Ben Verse – Crashing Cars EP [Rebel Music]

The often debated status of MCs within the D&B scene is certainly a hot-topic on certain D&B-focused Facebook groups and message boards, where detractors are prone to question the artistry of the scene’s lyricists. We’re sure said-lyricists have better things to do than concern themselves with online bad-mouthing, but nonetheless the emergence of more MC-led releases seems to provide a suitable riposte to the naysayers.

Ben Verse joins that burgeoning tradition with four great new cuts for Rebel Music. Production comes courtesy of a selection of up and coming talents with Wingz, Inner Terrain, Creatures and Screamarts providing a beat each. All four producers provide weighty but retrained sonics, allowing the lyrical content space to breath and Ben ample opportunity to flex his vocal chords.

That vocal style is nothing short of compelling too; smooth and controlled, varying from melancholy and introspective to pressing and insistent. If Verse hasn’t already caught your attention via his previous appearances with the likes of Maztek, Icicle, Calyx & Teebee and of course Pendulum then this EP surely should; hit up Beatport to grab it right now.

Black Sun Empire – Driving Insane Remixes [Blackout]

Black Sun Empire’s early output holds a very special place for a lot of D&B heads of a certain age, an exciting time when the relatively nascent neurofunk style was developing in interesting new directions, and the Dutch trio’s trance-infused take on the sound captured imaginations and dancefloors alike. Nearly twenty years on from the release of their debut Driving Insane LP they announced a remix contest, allowing producers the chance to provide fresh takes on these yesteryear classics with the stems to no less than five tracks from the album. But would these new remixes do the originals justice?

Thankfully the competition inspired some superb work and the resulting remix EP provides varied and entirely worthy adaptations of the source material. Myselor’s contest-winning take on Breach opens the EP, retaining the recognisable twin-leads of the original but imbuing them with additional melodic elements that utterly change the vibe of the track. Brooding and atmospheric is replaced by uplifting and heroic, elevating the feeling to truly epic levels.

Russian scene stalwart EastColors delivers a respectful take on title track Driving Insane, keeping the flavour intact while providing a modern switch on the drums and bassline elements with a touch of foghorn for good measure. Australian duo V O E serve up the heaviest dancefloor number with a mashup of Don’t You and Stasis, landing the punches with their aggressive modern neuro sound.

Rounding out the EP, Waeys dives deep into hypnotic territory with unusual rhythms and driving drums on his experimental remix of Stasis. Finally Rillium gives us a short and sweet 3-minute take on Arrakis which crescendos into intricate drumwork and pulsing synths, fading as quickly as they rise.

Varied and exciting reworks from all concerned; the Driving Insane Remixes EP is out now at Beatport and available to stream on the usual platforms.

Loomis – Blurred Horizon EP [Modern Conveniences]

If this is the first time you’re coming across Loomis (or indeed Modern Conveniences) then we urge you to stop what you’re doing and seek out some listening; both artist and label have been forging a creative path along the outer boundaries of Drum & Bass and have released some of the most exciting music we’ve heard over the last 12 months.

The latest from both parties comes in the form of the Blurred Horizon EP, and from the very start the vibes feel epic, but not in that “hands in the air” way associated with main-room dancefloor D&B; the sound here is of a more cinematic scope, majestic synth swells, reverb drenched drums and a subtle, muted euphoria in the melodies. Imagine the soundtrack to something like Drive filtered through the prism of autonomic electronica and you’re somewhere close.

Enthralling, uplifting and enveloping, the four tracks on show here (plus a delicious remix from label boss Akuratyde) showcase the talents of a composer and producer we can’t wait to hear more from. Check out the EP below and watch out for the release coming March 19th via digital stores.

Premiere: Strago – Las Moscas 2021 VIP

We’ve got dark, brooding halftime for your ears on today’s premiere as Strago returns to Anticlockwise Music with the VIP of his 2014 release Las Moscas. Trading the original’s uptempo rolling vibes for a much sparser arrangement, the new VIP bumps the atmosphere up to eleven…wicked stuff. Look out for this (and a remaster of the original) dropping March 24th at digital stores!

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Quadrant & Iris – Libration EP [Guidance]

Behold the myriad influences on Drum & Bass production; it’s not every day you see a techstep EP inspired by choice beverages. It perhaps comes as no surprise that Seattle residents Quadrant & Iris are big coffee drinkers but apparently they’re also partial to a cocktail or two based on the track titles here.

Whatever they’re drinking at the moment, said libations have spurred them on to create some of their best work yet. Channelling classic 90s D&B influences and modern production techniques to terrific effect across four groove-laden rollers, the EP spans three dancefloor damagers and the more soulful vibe of Fernet. Better still, all the tracks here showcase the somewhat lost art of the second drop switchup, something we’re big fans of here at Dojo HQ.

As if we weren’t already itching for clubs to reopen, we seriously can’t wait to hear these ones smashed out on a big system. Essential listening; check out the EP below and hit up Beatport or Bandcamp to grab it right now.

Subcriminal – Dragon EP [X-AMNT]

Regular readers will probably already have noticed that while we cover a bit of everything here at DNB Dojo, we’re generally not a fan of the more jump-up/up-front end of the sound. Every now and then though we hear something drawing on that energy which is too good not to shout about…and that’s exactly what we found on the new Subcriminal EP!

Released a few days ago via Bristol imprint X-AMNT, the exuberant style on show here is both refreshing and fairly unique, ignoring the often po-faced aesthetic of dark and moody D&B in favour of an uplifting and effervescent focus on melody. Make no mistake though, these aren’t cookie-cutter liquid rollers either, and therein lies their unique appeal.

Clearly drawing on influences from outside of D&B (if we had to guess we’d say future garage and videogame soundtracks), Subcriminal is carving his own niche with this one. The EP delivers dancefloor focused stompage on Dragon Egg and Incubator, and melodic joy via Flying Dragon and Movie. We’ve had this on heavy rotation here at Dojo HQ and we suggest you do too – check it out below and hit up the usual digital outlets to buy or stream right now.

Evolved – Encounter 001

When three labels from three countries join forces for a new series of releases you know you’re in for something special. Enter T3K, Sine Function and Hanzom, as they unite for the Encounter series. With three labels collaborating on the release it seems appropriate that the music itself is also a collaborative venture – Evolved sees four producers from Brussels pooling their talents, and thus far the results have been impressive, not least their recent EP for Delta9 Recordings.

On this release the Evolved gang are flexing their creative muscles to create some finely sharpened, futuristic D&B cuts. The influence of the harder-edged neurofunk sound is audible here in the sound design and percussion but the overall aesthetic is one of restraint; detailed atmospheres have largely been prioritised over brutalising basslines.

The result is three detailed, enthralling tracks taking in different styles; Brainless delivers a dark and ominous roller, while Intuition goes deeper, serving up futuristic android soul against sharpened percussive presence. The Cure rounds things out with a menacing halftime swagger, keeping the atmosphere but adding a hint of hip-hop swing.

Overall this is a powerful statement of intent and some of the most interesting music we’ve heard so far this year, combining technicality with soul and depth. We look forward to hearing more from Evolved and more from Encounter…in the meantime Encounter 001 is available right now via digital stores and streaming.

Sleepnet – Angel Blade [Vision]

Since the late 2019 announcement that Noisia would be parting ways as a creative project, neurofunk fans have been waiting with anticipation to see what new projects might emerge from the trio…and we may just have heard the first music from one or more of them. All we know for sure about the mysterious Sleepnet so far is that their first track is coming out on Vision, though the internet rumour mill is already churning with many suggesting the project is a collaboration between Noisia’s Nik and fellow Vision artist Former.

Whoever might be behind the project, the first track certainly bears the hallmarks of the Vision sound; intricate sound designs build tension on the intro before releasing into crunchy breakbeats and growling reese basses, though interestingly Angel Blade doesn’t feel like it’s been primed for the dancefloor as much as the home listening environment.

We’ll certainly be keeping our eyes peeled for more details (and more music) from Sleepnet…for now you can find Angel Blade at digital stores and streaming services.

Redpine & Solo – Citizen EP [Studio Rockers]

New material from Redpine & Solo is always a welcome sight in the Dojo inbox, and their latest work for Studio Rockers sees them on top form with a varied selection of styles and tempos.

Ranging from deep moody D&B on Citizen, through jazzy 160 explorations on the beautiful Re-Mind, into the industrial jungle darkness of Zoom Out (we’re guessing the guys aren’t big fans of video chat) and finishing with the serene ambient jam Nowhere, Sam and John are flexing their musical muscles to great effect here, and proving that D&B and Jungle are the framework within which many different musical ideas can be explored.

Citizen is out now via Studio Rockers – hit up Bandcamp to grab a copy.

San – Subject 9 [Rua Sound]

Rua Sound land with their tenth release this month and it comes from mystery artist San – described by the press release as “the jungle alias of a Bristol based techno producer”. Not sure if this will become the next Dawn Wall style D&B whodunnit, but in the meantime we have a pinch of intrigue, and a cracking new EP!

Subject 9 is certainly channelling classic jungle and drumfunk influences, but with a modern level of complexity that certainly doesn’t feel retro. Think of the atmospherics of Andy Skopes, the breakbeat intricacy of dgoHn and a pinch of Source Direct and you’re halfway there…eerie breakbeat jazz with hordes of character. We’ll let the music do the rest of the talking on this one; check out the clips below and hit up the Rua Bandcamp to grab the EP on vinyl or digital right now!