Sunday, May 19, 2013

Reviews :: May 6th - May 20th 2013

Introducing a new feature to the blog, we take a look at a selection of the releases that have recently hit the shelves or are about to drop. First up, we delve into a highly anticipated release from one half of the scene's most exciting duos in the last few years...

 Chris Octane :: Synthetics/Gaia's Dub [CO Recordings]

After the release of their brilliant debut album Method In The Madness, on Dispatch Recordings last year, Octane & DLR decided to part ways as a production team and pursue  their dreams in a more solitary fashion.
Much of the scene has been waiting with baited breath to see what comes of this new direction and Chris Octane served up his first solo release on his brand new label CO Recordings on May 6th. It doesn't disappoint.
"Synthetics" kicks things off with ethereal atmosphere, plucked bass and an existential vocal focussing on our perception of reality before dropping into a thunderous distorted sub, bringing with it a live sounding energy rarely heard in Drum & Bass these days. The drop catches the listener off-guard a little and as you'd expect, the production standards are astoundingly good. This is definitely one for the dance floor.
"Gaia's Dub" sees Octane take an altogether different direction, bringing it right down to an almost ambient level. Another vocal sample woefully describing humanity's destruction of our planet takes us through the intro until the drop lifts us into space with spectral sci-fi pads and a simple half tempo beat. Minimal sub-work drives the track while spacey effects flicker in and out keeping our ears happy and engaged.
Overall, Octane has covered all the bases with a well-rounded debut release that further cements his place in the scene and firmly defines CO Recordings as a label to keep an eye on. You can bag it now from all good digital outlets.

Kalm & Carera :: Late Night Vibes EP [Nurtured Beatz Recordings]

May 13th saw the second release from Kalm and Spindall's own Nurtured Beatz Recordings. Following the first EP on the label from the legendary Genotype, Kalm & Carera have supplied us with four deep and rugged tracks delivering exactly what it says on the tin.
"Late Night Vibes" sets the scene with its dark, creeping bassline and unsettling atmosphere while "Ton Of Bricks" comes with the same tone but ups the pressure a little. A smooth sub snakes its way through the sparse soundscape bringing that smoke-filled, underground club feeling we love here.
"Smoke & Dust" is probably our favourite of the four tracks here and is aimed right at the dance floor, hitting hard with more stepping beats before a sweet little switch that rolls nicely into an uplifting breakdown. The darkness picks up again after the second drop making this great peak-time material.
"Perceptions" closes things off with its rolling techstep vibes finishing an EP that we feel surpasses the first release and proves that Nurtured Beatz is definitely a label to watch. You can grab it now from all good digital stores.

Sunchase/Detail :: Nathnennia/Green Rain [Utopia Music]

Mako's excellent label, Utopia Music adds two new artists to their roster in the form of Sunchase and Detail with a pretty understated affair that focuses more on dynamics and atmosphere rather than dance floor punch.
Sunchase's "Nathnennia" opens proceedings, building tension with 80s style synths as the bassline slowly creeps in. The sparse vibes are continued after the drop and the introduction of keys develops the lushness while slightly darker effects bring with them a sense of foreboding. This one is deep, moody and packed with a respectable sense of restraint. Especially considering it comes from a producer who is more renowned for his dance floor smashing Neurofunk. Lovely.
Detail comes correct on the flipside with "Green Rain" bringing the minimal Footwork vibes. Dark, uncomfortable atmosphere kicks things off alongside that familiar Juke-style break arriving at a drop that comes with a false sense of security. Just as we're getting comfortable, a stupendous amen break clatters us round the head before sinking back into stark minimalism again. It's a bit like being ambushed by a silverback gorilla. We love it.
This one is out on digital format on May 20th but due to distribution problems, vinyl heads will have to wait another couple of weeks for release.

Chroma :: Intermission/Knock Knock [C.I.A]

Drum & Bass' latest supergroup, comprising of Phobia, Sato and Tyrone, have burst on to the scene from their respective solo careers in the last six months or so. A glut of solid releases on labels like Commercial Suicide and Renegade Hardware have shown that they're not messing about and their excellent "So Alone" on Ram Records' new offshoot, Program, was one of our favourite tracks of last year.
Their next single, for Total Science's label C.I.A, is scheduled for release on May 20th and carries with it a similar theme, bringing forward old-skool stylings whilst still keeping things sounding contemporary.
"Intermission" opens with a classic break and Dub effects culminating in a drop that is reminiscent of old Dread Recordings tunes. Deep sub stabs and an ever-satisfying reese keep things rolling alongside those familiar drones so prevalent in Drum & Bass today. The second drop brings a subtle switch guaranteed to keep the punters rooted to the dance floor. Classic vibes designed for the modern raver.
"Knock Knock" on the flip carries on in a similar vein but with a much darker edge. Steppy breaks and bass stabs keep this one rumbling along with an atmosphere that reminds us of classic Cylon and Renegade Hardware tracks.
All round, this is the sort of release you'd expect to hear on C.I.A; quality, modern dance floor Drum & Bass with more than a little nod to the old-skool. Great stuff.

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