and Mako teaming up on a trademark Utopia cut; exquisitely crafted breaks, bassline scuzz and tons of detail. The fusion of jungle sensibilities with a hint of ‘headz and a taste of techstep darkness has long defined the Utopia sound and this one fits that bill perfectly.
On the B-side Mikal gets militant with an angular kick-drum rhythm and a selection of aggy bass hits. This one should produce more than a few screwfaces; proper stomper! Check out the previews below and hit up the Utopia Bandcamp to grab the release right now…
Break should need no introduction; possibly the hardest working man in Drum & Bass and a producer and DJ with a long and amazingly consistent career. His latest work finds him on top form once again, dropping a sick new single for his own label Symmetry Recordings.
Got A Feelin’ has its sights firmly on the dancefloor, stripping things back to the essentials; sparse but weighty drums, a wonky melody, wobbly sub bass and a memorable vocal hook. Vintage Break, this one manages to be both very “drum & bass” and nothing like most of the rest of the music dropping right now.
Over on the B side, Sesame Seeds hits a more jungle-y vibe, with crunchy break-chopping and funk samples a-plenty, recalling some of the classic sounds of old Moving Shadow.
Another essential release from one of the best names in the scene! Check it out below and hit up the usual digital outlets to grab this one now…
LSB and DRS should certainly need no introduction; the former one of the finest liquid producers of a generation, a rare pretender to Calibre & Marcus’s throne, while the latter is undoubtedly one of the best and most versatile lyricists in D&B. A handful of previous collaborations have proved their chemistry, not least the anthemic The View from DRS’s Mid Mic Crisis LP. So an LSB & DRS album should be something special, right?
Right indeed. The Blue Hour is an undeniable joy, a melding of minds and a proper musical journey. For one thing it’s almost equal parts soulful D&B rollers and equally soulful hip-hop beats; the yin and yang of an MC’s twin musical expressions filtered through the lens of the producer’s unique style.
Whether riffing on laid-back downtempo cuts like I’m Changing and Umbrellas, or bearing his soul on emotional rollers like Faded or Like It Used To, DRS is on fine form, and his thoughtful poetry finds a perfect match in the fluttering, delicate, jazz-infused beats found across the record. Mellow and melancholy but always with an uplifting edge, this is pure, honest and moving music…just as it should be.
The Blue Hour is out now via LSB’s Footnotes imprint; check out the tracks below and hit up your favourite store to grab a copy right now.