Premiere: MAC-V – 94′ Paradise (Next Phase Records)

Covering multiple styles of drum and bass, the “Varitone EP” on Next Phase Records contains four diverse takes on modern-jungle. From the adrenalin-inducing “94 Paradise” to the tranquil “Voyager”, this release captures the various tones of DnB.

Opening with “94 Paradise”, the title referencing the year it replicates, a soulful diva cries “you take me higher” over Helicopter beats and uplifting chords before an energetic amen drop that would have featured in many a DJ set back in 94.

Next up, Infest and Mr Walker produce a detailed Drumfunk composition titled “Who’s At The Door?”. With eerie strings and restless beats, the duo craft a mysterious, brooding atmosphere creating a deep-seated sense of foreboding that runs throughout the track.

“The Lighthouse” by Nectrotype & Abstract Illusion, continues with the feeling that something sinister is lurking just around the corner. With an extended breakdown and movie dialogue, followed by a prolonged section of uneasy white noise, a series of gunshots announces the tracks first amen drop.

To finish the EP, Fushara takes us on a journey out of the jungle, cloud-bound. Long, protracted pads conjure serene images and a sense of peacefully travelling above the earth, a beautiful way to close.

Buy: nextphaserecords.com

Premiere: Kyam – Duplicity [Homemade Weapons Remix] (Unbidden Audio)

The Homemade Weapons remix of “Duplicity” by Kyam features on the forthcoming “Cold March Of Regress EP”, out November 6th on Unbidden Audio.

The label was launched by Kyam in 2018 as an outlet to release his productions digitally. Now for the first time, Unbidden Audio is venturing into the world of multi-artist EP’s and vinyl. Featuring contributions from Elementz of Noize, dreadmaul, Homemade Weapons and Kyam the four-track release is now available to pre-order.

The vinyl release is a strictly limited edition offering, with only 200 being pressed.

Each artist brings something different to this release, with productions ignoring traditional drum and bass tropes. Harsh white noise, piercing drones and industrial percussion construct a metallic wall of sound, while techno kicks pound through the EP adding to its mechanical tone.

The energy in the track we are premiering today, the Homemade Weapons remix of “Duplicity”, is merciless. A powerful techno/drum and bass hybrid with sharp snares cutting through the oppressive darkness.

Pre-order: unbiddenaudio.bandcamp.com

Premiere: Mikal – Scrapyard Dub (Metalheadz)

“Scrapyard Dub” by Mikal is taken from his second LP for Metalheadz titled “Metalwork”. The follow up to his debut album “Wilderness”, see’s the Swedish born producer deliver a further 16 tracks to the Headz archive with strong sonic clarity.

With such an extensive back catalogue, Metalheadz has been a trailblazer in the drum and bass scene for almost 27 years. During that time styles have changed as the scene has evolved, complex breaks that were so prominent in the early years of the label were, at times, replaced for weighty kicks and sharp snares. What people describe as the “Metalheadz sound” can vary from person to person, and what makes this album so good is that Mikal acknowledges this with a variety of Headz styles. For the old-school crew there are tracks like “Break It” and “Breaks And Pads”, not surprisingly heavy on drum edits and retro leanings. Cuts like “Magnetic Sound” and “3rd Eye” focus on obscene Reese basslines and snarling FX. While “Strident” returns to the Blue Note with a “Metropolis” style intro, twisted mentasms and a tough kick and snare combo.

“Scrapyard Dub” covers the cutting edge, experimental side of Headz. Distorted bass tones, filtered drum rolls and delayed vocals create a sinister Metalheadz take on dub, subdued but dangerous like a sleeping lion.

“Metalwork” is a well-rounded album that manages to deliver surprises while respecting the heritage of the label. Whatever your definition of the “Metalheadz sound” is, there will be something on this album for you.

The LP releases October 19th, 2020.

Buy: https://backl.ink/metalwork

Premiere: Eusebeia – Infinity (Earthtrax)

“Infinity” by Eusebeia is taken from the fifth release on Bristol-based label and sound system, Earthtrax. Both vinyl and digital versions will be available to pre-order from Tuesday 27th of October 2020, direct from the Earthtrax Bandcamp.

Featuring dubbed-out atmospherics and hardcore breaks, the EP is a blend of both modern and retro jungle. Covering a variety of BPM’s the 12″ challenges the notion that all drum and bass needs to be 160-170+

We caught up with Eusebeia for a quick chat on how he got started and his “Infinity EP” release.

So, before we dive into the EP, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started producing?

Sure, so I started writing music around ten years ago which came about as a natural progression from DJing and just being into music – from early on in life I knew music and art was something that had a profound effect on me. I came to realise it was the thing I wanted/needed to do so I just kept on that path.

Ah, what kind of stuff were you DJing back then?

Drum and Bass mainly at that point, I got my first set of decks in 2005-2006. I used to practice with my stepdads house and trance records, along with some jungle and hardcore I had bought and started playing parties and some events from 2008 onwards.

I’ve often wondered that as your music covers a wide range of tempos, and your production style often features techno style melodies. Did you like those house/trance records or only use them for practice?

Yes, I grew up hearing a lot of house, techno and trance.

What is it about those styles of music you find inspiring?

The free form nature of them, and that there’s probably more hybrids than any other style of music, the cultural aspects, and like with any music just how it can make you feel.

Does any artist, in particular, stand out as an inspiration?

Everything I’ve heard and liked has inspired me in some way so that’s a tough one, but if I had to say, I suppose Massive Attack have always been inspirational to me… “Mezzanine” was one of the first albums I heard that really had a powerful effect on me.

There’s a strong emotive current that runs through your music, I got quite disheartened at one stage talking to old producers I admired who told me there was no real message in their music.

Oh, that’s a shame to put it lightly, but unfortunately, some people make music with false intent and/or no real purpose which is kinda shit.

What’s music without a message/purpose?

Exactly, there has to be some kind of reason at least for doing a thing, even if it doesn’t make much sense or is somewhat unclear at the time.

So how do you go about capturing these emotions in your music, what’s your creative process?

First of all, anything done must be done as simply as can be, and with pure intentions, it must be honest. If I feel a particular way I will create a melody or a mood relative to that feeling and go from there. The tracks either stem from an emotional/personal thing or an intellectual idea or concept, but often the two are interlinked in some way.

I write notes and keywords which I use to help me express ideas, and I tend to work quite quickly to get things out while they’re fresh.

Alongside the music you also create art, including the design work for this 12″. Do you adopt a similar process?

Yes absolutely, with the visual art it’s just more hands-on and practical like I won’t write any notes for that.

I think of your collage work like visual music production, fusing images and textures like audio samples

Yes definitely, what I’m doing with images and audio is essentially the same.

Onto this EP, what moods and emotions are explored throughout the four tracks?

I wanted to make it feel quite expansive and all-encompassing, it definitely embodies both the dark and light, and above all else, the balance between the two. In some places, it feels so certain and triumphant, jovial and clear, and then at other times it’s very unclear and uncertain… it kind of mirrors life in that way, the constant changing of things, the ebb and flow.

The track we are premiering today is titled “Infinity”, what’s the story behind this one?

This is the title track of the EP and ties the other tracks together nicely. It references the Infinity symbol which is the symbol for eternity, the cycle of life, death and rebirth, and the seemingly boundless nature of the universe

Last thing… where can people get it?

Direct from the Earthtrax Bandcamp, and usual stores including Redeye, Disc World, Juno etc

Links: Bandcamp / Eusebeia

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Premiere: Lo Chi – After Effects (Dead Trax)

“After Effects” by Lo Chi is taken from the forthcoming compilation “The Grooveyard: Volume 1” on Dead Trax. Featuring thirteen tracks in total, the collection covers Garage and Hardcore sounds in the first half and Jungle/DnB in the second. The release will be available in digital and physical formats, with a limited edition cassette tape now up for pre-order containing a bonus track and stickers.

Lo Chi is a DJ/Producer from Bristol, UK, the home of jungle luminaries Roni Size and Krust plus more recently pioneers Om Unit, Pessimist and Vega. He opts for a vintage dark 90s sound for his contribution to “The Grooveyard”, with chopped Apache, Life Could and Amen breaks, menacing strings and Kung Fu samples all adding to the hostile nature of the track.

The compilation is a far-reaching and refreshing combination of sounds influenced by the 90s, ranging from 125-160+ BPMs and featuring retro artwork by BARE1 & Nathan “Boris” Carr. Other contributors to the compilation include Local Group and Margari’s Kid.

Head over to Bandcamp to pre-order the release now.

Buy: deadtraxuk.bandcamp.com

Various Artists – The Grooveyard: Volume 1

Tracklist:
A1. Earthnut – Even
A2. Hartta – Aku Dub (Ten Levels Remix)
A3. Grave Grooves – 66
A4. Hartta – If You
A5. Local Group – Fire
A6. D. Perignon – Glow Worm
A7. Agora – Reach 4 The Lasers
B1. Digital Diógenes & Hartta – Running Wild
B2. Margari’s Kid – Serotonin
B3. Grave Grooves – Fuel
B4. San – Everybody Out
B5. Lo Chi – After Effects
B6. Occitanie – Homecoming

Premiere: Kid Drama – Thoughtcast 7 (CNVX)

“Thoughtcast 7” by Kid Drama is taken from the “2010 Again EP“, released on the artists own label CNVX. The four-track EP is available to purchase now direct from the CNVX Bandcamp.

Widely known for being one half of Instra:mental, Kid Drama has had a series of releases on highly respected and influential labels including Exit and Metalheadz.

Balancing autonomic with tech-step, Kid Drama creates a feeling that is futuristic and reflective. A sonic soundstage where percussion can have just as much impact as a kick and snappy snare. Basslines rumble with menacing intent, while razor-sharp drums add a technical edge to his visionary take on drum and bass.

Although the EP has a tech-step essence, it’s not all dark, with the reflective “Diazedaze” lightening the tone through the use of subtle pads and delicate strings.

“Thoughtcast 7” has a Deep Blue feel, with an aquatic techno vibe. Title track “2010 Again” is the darkest of the collection, although nowhere near a 96/97 level. With “Pivot” a fine balance of dark and light.

The “2010 Again EP” by Kid Drama is available to buy now.

Buy: Bandcamp

Premiere: Goldie – Redemption [Jon Dixon Ambient Edit] (Metalheadz)

Jon Dixon’s Ambient Edit of “Redemption” by Goldie is taken from Part 1 of the “Journey Man Remix LP”, forthcoming on Metalheadz. Part 2 of the remix series also features a four-four mix of “Redemption” by Jon, alongside fellow Detroit Techno producer, the legendary “Mad” Mike Banks from Underground Resistance and Galaxy 2 Galaxy fame.

Placed between the rolling jazz fused mix of “Truth” by Zero T and the uptempo robot funk of Belgian producer Phase and his take on “Prism”, the ambient mix of “Redemption” provides respite from the albums drum and bass core. Six seconds short of eight minutes long, the track unfolds gracefully, steadily building layers of lavish pads to create a soundscape that’s immersive and stirring, a sonorous symphony that oozes elegance.

Elsewhere across the two albums are remixes by Digital and the late, great Spirit, with a tearing mix of “I Think Of You”, a heavy powerhouse of energy and technoid funk. And mixes from the current roster of Metalheadz artists including Artificial Intelligence, Mako, Grey Code and Lenzman.

Remixes often shine best when transposed to a different genre, one of the reasons this ambient mix works so well is that Detroit Techno and Drum and Bass are perfect allies, with a similar formative history of young black producers eager to create a new sound, introducing elements of science-fiction to create something expressive, personal and futuristic. When the two styles come together like this in unison, they create a truly mesmerising cosmic atmosphere.

Both volumes of the remix series are now available to pre-order.

Buy: Goldie – Journeyman Remixes Part 1 / Part 2

We caught up with Jon to discuss the bond between the two genres, his production process and the “Redemption” remixes for Goldie.

I’ve always been fascinated by the connection between early drum and bass and Detroit Techno, a lot of my favourite artists were heavily inspired by what was going on over the pond in the Motor City, not just the music itself but the producer community working together to craft something new, resulting in a powerful musical movement. What’s your take on that? Were you exposed much to the jungle scene in Detroit?

I think community is important in any genre when you’re working towards something that is unique and in the moment. What’s amazing to me is that while Techno was evolving in Detroit, it began to make a powerful impact globally as you’ve mentioned. As Detroiters, we’re influenced not only by other musicians around us, but also our environment. Detroit in the 80s and 90s wasn’t the prettiest, nor was it a destination for tourists. Yet, across the entire city you had these “creative genius’” who were in their studios creating this music for the future….only to realize that it would slowly impact the world as it did.

There have been some amazing remixes between techno artists and drum and bass producers, the Claude Young mix of Jacob’s Optical Stairway (4hero) and the Alex Reece remix of Kenny Larkins “Loop 2” instantly spring to mind. What parallels do you see between the two styles and from a production perspective, why do you think they work so well together?

I think it’s the ear of the producer more so than the genre of the music. Personally, I’ve always loved finding similarities and differences when it came to doing a remix. In the case of anything Goldie has done and techno for example, I would have to imagine also that he’s gone through some things in life that triggers certain emotions. Those emotions go into the music and make it that much more meaningful. Everyone has their own approach to a remix. For me, especially since getting to know Goldie very well over the past 6 years or so, I knew what direction to go when he asked, and I also knew where I wanted to take it

How did you get the opportunity to be a part of the Journeyman Remix project?

In 2014 I met Goldie in Croatia in a van overseas travelling to an airport. The ride was about 3 hours but seemed like 20 minutes. Somehow, we both got on the subject of Pat Metheny and his music. From there I knew all I needed to know about him, and vice versa. We discussed Pat’s catalogue and the late Lyle Mays (Pat’s keyboardist for many years and my favourite keyboardist). Having never met before, we both understood the complexity of Pat Metheny’s music to be able to talk about it as if we both discovered it at the same time. It was that van ride that let us both know we knew how to understand music on a visual, emotional and spiritual level. We exchanged emails and I hit him up as soon as I got back to Detroit. As he mentioned in the van, he was going to start working on his new album and he wanted to involve me. I can’t mention how many early morning and late-night calls I got, emails, texts, you name it. Goldie knew exactly what it was he was hearing and how it should sound. And even though we were both in different countries, he was able to draw something from me that I didn’t know I could do. From those many conversations I was able to co-write ‘Horizon’, ‘Tomorrows Not Today’ and ‘This is Not a Love Song’. I was featured on ‘Run Run Run’ (piano) and ‘Redemption’. Since then I talk to G about once a month or so and he’s always involving me in many of his projects, including Subjective. He asked about me doing a remix a while ago and nothing made me happier than to say yes.

One of the reasons your Ambient mix blew me away was because it follows straight after the jazzy rolling remix of “Truth” by Zero T, you go from listening to these tight drum loops and deep bass to eight minutes of chords, FX and vocals. I’m sure a lot of people will listen to it as an album and think “when is the beat going to kick in”, it’s a powerful moment when you realise it’s not going to and the beauty of your remix unfolds. Have you heard the album in full and what did you think?

I’ve heard the album in its entirety and it flows very well. Goldie is very particular about that stuff and I know the ambient track was placed where it is strategically. All the remixes are incredible, especially when you know the original so well.

The album features two remixes of “Redemption”, the ambient version we are premiering today and a techno version featuring the legendary Mike Banks. What is it like working with him? Am I right in understanding he has been like a mentor to you?

Mike is a mentor yes, but much more than that. Before graduating the “UR boot camp”, Mike has spent countless hours showing and teaching me all he knows musically, but about the business side as well. He told me who I should know and work with. He also told me who to stay away from and avoid. Everything that I released always goes past Mikes ears and this remix was no exception. I let him hear it and he said “Jon, you should let me put some strings on it”. The rest is history. His strings really give the track that UR/Detroit sound and that’s what I was going for.

Talking of which, halfway through the original version of Redemption, it launches into the intro keys from Galaxy 2 Galaxy’s “Hi-Tech Jazz”. Where you tempted to feature those in your mix or was it a conscious choice to leave them out?

I was tempted at first, but I wanted to take the approach of doing something that wasn’t to be expected. If I were a listener and knew the song “Hi Tech Jazz” and to see that a UR member, was doing a remix on “Redemption”, I would expect to hear it in the remix. So I stayed away from it.

Can you run us through your mindset when tackling this project and the two remixes?

With the ambient mix, I wanted to create a mood. What type of mood that is all depends on the listener. I envisioned colors and layers,similar to the art Goldie does actually. With my remix that features Mike, I just wanted it to be good enough for Goldie and it was.

Can you let us know a bit about your studio and your creative process, what motivates you to sit down and produce?

My studio is 10 keyboards, a few smaller synths and 2 sets of speakers. Since I’m a musician first, I love using hardware so all my sounds come from my gear. As far as the creative process, it varies. Sometimes I’ll go into my studio and it’s completely silent. I’ll wait and see if I hear an idea. It can be a melody, a rhythm or a chord. Sometimes I don’t hear anything and I’ll shut everything down. Other times I have an idea of where or how I want to start a track. I never force anything. When I feel myself forcing parts into a production I save it and shut it down for a day or so. For me, making music is a way of life. It’s something that I know I was created to do. The world has probably heard only 2% of music that I’ve ever made, but everything isn’t meant to be released. I do it because if I don’t get the ideas out, it’ll drive me crazy. With the musical training that I’ve gotten over the past few decades Im grateful to be able to go into the studio and use my keyboards to make what it is I’m hearing, or what I’m picturing visually, or what emotions I want to evoke.

Finally, where can people find out more about you and can you recommend some of your back catalogue to people who are yet to discover your music?

My entire catalogue of 4EVR 4WRD can be found on my Bandcamp. And for other releases and collaborations I do my best to keep my social media updated.

Links: Bandcamp / Website / Instagram

Premiere: Arcane – Temples (Rua Sound)

“Temples” by Arcane is taken from the “Labyrinth EP“, forthcoming on Rua Sound. The release will be available on 12″ vinyl and digital download from September 11th.

The first release on the label by Arcane contains four tracks of pure atmospheric jungle goodness. A focus on bass and melody provides both ruggedness and musicality in abundance.

“Temples” is breakbeat science at its finest, intricate, emotive and melodic. The more drumfunk focused of the EP’s four tracks, it features a punchy low-end with complex Apache and Amen edits. A mysterious horn floats through the track, delicately skipping through its different sections like a mystical Sherpa.

Elsewhere on release, title track Labyrinth is reminiscent of one of my favourite Good Looking releases, “Travelling” by D.O.P.E with its multiple layers of atmospherics and cosmic chimes. “Planet X” featuring Samurai Breaks is a deep dancefloor workout, a blend of sophisticated drums and rude Reese bass. “Voyage” drops the tempo merging hip-hop, house and dub for a cosmic half-time 170 expedition.

The “Labyrinth EP” by Arcane is available to buy direct from the label now.

Buy: Bandcamp

Premiere: Mystic State – Mirrors Edge (The Chikara Project)

“Mirrors Edge” is taken from the debut LP, “My Own Private Island“, by Mystic State released on the Bristol-based label, The Chikara Project.

“My Own Private Island” contains fourteen tracks covering the bass music spectrum, from instrumental airy soundscapes to 90s jungle fused breaks. It’s an impressive debut that certainly captures the atmospheric side of drum and bass, from its early origins to modern, minimal and progressive 170 styles.

“Mirrors Edge” is the perfect blend of these two contrasting sub-genres. It’s half-time skeleton allowing breaks to twist and filter while remaining calm and melodic, adding a dancefloor twist to a sound often associated with intimate headphone listening sessions. The first half of the track is built around samples also used in “Terrorist” by Renegade, namely the “Think” break, Reece bass and Jah Shaka dub sound FX. The second section adds “Soul Pride” drums into the mix, adding a further injection of funk and nostalgia.

If you were a fan of jungle in the 90s and appreciated the cosmic, forward-thinking nature of the sound then be sure to check out “My Own Private Island” for an intoxicating excursion into melodic atmospherics.

The debut LP by Mystic State, “My Own Private Island”, is now available to purchase directly from the label via Bandcamp.

Buy: Bandcamp

Premiere: Cryptographic – Echo III (re:st)

“Echo III” by Cryptographic is taken from the “Echo EP”, forthcoming on re:st. The release will be available on a strictly limited edition vinyl, with only 100 being pressed, and digital download. Both versions can be pre-ordered direct from the label now via Bandcamp.

The re:st label is based in Switzerland and at the forefront of experimental 170 excursions into deep and dubby, techno fused modern jungle. The “Echo EP” is saturated in effects and atmosphere, expressive and percussive the release integrates ambient field recordings with weighty kicks and heavily delayed FX.

The EP captures a true sci-fi ambience with its robotic, industrial percussion and sounds that echo into the distance like ships venturing into space. Rainfall and informative vocal samples add to this Bladerunner vibe as you could imagine the educational messages being relayed on large screens as public service announcements in a futuristic city.

Buy now: Bandcamp