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.
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!
Russian neurofunk badboys Gydra come of age this month with their debut LP for Eatbrain. With releases for basically every major neuro imprint in the scene since their arrival in 2015, they’ve already established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in high-octane, futuristic D&B primed for the dancefloor. So what fresh delights does Snake Monastery have in store?
The answer, in short, is a big old pile of aggy, bassline focused neuro weaponry. What elevates the selection here among the horde of neurofunk hitting the digital stores every day is the relentless focus on detail and groove – every snare slap, bassline growl and FX sweep has been primed and poised for perfect impact.
The Gydra boys have more than a knack for a catchy riff to boot; tracks like Lava Run and Stoning give the likes of The Upbeats and Cause4Concern a serious run for their money. Special shout out too to for the deliciously funky breakbeat vibes on Poison Track; taking things back to the rave roots with a neuro twist!
Anyone expecting subtlety or reservation definitely won’t find it here but if you need something to stomp around your kitchen to in these dark times then Gydra are delivering the goods in spades. Hit up your favourite digital store to grab the album right now, or check out the Neuropunk store for a rather fetching wooden-boxed USB edition.
We live in deeply uncertain times right now, but thankfully some things can still be relied upon, and new material from Tokyo Prose falls firmly under that heading! New Zealand’s best liquid producer and one of a small handful across the scene that can legitimately be mentioned in the same breath as artists like Calibre…special stuff.
Sam’s latest work sees him making his debut on LSB’s footnotes imprint, which feels like an incredibly natural home for the deep, thoughtful music he produces; LSB is certainly a kindred spirit in this regard.
All four tracks are vintage Prose – if you’re expecting halftime curveballs or unlikely dark stompers you’ll likely be disappointed. What shouldn’t be disappointing is the effortless, hypnotic melodies on show, whether it’s the upbeat piano and jazz sax of Jacknife, the melancholy chords of Gossamer or the intricate progressions of Lights Down Low, a rare collaborative track with Satl.
Deft, subtle, joyous and thoughtful, Gossamer finds Tokyo Prose on top form, making unashamedly rolling and unashamedly emotional drum & bass. Can’t argue with that from where we’re standing! The EP is out now on vinyl and digital via the footnotes Bandcamp.
Having cut his teeth on some of Europe’s finest breeding ground imprints like Delta9 and Counterpoint, it’s no surprise that DLR has hand selected Molecular for his Sofa Sound imprint. This time though, we’re here to celebrate his latest single on London-based imprint Ekou Recordings.
The A-side Ultron combines Current Value style drum programming with eerie pads, stabs and strings, and even features a halftime switch up towards the end of the track. Over on the flip, Dunkin features a funky baseline with deft uses of reverb, stabs and vocals.
The Portuguese producer is on a steep trajectory now under the wing of one the finest producers of the 2010s. These two tracks may yet become significant formative material for a star of the 2020s. Hit up the EKOU Bandcamp to grab a copy right now!
Written by James Austin
John Frusciante definitely isn’t a name that many people would primarily associate with electronic music, given that he found fame as the guitarist of one of the biggest rock bands in the world – Red Hot Chili Peppers. From that perspective, this month’s release of a jungle album via the Timesig imprint (run by Venetian Snares) might seem like a surprising development, but it’s actually the logical progression of a musical direction a decade in the making.
Following his departure from RHCP in 2009, Frusciante became increasingly disinterested in traditional songwriting and refocused his efforts on electronic production and engineering. In the intervening decade he has given the world a slew of works spanning genres under different aliases – exploring synth pop, producing hip-hop for Wu-Tang affiliates Black Knights, and more recently releasing acid house and IDM under his Trickfinger alias.
All of which brings us to Maya, a body of work which he describes as being heavily influenced by 90s breakbeat hardcore and jungle. Thankfully though this isn’t a mere copycatting attempt; while you can hear a clear reverence for some of the genre hallmarks via some knowing sampling, there’s also a breadth of influences blended into the music, held together by the common thread of jungle drum programming.
The result is a collection of tracks that spans from mellow and beautiful, through darkly funky and into outright aggressive breakbeats assaults on the senses. This is jungle made by someone who appreciates jungle, but also appreciates so many other forms and styles of music; a refreshing antidote to the sometimes narrow echo-chamber of modern D&B production. If you’re looking for DJ friendly club tunes this definitely isn’t that, but if you’re willing to explore something a bit less conventional then the LP is a thoroughly rewarding listen.
Maya is out now on vinyl, CD and digital. Hit up Bandcamp or your favourite retailer to grab it now.
Machinedrum’s evolution over the years has been fascinating to follow. Active now for nearly 20 years, Travis Stewart’s musical journey has taken in most shades of what you might consider “bass” music; low-end weight and syncopated beats run throughout, but style, tempo and tone have varied wildly across many releases.
While previous releases have certainly flirted into the realms of 170, notably Vapor City (and some of the excellent remixes around that release from the likes of Om Unit), this is possibly the most “drum & bass” album we’ve heard yet from Machinedrum. Wait 4 U delivers silky rolling D&B soul, while Sleepy Pietro combines yearning piano with skittering drumfunk drum rhythms. We’re also treated to an effortlessly beautiful liquid roller in 1000 Miles with none other than Sub Focus on board in the studio.
Other tracks take in halftime, hip-hop, funk and plenty more for a colourful ride with plenty of ups and downs, and the album has been on heavy rotation here at Dojo HQ as a result; equal parts boom and beauty. A View of U is out now everywhere – check the clips below and hit this link for a vast selection of stores.
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.
Written by James Austin
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.
Written by James Austin