Source Direct Remasters

Source Direct are often heralded as a top notch act in the history of Drum & Bass, having garnered critical acclaim as well as massive respect from Drum & Bass listeners across the board. To this day, their sound has gone largely unmatched.

We are reminded of the one-of-a-kind Source Direct sound (unless you keep their music in your usual rotation like I do) by the eclectic offering of their illustrious catalogue that has been recently remastered and released on the Odysee Recordings Bandcamp page in the last two weeks.

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Kimyan Law – Zawadi LP [Blu Mar Ten]

Reviewers often fall back on old adages about “that difficult second album” when reviewing an artist’s sophomore full length, but such adages definitely aren’t needed when discussing Zawadi, Kimyan Law’s follow up to his exceptional 2014 debut Coeur Calme. The 21 year old producer’s work continues to show a confidence, style and eccentricity well beyond his years, and the album is an absolute joy from start to finish.

As with his first LP (and indeed the other scattered tracks that have surfaced in between) Zawadi is wide ranging in it’s influences and sonic textures, an aural melting pot taking in African music, jazz, pop, garage, jungle and who knows what else. Lush natural instrumentation combines with club influences, like on the unusual, amen-tinged glitchyness of Yore Dub or Motsa collaboration Citadelle, which sounds like something Burial might come up with if he’d found a xylophone and could be bothered to work on his mixdowns.

Elsewhere Luba sees Kimyan reconnecting with his tribal roots for a beautifully simple composition consisting almost entirely of natural percussion and chanted vocals, while album closer White Moth Anthem takes a leaf from the LA bass book to explore a lurching, low slung hip-hop jam with tons of swing and a haunting set of synth textures.

There’s plenty of space elsewhere for more conventional D&B outings, whether on soft, liquid-y Phentix collab Mondegreen, stripped back roller Lavender or the deep halftime groove of September. Even on the more fast paced cuts all of Kimyan’s material retains a softness; sharp edged hyper-clean production this is not. The use of organic instrumentation gives everything not just a unique character but a general effortlessness, and the use of space and reverb give the album a profoundly cinematic quality.

More than anything this album is an emotional, evocative collection of material that bears all the hallmarks of a young musician pouring his being into his music. Genuine, engrossing, enthralling and colourful throughout, this might just be the best album you hear this year. Check out the clips below and hit up the BMT Store to grab it on vinyl, CD or digital right now.

Royalston – People On The Ground [Med School]

Royalston is one of the many highlights of Med School’s diverse roster, and with good reason; his prolific and unusual take on D&B continues to be a breath of fresh air in a scene with far too many copycats and producers all too willing to stick to the well trodden path.

His second full length for the label in as many years is full of eclectic delights, with a plethora of influences coming together across the fifteen tracks, bound together by meaty 170BPM underpinnings. The willingness to play with the formula only adds to the impression that Royalston has very much found his stride, confident in his own ability to experiment and express.

The titular People On The Ground proves to be one of the highlights, building up through a piano led, trip-hopy first verse before tearing out into an unexpectedly massive second drop. Elsewhere we’re treated to the eminently bright and chunky Blight Mamba, the creepy synths and insistent tribal rhythms of I Saw The Face Of  A Person and the madcap, helter skelter breaks of XOR to name but a few.

While phrases like “tore up the rule book” and other similar hyperbole are vastly overused in reviews and press releases alike, it’s certainly true that Royalston’s work walks an interesting line; the tracks here feel fairly DJ friendly in structure but certainly aren’t bound by traditional D&B tropes to any great extent. Indeed that he manages to walk this line is quite a feat in itself, let alone that the results are so pleasing.

DJs looking to throw the crowd a few curveballs and listeners looking for a break from predictable 2-step rollers should definitely check this out; even in a year of strong D&B albums, this one stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of them. Check out the album minimix below for a flavour of the tracks and hit up the Hospital Store to grab it on vinyl, CD or digital now.

Klute – You Won’t Like It [Commercial Suicide]

It’s always a good day when fresh beats from Klute land in the Dojo inbox, and it seems we’ll be hearing plenty from the Commercial Suicide boss this year as he celebrates 20 years in the game with a slew of singles and EPs leading up to an album at the end of the year.

The first of those single releases sees Tom exploring his more musical side, with all the tracks bringing melody to the fore rather than focussing on bassline danger. The coyly titled You Won’t Like It (a finger flip to the haters?) fashions a groove from all sorts of unusual FX and synth sounds, producing D&B with more than a hint of IDM and experimental electronica to it.

Rays brings the lush synth work and beautiful melody that Klute does so well and layers it over a backbone of tough breaks, providing the single’s most dancefloor friendly track, leaving Be Good To The Ones (You Love) to close out the release with a bouncy rhythm and beautiful chiming melody that gives the track an almost chidlike innocence and enthusiasm.

It’s great to hear that Klute hasn’t lost his ability to innovate even over two decades of production! Check out the clips below and watch out for this dropping on digital and vinyl from Jan 23rd – preorders are available now via the Commercial Suicide store.

If you’re itching for a bit more Klute then look no further than his recent mix for the Bassic Agency – an hour of impecable selections spanning all the styles of D&B.

Evolution of the Giraffe LP [Diffrent Music]

Purveyors of all things eclectic Diffrent Music celebrate their 20th release with a various artists LP featuring a varied cuts from the extended label family. The tone of the material varies greatly, from the beautiful, laid-back beats of Fybe:one and Kolectiv, through the slouching, tripped out dub of Jekyll’s Horcurso and out into the brutalised industrial bass and heavy snares of M-Zine, Skepticz & Mtwn’s Choices.

The common thread is that almost all the tracks on the album eschew the familiar drum patterns of most D&B compositions in search of percussive innovation, the only real exception being Arkaik’s broody stepper Wax. If you’re looking for DJ friendly crowd pleasers this definitely isn’t a collection of them, but it’s proof that the 170 tempo range continues to be a hotbed for experimentation and truly interesting music. Watch out for this dropping via CD and digital from December 9th.

To celebrate the release of the album Diffrent are throwing a party in London this Friday. With a stellar lineup of the label’s best producers and tickets available for only a tenner, those in the nation’s capital should be sure to check it out – details over on Facebook here. As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also giving away a free track from Fybe:One – check it out below and head to the Diffrent Facebook for your download.