The Month In Drum & Bass – April 2013

Time for April’s edition of “The Month In Drum & Bass” !

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Here’s the Tracklist :

1. Adam Elemental – Games We Play (Runtime Bandcamp)
2. Mixmaster Doc – Never Loved You (Driven AM)
3. Fracture – Gangbusters (Metalheadz)
4. Krust – Transparency (Rebel Instinct)
5. Justice & Metro – Bosco (Modern Urban Jazz)
6. Thing – Sliding Beauty (Dubthing)
7. Nic TVG – These Other Thoughts (Pinecone Moonshine)
8. The Untouchables – Dem Pirates (Translation)
9. Marukomu – Iridium (Protect Audio)
10. Nolige & Collectiv – The Replicant (Eastern Pressure)
11. Lynx & Hellrazor feat Bobby Esmond – Bobby Says (Runnins Theme) (Playaz)
12. Sumone – Rhythm Machine (Abstract Elements Remix) (Alphacut)
13. Decoder – D-Fect (Tech Itch Digital)
14. Nebula – Saturn (Scientific Wax Retro)
15. Naibu – Aurora (Horizons)
16. Parhelia – Nothern Empire (Camino Blue)

Let me quickly give you some reasons to check this months podcast in the form of several attention grabbing headlines !








… got yer attention ?! If so, let me expand a little on the above.

The mix up of April’s best D&B and Jungle releases kicks off with something of an oddity. Many fans of Drum & Bass will have noted how many of their favourite producers abandoned the music for  the (perceived) financial incentive, artistic freedom and freshness offered by Dubstep, so it is refreshing to see that Adam Elemental, the man behind the influential Runtime Records has decided to switch things around and release some D&B for the first time since 1997. With “Games We Play” he shows there is plenty of room for deviancy at 170 bpm for all those who still doubt that.

The mix moves on to showcase South Carolina’s Mixmaster Doc, a man who has been steadily releasing quality beats for over 5 years now and so it seems the time is right for his debut album  “That Now” on Driven AM. “Never Loved You” features ultra smooth chords and vocals but still packs a punch with a weighty sub-bass and tightly arranged apache groove, certainly one of my favourite cuts from the LP.

As mentioned in todays headlines (!) Metalheadz have just released a first 12″ vinyl offering from Fracture of Astrophonica / Inperspective / Subtle Audio / Bassbin fame. I have to admit, I haven’t been too much of a fan of some of the juke influenced beats Fracture has been doing of late, but “Gangbusters” strikes a nice balance of influences that won me over. The flipside “Better Than Tomorrow” is good too, making this a value for money release all round.

And so, Krust is back ! Having been deafeningly quiet on the Drum & Bass front since the release of his last album “Hidden Knowledge” in 2006 it’s great to see him back and, more importantly, back on form ! His new label is called “Rebel Instinct” and the first release came out a few months ago. The second release, a 4 track EP was delivered mid-April and features Krust at his strange, off-key, dissonant best on “Transparency”. Also featured is an old dubplate favourite of Bryan Gee’s – “J.A.M”, which used to get play back in the late 90’s. It’s only finally seeing the light of day now ! Still, better late than never.

It was this time 3 years old that Justice & Metro dropped their first collaborative album “839” on the Modern Urban Jazz label. I really rated that release and when I heard the duo were planning a follow up I thought they’d have a hard time reproducing the standard. I need not have worried, their latest effort “Oxymoron” measures up favourably and maybe even surpasses their previous long-player outing. The morphing darkness of “Bosco” features in this months mix up, but check the rest of the album for a varied collage of sounds and influences, apparently influenced from the early days when the duo used to hear anything from Acid and Breakbeat, to House, Hardcore and Hip Hop played back to back to back. That kind of mish-mash just cannot fail to be interesting! And so this album proves.

You have to love when a new artist suddenly arrives on the scene and immediately bombards listeners with release after release of quality. That’s very much the case with the next artist featured in April’s mix – Thing. He hails from Ahja, a small borough neraly 200km outside Talinn in Estonia, which makes the rich, “native” dub sound he produces even more interesting. Check “Sliding Beauty” and try not to be seduced.

Now to something altogether more hectic, random and weird – “These Other Thoughts”. California’s Nic TVG is the man behind this heavy hail of drums, an artist who is singularly uncompromising in his devotion to make and break rhythm. Just when you think you’ve gotten your head around the chaotic patterns, Nic will throw a curve-ball, retriggering the loop or introducing a sound or effect at such a  time as to throw your understanding off momentarily. If this is anything to go by, his forthcoming album on Subtle Audio will be a real treat.

The international flavour of this month’s showcase continues as a duo based in Belgium called “The Untouchables” show just why their name is being talked about so much right now. “Dem Pirates” is taken from a 4 track EP on the ever-consistant State-side label Translation. There’s a VIP version of the same track that’s well worth checking out, only available from the Translation Recordings Bandcamp site.

Marukomu has begun to garner some attention recently with his brand of techy breakbeat funk. “Iridium” might just be my favourite release of his to date – nicely atmospheric yet imminently danceable.

Of all the hardcore revivalists in recent times, Nolige has to be one of my favourite. He teams up with Collectiv on “The Replicant” which has just been released as part of an various artist EP on the eclectic Eastern Pressure label. Watch for the heavy bass-line switches!

Now to a label I didn’t expect to be featuring. Playaz (originally True Playaz) run by DJ Hype and Pascal is a label I haven’t been checking for quite awhile. The last release I remember buying were the remixes of DJ Zinc’s “Reach Out” released in 2002. As mentioned, the label has since been re-named as Playaz, presumably to signify a shift in style. In any case I haven’t been paying attention, mainly due to the style of some of the new artists involved. However, when I discovered that Lynx had released an EP on the label, my ears immediately pricked up! “Bobby Says” (featured in this months round-up) is actually inspired by an old tune by H.M.P called “Runnins” originally released on Pascal’s Frontline Records back in 1995. This new version (co-produced by Hellrazor and Bobby Esmond) has some interesting new elements that make it unique enough to warrant the re-visit. Also check “Micro” on the same EP. And yes, I cheated with this one seeing as it was released at the end of March and not in April, but this is my blog and I’ll do whatever I want (haha)

Alphacut celebrated 10 years of releasing top quality vinyl with a label night in their home town of Leipzig, Germany on the 13th of April, so it’s only fitting that their 30th release should be featured in this April round-up. To mark the special occasion they’ve issued a limited edition 10″ vinyl pressing with remixes of 2 tracks from the Alphacut back-catalogue. Abstract Elements (which features well known Med School artist, Bop) serve up a new version of one of my favourite Alphacut tunes, “Rhythm Machine” by Sumone. The original tune was (true to it’s name) a rhythmic juggernaut. This newer version tempers the impact of the drums and delivers an altogether darker, murkier vibe. Top notch. Here’s to ten more years of Alphacut!

I collected nearly all of Decoders releases in the nineties, so I was surprised when I came across a digital re-issue of an old EP of his called “Decoded” that I hadn’t heard of previously. 16 years later “D-Fect” still sounds fresh alongside the contemporary beats of 2013, a great testament to Decoders production prowess.

There was an article published in Mixmag in April declaring that “Jungle Is Massive – Again”. A number of artists were hailed as being “Champions Of Jungle”, one of which was Nebula – and deservedly so! This guy has been releasing jungle-influenced masterpieces consistently for the last 5 years on labels such as Scientific Wax and Subtle Audio. In April he featured on two different 12″ vinyl releases on Scientific Wax meaning I actually had 6 different tracks to choose from for this mix. It was quite difficult to pick just one, but in the end I went for the breezy, hedonistic vibes of “Saturn”. Classic business !!

Naibu continues apace with yet another quality release. This time it’s an album’s worth of material that has gone unreleased for one reason or another over the years. My pick of the bunch is “Aurora” which combines some heavy hitting snares with trademark Naibu atmospheric arrangements and (eventually) a sweet vocal. “Never Released” is available as a 12 track digital or CD release aswell as a 4 track 2×10″ vinyl. Again this one was released in March, but right at the end of the month and I didn’t have room to squeeze it in last time round.

Finally something from a newcomer called Parhelia on one of the few labels that still consistently pushes the atmospheric D&B sound – Camino Blue. “Northern Empire” is a bouncy amen number that stands out from the crowd with its thermin-like synth line. Catch it alongside 3 other tracks on Parhelia’s “Southern Cross” EP available digitally right now.

That’s it for now… till next month, enjoy the mix —>


The Month In Drum & Bass – March 2013

Welcome to the first ever “Month In Drum & Bass” podcast. I think I picked a good time to start this series of mixes with so many good tunes being released last month.

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Here’s the Tracklist :

1. Naibu – Aki VIP (Naibu Bandcamp)
2. S.T. Files & Response – Nailbomb (Ingredients)
3. Felix K – Forsaken (Apexx)
4. Actraiser – Dark Bride (Offworld)
5. Doc Scott – Paradise Lost (Soul Intent Remix) (Stepback Sessions Vol 4)
6. Digital & Spirit – Backlash (Remix) (Phantom Audio)
7. Infest – The One That Hides Us (Omni Music)
8. Seba – What’s Your Fantasy (Secret Operations)
9. Homemade Weapons & Gremlinz – Ruff Age (Architecture)
10. Rufige Kru – Vanilla VIP (Metalheadz – Free Download)
11. Dub One – The Spirit Within (Dub One Bandcamp)
12. Double O – Soul Warrior (Rupture London)
13. Dwarde – Algid (Scientific Wax Digital)
14. Fallen Angels (Alex Reece & Wax Doctor) – Taken Over (Creative Wax – Free Download)

The mix begins with a new VIP mix of Naibu’s classic “Aki”. It’s available right now from his bandcamp page. I’m not normally a fan of new mixes of old tunes, but there were a lot of good one’s in March and besides Naibu’s remix there are 3 other revamps in the mix. You can grab one of them “Vanilla VIP” by Goldie’s Rufige crew on the Metalheadz website absolutely free right now – check it. The Phantom Audio label has finally resurfaced and Digital & Spirit’s “Backlash” (the flipside to the massive “Phantom Force”) has been revisited and given a extra dollop of breakbeat and a few new twists and turns. Not wildly original, but good quality beats with a touch of class. Finally, Soul Intent pulls off the bravest remix for sometime by tackling Doc Scott’s “Paradise Lost”. This is a tune that still sounds fresh nearly 20 years after it’s original release on Reinforced Records (in 1994). With it’s distinctive machine-like snare rolls and overall off-kilter nature it might have proved too much for many producers but Soul Intent has really come up with the goods here – not just  upping the tempo to match today’s norm but coming up with a genuinely fresh take on the original while maintaining the vibe. Hats off ! It’s available as a download on Volume 4 of the “Stepback Sessions”.

Okay, enough nostalgia ! There were also alot of new names bringing the beats in March. One of Holland’s breakbeat hero’s Infest just released his debut LP on the ever prolific Omni Music. With previous outings on Outsider Music, DSCI4, Eastern Promise and Repertoire and growing acclaim, the time was right for a full length album and it doesn’t disappoint. Check “The One That Hides Us” in the mix for evidence. Also watch for a forthcoming collaboration with Quasi on Subtle Audio in the next few months.

Dwarde is another fresh face on the scene and with a new release on Scientific Wax the only way is up from here on in – loving the synth riff on the amen rich “Algid”, a real throwback to the old days.

Berlin’s Felix K has been quietly getting along with his business over the last few years, running his own label “Hidden Hawaii” and releasing his own productions on labels such as Doc Scott’s 31 Records. His latest release is on Birmingham’s Apexx Recordings. It’s quite minimal but nice n bouncy (without being cheesy) – it’s a skill to make a simple idea seem interesting, and Felix does that here.

Actraiser  is a name I wasn’t familiar with till recently despite having quite a few releases over the last few years. “Dark Bride” is a track taken from his “Drift Away” EP on Offworld Recordings – one of a handful of labels still promoting the atmospheric side of Drum & Bass. Really like this tune and will certainly be looking out for more from the Bristol man in the future.

Another new name (to me at least) – Homemade Weapons teamed up with Gremlinz (someone I’m alot more familiar with!) for a track on his Fallen EP. “Ruff Age”  is a nice balance between traditional tech-y D&B and the more recent glitch-y advances we’ve been hearing over the last few years. The VIP mix emphasizes the glitch elements a little more but still packs plenty of punch. The rest of the EP is quality too and sees Gremlinz team-up with Displaced Paranormals on one track and Aspect on another aswell as delivering the title track in solo mode.

Seba has finally been getting the kudos he deserves over the last 5 or 6 years and his 2nd full length album will no doubt keep his hordes of fans happy. Personally I would like to hear a little more in the break-beat department on certain tracks but there is still plenty to admire on this “Identity” LP. Loving the techno-line on “What’s Your Fantasy”.

It was good to see ST Files make his return to D&B  production a few years ago and it’s a coup for the impressive Ingredients label to land some new tunes from the man. “Nailbomb” is the pick of this new release which was co-produced by Response.

The end of this mix sees things take a turn toward the Jungle. Dub One has been one of the most incendiary exponents of breakbeat manipulation over the last few years and one of my favourites of his  has finally seen the light of day. “The Spirit Within” is available right now from Dub One’s Bandcamp page. Calming things down after Dub One’s amen splurge is the soothing sound of “Soul Warrior” by Double O – this is available right now as a limited 12″ direct from the Rupture London site. The aforementioned Dwarde track ratchets up the energy levels once again before we take a trip back in time for “Taken Over” by the Fallen Angels (aka Alex Reece and the Wax Doctor). Originally released in 1995 and re-released on vinyl in 1998 and again in 2002 and later on digital a few years ago, this was posted as a free download on the Creative Wax Soundcloud in March. The label is making a comeback and is due to have some new releases on the way soon. They also gave away an amazing free Equinox remix of the classic “Stay Calm” by DJ Pulse a few months ago, so it might be worth keeping an eye on the Creative Wax Soundcloud page.

Until next month! Enjoy the mix —>