Week 41: Essential Drum & Bass Releases [Oct 2014]

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Assistant Editor Chris Muniz reveals the essential cuts causing a stir at Kmag HQ this week.

TOTAL SCIENCE – SO ADDICTED / PUTTING DOWN ROOTS (TS RMX) [WARM COMMUNICATIONS]
Total Science deliver a classic slice of heaven for the Texas-based Warm Communications imprint which continues to go from strength to strength with each release. First up is the ethereal “So Addicted” featuring the vocals of Grimm whose husky voice provides the perfect complement to the shuffling beat and swirling atmosphere. The flip features Total Science remixing atmospheric stalwarts Villem & Mcleod’s “Putting Down Roots,” keeping the spaced-out vibe while twisting it up with that captivating brand of old-school flavours that Total Science roll out so well.

BREAK, MAKO, FIELDS & VILLEM / CHROMATIC – SHADOW LINES / FOUND YOU [UTOPIA]
It’s as if the drum & bass gods aligned on this one as Break, Mako, Fields & Villem team up for a monster growler that shivers and shakes in all the right places. Percussive samples slice in and out of the foreground and keep things crisp and tight before going in on a tooth-grinding, foot-stomping workout. Chromatic takes over on the flip with a warm, minimal lick centered on an exquisite keys and vocal hook structure that’s sure to keep things heated up all winter long.

T>I – RUN STITCH ERROR / DRONE 185 [AUDIO DANGER]
Emerging from the depths of East Anglia and quickly letting em know how its done, the ever-impressive T>I runs it red with yet another hard hitting pair of deep and heavy beasts for the dancefloor. Opening with “Run Stitch Error,” hypnotic bass bombs shiver atop a running beat and intricate call-and-response pattern that has become his signature sound. A similar tension builds on “Drone 185” as the layers slowly merge before the bass rolls in and carries it all home with inimitable style. Keep your eyes on this one – T>I making big moves!

ULTERIOR MOTIVE – THE FOURTH WALL LP [METALHEADZ]
What else can we say about this one that hasn’t already been said? Unless you’ve been living under a rock Ulterior Motive’s debut LP for Metalheadz has taken social media by storm since it was released earlier this week and has been relentlessly touted as a leading contender for album of the year. We couldn’t agree more with the assessment as the Bournemouth duo not only inject a shot of high-octane funk into the drum & bass scene but set the bar in terms of production, vision and scope. Drawing upon a breadth of influences from the span of jungle/d&b culture, the duo bring it all together under the aegis of breaking through “The Fourth Wall” in a style and manner that is pure Metalheadz in vibe and philosophy. Whether it’s the meditative “Mute” or the flashback-inducing “Tape Pack,” Ulterior Motive have gone and transformed classic d&b culture into an epic journey through the often dark and brooding soundscape that lies between the dancefloor and the headphones.

QUADRANT – MICROSLEEP EP [DISPATCH]
Quadrant pulls out all the stops as he steps into the limelight with his first EP for Dispatch. Rounding up a veritable A-Team of collaborators for this one, the Seattle-based artist taps fellow tech-funk scientists Iris, Kid Hops, Cease, RoyGreen & Protone for a dark and malicious journey to where all the dirty sub-frequencies dwell. Cinematic atmospheres unfold like restless dreams atop pulsing basslines and razor-sharp beats designed to cut through that mid-night air as Quadrant more than makes his mark with four tunes sure to blow doors, speakers, and heads worldwide. Look out!

DEFINATE – DOWN & UNDER EP [AUTHENTIC]
Rumoured to have spent almost a year and a half fine-tuning this EP named in honor of his Australian travels during the writing of the tunes, the Estonia-based producer known as Definate comes correct with this massive 4-tracker. Centered on rich atmospheres and steady, infectious grooves that rise and fall in all the right ways, bits like “Never Lasting” and “Towards the Dawn” reveal a controlled, mature vision that we will no doubt be hearing more of in the near future.

DIALOGUE – FOR THE LOVE EP [NEW PLAYAZ]
Birmingham’s Dialogue steps up to the hot seat with a monster four-tracker for New Playaz that’s already been causing a stir with the big boys in the scene. Preferring to come in under the radar with the dirty bubblers, Dialogue drops the house-tinged ‘For the Love’ before getting straight up twisted with ‘Made Up Words’ and the aptly titled ‘Stink Bomb.’ For the filthiest cut off the EP head straight to ‘War Thongs’ for a relentless spiraling workout sure to have the heads skanking like drunken monkeys on the dancefloor.

SPECTREM – BACKFIRE / RUN [TECHNIQUE]
Technique’s latest find continues to blow doors as he delivers a wicked pair of bits aimed directly at the dancefloor. The lead single “Backfire” steps hard with a techno-influenced workout sure to get those feet moving but if it’s surefire energy you’re looking for it’s all about “Run” on the flip. With a smooth vocal hook and a dark and moody b-line riding atop a crisp break, this one brings it rough and smooth at the same time with impressive results!

SR & DIGBEE – DOUBLE DIPPED EP [36 HERTZ]
SR & Digbee take the bpms down into old school territory as they unload one for all the speaker freakers out there. Drawing upon the familiar lexicon of yesteryear, the boys mash up acid, freestyle, techno, and hardcore breakbeat influences into a future jungle sound worthy of today’s hard-hitting soundsystems. From the screwface 303 of “Body Swerve” on through to the mentasm-laced “Special Dedication” – this one’s an essential four-pack for all the late-night soljahs.

THEORY OF THE AVANTGARDE: COSMOS [AVANTGARDE]
Dabs and Grotesque’s Avantgarde imprint unleash a massive fourteen track snapshot of their ever-impressive stable of “Avantgarde” artists. Familiar names like Fade, ArpXP, Dabs, and Hydro as well as new heads such as Kush T and Hanzo & Randie contribute to a wide-ranging journey that plumbs the depths of the darkest outreaches of the drum & bass “cosmos.” From deep atmospheric beat meditations on through to tunes that fire up that dirty tech-grind, this is an impressive and essential introduction to the vision and vibe of the Italian imprint.

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About Author

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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