All posts by James Mernagh

Bassment Beats Vol 3 [Translation Recordings]

New Release – Bassment Beats Vol 3

Translation Recordings are at it again with five more devastatingly dark cuts of drum & bass from the more experimental end of the spectrum on Bassment Beats Vol 3.

Label founder RogueState is on target himself with closing track ‘Origins’ which balances the label’s penchant for bassweight with a leftfield edge in the shape of surprisingly lush pads and staccato drums.

The four tracks that come before share the same love of the outer reaches of the genre, and in particular the darker side of that area – Akinsa’s opener is cavernous, echoey and full of withheld power, while ‘Tumbler’ by Fuj takes the torch and runs with it, unleashing some of that pent-up strength in the hardest track on the record.

Mark Kloud’s effort ‘Coplanar’ sits between tough d&b and spacey atmospherics, and Broken Promise takes a snarling bassline to an otherwise spaced-out track.

The record is out now, listen below or head here to buy.

www.translation-recordings.com
www.soundcloud.com/translationrecordings

Dirty-D - Feelin' Moody EP [NexGen Music]

New Release – Dirty-D – Feelin’ Moody EP

Dirty-D is a disciple of the breakbeat and doesn’t care who knows, and they get suitably shredded on his latest release on his own NexGen Music label, Feelin’ Moody.

Dirty-D is just one of label boss D.A’s production monikers and the man is known for his love of all things underground but particularly music from the breakbeat rave era.

The four-track EP combines some fairly soft rave flavoured synths with chaotic drums on the title track before getting progressively grittier as the record wears on, going out on the filthy tear-out double-hit of ‘Radial Exposure’ and ‘Choppin’ It’. That’s not to say this is one-dimensional jump-up – there’s a depth and a certain classiness to parts of these tracks which is channeled into an entire tune in the shape of the classic-sounding ’Do You Love Me?’ which conjures a vintage Ed Rush and Optical vibe.

It’s no surprise that the record has a genuine old-school taste to it – it’s put together using unfinished bits from as far back as the late 90’s, buffed up to today’s standards.

Listen below, or click here to buy.

https://www.nexgenmusicgroup.com/
www.soundcloud.com/nexgenrecs

Basic Biology - 'Twilight'/'Sensational' [Free Love Digi]

New Release – Basic Biology – ‘Twilight’/’Sensational’

The first Free Love Digi release for duo Basic Biology probably sounds something like the deep dreams of label boss and notorious musical nomad Quentin Hiatus – it’s easy to see how he got on board with them.

One half of the production pair is Thomas B, who has numerous FLD releases behind him already, and this time around he has a new pseudonym and a partner behind the controls in the form of Matthew Cassidy.

‘Twilight’ and ‘Sensational’ are up there with the mellowest tracks on the label and are both gorgeous, although still propulsive. Megan McKay lends her vocals to the cause and the result is two left-field bass cuts with the airy mysticism to fit into the 4am wind-down as well as the beats to still knock persistently.

Listen below or head to www.freelovedigi.com to buy.

www.soundcloud.com/free-love-digi

Digital, 6Blocc, Calculon, Shamanga, Fanu, Agzilla – Rogue Style 2 EP [Defrostatica Records]

New Release – Digital, 6Blocc, Calculon, Shamanga, Fanu, Agzilla – Rogue Style 2 EP

B-boy culture gets another resounding tribute from the Defrostatica Records crew, who bring six producers from across the globe onboard for round two of their Rogue Style series.

The first Rogue Style EP went out last year with tracks from Sinistarr, Kiat, Kabuki and HomeSick, and now the second EP has been unleashed – this time it’s Digital (UK), 6Blocc, Calculon, Shamanga (all USA), Fanu (Finland) and Agzilla (Iceland) at the controls for four colossal tracks which each approach the b-boy scene from a slightly different direction.

Digital, who is behind the sparse drum & bass of opening track ‘Uprock’ said: “Myself and my older brother have been into hip hop and b-boy culture from an early age. It showed me music wasn’t just something you danced to, it demonstrated togetherness, passion and the amazing life you can have through music.” 

Track two, the urgent and claustrophobic ‘Call Out’ draws together three US producers, each with their own take on the scene. Calculon, who has fond childhood memories of watching the Breakin’ movie, said: “As a teenager in San Diego I was later exposed to underground hip hop Kool Keith/Dr Octagon and DJ Shadow, and it was scratching that inspired me to save up and get my first set of turntables. I remember buying an Invisibl Skratch Piklz VHS tape from the local record shop and watch it at home, impressed to this day by their skill and dedication to the craft.”

6Blocc added: “The b-boy movement inspired me to push myself with my DJ skills and music production and mentally I’m still the same kid I was when I first started! I can’t imagine doing anything else in life than making music and adding to my huge vinyl collection. In the late 90’s I produced hard jungle vinyl releases under the name B-Boy 3000 because to me jungle music was hip hop fast forwarded 1000 years ahead in a time when lyrics no longer exist and all is just sample sounds modified by computers.”

And for Shamanga, B-boying has been a huge part of life since he was nine years old. He explained: “My older cousin was a DJ… I remember vividly when he played me this new sound. “This is scratching” he said to me. The tune was ’Looking for the Perfect Beat’ by Afrikka Bambatta and the Soulsonic Force. I was instantly hooked on hip hop. This was 1981. I went on to collect any rap record I could find.

“Throughout the 80’s, I would obsess on the beats, trying to get the hot tracks before the other kids in my neighborhood. Growing up in Southern California, I would go to the swap meet and get Rodeo Mix Tapes by DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, etc. I learned about Rodney O and Joe Cooley, KRS One, Mixmaster Spade, King Tee, Eazy-E, Toddy T, and more. I began DJ’ing in 1988.”

“One particular crew, 7A3 (produced by a mostly unknown DJ Muggs) inspired me to take my abilities to a new level. I purchased an HR-16 drum machine and bought a bass guitar. A few years later, a couple of the gangsters in my neighborhood wanted to become rappers, so they bought an Ensoniq EPS16+. Once they realized they didn’t want to learn how to program the machine, they gave it to me, with one stipulation… I was to produce beats for them to rap over. This was 1991. I have not stopped since.”

Finnish producer Fanu delivers a clattering slow-builder in the form of aptly-named ‘Machinedrummachine’, which pays tribute to a very specific part of the scene. He said: “No-one can deny that drum machines did play a big part in creation of hip hop. In my song for Defrostatica, I wanted to employ my Machinedrum for the job. Those who know hip hop may spot a familiar sample or two there as well.”

Rounding off the record is Agzilla’s ‘Tesselation’, who twists together breakbeats into a frenzied state of semi-organised chaos complete with spooky synth swoops. The Icelander said: “The disciplines of hip hop, graffiti, turntablism, and breakdancing have been subtle undercurrents throughout my design and music. The era of discovering groundbreaking sounds, dancing, and style in the 80’s left a deep imprint on me. And out of that wellspring grew my journey into the liberating universe of electronic music. The aura of b-boy culture has been with me ever since and remains both fascinating and deeply inspirational.”

Rogue Style EP 2 is out now – click here to buy.

www.soundcloud.com/defrostatica
www.defrostatica.bandcamp.com/

Seba - 'Nobody Knows' / 'Implosion' [Secret Operations]

New release – Seba – ‘Nobody Knows’ / ‘Implosion’

Swedish drum & bass wizard Seba gets back behind the controls for a new release on his own Secret Operations label, the first of the year so far.

‘Nobody Knows’ – which made it into every set Seba played in 2017 – is a soaring break-heavy roller with space-age pads and blissful atmospherics torn by a fizzing bassline that slides the track into slightly darker territory.

Flip the disc and dub techno tribute track ‘Implosion’ echoes urgently as vocal pads plunge through the speakers, creating glacial textures that don’t need a gigantic bassline to carry weight.

Listen below or click here to buy.

www.soundcloud.com/secret-operations
www.secretoperations.bandcamp.com