In 2015, the legendary DnB label Metalheadz embarked on a project to re-master and re-release all of its classic tunes from the 90s and beyond. This was presumably done for DJs, to give high-quality downloads of early-era songs to those who have updated their equipment but not their tastes.
What it has effectively done on top of that, however, is to expose younger generations of ravers to the wonders of the Metalheadz archives, as well as to producers and sub-genres which, if not forgotten, were buried in the record crates of first-and-second-generation junglists and D&B heads. Now even the grumpiest vinyl-loving old school heads can listen to a crisp, clean WAV of Marcus Intalex’s My Soul on their computers if they so choose.
The most recent release from the “Re-Mastered” project is of 2002’s MDZ.02. Just released on Friday, this 11-track retrospective contains classics from the likes of Klute, Teebee, Loxy & Ink and a special Usual Suspects track called Tribute, an homage to the influential D&B MC Kendo, who’d recently passed at the time the track was released.
2002 was an interesting transitional time for drum and bass. Beats became much faster, samples started to be influenced by hip hop, R&B and rave, and jungle and drum and bass structures started to merge in ways that many felt were unthinkable. Metalheadz was right on the forefront of this change and its surrounding controversy, riding the crest to emerge as the well-established and cutting-edge label it is today.
MDZ.02 2017 isn’t up on Discogs yet, but it can be purchased in a number of formats on the Metalheadz website and clips can be streamed on Soundcloud.
We’ve got something a little different for your ears today as we present the premiere of The Levels stunning new remix of Nuage – Shining. For anyone not familiar with The Levels, it’s the collaborative project of Loxy, Resound and Alia Fresco, and their take Nuage’s original blends pop, R&B and years of D&B experience for a shimmering and understated rework with tons of soul.
Watch out for this dropping from August 5th alongisde remixes from Blu Mar Ten, Bop and Nuage on Translation Recordings, vinyl and digital.
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.
Long time collaborators Loxy & Resound have teamed up with vocalist Alia Fresco to form a new project called The Levels, and their first selection of work shows plenty of interesting ideas. Blending hints of soul and R&B with years of beat making expertise and a dash of pop sensibilities, the trio could yet turn out to be the Autonomic legacy’s Magnetic Man.
Great use is made of Fresco’s voice, leading the tracks nicely but allowing the music to breathe and fill the remaining space. Perhaps the best example of this comes on We Could Be, fittingly made in collaboration with dBridge. The EP closes out with a more conventional D&B beat on Right Here, giving a nod to Loxy & Resound’s musical roots, but to be honest the slower tempo productions are far more interesting.
The EP is out right now via The Levels bandcamp; check out the tracks below and keep your eyes peeled for more material from the trio very soon.
The news that the legendary Hardware would be shutting it’s doors in February next year came as an unpleasant surprise here at the Dojo, but it seems that the label is planning to go out in style with plenty more releases on the books between now and next year.
Their latest EP presents four fresh tracks with something of an old school tinge to them, harking back to the golden era of techstep that Hardware played such a big part in. BTK & Cold Fusion play with soulful lyrics over a monstrous bassline on Not Your Idol, while Battery serves up a clattering roller propelled furiously forward by Photek-style bass stabs.
Elsewhere Loxy & Ink keep things gritty with old school break chops set to a throbbing low end and creepy high-end atmospherics, leaving it to NC-17 to close the EP with another massive roller, tinged with classic jungle samples. Massive business as usual from Hardware; check out the clips below and hit up their store to pre-order a copy now.
The relaunch of Doc Scott’s 31 Recordings imprint has been the cause for much celebration across the scene, and the label’s output has been absolutely stellar. Rounding off 2014 in style, they’ve unveiled a massive 24 track compilation featuring artists from across the D&B spectrum, and frankly pretty much all of it is excellent.
The huge selection takes in half-time beats from Sinistarr and Ital Tek, future jungle from Moresounds, liquid rollers from Bungle and Calibre, rowdy techstep from SCAR and plenty more besides. Special mentions have to go out to the broody, militant syncopations of House of Lanterns’ Take Control, the ethereal atmospherics of Hidden Turn’s Dream of Tron and the bleepy, atmospheric vibes of Gremlinz Forlorn, but honestly the whole LP is of such a high standard that picking favourites is pretty tough. Check out clips of all the tracks below and head over to the 31 Recordings store to preorder the compilation on vinyl or digital now – the release drops on December 15th.
It’s competition time once again – we’ve teamed up with Circa and Dub Clinique to give away two tickets to the last ever D&B rave at London’s Hidden nightclub. Sadly Hidden will soon be closing its doors for the last time but before then original badman Loxy will be giving the venue a send off alongside sets from a host of other names including B2B sets from Double O& Theory and Threshold & Jamma.
To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is like the DNB Dojo Facebook page and send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Circa Loxy Competition’. We’ll draw the two lucky winners on Tuesday Jan 28th. Get involved!
You can check out all the details of the event on Facebook here and for a taste of what you’ll hear on the night, check out promo mixes from Jamma & Threshold and Demented Soul below.
Samurai continue their assault on all things leftfield with a various artists LP that delivers a veritable smorgasbord of deep, dark, 170BPM cuts. Highlights include the droning, tribal noise-bass of Kiwi producer Fis, the lush glitchy ambience of Indigo’s Snowfall, and ASC’s Photek-esque Dragnet.
In true Samurai Music fashion the album will be available on five limited edition vinyl plates including a number of vinyl exclusive tracks. Check out the beats below and watch out for the release on September 30th.
Up and coming US D&B producer Homemade Weapons brings us a tidy mix for Vancouver bass crew Fractured Technique! This one is all clattering snares and darkness, and with support from the likes of Loxy, dBridge, Skeptical, Clarity, Hybris, it’s no surprise. Check out the mix below and keep an eye on the FT Facebook page for news on their events.