Evolutions Vol. 4 [Blackout]

Blackout have just released their latest compilation in the Evolutions series, featuring tracks by Synergy, Cruk, Kolt, Fre4knc & Corteks, Disprove & Merikan and Ordure. The EP-length compilation brings the classic label sound that fans have come to expect, with fast, grimy basslines and evil samples.

The EP opens with Overdose by Synergy, a track which tricks the listener into thinking that it will be lighthearted and on the techno side, but the drop makes quick work of that. With a surprising sample from Method Man and Redman’s How High, the bass and synths kick in with brain-scrambling speed and accuracy. Said synths and some of the breaks in this track are reminiscent of earlier techstep, ca. 2003. With lashings of techno keyboards and the heavy drops, this track merges old and new in a fun, definitely Blackout-style way.

The album closer, Strike by Odure, is not nearly the amalgam that Overdose is, with hard-hitting drums, an alien-style synth track and little else, but it’s aggressive and fast-paced and once again shows the range of Blackout artists and styles. The rest of the tracks also showcase this diversity. Triet Munt by Fre4knc and Corteks starts out with an industrial-sounding intro but then smoothly merges into a tight neuro drum track. Cruk’s Full Tilt is much more techy with old rave samples, while Kolt’s Bloodsport is theatrical and warm, even featuring MC work by Coppa. Last but not least, Circle of Confusion by Disprove and Merikan is another highly syncopated grinder.

The Evolutions series, seems to be intent on bringing the characteristic Blackout sound, interpreted by different producers. This compilation, as is always the case with Blackout, brings the most technically strong production work in drum and bass today. Evolutions Vol. 4 can be streamed on the Blackout Soundcloud page or purchased on the label’s website.

Written by Layla Marino

Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science
Twitter/IG: @dropweirdsci

Fre4knc – Systems 002 [Critical]

Critical’s Systems series continues with it’s second instalment coming from Dutch techstep innovator Fre4knc. Fans of the man’s style should know what to expect here; dark textures abound with a generally threatening tone but there’s still innovation to be found within that niche.

Highlights come on the ominous halftime of Mongoose-vocalled opener This Misery, the bouncy swung riddim of Fender Bender and minimal drum workout Rebus. Tasty business all round! Check out the clips below and hit up the Critical Store to grab a copy right now.

Fre4knc – Chain Of Command / Sinjek [Plasma Audio]


Australian creative collective Plasma present their third release and this time it’s dutch tech producer Fre4knc on the buttons. Fans of the man’s style will know what to expect – dark, energetic vibes all the way, with Chain of Command providing the roller while Sinjek heads for deeper, more ominous territory on a half-time tip. Impressively engineered and ominous in tone, it’s another impressive release from a producer who should be in for a solid year. Look for these dropping from April 20th.

If you’re looking for more from Fre4knc be sure to check out his guest mix for Dispatch Recordings below – it’s a fine selection of new beats and classic tracks alike.

Amoss & Fre4knc – Oxide [Dispatch Recordings]


It has been too long by half since the last Amoss release; with the exception of some appearances on the Horizons Ten LP it’s been nearly a year since their last output, and longer still since their last release for Dispatch back in 2012. Naturally news of fresh material was, ahem, music to our ears (bad-um-psh) and their latest work sees them at the top of their game.

Lead track Oxide comes with added Fre4knc, a match up that makes perfect sense given both parties tendencies in the direction of dark, militant sounding techstep. Growling bass detail and heavy kicks and snares laid over a backdrop of creepy FX and atmospherics make for a tidy little outing.

Hold Back proves to be all about the drums, with tense, insistent cymbal rolls shuffling between an angular rhythm. Last up, Skittles sounds like a homage to the classic late 90s techstep of Photek, stripping back the bass to dark punchy stabs  over a rolling break.

As usual it’s difficult to argue with Amoss and Dispatch! Check out the clips below and hit up the Dispatch store to pre-order this one on vinyl or digital ahead of the Mar 30th release.

Jungle War!

Anyone who keeps an eye on the Grime scene (or indeed, just the likes of FACT magazine) will probably be familiar with last years War Dubs contest. Over the last few days a new war has begun, but this time it’s Jungle producers clashing over Soundcloud; amens at the ready then! What started as Epoch calling out Sully and Etch has rapidly escalated into a massive clash with the likes of Om Unit, Fre4knc, Moresounds, Amoss, Dexta and many more. You can hear a few of the Dojo favourites below, and if you’re keen to hear more head over to Soundcloud where you can find well over 300 jungle war dubs! All credit to DSZ intel for compiling the playlist.

Invisible 007 [Invisible Recordings]

Noisia’s Invisible Recordings imprint returns with another various artists EP showcasing the deeper side of the 170BPM spectrum. Nickbee returns to the imprint with a rolling slice of tech with plenty of atmosphere, but to be honest the other tracks on the release prove far more interesting.

Bop and Diagram’s Abstract Elements collaboration make their first appearance on the label with the angular microfunk of PMS!!!, complete with one of the oddest samples I’ve heard in a tune for some time. Fre4knc serves up a dark, industrial slice of half-step business with some interesting rhythms on Cardiome, and finally Berlin duo Survey deliver a distinctly tribal sounding rhythm in the form of Swim.

Check out the clips below and watch out for this dropping on vinyl from Monday with digital following on the 26th.

Fre4knc – Tellurian EP [Samurai Music]

Fans of the tough, dark and minimal end of the D&B spectrum should already be familiar with Fre4knc (that’s pronounced “frequency”, right?). His latest EP for Samurai continues his trend for a sound which mixes darkness and precision to great effect.

Opener Tellurian strikes down with insistent tribal rhythms, while The Source makes great play of an alternation between dubby half-time beats and schizophrenic drum break syncopations as scratchy old breaks are pushed to the limits. Drumfunk heads are in for a treat with this one! Finally Flink rounds the EP off with a mean combination of hefty sub hits, an infectious scattershot lead and crisp, rapid drum rolls.

As usual from the Samurai camp the release is available on beautiful marbled wax and both the physical package and the music contained within are pretty damn stunning. Pre-orders are up now at Surus and the release drops on Monday 10th March.

Various – Invisible 006 [Invisible]

Noisia’s Invisible imprint continues to showcase the experimental side of drum & bass. Nickbee opens the salvo with the sublime Third Entity; beautiful atmospherics on the intro give way to monstrous bass stabs and some super crisp percussion work throughout the track gives it that polish that separates the 1% from the rest of the D&B scene. 

Axon moves things along with the hyper syncopated trap-infused sounds of STTR – comparatively stripped back but packed full of rhythm and an infectious groove. Noisia themselves contribute the cinematic sounds of The Tower, drenched in gloom and a beat pattern so sparse it’s almost non-existent, and Fre4knc closes things out with a tidy sub-heavy stepper.

Check out the beats below and grab this on vinyl or digital now from your favourite outlet.

Mindmapper & Fre4knc – Martial Manners EP [Translation]

US label Translation have delivered a great little EP this month from Mindmapper & Fre4knc. Equal parts grit and soul, the EPs tracks combine nice use of melodic overlays and soft pads with growling low end tight drum arrangements, and showcases a variety of styles, from the grimey stepper vibes of Collesius through the floatier vibes of Shutter Angel and out into the offbeat amen-tinged half-step of Mind of Steel. These boys are definitely ones to watch for 2013 and beyond!

Check out the tracks below and grab yourself a copy on vinyl or digital from the Translation Bandcamp page.