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.
When it comes to pristine A&R, Blu Mar Ten Music might just be the most consistent label in the scene. Chris’s knack for signing innovative artists to produce albums is pretty much unparalleled, and every single one has been superb, from the cinematic depths of Conduct, to the eclectic sounds of Kimyan Law and through the dark jazz of RQ. Now we can add another name to that list, as Akuratyde drops his debut long player for the label following on from his excellent Embrace EP back in 2015.
Tonally the album occupies a similar space to that EP; a mixture of natural instrumentation and synthetic elements, soft but warm tones, and bright, uplifting atmospheres. Where the LP differs though is in the tempo and energy of the compositions – where Embrace leaned towards the ultra-deep, autonomic-esque end of the beat spectrum, Past Lives isn’t afraid to bring in more up-tempo percussion and heavier bassline elements.
That trademark Akuratyde depth is still present though, and while there are more obviously “drum & bass” numbers by way of Monika collab Come True and sublime break-driven roller Lost Summer, the rest of the tracks tread that middle ground between more autonomic and even ambient territory and full tempo rollers, with breathtaking results.
Overall this is a stunning debut from a producer who can make detailed and intricate compositions sound gliding and effortless, and despite the obvious production effort that’s gone into the album it never feels over-engineered; no mean feat in the current age of D&B. Check out the previews below and hit up the BMT store to grab a copy on vinyl or digital 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…
Russian producer Still has really impressed us with his latest EP for Diffrent Music; weird and wonderful soundscapes, crazy sound effects and hints of techno play into a truly innovative selection of electronica on the fringes of the D&B sound. We caught up and asked the man for his Top 5 influences; check it out for a walk on the weirder side of the sonic spectrum.
The prolific and unpredictable Mr Hiatus returns with another EP on his own Free Love Digi imprint next month and we’ve got the exclusive on closing track The First Time Was The Last. Quirky melodic flourishes blend with garage style beats for a typically experimental take on the 170BPM sound from one of America’s most talented underground musicians. Check it!
We’ve got something a little different for your ears today as we present the premiere of The Levels stunning new remix of Nuage – Shining. For anyone not familiar with The Levels, it’s the collaborative project of Loxy, Resound and Alia Fresco, and their take Nuage’s original blends pop, R&B and years of D&B experience for a shimmering and understated rework with tons of soul.
Watch out for this dropping from August 5th alongisde remixes from Blu Mar Ten, Bop and Nuage on Translation Recordings, vinyl and digital.
Ortem have been really impressing us here at the Dojo since their first release landed in January and their latest EP is no exception. The label’s fourth release sees owner and previously sole producer Metro step aside to welcome the elusive Books to the catalogue, and the results are an absolute treat for fans of the deeper end of 170BPM music.
The EP’s style centres around halftime D&B but brings in influences from IDM and the leftfield electronic arena, with floaty pads and glitchy drums giving the tracks a distinct sound from the Clarity copycats churning out gloomy “dark” halftime.
The compositions are sparse but still detailed, with elements given plenty of space to breathe, and the results are soft and faintly hypnotic. Our favourite here at Dojo HQ has to be the calming microfunk-esque Pseudo with it’s perfect combo of percussion and ambience, but all four tracks are top notch. Check out the clips below and hit up the Ortem Bandcamp to grab a copy right now.
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.