Week 37: Essential Drum & Bass Releases [September 2014]

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Assistant Editor Chris Muniz kicks off our new weekly coverage of all the d&b cuts causing a stir at Kmag HQ.

S.P.Y. – BACK TO BASICS: CHAPTER 2 [HOSPITAL]
The ever-inspiring and prolific producer known as S.P.Y. returns with a vengeance, flexing his muscles and taking things into deep and tech-y territory as only he can do. While he can knock out the epic hands-in-the-air vibes with the best of them, its bits like “Lost Orbit,” “Heavy Metal,” and “Twilight Zone” that show just how powerful S.P.Y. can be when he crosses over to the darkside. Hard-hitting breaks, punishing b-lines and perfectly placed stabs laid on top of his always infectious grooves make this yet another S.P.Y. classic for the record books.

RANDOM MOVEMENT – AHEAD OF IT ALL / WHEN THE DAYLIGHT COMES [V RECORDINGS]
The summertime vibes are in full effect on this choice pair of cuts from V Recordings’ Random Movement. Heating up the dancefloor with Jaybee and vocalist Adrienne Richards on the Latin-tinged ass-shaker known as “Ahead of it All” it isn’t until Random Movement hits it solo on the flip with the hypnotic “When the Daylight Comes” that you know that the sunrise is on its way. Bag this for the festival rinseout!

ULTERIOR MOTIVE – TAPE PACK / MUTED [METALHEADZ]
With what is shaping up to be album of the year, Ulterior Motive touch down with a sneak peek at the breadth and depth of what their ‘Fourth Wall’ LP has in store. Kicking things off with the techno-soul of “Tape Pack”, the dirty beats and ghostly refrain lamenting “how I wish I could turn back time” is sure to bring on the shivers and flashbacks for the old-school warehouse crew. “Muted” takes things even deeper with James Sunderland offering up his own haunting vocals on a stripped down minimalist number that’s sure to have the heads begging for the release.

VROMM – PROTOTYPE EP [31 RECORDINGS]
Bursting onto the scene with a massive EP for the legendary 31 Recordings imprint, the one they call Vromm takes things down deep into 170-174 bpm territory. As if emerging from the depths of some nightmarish sci-fi world, each tune conjures up images of a dystopic world gone awry. With a remarkable level of precision and just tension-building momentum, each tune delivers an unexpected and yet wholly satisfying evolution from top to bottom. An essential release for those who like to get lost in swirling atmospheres and chest-crushing beats.

WILKINSON – DIRTY LOVE feat. TALAY RILEY / (TC REMIX) [RAM]
Wilkinson proving he can do no wrong as he delivers yet another massive anthem that has been going down hard at festivals and clubs across the globe. With the harmonized vocals of Talay Riley perfectly floating atop an uplifting groove, it just doesn’t seem to get any better until TC steps in to transform Wilkinson’s original into a heavy rewind-worthy number for the extra-dirty dancefloors who like it with a bit more grit and grime in the bass and beats while still keeping that goosebump-shiver intact through the drop.

CERN – UNDER ANOTHER SKY (ALBUM SAMPLER) [DISPATCH]
A brilliant glimpse at the highly anticipated “Under Another Sky” LP on the way, Cern delivers three deep and heavy head-killers. Twisting and turning around minimal beats and sublime atmospheres, each tune growls and grumbles in its own deadly way. “Tiamat” is the most straightforward of the bunch, sure to find its way onto funk-loving dancefloors, while “What We Bring Upon Ourselves” and “Conway” provide a more meditative hint of the journey that awaits those brave souls willing to embark to the alien soundscapes of ‘another sky.’

RETRAFLEX PRESENTS: LOGARITHMIC 2 [FLEXOUT AUDIO]
The London-based duo known as Retraflex return with a massive 13-track compilation LP that rivals the first in the ‘Logarithmic’ series for its attention to innovative and cutting edge beats. Featuring label stalwarts like Mystic State, Philth, Shiver, PRTCL, Taelimb & Conscience alongside ambitious outings from Held, Incognito, Wreckless, Pennygiles, and so many more, this is an album designed to be listened to from top to bottom as careful attention has gone into not only curating each tune but their placement in the overall unfolding of the narrative that the LP provides. With an almost zen-like approach to the genre, expect a subtle ambient space where emotions are given free rein to develop gradually before bleeding into a more upfront break-driven sound.

MYSTIC STATE – LACKING LIGHTS EP [VIOLATION MUSIC]
Brooding dancefloor business from the duo that’s been causing quite a stir since forming only a short year ago. With tech-driven beats, gnarly basslines and cinematic atmospheres all combined into a relentless groove, bits like “Extract” (with Jay Mythix) and “Dust” reveal the neurofunk influences the two have crafted into something all their own. “Tension” (with Howz) and “Deadwood” strip things down to the bare roots before lurching and rumbling back to life in a way that’s sure to have all the late-night crew up in the speakers.

METRIK – HUMAN AGAIN feat. Jan Burton / SLIPSTREAM [HOSPITAL]
Metrik delivers a pair of straight dancefloor burners ahead of his debut LP for Hospital Records later this month. While ‘Slipstream’ whips the dancefloor into a spiraling frenzy of 303-driven madness, there’s no doubt that all the love is going to flow straight to the anthemic ‘Human Again’. With Jan Burton’s vocals bringing on the heartache, Metrik’s spine-tingling pads launch us off into a dreamy uplifting number that is destined for mainstream crossover status. Look out for this one!

CORRUPTED MINDS – SNAKE CHARMER / TEARS OF MANKIND [BIG RIDDIM]
Death metal meets drum & bass on Big Riddim’s latest crossbreed release. A platform for the live band of the same name, the Venice, Italy based Corrupted Minds deliver blistering electric guitar riffs and throat-curdling vocals atop beats worthy of the grimiest mosh pit. While “Snake Charmer” calls out to all those who like it heavy, the groove on “Tears of Mankind” delivers a monster punch that fans of Zardonic are sure to be blasting full volume until the blood-dimmed tide is loosed.

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Colin Steven co-founded Knowledge Magazine in 1994. He also runs a book publishing company called Velocity Press specialising in electronic music and club culture.

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