November LP Roundup

Apparently top quality Drum & Bass albums are likes buses…you wait a while for one, then four come along all at once! November has seen the release of some absolutely essential artist LPs, so we though it only right to give you a quick roundup…read on for our thoughts on the new records from Philth, Misanthrop, Kimyan Law and Klute.

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Kimyan Law – Zawadi LP [Blu Mar Ten]

Reviewers often fall back on old adages about “that difficult second album” when reviewing an artist’s sophomore full length, but such adages definitely aren’t needed when discussing Zawadi, Kimyan Law’s follow up to his exceptional 2014 debut Coeur Calme. The 21 year old producer’s work continues to show a confidence, style and eccentricity well beyond his years, and the album is an absolute joy from start to finish.

As with his first LP (and indeed the other scattered tracks that have surfaced in between) Zawadi is wide ranging in it’s influences and sonic textures, an aural melting pot taking in African music, jazz, pop, garage, jungle and who knows what else. Lush natural instrumentation combines with club influences, like on the unusual, amen-tinged glitchyness of Yore Dub or Motsa collaboration Citadelle, which sounds like something Burial might come up with if he’d found a xylophone and could be bothered to work on his mixdowns.

Elsewhere Luba sees Kimyan reconnecting with his tribal roots for a beautifully simple composition consisting almost entirely of natural percussion and chanted vocals, while album closer White Moth Anthem takes a leaf from the LA bass book to explore a lurching, low slung hip-hop jam with tons of swing and a haunting set of synth textures.

There’s plenty of space elsewhere for more conventional D&B outings, whether on soft, liquid-y Phentix collab Mondegreen, stripped back roller Lavender or the deep halftime groove of September. Even on the more fast paced cuts all of Kimyan’s material retains a softness; sharp edged hyper-clean production this is not. The use of organic instrumentation gives everything not just a unique character but a general effortlessness, and the use of space and reverb give the album a profoundly cinematic quality.

More than anything this album is an emotional, evocative collection of material that bears all the hallmarks of a young musician pouring his being into his music. Genuine, engrossing, enthralling and colourful throughout, this might just be the best album you hear this year. Check out the clips below and hit up the BMT Store to grab it on vinyl, CD or digital right now.

Kimyan Law – Daimyo VIP [Blu Mar Ten Music]

The enigmatic Kimyan Law is back! Blu Mar Ten Music’s brightest new talent returns to the label with three great new tracks following on from last year’s rather excellent album.

Album cut Daimyo gets the VIP treatment, switching the rhythm up to a slightly more insistent gait and adding a handful of jungle breaks to the mix. Lavish keeps things on a stripped back tip; airy drum patterns with a hint of swing and a generally pretty dubbed out vibe. The merest hints of jazz can be heard fading through the mix for a little extra shimmer.

Last but not least, Chai takes things even deeper, spacing out the drums into a lolloping rhythm against a backdrop of rich melodic textures. This one is the star of the show for us; absolutely beautiful. Check out the clips below and hit up the Blu Mar Ten store to grab a copy on vinyl or digital now.

Top Tracks of 2014

Following our run down of our favourite albums of the year, we felt it was only right to put the spotlight on our top tracks. These are the ten tunes that haven’t left our record box since their release…

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Best Albums of 2014

2014 has been a great year for D&B and another great year for LPs, so with the year drawing to a close we thought we’d run down our favourite full length releases this year. In no particular order…

Kimyan Law – Coeur Calme [Blu Mar Ten Music]

Kimyan’s debut LP impressed us greatly upon it’s initial release, and it’s an album that has only improved upon repeated listens. Blending influences from D&B with elements of soul, world music, ambient and plenty more besides, this is one of the most musical releases this year and a great start to what should be a promising career.

Tokyo Prose – Presence [Samurai Music]

Samurai’s reputation for quality and depth is legendary, and the debut LP from kiwi producer Tokyo Prose fits that MO perfectly. Featuring some excellent collaborations with the likes of Synkro, LSB and Lenzman, the album features a coherence and flow that many LPs lack, and some of the finest deep liquid tracks of the year. Essential listening.

Cern – Under Another Sky [Dispatch Recordings]

Cern’s LP slipped under the radar here at the Dojo on initial release, but thankfully we got the chance to catch up with it over the holiday season. The level of atmosphere and depth on show here is stunning, not to mention the precise engineering, intricate drum programming and overall detail that Cern has brought to the table. The album is an unapologetically dark, experimental release, with few (if any) of the tracks aimed at the dancefloor, and is all the better for it.

Future Beats: The Album [31 Recordings]

31 Recordings late entry to the 2014 LP battle has garnered near universal acclaim, and with good reason; few other compilations bring such a breadth of styles at such a high quality across such a massive selection of tracks. It’s great to see the label supporting new producers alongside old hands like Calibre and Klute, not to mention pushing the envelope with truly innovative sounds.

Ulterior Motive – The Fourth Wall [Metalheadz]

Last but by no means least, Ulterior Motive’s sonic journey through their experiences of Drum & Bass has provided both dancefloor anthems and deeper vibes. Tracks like Tape Pack and INTA-National have been killing floors at raves across the world since the LPs release, and the duos range has never been stronger.

Kimyan Law – Coeur Calme [Blu Mar Ten Music]

The wait is finally over on an album I’ve been keenly anticipating ever since the first glimpses of the young producer’s music surfaced a couple of months ago – Kimyan Law’s debut LP for Blu Mar Ten Music is upon us. It’s pretty tough to take in the depth and breadth of the album at first listen; the tracks vary in energy and tone, but there is a calm, soothing quality to the music and an intricacy to the sonic textures on show here which places the guy ahead of many producers with plenty more years in the game.

The use of natural (or at least, natural sounding) instrumentation nearly exclusively in preference to synthetic sounds gives the music more shared ground with the likes of Four Tet’s early material than with much of contemporary D&B, and that’s probably also what makes it sound so fresh – the influence of D&B has been melted down here and distilled with a pinch of soul, a hint of ambient, a splash of world music and little dashes of a dozen other styles, and used to paint a vivid aural picture, and one with a softness that the loud mastering and hard snares of modern electronica seldom achieve.

The use of space and reverb is masterful, allowing the compositions to breathe without sounding quite as ghostly as some of Burial’s work. The instrumentation is crisp and clear, but the elements aren’t fighting one another in the mix; each chord or drum beat has been carefully positioned to complement the other parts of the track, and it shines through wonderfully. I have no doubt that this LP will be on heavy rotation over the coming months, and no doubt that it’s impact and enjoyability will grow and grow on repeat listens. Check out the clips below and pre-order your copy from the Blu Mar Ten store now.

Kimyan Law – Run Ames / Eclairage [Blu Mar Ten Music]

Blu Mar Ten Music present the debut single from 19 year old talent Kimyan Law, a producer with a talent for evocative, understated beats that have a hint of the cinematic to them. The tracks represent the first glimpse of his Coeur Calme LP, due next month.

Run Ames sees the producer teaming up with vocalist Robert Manos on a stark, moody slice of D&B; insistent beats, simple but satisfying bass reverberations and Manos’ vocal take centre stage, with the merest hints of melody echoed over the mix. This “less is more” approach is a stark contrast to the usual “fill every frequency” maximalism of much of today’s electronica, and the overall effect has much more impact through the clever use of dynamic range.

Eclairage meanwhile brings together soft, natural percussion set to an unusual, lilting beat and paired with a pleasantly natural chiming melody. The track is drenched in reverb, lending it a distant melancholy, as though we’re hearing a faint reflection from some other place or time. Once again there’s a mastery of minimalism at work here, allowing the different elements of the track to breath, and the results are stunning. Check out the clips below and grab this one right now from the Blu Mar Ten store.

You can also find a “Slumber Session” mix from Kimyan below, featuring a mellow selection with tracks from Massive Attack, Burial, Stray and more.

Famous Lost Words Remixes: Part 3 [Blu Mar Ten Music]

Blu Mar Ten unveil the third and final instalment of their Famous Lost Words remix EP series with new mixes from Ulterior Motive, Nuage and their latest signing Kimyan Law. Ulterior Motive make In Your Eyes very much their own, swapping out the frantic amens of the original for a slower paced half-time beat. The twinkling atmosphere of the original is largely gone too, replaced with ominous bass growls and a spooky, pitched down version of the original vocal.

Nuage turns his hand to Famous Lost Words, channelling the autonomic spirit for a glitchy, slouching remix with tons of the lush pad work I’ve come to love on his productions. The real star of the show here though is Kimyan Law’s absolutely beautiful re-imagining of Half The Sky. An insistent beat combines with a soft chiming melody that has either been crafted fresh or has been re-sampled from the original beyond recognition, and the atmosphere of the track is dialled right up to 11. The result is effortlessly emotive and hauntingly beautiful, and I can’t wait to hear his debut album when it drops later this year.

Check out the clips below and head over to the Blu Mar Ten Music store to pick up the release on vinyl or digital now.