Under The Counter (Volume Five)

Reviews of new releases and fresh promo’s.

Dead Man’s Chest And Posse – EP (Sneaker Social Club)

Without a doubt, Dead Man’s Chest is one of the most prolific and reliable producers out there right now. With a string of releases on labels like Rupture, None60 and his own Western Lore imprint Alex kick starts 2019 with this four-track EP for Sneaker Social Club (DJ Mag’s 2018 Label Of The Year). The 12” features three collaborations and one new solo track. Collaborating with Western Lore artists Sonic and Response on “Pum Flex” and “We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes” respectively whilst “The Dead Will Dance” features DMC on the controls alongside Coco Bryce.

Alex has a distinct style, often utilising gritty drum samples, pulsating four four kicks, odd film quotes and unusual arrangements, his songs can be quite unpredictable. These tracks demonstrate that perfectly, they’re raw jungle inspired by the past but with a focus on doing things differently.

This EP is in the true spirit of early Drum and Bass 12’s, varied and adventurous with each track brimming with character. An essential purchase and a great start to the year for both Dead Man’s Chest and Sneaker Social Club.

Various Artist – Collisional Process Volume 1 (7th Storey Projects)

7th Storey Projects kicks off its tenth year with this three track EP featuring Necrotype, Drum Cypha and the label debut of duo Law and Kola Nut. The 12” contains a mixture of both light and dark elements representing the eclectic nature of 7th Storey. Necrotype opens the EP with “Stories And Visions”, built around enchanting chords, bewitching female vocals and spoken words of wisdom the track unfolds into and a warm and mystical journey into the deeper side of Drum and Bass.

In contrast, Drum Cypha delivers “Sepulchral”, an energetic trip to the dark side with vicious hardcore stabs, supercharged amens and twisted melodies. Law and Kola Nut draw the record to a close with the epic “Triton Dawn”. At around 9 minutes it’s an emotional return to the glory days of Good Looking and Moving Shadow. Featuring a dreamlike Omni Trio style piano melody and an amen that switches between tightly chopped and rugged to a classic Bukem rolling style. Short sound clips do not this justice so to hear the full journey grab the vinyl direct from the 7th Storey store.

Acid_Lab – Shimazu Clan EP (Repertoire)

The latest EP on Repertoire ranges from high energy retro style darkness to modern minimal techno-tinged half step. The title cut “Shimazu Clan” will draw obvious comparisons to tracks like “Black Rose” and vintage Source Direct with its intricate edits and perfectly recreated 90’s Kung Fu atmosphere. Breaks are twisted together with an intense ferocity yet never sound too complex that they lose their natural funk.

Acid_Lab has a true talent for replicating styles from yesteryear whilst still leaving enough room to inject his own sound into the mix. Elsewhere across the 12” shades of Photek and Overlook can also be heard, another vital release from Repertoire further enforcing their reputation as an essential contemporary jungle label. Available now on both digital and vinyl formats.

Total Science And Jubei – Reality / Redemption (Metalheadz)

2019 is set to be an interesting time for Metalheadz as it celebrates 25 years at the forefront of the Drum and Bass scene, it also promises to be a very productive period as only four weeks into the new year they are already on their fourth release.

For this 12” label stalwarts Total Science and Jubei join forces to craft two chunky slices of dance floor two-step. “Reality” features a serious bottom end, soundclash samples and an infectious melody which is instantly memorable. On the flip side “Redemption” adds a catchy arcade game style refrain, punishing bass and a beautiful Rhodes breakdown to a robust kick and snare pattern.

These may be made primarily to move a crowd but there are a few references to the rich history of Metalheadz buried in both tracks that add a layer of nostalgia and lift them from your average dance floor fodder. Proof you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or over complicate things to make a great tune. “Roll it, selector!!”

Various Artists – Volume One (Rotation Audio)

As a new label producing vinyl, the first 12” can often decide whether they make it to release number two. At a time when fresh labels are cropping up left, right and center I always look forward to hearing anything named “Volume One” as it shows dedication and commitment to an ongoing project. Joe from Rotation Audio certainly seems to have worked hard on his vision for the label enlisting the help of Sicknote and Drum Cypha for his first vinyl offering.

A two-track 12”centred around pounding amen edits, Sicknote goes the ethereal route whilst Drum Cypha opts for darkness and intensity. On the A-Side “Someday” by Sicknote opens with delicate pads and a swirling chord before a light drum break guides us to an uplifting amen drop. Voices sing to the heavens as the beats twist and mutate, filtering away to nothing then returning with gusto. A prolonged breakdown in the center of the track provides an opportunity to immerse fully in the beauty of the pads before once again funky drum edits act as a sherpa to the second wave of uplifting amens. The track is made all the more poignant as the release is dedicated to one of Joe’s friends who sadly passed away last year.

On the B-Side, Drum Cypha manipulates the amen with ferocity on his track “Centaurs”. Brutal chops, haunting chords and plunging snares take the listener on an intense flight to the murky side of jungle. Raw and relentless.

Words: Dave Sector

Many thanks to the artists and labels who send me music. If you would like your release considered for inclusion on Two Hungry Ghosts please email your submission to twohungryghosts@gmail.com

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