Portsmouth producer Kusp is someone we’ve had an eye on for a while. Through a slow trickle of releases for Authentic, Context and now Lynx’s Detail Recordings imprint, he’s slowly been carving a rep as a versatile producer capable of slinging traditional 2-step rollers and bassy halftime growlers alike. As he gears up for his debut album on Detail, we asked Kusp to give us the rundown of his top 5 halftime cuts. Check it out…
Material from Emperor’s recent Dispositions LP gets the remix treatment on the latest release from Critical, and true to form the label have delivered a really interesting selection for the EP. For our money you should just ignore the Phace remix; as weighty as it is it’s predictable fare and far from the most interesting work we’ve heard from the German neuro powerhouse.
Klax on the other hand have absolutely excelled themselves with their remix of Made of Light, taking the original’s moody vocal and setting it to a halftime beat punctuated with grime-tinged synth swells and some serious bassweight. This one positively swaggers along as the synth lines stalk through the mix, and the energy levels are kept high despite the plodding drum pace; top notch mid-set switch-up material.
Ivy Lab are next up and once again on a half time flex, flipping Jounce around from a full roll neuro workout into a hypnotic, bouncing slice of intergalactic hip-hop that just oozes character. Smooth melodies and warm low end reverberations make for a serious head-nodder. Last up we’re treated to the softest of renditions as Made of Light gets the accoustic treatment, stripped back to nothing but Solah’s beautiful vocal and a moving piano line. Something a little different from the usual Emperor material! Check out the clips below and hit up the Critical Store to grab the EP on vinyl or digital now.
Flexout have crafted quite a name for themselves as purveyors of high quality, underground D&B leaning towards the grittier end of the sound, but their latest venture has seen them branch out with a new series called Waves focussed on the bass-heavy halftime hip-hop sound associated with Noisia and Ivy Lab, among others. To find out a bit more about the series we hit up Tom Retraflex for a chat…
Once again we’ve been inundated with quality music in the Dojo inbox and despite the bonus extra day February has vanished before we could write it all up! Here’s some coverage of the best of the rest including new music from Alix Perez & Ivy Lab, Calibre, Hanover, SCAR, Bone and more…
Ivy Lab’s sonic journey since the trio’s pre-alias collaboration in 2012 on the sublime Oblique has been a treat to watch. While initially known for silky smooth liquid rollers, it didn’t take the Lab long to start experimenting with a distinctly different style of beats that they refer to loosely as “halftime”, starting with the infamous Sunday Crunk and continuing with many of the tracks on the Twenty Questions EP.
That “halftime” moniker really doesn’t do the style justice though, especially since it’s a term used to describe a lot of the deeper, half tempo music created by producers like Homemade Weapons and Cirrus that has little if anything to do with the hip-hop infused sound that Sabre, Stray and Halogenix have pioneered. “Halftime Hip-hop” might be closer to the truth, but as yet noone has really found a suitable handle for their mixture of LA bass, crunk, hip-hop and glitch.
All of this brings us to now, and Ivy Lab’s decision to separate this “halftime” material from their more traditional D&B excursions, start their own 20/20 label and release a full album of it. With nary a 2-step breakbeat in sight (or should that be earshot?) this is a firm division of styles, with the trio already having stated that we can expect more D&B via Critical Music in the future.
The results here should definitely appeal to fans of EPROM, Alix Perez, and anyone who appreciates the swagger and funk of this style of beats. Low end heft, sexy vocal cut ups and great use of space define a confident and exciting sound from a production team that surely have tons more to show us. Get your groove on with 20/20 Volume One – you won’t regret it! The album is out now via the 20/20 website, and there’s a sick album mix by none other than the legendary DJ Craze below.
Critical return with two fresh new remixes which you’ll likely have heard if you’ve been at a Critical Sound event recently. Mefjus takes the gold here with a thundering mix of Ivy Lab’s Sunday Crunk; all the swagger of the original with plenty of extra bass growl and some tasty little drum rolls for extra energy.
Ivy Lab return the favour with a remix of Blame You, blending the soulful vocal elements with chunky rolling tech and a hint of funk in the breaks for good measure.
As usual you can pick this up on vinyl or digital via the Critical Store where you can also find a deluxe bundle featuring stickers and slipmats! Move fast if you’re after this on wax; we can’t see copies hanging around on the shelves for long.
The unmistakeable production trio that is Ivy Lab are back with another fine selection for Critical Music, and they’re continuing to push their sound in all the right directions. As you’d expect, there are a couple of superb deep rollers (of which Gomeisa is the Dojo favourite), but there’s also a meaty slab of dark tech in the form of Forex, which sounds like a love letter to the early Virus Recordings sound.
The rest of the EP is given over to the team’s explorations in crunked up, half-time, hip-hop’n’bass. The D&B purists are doubtless gonna hate it, but I challenge anyone hearing the likes of Two By Two in the dance not to bust out a mad swagger! To round things out there’s fantastic discotronic remix of Live On Your Smile from El Train and an unusually deep mix of Slinky from the joyously unpredictable Sam Binga. Check out the clips below and hit up the Critical Store to grab this on vinyl or digital now; full release drops from March 9th.
Those with their fingers on the pulse will already be aware of this, but for anyone who missed it the first lineup announcement for Outlook 2015 is out! D&B fans certainly won’t be disappointed with the selection; Noisia, Goldie, dBridge, Om Unit, The Upbeats, Enei. Skeptical, Rockwell, Mefjus, Kasta, Ivy Lab & Emperor are already on the bill alongside some of the best names in Dubstep, Grime and Hip-hop with plenty more yet to be announced.
As usual tickets are flying off the shelves so check out the official lineup announcement video below and head over here to pick up tickets while you still can!
Good news for fans of the experimental 170 sound in our nation’s capital – Ivy Lab are starting up their own club night! Entitled 20/20 LDN, the new night aims to showcase “the emerging landscape of fusions between Drum and Bass, Hip Hop, Footwork, and Future-Soul”. Not a bad aim methinks.
The first event on June 11th will feature sets from Om Unit, Hannah Faith and Deft (with support from Ivy Lab themselves). To celebrate, the team are giving away a series of free bootlegs, the first of which you can hear below as Sabre gives Jeru Da Damaja’s Come Clean a gritty halftime refix. Head over to the 20/20 LDN Facebook page for a free download of the track and check out the full event details here.
Cardiff based record store Catapult Records have truly put together a stunning lineup for their Sounds of the Baskerville event in June. The lineup features DJ Marky, Break, Rockwell and Audio headlining a packed event featuring sets from Klute, Dom & Roland, Ulterior Motive, Xtrah and many, many more. Truly a D&B heads paradise! Early Bird tickets are already sold out but you can still grab £75 tickets here. Don’t sleep!