As if the recently released Grenfell LP from Nurtured Beatz wasn’t enough, another corner of the D&B community has come together to support the survivors of the Grenfell disaster via another packed charity album. The Love You Forever LP features a whopping 25 tracks of mostly dancefloor focused D&B from some of the biggest names in the game, including Whiney, Kenny Ken, Kasra & Enei, DJ Fresh, Genotype and many more. Hit up the iTunes store to grab a copy and help out this essential cause.
We’ve got a Damager special this week, taking a break from our usual single track selection to take a look at Current Value’s new LP for Critical Music, Biocellulose.
As you’d expect from one of the brightest talents in the scene and an alumni of the likes of Blackout Music, the engineering and technicality on show here is of a ridiculously high standard, but that’s not what makes the album stand out from the mass of high sheen but ultimately cookie-cutter neurofunk available in 2016.
The atmospherics and sound design detail are what really make this album shine; from the majestic synth intro of Phace collab Thump, through the eerie bleep-led buildup of Footwork and into the technoid strains of Vigilant Minds, there are so many fantastic sonic elements in Biocellulose to contrast and complement the stomping beats and basslines. Heft, sure, but with a side helping of beauty and intrigue.
Asides from recruiting Phace and Mefjus for a collab each, Critical have also grabbed some tasty remixes; Enei delivers a tough, rolling take on the savage Jump while Anode takes the angular danger of Pneumatics and flips it round into a Raiden-esque techo-D&B roller of impressive relentlessness. Overall it’s a wicked album and ample proof that dancefloor neurofunk can still hold hidden depths. Check out the clips below and hit up the Critical Store to grab a copy now!
Enei returns to Critical with his sophomore LP following up 2012’s excellent debut Machines. Rituals feels very much like a continuation of the themes found on Machines, with perhaps a slightly broader array of tones reflecting the evolution of Enei’s production in the intervening years.
The moody tech which formed so much of his debut LP (and indeed his discography) is still present here on tracks like Bad Proof and Iron Curtain, but there are also a selection of brighter cuts featuring some excellent vocalists. Frank Carter III (who you should recognise from Ivy Lab’s seminal tracks Oblique and Afterthought) turns in a typically deft and soulful performance on the playful, jazzy Moment of Now, while Charlie Brix steps up to the mic for up front roller Homeworld and the darker and more introspective Just One Look.
It wouldn’t be a Critical LP without a few label roster collaborations and these don’t disappoint either. Kasra & DRS get on board for a pessimistic ode to the music industry on Lessons, providing one of the album’s punchiest tracks. Elsewhere Foreign Concept gets involved on the more melodic and contemplative Forgotten Planet,fellow Russian producer Eastcolors joins Enei for the raved up flavours of Jungle Business and neuro badman Mefjus climbs aboard for the typically relentless Dead Space.
Polished and punchy but with more than enough variation to keep things interesting, this is a solid album from a producer at the top of his game. Check out a minimix of the album’s tracks below and hit up the Critical Store to pre-order on your pick of physical and digital formats; the LP drops Friday 4th December.
Critical’s latest sees label boss Kasra teaming up with Russian production stalwart Enei for an EP of varied tracks tied together by that heavyweight Critical sound. Kicking off with the stomping 85BPM hip-hop of Inside The Box, seguing into minimal halftime on Words and then heading for rolling territory on the excellent DRS-vocaled Overthinking, they clearly didn’t want this EP to fall into any obvious sub-genre pigeon-holes.
Out into the digital exclusives we’re treated to more dark minimalism on Arcana followed by a straight up tech thumper on Greed, which is sure to be smashing up the dance over the coming weeks. Another great release from one of the most influential labels in the scene – hit up the Critical store to grab this on vinyl and digital right now.
If you feel like doing something charitable this festive season (and you think that Bob Geldof should do one) then Critical Music have the answer! Kasra’s label have collected together a full album of tracks from the label’s usual suspects and all you have to do to get your mits on it is head over here and donate some money to Oxfam.
The LP features a selection of stomping new tracks from Enei, Mefjus, Foreign Concept, Halogenix, Emperor, Kasra, Hyroglifics and Klax, and the quality is every bit as high as you’d expect from the Critical stable. Check out the clips below and give generously!
The eleventh installment in our exclusive mix series comes from Avantgarde alumni Hanzo & Randie. The duo celebrate their forthcoming track for the label’s Theory of the Avantgarde LP with a tasty mix focussing on the techier end of the D&B spectrum but still with place for melody and soul. Check it out via Mixcloud below or head to Hearthis.at for streaming and Dropbox for a download.
Inward – Monochrome (Avantgarde dub)
Cern – Tiamat (Dispatch)
Ulterior Motive – Longshot (Metalheadz)
Dabs – Objection (Dispatch)
Break & DLR – New Design (Symmetry)
Concept Vision & Segment – Deserted (Blackout)
Alix Perez, Phace, Misanthrop – Burn Out (Shogun Audio)
Enei – Hot Plate (Critical)
Dabs, ArpXP & Grotesque – Keep Shut (Avantgarde dub)
Spinline and Hydro – Perimeter (Demand)
EBK – Strength (Dispatch)
Break – Love So True (Symmetry)
Enei and Emperor – Liberation (Critical)
Inward, Hanzo & Randie – Tetra (Redlight)
Concept Vision & Segment – Mindshaker (Blackout)
Signs – Desert Storm (Cause 4 Concern)
Maztek – Limber (Renegade Hardware)
Noisia – Running Blind (Vision)
Stealth ft. Codebreaker – Nightfall (RAM)
DLR and Script ft. Martyna Baker – Blue room (Metalheadz)
Hybris, Quadrant, D-Struct & Iris – Graphene (Dispatch)
Animal Defection – Arcadia (Avantgarde dub)
Kasra & Enei – Breath (Critical)
Blu Mar Ten – In Your Eyes (Ulterior Motive Remix) (Blu Mar Ten)
DLR, Nymfo, Need for Mirrors and HLZ – Totem (Dispatch)
Heavy1 & P-Fine – Melee (Avantgarde dub)
Hanzo, Randie & Bayou – Totentanz (Avantgarde dub)
Foreign Concept – Ask yourself (Critical)
Sabre and Riya – Injustice (Critical)
Enei returns to Critical Music with a great new EP featuring six dynamic new cuts straddling various styles of D&B. Goliath opens the EP with a jungle-break workout imbued with a great DRS verse and some nice bass and FX stabs. The Artefact proves an entirely different beast, opening up with soundscapey pads and a tribal kick beat and evolving into a morphing landscape of bass and breaks which seems to have been crafted for love rather than any kind of dancefloor sensibilities, and is all the better for it.
Prometheus on the other hand certainly has both feet planted firmly on the dancefloor; bass swells and a hypnotic melody build tension on the intro before we’re hit with a stomping beat and a fuzzy bassline. While possibly the least interesting composition on the EP, there’s no arguing with the heft and groove of it.
Hotplate switches things up once again, keeping the trademark Enei eery synths but placing the emphasis on frenetic loop chopping and drum edits a plenty; imagine Stray’s recent material for Exit but with a techier edge. Woodrunner slaps down an infectious full-roll beat with some interesting percussion samples over a simple but effective sub line. Last but by no means least, Get Low combines hefty sub drops with a plodding trap-style drum line, filling in the gaps with skittering jungle loops.
Check out the clips of the EP below and head over to Surus to grab the EP on vinyl or digital now! Worldwide release will follow from June 9th.
Critical Music are back with a vengeance with the Underground Sonics LP, a various artists compilation straddling all the styles of Drum & Bass via 18 tracks of cutting edge 170 BPM production from the label’s extended family. The compilation sees many artists exploring new territory away from their usual styles, to interesting effect.
Dub Phizix turns in an unusually mellow and unusually rolling beat in the form of The Clock Ticks, while Ivy Lab up the ante compared to their previous releases with a tougher and more energetic beat paired with the musicality we’ve come to know and love from the trio. Foreign Concept teams up with DRS to turn in the dark, skanking, hip-hop influenced halfstep of Falling Stars while Sam Binga and Redders blend trap, footwork and ragga to great effect on Lef Dem.
Elsewhere we’re treated to two surprising collaborations from tech heavyweights, with InsideInfo and Mefjus turning in a surprisingly minimal slice of tribal tech with Repentance while Noisia & The Upbeats put aside their usual aggression for a hypnotic deep liquid roller on Little Fling. Fans of brutal tech need not worry though – Stealth and Phace are both on hand to provide the dancefloor darkness, as are Emperor & Centra with the huge digital exclusive The Saboteur.
Enei and Kasra turn in a selection of characteristically heavy hitting beats, while Stray and Halogenix look to the experimental/hyperactive end of the spectrum with their individual takes on frantic drum syncopation with a footwork bent. Finally Blocks and Escher give Enei’s Thinline the old school tech workover with a huge beat and some serious menace on the low end.
Overall it’s hard to argue with this as the first essential release of 2014. Check out the tracks below and grab yourself a copy now from the Critical Surus store.
Stealth presents the latest episode of the Subtitles Music podcast, dropping a tidy selection of beats from the likes of Hybris, Ulterior Motive, Enei, Octane & DLR, Icicle and Ivy Lab. Deep, dark and rolling, just how we like it!
DNB Dojo head honcho Hex brings us a 40 minute mix all vinyl mix for the Sun & Bass DJ Competition spanning deep, drumfunk, liquid, techstep and neurofunk D&B. The tracklist speaks for itself with old classics sitting alongside new material – check it out now via Mixcloud.
Mode – Stats [Ingredients]
Fracture & Neptune – Get Lost [Astrophonica]
Paradox – Crate Logic [Paradox Music]
Subtension – Changes [Samurai Music]
Digital & Spirit – Backlach (Digital & Spirit Rework) [Phanton Audio]
Photek – Ni Ten Ichi Ryu (Teebee Remix) [Photek Productions]
DJ Trax – Syncopation [Outsider]
Vicious Circle & Nocturnal – Skylark [Quarantine]
T.E.E.D. – Household Goods (Enei Remix) [TEED]
dBridge & Vegas – True Romance [Metalheadz]
Martyn – Virgo [Play:musik]
Lenzman – Empty Promise [Metalheadz]
Calibre – Sick Of It All [Signature]
Amit – Killer Driller [Metalheadz]
Ulterior Motive & Judda – Timekeeper (Calyx & Teebee Remix) [Subtitles]
Phace & Noisia – MPD [Neosignal]
Mefjus – Signalz [Critical]
Apex – Inner Space [Subtitles]