Classic Track: Valley of the Shadows

The iconic and pivotal Valley of the Shadows…where do I start? Produced by none other than Origin Unknown, a duo consisting of Andy C and Ant Miles, this track played a significant role in shifting the paradigm of hardcore toward a darker motif. Heralded as one of the best songs in the Drum & Bass sphere, this iconic tune rolled onto the scene in 1993 (and re-released in 1996 as a stand-alone) from Andy C’s very own RAM Records.

The first edition of Future Music Magazine’s sample CD provided many of the track’s sounds, and likewise provided a bevy of other recognizable samples found across a broad spectrum of electronic and dance music during the same era. From the hypnotizing melody to the entrancing spoken samples, the hardy break to the bold bassline, Valley of the Shadows proves itself a time-tested masterpiece.

Written by Luke Kessler

Classic Album: RAM Trilogy – Molten Beats

The colossal RAM Trilogy earned a name unlike many others in the domain of Drum & Bass. Each artist that comprised the trio had their own reputation forged before joining forces: Andy C, Origin Unknown, and Shimon. RAM Trilogy broke onto the scene as a trio with three immense singles on RAM Records that built up to their aptly-named 1999 album, Molten Beats.

Relentless beats and brutal basses are synthesized with expert precision across the entire album. Molten Beats explodes out of the gate with a bang(er): Evolution effectively sets the tone for a rolling Drum & Bass album of epic proportions. The unforgettable No Reality sounds as otherworldly as ever with its distorted bass glittering of harmonic gold. Near the end of the album, Mind Overload is a gnarly tune that, to me, defines the essence of the whole record. Of course, every song that graces this album’s track list is solid, meaning that Molten Beats can easily be enjoyed from start to finish.

RAM Trilogy locked in on a tightly focused sound and motif for this LP that results in a consistently heavy and intense experience. The combinations of bass, breaks, FX, and atmospheres blend so well, feeling thematic of bustling metropolises and the zeitgeist of the pre-Y2K era. The album fittingly received the remaster treatment from RAM Records in November just last year, its first half of which was released 20 years later to the exact day from the original. There’s no better time to check out this masterful work from some of Drum & Bass’s finest.

Written by Luke Kessler

Top 10 Albums of 2015

2015 has been another strong year for the D&B LP in what seems to be a growing trend for more established artists to explore their sound across a full length record rather than just churning out singles. As the year draws to a close, here’s our run down of the then best albums we’ve heard this year. In no particular order… Continue reading

November Roundup Part Two

As usual the D&B scene is throwing more material at our collective ears than we could ever possibly keep up with, so once again we’re here to assist your record buying proclivities with the best of the rest from Audio, Lockjaw, Soul:Motion & Colossus and more… Continue reading

Bensley – Next Generation [RAM Records]

It’s rare for next artists to live up to the hype these days, and the hype surrounding Bensley has been considerable. After signing exclusively to RAM in a shower of media buzz (despite having released precisely zero tracks at that point), all went very quiet on the Bensley front for some time, until February when Fandango gave us our first taste of the man’s talents.

The wait is now over and Bensley’s debut LP Next Generation has been with us for a couple of weeks, and this reviewer believes it is worthy of the hype. The whole sound the young Canadian has carved on the record manages to avoid the traditional D&B sub-genre pigeon-holes aptly; it has the RAM Records polish, but he’s not trying to be the next DC Breaks, and it has a strong sense of melody without sounding like the plethora of genre liquid to be found on Hospital or Fokuz.

What then, makes the album special? The clear influence of IDM and Ambient, for a start; everything about the chord progressions, pad work and song structure shows a man who loves D&B but also listens to plenty of more diverse electronic music. The soaring synth lead of Fool’s Gold (paired with equally soaring guitar) and the early µ-Ziq-esque chimings of Rain Dance are but two examples on an album that has plenty more.

Better still, this is an LP which ignores any temptation for radio-friendly singles or dancefloor-friendly “wait for the drop” tracks. There isn’t a vocalist in sight, and many of the beat patterns share more in common with downtempo than D&B. Even on the more upbeat tracks like Manta or Aftermath there’s the strong sense that this has been designed as much for your armchair as the club, though we’re willing to bet both of those tracks would move a crowd.

It’s rare to hear true innovation in any style of music these days, and while the elements of Bensley’s style can easily be traced back to their original sources he has configured them into a most pleasing sonic jigsaw that isn’t quite like anything else on the scene right now, and for that he should be applauded. Check out a mix of the album tracks below and hit up your favourite store to grab a copy now!

Hamilton – Feel The Fury / Track 8 [RAM Records]

It’s not often we find ourselves tempted to blog Hamilton releases here at the Dojo; generally the RAM singing’s overly radio-friendly productions feel pretty formulaic, but his latest single breaks that pattern at least in terms of enjoyability.

Feel The Fury is an absolute stomper; a huge build up followed by a gigantic scuzzed-up bass riff and some classic jungle style snare action. Make no mistake, this is jump-up, but jump up done so well as to be unarguable, and proof that you can make an unashamedly dancefloor focused track without resorting to tedious wobble bass.

Track 8 hits up slightly less aggressive territory with a playful, catchy hook leading the charge over bouncing breaks and some really weird bleepy backing lines. Once again it’s difficult to argue with the energy here, and it’s great to hear something of the old school sound seeping into the compositions. Check out the clips below and grab this from the RAM store right now.

Teddy Killerz – Teddynator / Endlessly [RAM Records]

Nightlife EP 2 ARTWORK.indd

When it comes to dangerous dancefloor destruction, it doesn’t get much more raucous than Teddy Killerz. Their debut single for RAM follows on from a slew of impressive releases for Bad Taste, Subtitles, Eatbrain and RAM sister imprint ProgRAM and shows them honing their sound to vicious neurofunk perfection.

Teddynator packs the bigger punch, landing with a huge drop that’s bound to inspire more than a few rewinds. The drums really shine here, punctuating the bass riff with precision and heft. Endlessly dials back the aggression a notch or two to focus on more of a headbanging groove, with hard metallic snares punching through the mix of growling bass textures. Check out the clips below and grab this one on vinyl and digital from the RAM store right now!

Audio presents RAMLife [RAM Records]

Audio steps up to the plate for the second in the RAMLife series, following on from Loadstar’s inauguration of the series last July. Fans of Audio’s work should know what to expect here – tons of vicious, high precision neurofunk including a raft of exclusive tracks from the likes of Black Sun Empire, Gridlok, Signs, and of course Audio! Check out the exclusives below and head to the RAM Store to cop the release on CD, vinyl or digital.

Bensley – Fandango [RAM Records]

RAM’s latest signing Bensley makes his debut on the label with a warm, melodic instrumental with soft yet soaring leads and a nice chunky bassline. The track should prove a useful DJ tool for those who like to genre-hop, dropping tempo from D&B in the first half to a garage-y shuffle in the bridge, before returning to that familiar 170BPM. Check out the track below and hit Beatport to grab it now!


Culture Shock – Raindrops / Troglodyte VIP [RAM Records]

Culture Shock returns to RAM Records with a pair of dancefloor rollers to close out the year. A side Raindrops provides a solid if not wildly interesting slice of melodic D&B (albeit one which has already caused a certain amount of controversy for aleged riff stealing) but the real star of the show is the VIP of Troglodyte. The original was one of the biggest tunes of 2012 with it’s instantly memorable bassline and infectious melodic hooks, and the VIP gives it an appropriately light touch, retaining the vibe of the original but twisting it just enough to keep it interesting.

Check out the clips below and head to Beatport to grab the single now, or the RAM store to pre-order a vinyl copy.