Alia Fresco EP [CNVX]

Kid Drama’s CNVX imprint has always been an eclectic outlet; from the IDM-esque melancholy of his Mikarma alias, through beats from dBridge, Resound and Abstract Elements, the label certainly doesn’t like to be pigeon-holed. All of which brings us to the imprint’s latest offering, a quirky and sublime slice of autonomic pop courtesy of Drama himself and vocalist Alia Fresco, who you may recognise from her collaborative project with Loxy and Resound, The Levels.

The production here is stripped back to the barest essentials, minimalist arrangements that bring to mind The xx, albeit entirely lacking in indie-rock guitar twang. This use of space gives Fresco ample room to breathe, and her voice fills the tracks beautifully. From the brooding reflections of Ordinary Thing and Guys Like You through the more uplifting Let You Go and into the absolutely electrifying Break Me Out, the EP is powerful, gripping and original; a pure blend of autonomic aesthetic and heartfelt lyricism. My only complaint is that at 15 minutes, it’s nowhere near long enough. Give us an album!

The Alia Fresco EP is out now on vinyl and digital via CNVX.

Kid Drama – Covering Ground EP [Exit]

The latest work from Kid Drama for Exit Records sees the man otherwise known as Jon Convex dipping his toes back into the more conventional D&B arena, kicking his new EP off with a distinctly Metalheadz-esque tech roller; super-crisp breaks and a simple array of dark bass stabs bring to mind classic tracks from the likes of Photek, and the groove is unarguably tight.

Appropriately for a release entitled Covering Ground the next track changes tack completely, bringing together glitchy, microfunk style percussion with shimmering melodies for a much more liquid-y number. Skeptical’s collaborative influence can definitely be heard in the drums while the IDM-style melodies of Convex’s excellent Mikarma project float above.

Up next comes Wasted Time, a track that could easily have been at home on the original run of Autonomic releases, playing with the halftime template and unusual synth sounds under a silky vocal from Alia Fresco. Last up, Consequence hops on board for the brooding, cinematic explorations of Shutter.

It’s great to hear Kid Drama collecting a relatively diverse array of material on this release and Exit is undoubtedly the perfect outlet for his aural excursions. Emotional and evocative as always; check out the clips below and hit up the Exit store to grab it on vinyl or digital from today.

Module Eight – Legacy [Exit Records]

For whatever reason D&B supergroups seem to be making a bit of a comeback at the moment; whether through coincidence or design in recent times we’ve seen the emergence or re-emergence of The Levels, Bad Company, The Binary Collective and now Module Eight. It’s probably not a coincidence that dBridge is at the centre of so many of these collectives new and old either; being one of the scene’s primary innovators for a couple of decades gives you ideas that are worth sharing, one assumes.

Module Eight sees dBridge teaming up with fellow Exit contributors Loxy, Resound, Kid Drama and Skeptical for thirteen tracks collaborated on entirely online (presumably due to busy schedules and Resound’s location in Finland rather than London), and the results are impressive. If the old adage “too many cooks spoil the broth” has any relevance to D&B, apparently five cooks still isn’t too many!

Legacy feels surprisingly consistent for an album with so many producers behind the console; while there are certainly little hints here and there of each producer’s individual style, you’d struggle to put your finger on any one personality dominating any of the compositions. Guessing where one musical mind ends and another begins might prove amusing for the heads, though we’d challenge anyone to come up with any particularly solid conclusions.

Thematically the album is dark and complex, but in the refined way we’ve come to expect from Exit rather than the ADHD hyper-complexity of some of the more dancefloor oriented D&B business. Flickers of the autonomic sound shine through in places, though in general more in rhythm than tone; the lush futuristic synths of tracks like Seems Like are largely absent in favour of creepier, colder soundscapes which evoke urban grit more than future soul. There’s also more than a passing nod to the classic techstep sounds that both Loxy and dBridge helped to develop, particularly on Ghost and Legacy.

With a solid mix of dancefloor appeal and deeper sound design and texture, it’s difficult to fault Legacy, and the more discerning crowd will definitely lap this up. Check out the clips below and hit up the Exit Bandcamp to pre-order a copy ahead of the release this Friday.

Kid Drama – Crimson / Azure E​​P [CNVX]

Jon Convex’s return from the land of all things house & techno to 170BPM pastures recently has been a source of great joy for fans of the Autonomic sound that he helped to craft, and it seems he’s so enamoured with the sound that he’s launching a new sub imprint of his Convex Industries label to deal with some of the output.

The first release on the label melds the atmospherics and unusual percussion of autonomic with sometimes growling bass and shows a talent for progression often unheard in electronic music. Azure pt 1 evolves from nothing but rhythm at the start to a sprawl of lush synthesis by the end, while pt 2 reformulates some of that synthesis into a slightly steadier composition with more of a driving beat.

The two variants of Crimson meanwhile explore darker territory, with more insistent beatwork and dark, filtered bass taking centre stage. Plenty to enjoy here if you like your beats a little unusual – check out the tracks below and hit up Bandcamp to grab the release for the entirely reasonable price of £1.

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Famous Lost Words Remixes: Part 2 [Blu Mar Ten Music]

Blu Mar Ten unveil the second set of remixes from last year’s Famous Lost Words LP with reworks from Kid Drama, Anile and the winner of the remix competition, Conduct. Kid Drama brings his autonomic-esque stylings to Thin Air, retaining the lush melodies of the original but switching up the drums from their previous liquid roll and rearranging the parts to make the song his own.

Anile meanwhile performs the reverse switch, replacing the unusual rhythms of Remembered Her Wrong with a rolling liquid break, but retaining the melancholy vibe and atmosphere of the original nicely. Last but not least, Conduct turns in an absolutely serene mix of Hunter, stripping back most of the elements to leave a lean combination of piano, drums and weighty sub bass. Check out the clips below and grab this one on vinyl or digital from the Blu Mar Ten store now!

Fourfit EP 02 [Soul:R]

Soul:R present the second in their Fourfit EP series with a diverse selection from some of the best names in the scene. LSB opens up the release with a shimmering deep liquid roller replete with beautiful strings, flourishes of piano and a crisp, rolling break. Silky smooth business.

Next up FD switches thing up with a grimey tech roller that ticks all the right dancefloor boxes. Anile raids the classic breaks and turns up the atmosphere for the appropriately titled Depths, and Kid Drama rounds things off by tapping into that serene Autonomic melancholia for a great slice of leftfield 170BPM action.

Check out the beats below and look for this one on vinyl and digital from June 23rd.

February Mixtape Roundup

Our favourite mixes this month span the range of D&B sounds from banging to experimental and everything in between. Kid Drama follows up his excellent Heart Drive podcasts with a mix for Hyp taking in his 170 sounds both old and new and keeping things deep and unusual as ever.

Tokyo Prose have mixed the latest volume of the Sun & Bass podcast series and deliver a deep, rolling mix featuring their own productions alongside tunes from the likes of Calibre, Mutt and Ivy Lab.

Automate return with podcast number 30 featuring a belting tech selection from Midlands DJ/Producer Critical Error.

Evol Intent’s Gigantor is on the controls for the second in their new Evolcast podcast series with a selection of typically up-front, no nonsense dancefloor neurofunk. Some nice new VIPs and mashups in here!

French D&B crew Vandal serve up the latest edition of their podcast with a storming mix from Miss Leia featuring heavy tunes from the likes of Mindscape, Audio, Prolix and Nickbee.

Last but by no means least Mako, DLR & Villem celebrate their recent release for Metalheadz with a tidy 30 minute mix featuring tracks from the trio and other members of the Metalheadz/Utopia/Warm Communications family. Deeper beats!

In The Mix…Heart Drive

dBridge & Kid Drama (aka Jon Convex) return with the second of their Heart Drive mixes, coyly titled Empathy Reboot. Unlike previous installment Aut0mated L0ve, this time the tracklist is kept entirely secret…we’re guessing the tunes will surface over the coming months, but who can tell? As you’d expect the mix is full of cutting edge experimental beats, ranging from dark and growling to deep and soulful. Check it out below and grab yourself a free download!

Kid Drama – In Mind EP [Exit Records]

After the recent announcement of Heartdrive it seemed inevitable that we’d be hearing more 170BPM productions from Jon Convex under his Kid Drama alias, and the new EP he’s prepped for dBridge’s ever forward-thinking Exit Records delivers more beautiful 170BPM explorations in the spirit of Autonomic.

In Mind kicks things of with lush, melody driven ambience and subtle but insistent beat patterns before What Do You See? switches the tone, opting for dark, throbbing bass and stark half-time drum rhythms.

The deep, dark vibes continue on Retract, which sees Convex teaming up with relatively unknown Australian producer Hands Like Crime to craft a tune that’s all in the detail of the percussion (and appears to make excellent use of a sampled dial tone). Finally the appropriately titled Grind sees him recruiting Om Unit to the studio for a grimey, evil sounding tune full of frantic half-time syncopation and spooky lead synth chords.

Check out the beats below and watch out for the release dropping on vinyl and digital from 18th November.

In The Mix…Heart Drive

The recent release of a Kid Drama remix on the flip of a Jon Convex release gave me hope that the ex-Instra:mental collaborator might be returning to Autonomic sound that revolutionized 170BPM music several years ago and then vanished as Convex and cohort Bodika went on to pursue solo careers in the realms of House and Techno.

Low and behold a few days ago a tidy new mix appeared online featuring tracks from dBridge, Kid Drama and a new collaboration between the two named Heart Drive. The spirit of Autonomic is audible throughout the mix, and it’s fantastic to hear it once more. Check out the mix below and expect big things from this collaboration.