xJAK Audio – Virtue – Shine A Light/Looking Inside – [Review]

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Gloucester DJ/producer, Virtue throws another one via xJAK Audio, just three months after dropping ‘Limitless/Penny’s Train’ on the “no rules” label. This release is also made up of two singles i.e. ‘Shine A Light/Looking Inside’.

‘Shine A Light’ is a Liquid jam with an alarming start to it, literally before a serving of dope vocals from an unmentioned female singer, which is unfortunate because the lady deserves the recognition for her talent. Otherwise, the track is dope and can be regarded as an inspirational song with a powerful message found in the lyrics which I personally, call stuff like this gospel music because of how they tend to touch me spiritually, for I think it’s unfair to label Gospel as strictly a genre but, it should be about what the song entails. As for the second single titled ‘Looking Inside’, it is strictly an instrumental beginning with a lengthy start consisting of deep and emotional atmospheric soundscapes made up of piano keys; orchestral strings; and a sad solo horn which all accompany the D&B beat perfectly well when it drops on a 1-2 Step. During the break-down, there’s a sampled sound clip (probably from a movie) that questions and utters some insightful words before dropping again, without the need for a build-up.

Honestly speaking, we did not know Virtue prior to this impressive and timelessly sounding release. If the same applies to you then we suggest you give your ear to him, and you won’t be disappointed. This UK artist has some serious talent deserving of applause.

Words by: Tsheola Asavela

31 Recordings – Current Value – Scalar EP – [Review]

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Scalar EP is the title of Tim Eliot’s A.K.A. Current Value’s freshest release under 31 Recordings. It is 31’s twenty-seventh release thus far, and it contains four tracks in total that weigh heavy on the scale.

 The theme that we are looking at here is possessive of mystical and dark atmospheres in the sound. Things kick-start with the title song, ‘Scalar’ with its dizzying start via some lingering synth sounds on a 1-2 beat, dropping on to a heavy bass line that dominates the track. This is nicely complimented with a smooth, clean production. Track two; ‘Bigger Picture’ is quite an energetic and kinetic one, with interesting play of the bass and the support from the other elements. ‘Major Fracture’ simply put, is an auditory epitome of violence in my perception, for it expresses the rage and the satisfaction of relieving it as well. Also, it screams like some alien creature from a sci-fi flick. The last track is interestingly titled ‘Reconsider’. It must be the most laid-back one of them all, and it is a sort of infusion of Neuro-Funk and Intelligent Drum & Bass, arguably enough. It is definitely a unique song. There is also the realization after listening to all four that; not even a single track in the EP has vocal some activity, all is strictly and absolutely instrumentals speaking in their own sonic voices.

The German DJ/producer has consistently been raising the D&B flag for years with breath-taking releases such as these. Owing to that, Scalar EP is definitely recommended for the seasoned heads who like their stuff intricate like this.

 

Words by: Tsheola Asavela

 

Ignescent Recordings – Nickbee – Space Tunnel EP – [Review]

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Another blast from Oblast, NickBee once again drops another explosive, blazing release. He is out again, with an EP titled Space Tunnel this time which, is proudly brought to you by Ignescent.

Yet again, Nickbee showcases his creativity; and versatility in the music that he makes, all compressed in just four tracks. The EP kick-starts with the title song, and has a single artist feature being singer, Emily Harkness contributing a marvellous feat of surreal and angelic vocals over (damn!) those drums in ‘Chaos’. After hectically bopping our heads to the songs a few times over, we openly testify that this joint is undoubtedly our favourite number in the whole mix. Next to play is ‘Get It Closer’; a beautiful mess of grimy synthesis and gravitating bass lines over the mix. The jam’s atmosphere is nicely supplemented by a melodious voice that sounds distant, and creates scenery reminiscent of a Sci-fi setting from some other-worldly planet. The fourth and last track ‘Pandorum’ wraps up the EP with a heavy and dark theme, similarly as with all the songs on the track list.

Basically putting it in a nutshell; the experience that Space Tunnel EP offers, is an imaginative, mind journey through a Neuro D&B orientated sound space than just mere shuckin’ & jivin’ like a mad man on the Rave floor because, it has a lot of mental substance.

It is releases such as this EP that make NickBee an artist/producer of prominence and finesse. His music lifts a pioneering flag when it comes to Ukrainian, and inevitably D&B worldwide. As for this release, it is simply another timeless one from the Bee man.

Words by: Tsheola Asavela

Trust Audio – Tribes Vol.1 [Review]

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London’s fresh and new label, Trust Audio is on its third release and, it’s in the form of a first in a series of volumes and compilations titled Tribes. This follows two EPs by Trex, part owner and artist that the young label initiated with.

This is Tribes Vol.1– a VA (various artists) EP that packs a lot in just three tracks. It features some really talented artists who did well to put it all together and then; the crisp, clean and clear production was exquisitely mastered by Shimon (Audio Porn). It starts with ‘Mindfulness’; a nice and mellow Liquid joint by three of LA’s finest i.e. Zere; Magnafied; and Gabriel Habit repping, by serving a taste of American D&B. Not forgetting the other half of Trust Audio’s two-man frontline, Trex contributing with ‘Spirits’ in the mix. With that; some more US flavour is brought by the legendary Jaybee (Stepping Forward) doing one dope remix to one of Trex’s joints, ‘Loco’ which is also the title of one of his EPs from the label. Jaybee keeps to his signature style with his version of crazy; adding that deep, and some darkness to it.

This first instalment of Tribes is indeed proper to go with. Every track in this EP is a good piece of music, and is also a reminder that American D&B is what is, as said in the intro to Dieselboy’s DJ Mag Final Mix all those years ago.

Words By: Tsheola Asavela

Commercial Suicide – Klute – ‘Read Between The Lines’ LP – [Review}

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From the release of his first solo album (not mention everything in between his extensive discography) Casual Bodies (Certificate 18) back in 1998, Klute is back with a full album after a busy four years. This marks as his eighth album… Read Between The Lines.

Heavenly loaded with fifteen tracks with the idea of it all being based on “urging to look beyond face value…” and not just in his music he says but, “… with everything you experience in life”… Open sesame! A heavenly introduction with Naomi Pryor as the singing angel before Stamina MC takes over the vocal booth on ‘Lose My Way’ carrying on thus, where the intro left off but; adding the beat of the nicely programmed drum pattern and the dominating percussions to run with it. We also come across seriously nice, banging jams such as ‘Lost Sales’; ‘Soul Boy’ and; amongst a handful of others, is a super jam titled ‘Game Is Over’ featuring the legendary, D&B vocal extraordinaire Robert Manos killing it with some deadly Soul. And, it’s not only the Drum & Bass genre from start to end because; there’s the likes of ‘Accept Our Power’; ‘Earth Spits Out The Living’; and that Gospel (not in that orthodox sense) vibe of ‘Clappy’; and so on to also tickle your fancy. The LP also sees ‘You Won’t Like It’ included in the mix of which, is in an EP of the same name that came out in 2015. This album sounds like a spiritual affair and not just mere dance. It wonderfully closes the curtains with ‘We Will Return’, in a similar fashion that it opened in i.e. soothing atmospheric, heavenly vibes.

Read Between The Lines touches the heart and soul, period. It is absolutely magnificent and, is another Klute classic to collect and cherish (also in the form of a 12” vinyl triplet and a CD) because, this right here is one of Tom’s greatest releases.

Words By: Tsheola Asavela

BNC Express – Legal – More Than You Need EP – [Review]

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More That You Need is the first official release by Legal, another emerging young lad in the forever-expanding Drum & Bass sphere. He, together with the label, BNC Express brings us a taste of what Italy is made of in this instance.

The EP is strictly an instrumental serving and, explores different tastes of D&B dished out across five tracks, with ‘Ginger’ as the starter with its vibrant, jolly play of instruments that flow like Liquid-Funk; and a smooth element of Jazz (saxophone) as the icing. Next, comes in the majestic, regal sound of ‘Red Fox’ which compliment that mature zest with its Soul and Funk that makes the body move with finesse. ‘Railroad’ takes things to a different direction, and fast as soon as it drops. The intro is an interesting feat, how it goes a bit like Dancehall (but with class) and then; getting into the main track, as you hear, goes fast and hoots like an express train. We reckon this could be BNC Express’s anthem track simply because of the sounds that creatively make up the tune. And then, things go dim when ‘Access Denied’ and the last joint, ‘Make A Difference’ starts by fading into the opaque abyss on the kick of the first drop thus, changing the EP’s direction. To give an idea of what this sounds like, think Spectrasoul however, this couplet does bear the artist’s unique signature.

It’s interesting to note how all five songs carry distinctness of course, highlighting Legal’s interesting signature when it comes to producing his music. The album is really something different and enjoyable, not to mention living up to what the Italians are renowned for, and that is style.

Words By: Tsheola Asavela