In times of hardship such as what we’re currently seeing in the world, a respite, an escape, is sorely needed. Today we dig deep to find a 1997 Drum & Bass gem by Parallax that can offer a breath of fresh air. This delightfully mellow A-Side comes from the archives of Urban Flavour Records, the brainchild of Tricksta, that would eventually evolve into Nu-Directions – a label that featured notable artists including ASC, Need for Mirrors, and BCee, among others.
Watercolours paints a picture of rich tones filled with pleasing, even pensive, auras. Gentle stabs punctuate phrases that emanate vibrant, ambient acuity. This song glides about with an elegant air, aided by tasteful piano and synth runs. A pure bassline and smart breaks congeal into a jazzy groove that breathes a dynamic spirit into the track. And that switch-up in the latter half? A stroke of genius. A much needed escape, indeed!
For all that we love a classic 2-step roller, one of the things that makes D&B in 2018 so exciting is the diversity of releases within the scene, and particularly those releases which blur the boundaries between what is traditionally considered “drum & bass” and other areas of electronica. So then, to the new Books LP for Detuned Transmissions…
Following on aptly from 2016’s Ensō EP for Ortem, the Station LP explores the deepest chasms of the 170 sound, working with ominous atmospherics and plodding halftime drums for a sound that owes as much to ambient, techno, industrial and noise as it does to D&B or jungle. That cross-section of influences has been melted down in some other-worldly sonic furnace, and the results are stark, ominous, bizarre and rewarding in equal measure.
From the creaking bass vibrations of halftime stomper Block1, via the throbbing textures of Endless Depths, through the biting drums of 7.7766 Gauss and out into the beatless space of Hopeless Unromantic, this album is a journey through soundscapes that while tonally dark and somewhat minimal are nonetheless rich and detailed. A desire to experiment with no consideration for the needs of the dancefloor or the DJ booth has led Books to produce a body of work designed purely for listening, and it’s all the more powerful for that focus.
The Station LP is out now at a variety of digital stores; follow this link to grab a copy.
Alphacut has always been a great source of the deeper end of D&B, and their new EP from DYL is no exception. Infinite Dylays (do you see what they did there?) spans a wealth of deep and atmospheric 170 sounds, presenting DYL’s finest work to date, at least to our ears here at DNB Dojo.
From the spacey cinematic halftime of We, through the microfunk influences of Ioana and into the harsh, beatless industrial soundscapes of Space Program, DYL plays with both light and dark and a variety of different sonic textures. Over on the flip we’re treated to the ominous tones and skittering percussion of Mechanism, techno influences on Undefined and spooky halftime vibrations on final track Alpha.
Overall Infinite Dylays presents a proper journey through some of the richest experimental D&B you’re likely to hear this year, and it’s definitely worth your time. Check out the clips below and hit up Redeye to grab a copy on wax right now…
Mav’s Scientific Records imprint returns with the third volume of their excellent Chilling On The Couch LP series and we’re extremely pleased to have the exclusive premiere of the album opener! Bop and Oak serve up a delicious remix of Naibu’s Fighting For Attention under their Microfunk Crew alias, crafting a serene rework in their inimitable style. Absolutely beautiful! Look for the album coming September 7th featuring tracks from Mav, Bungle, mSdoS and many more…
Today’s premiere comes courtesy of Melbourne electronic artist Seas of Grease. Taken from his debut self-titled LP, Sojourn provides an unusually uptempo interlude amongst a mostly ambient /downtempo album. That softer atmosphere is retained on this track too though, with lush synth work set to a driving D&B backbone. Check it out below and hit up his Bandcamp to grab the whole album right now.
Bristol producer Ethos is on the buttons for our latest premiere as we present an exclusive slice of jungle-tinged goodness coming soon to Silent Dust’s None60 imprint. Injustice blends floaty pads and atmospheres, vinyl crackle and satisfyingly crusty breakbeats for a slightly retro sounding track; think a pinch of LTJ Bukem crossed with the recent productions of Sully and Dead Man’s Chest and you’re close. Check it out and watch for the release dropping Oct 27th.
UK producer Paradox has just released his latest 12″ single under his more chilled-out pseudonym, Alaska. While Solace is a sparse, sort of liquid drum and bass track with funky vocals and Paradox’s omnipresent jungle-style drums, Earthloop is a downtempo, almost trip hop-like track with slow, jazzy snares and beautiful, wintry synths. Paradox himself calls Solace “a sequence of sad violin loops set the tone over fast breaks and strings”, which is certainly accurate, but Alaska fans should be sure to check out Earthloop as well for its complexity and incredibly clean production.
Paradox as Alaska has created something really special with this release, conjuring a completely different vibe from his more well-known releases, and his continued dedication to high-quality 12″ presses makes this single as highly prized as anything else he’s put out under his main moniker.
The Solace/Earthloop single is already sold out in vinyl form on the Alaska Bandcamp page, but it appears to still be available on the Samurai/Arctic Music Group website. Check out the clips below and go grab a copy while you still can!
The Finnish experimental drum and bass artist Fanu has just released his 10th album, The Silent Watcher. He seems pretty jazzed about it, and he should be. By his own admission, Fanu decided to use some older techniques on this record, and it really comes through. Snares and classic 90s-style D&B drum combos are employed on tracks like album opener Five Ounces and Otherworld. The snare and drum combo on Otherworld is so thick, in fact, that drum and bass heads worth their salt will wonder if this track is a re-issue of a mid-90s track. Also pervasive are the many and sundry vocal samples from TV shows and movies, another 90s staple.
The Silent Watcher isn’t all about vintage beats and vocal sample cuts, however. It appears Fanu, a more than 20-year veteran in the D&B game, is examining the history of this genre and, effectively, his own history right the way through to present time. Paracosm Part 2, for example, blends a modern half-time beat with grimy bass grind-downs the like of which have not been seen since the early noughties. The smoothed-out Presence even hearkens back to early dubstep, while album closer Agenda goes full-on ambient.
There’s a little something for every time period of drum and bass on this album, and it’s nice to see Fanu playing with all the eras he’s loved the most as well. The Silent Watcher is available to stream or purchase on Fanu’s Bandcamp, Discogs and Beatport pages and on the Lightless Recordings Soundcloud page.
After a short hiatus, Blu Mar Ten Music are back with more effortlessly beautiful music, this time from US producer Akuratyde. The Embrace EP occupies the same sort of musical space as artists like Kiyoko or Ulrich Schnauss; glistening pads, an air of melancholy and the influence of ambient and IDM characterise the recordings far more than the influence of conventional D&B, particularly on the EP’s first two tracks. Embrace and Lights In My Eyes both relegate beats and bass to a modest supporting role behind the swathes of reverb drenched chords and lush sonic imagery, creating a sense of distance and longing.
The second half of the EP sees a slight shift towards more beat driven compositions, with Time Left Behind exploring the halftime tempo with crisp but understated percussion under a warm blanket of sub bass and blissful echoing melodies. Sway closes the EP out with what could well be a love letter to Seba or Blu Mar Ten themselves, the release’s most “D&B” track. As usual Blu Mar Ten Music are right on the pulse, bringing us fantastically creative work from a new name we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on in future! Check out the clips below and hit up the Blu Mar Ten Bandcamp to grab a copy right now.
Kiwi producer and sound-design artist Koronis isn’t a name I’ve come across before, but it’s certainly one I’ll be keeping an eye on in future based on the strength of his latest LP project The Replicant. Bringing together creepy atmospherics more common to dark ambient and crisp techstep minimalism, the resulting tracks have a bleakness and intrigue which draws the listener in impressively.
The LP’s first half focuses on more conventional drum & bass patterns, and while not unduly dancefloor focussed features three tracks which wouldn’t feel out of place in a “room 2” set from the likes of Amoss or Cern. Tough amens, intricate drum patterns and a gloomy vibe pervades the material here nicely.
The second half takes things far more abstract, dropping the beats almost entirely to focus on sound design and texture, with powerful ambience and use of atonal melodies taking the tone to a deeper and almost spiritual place. Koronis is tapping into the cross section between dark D&B and dark ambient for a truly unique experience here, not least on the haunting tones of Kara, the LP’s final track.
For those who enjoy exploring the less than beaten paths at the fringes of drum & bass, I can’t recommend this record enough. Check out the video mix below for a flavour of the material and watch out for the LP dropping later this year on vinyl and digital.