LSB and DRS should certainly need no introduction; the former one of the finest liquid producers of a generation, a rare pretender to Calibre & Marcus’s throne, while the latter is undoubtedly one of the best and most versatile lyricists in D&B. A handful of previous collaborations have proved their chemistry, not least the anthemic The View from DRS’s Mid Mic Crisis LP. So an LSB & DRS album should be something special, right?
Right indeed. The Blue Hour is an undeniable joy, a melding of minds and a proper musical journey. For one thing it’s almost equal parts soulful D&B rollers and equally soulful hip-hop beats; the yin and yang of an MC’s twin musical expressions filtered through the lens of the producer’s unique style.
Whether riffing on laid-back downtempo cuts like I’m Changing and Umbrellas, or bearing his soul on emotional rollers like Faded or Like It Used To, DRS is on fine form, and his thoughtful poetry finds a perfect match in the fluttering, delicate, jazz-infused beats found across the record. Mellow and melancholy but always with an uplifting edge, this is pure, honest and moving music…just as it should be.
The Blue Hour is out now via LSB’s Footnotes imprint; check out the tracks below and hit up your favourite store to grab a copy right now.
Air Mass (the deeper sister imprint to Mark Kloud’s well established Ground Mass) are back with their 2nd release this month from Serbian producer Alg0rh1tm. Weaving complex sonic tapestries combining cinematic soundscapes, glitchy microfunk-style percussion and a hint of the autonomic aesthetic, the 170 sound doesn’t come much deeper or more hypnotic than this.
The EP drops via the Ground Mass Bandcamp on Nov 29th and the label have kindly given us five digital download codes to give away! To be in with a chance of winning one all you have to do is like the DNB Dojo Facebook page and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and the subject line “Air Mass Competition”. We’ll draw the winners on Tuesday Nov 29th – good luck!
Watching artists continue to grow after more than a decade in the scene is a rare pleasure; so many solid creative musicians either fall into a comfortable stylistic groove or disappear for real life or other genres of music. Indeed, it must have been tempting for George Levins to leave the Commix project behind with the departure of longtime production partner Guy Brewer and the success of his lower tempo Endian alias. With that in mind it’s even more of an achievement for Commix to still be here, releasing some of his best music yet no less.
The second part of the Generation EP series for ‘headz sees George delving deeper into the rejuvenated project, with Freefall opening things up with an entirely unhuried, atmospheric slice of D&B; the tempo might be high but the energy levels are definitely kept on the down-low here as the track shimmers effortlessly along. One for the 5am crew!
Honey ups the ante, keeping the soft synth action but melding it together with hard, chopped amens for a track that plants one foot on the dancefloor while keeping the other firmly in introspective territory. A classic Commix roller of yesteryear this is definitely not, but this EP is all about progression rather than regression.
The back half of the selection sees the tempo dip and the vibes becoming more experimental, from the dark, tribal riddims of Behold out into the hypnotic, Aphex Twin-style downtempo of Arplong – this one is just about the lushest track we’ve heard this year. Another top EP from a producer we hope will be brightening the scene for another decade or two yet! Check out the clips below and hit up the Metalheadz store to grab a copy right now.
Today we’ve got a brand new production / label project for your listening pleasure in the form of AGN7 Audio (that’s pronounced ‘Agent Audio’ if you were wondering; perhaps a sly nod to Trace’s DSCI4?). Coming at you from the US, AGN7 is the new brainchild of established producers SPKTRM and Ronin Selecta, and their press release sets out the bold aim of “adventurous” drum and bass.
While the first single perhaps isn’t defining any new sub-genres quite yet, it’s certainly ignoring current trends in both US and worldwide D&B; a cynical attempt to top the Beatport charts this is not. Mantra brings to mind 2005-era hard, break driven techstep with a deep, ominous build-up giving way to harsh chopped up drums and massive bass hits. Over on the flip Vignette takes the foot off the gas a little, easing back on the bassline heft to focus on cleaner break manipulation set to creepy atmospherics. This one brings to mind darker material from the back catalogues of Seba, Paradox or Blocks and Escher, and it’s totally up there in terms of quality too.
Overall this is a solid statement of intent from a duo we’re looking forward to hearing more from! Check out the clips below and hit up Beatport to grab the release now, with other stores following in two weeks time.
Those who keep their finger on the pulse of the D&B scene in the south of England should already be aware of Context Audio, but for anyone who missed their inception announcements they’re a new digital imprint based in Portsmouth. In their own words, they are “a label focused on only serving up exceptional high grade drums. We like it deep and rolling, and we hope you do too”. Sounds good to us here at Dojo HQ!
Sounding even better than the press sound-bites are the clips for their debut release from Composite. The EP serves up three distinct tracks held together by fantastic percussion – those brags about high grade drums seem well founded from this outting at least.
The grittier vibes of opener Nesh and the softer liquid strains of Know Yourself are both solid tracks but for us the real star of this show is the crazy 5/4 drumfunk of Dispersion. Channelling the influence of Photek from tracks like Ni Ten Ichi Ryu into an utterly beautiful, confoundingly rhythmic and deeply unusual composition, this is one of the freshest tunes we’ve heard from a new label in some time.
The EP is due for release Jan 28th so keep your eyes on the Context Facebook feed for more details, and if you happen to be in the Portsmouth area on Feb 5th get yourself along to their label launch party.
Denver label Plush Recordings come with a nice little slice of halftime jungle from Germanovski, and it’s not hard to see why these cuts have been getting support from the mighty Om Unit!
A suave combo of intricate slow/fast percussion and chopped up R&B vocals define Promise, giving it a hint of garage as well as the obvious junglist sensibilities. Confession meanwhile carries a far more tribal, hypnotic vibe, losing the carefree melodies for a more introspective ambience. Promising stuff from a producer we’re gonna keep an eye on! Check out the clips below and hit up your favourite store to grab a copy now.
Alchemic Breaks present their 5th release from Italian producers Jazzatron, who dish up a tasty little EP of varied delights. Urto keeps things relatively conventional, dishing up a solid slice of techstep with some nice percussive details, but this is just an entrée for the main course coming up.
Come Quick should prove a win for fans of the jungle tinged sound, harnessing classic breaks and ethereal pads for a bit of a retro-modern vibe, bringing tons of character to the tune. Our favourite here at the Dojo though is the chopped up percussion assault of Juke/Footwork influenced Just Jukking. Fantastic rhythm and low end scuzz…yes please.
Check out the clips below and look for this one dropping August 22nd.
We picked out Mystic State earlier this year as one of our top 5 to watch, and their latest EP for Nurtured Beatz adds another solid release to their already impressive catalogue. If you like your beats deep, moody and groove focussed then this one should hit the spot nicely!
Clockwork lives up to it’s name with a steady halftime groove built around chiming percussion and a distinctly mechanical feel. Submerge continues the halftime trend but takes things darker, with bassline and heavy snares evoking brooding, murderous tones.
The second half of the EP ups the ante with full-roll collaborations with Howz & D-Side; the murky aesthetic is still present and the style remains stripped back, but the sludgy halfstep beats are swapped out for a crisp, insistent 2-step. The Room 2 heads will definitely be feeling these!
As usual you can pick up the whole EP direct from Nurtured Beatz via Bandcamp at a reduced price, or grab them from all the usual digital stores. Check out the clips below and go cop the release right now!
Alix Perez’s latest collaboration with US bass-slinger EPROM sees him completely eschewing the D&B template in favour of lower tempo shenanigans, but if you’re a fan of bass heavy electronica with a hefty dash of hip-hop swagger then you should definitely give the Shades EP a listen.
Dropping today on LA imprint Alpha Pup, the four tracks feature some serious low end weight and a head nod inducing groove that is just irresistible. Check out possibly the EP’s biggest cut, Chiron, below and hit up iTunes to grab the EP now; vinyl should follow shortly.