Drum and Bass Reviews - July 2012Written by Daniel Beale
Culture Shock – I Remember/Troglodyte – RAM
Ram come forth with the goodies again and again. This two-tracker from Culture Shock has all the atmospheric swirls you’d expect, but the beautiful thing about 'I Remember' is that the drums sit way back in the mix allowing you to really float on those gentle yet progressive synth lines. Def one for the main arena, but excellently produced with just a hint of Georgio Moroder thrown in about two thirds of the way through. I thought the flip 'Troglodyte' was named after my missus at first, but no, this one is far darker than that! It burbles in a pretty intense manner. Oh hang on, it is about my missus after all. Jokes! This choon is badd!
Easily one of the most unusual and interesting releases of the year this, the 50th release on Marky’s Innerground label brings some pretty tripped out vibes to the table. With a single three note bassline and a very, very periodic Rhodes chord interspersed with echo laden spoken word vocals, I think it’s fair to say that this is the kind of thing Flying Lotus might have made had he been a dnb producer. Weird, but in a good way! 'Ya Know' is Marky of old, with a steady build and some interesting chord sequences. Soulful!
C.A.B.L.E – A Change of Seasons EP – Architecture Recordings
Now this is something different altogether. Funk chunk live drums and spine tingling 90’s techno-esque pads warped with twisted riffery and low slung sub bass makes for hardcore drum and bass, and C.A.B.L.E presents it in a perfectly constructed way on 'A Change of Seasons'. This guy makes drum and bass that is on point, hard as nails and modern retro I guess. All four tracks on here are made of pretty stern stuff. Pure power!
Silence Groove – Eat Me Softly EP – Offworld Recordings
Hailing from Poland, Silence Groove is also a very well respected trance producer, but it is for this sublime liquid drum and bass right here that I give him most serious props. His experience in the studio really floods every bar of these for four perfectly produced beauties. 'Eat Me Softly', while sounding a bit rude, is actually very romantic, with lush, modern orchestration and sun drenched jazz piano, while 'In Your Eyes' has a wildly infectious multi octave bass line that crawls all over your emotions like a spider, and that’s without the utterly soulful vocal refrain. The other two tracks offer something a little more chilled but as equally as exciting, but you’ll have to check the EP for the downlow on those babies. Topping it all off is some of the most splendorous artwork I’ve seen on any dnb release. Bring back 1940 I say.
Criminal Records – The Forward EP – Criminal Records
Criminal Records have really hit paydirt with this amazingly good value seven track EP. From tearing, rolling, off kilter reece laden steppyness to multi beat, layered swooshiness, this one has got it all. Stand out tracks for me personally are, well, all of them TBH! Criminal are really pushing the limits of the modern jungle movement with this one. TEARING!! Cannot be recommended highly enough!
Acoustika - Stargazer – Offworld Recordings
I’m very excited about this one. I’m not stuck in the past or anything, but the late 90’s was a wonderful place to be if you were into drum and bass. Mainly because as well as listening to the hardest tear out riddims London had to offer, you could also flip the musical coin and open your ears to what was then known as Intelligent drum and bass. Nowadays you can call it what the hell you want I guess, but this fella from Florida has really hit the button with this four tracker and made an EP that doesn’t feel the need to be modern. In fact, it seems to quite enjoy being stuck in a musical timewarp. I do, too. And that’s why I’ve mentioned it here. If you loved Peshay and Bukem ala 1995/6 you’ll love this. This is proof positive that some styles will never cease to be desirable.
Madcap – Deep Inside My Soul – Phuzion
One of a few producers who have the ability to transcend genders, Buckinghamshire boy Madcap is really flexing out lately. This ace 4 tracker on Phuzion has one foot in 1996 and the other firmly in 2012. Sub bass permeates each track though there is a good variety of drummage on each, particularly Paradise, a wicked, and I mean wicked Amen belter with a PROPER Bukem vibe going off. Top billing!
Loadstar – Passenger/Bomber – RAM
Not everyone’s cup of tea I dare say, Passenger has a sort of half step piano led summer anthem vibe happening all over the place, I would hazard a guess that this was written for those summer dance tents. It’ll sound pretty good in one of those too! Bomber however is much more on it. I can only guess that those odd air raid siren sounds are the reason they called it bomber?
Switchblade Disco – Jungle Native EP – Rogue Beatz
Back to tha jungle! Jungle Native comes across with some very, very fine electronic noise manipulation (lots of squiggly noises) while there are some sweet reggae vibes on 'Crucifixion' that make you wanna jump up big time! This two track bad boy rolls and rolls and rolls! Well worth a purchase if you love mash up junglism!
Idiot sound, we call that Lo-Fi..........