Delight and catastrophe usually go side by side; a fact best witnessed in your holidays of course. But while I was fleeing from the heat in what turned out to be the utterly wrong direction, the little world of drum & bass would not stop turning for a minute. So when I got back into the my grey dwelling -night shift’s jackhammers pounding steady through the soft rain, there’s nothing like the metropolis…- and started my biggest odyssey thus far through literally thousands of bass-laden waves in my search for the essential novelties of this years’ sun season, I was still convinced I’d rather fly than stop time -a question of dubious necessity I’ve been pondering for some time. Now, however, I’m not so sure…
Anyway, I hope you like what I dug up. Some of the tunes are pretty obvious, but as always I’ve tried to go a little deeper and hopefully there’s the one or other discovery in for you.
We start this summer’s survey with Fade’s Heavyweight EP, a not particularly subtle but thoroughly effective compound of four tracks in good old Wormhole neurofunk fashion with gnarly organic basses, stomping if a little undifferentiated drums and replete with eerie melodies, old schoolish sounds and classic remembrances. Of all the myriads of tunes I’ve heard, none sounded quite so rooted in dnb’s history and yet alive as Blckd, and if you sometimes go back to the classics crate and wish there was more to discover, rejoice! Fade has just added 20 minutes to your summer of ’99 collection!
Fade – Heavyweight EP (Faded Music)
Leading the train of deep sounds this summer we have Mtwn and his new single on your favourite purveyors of giraffe, Diffrent Music. Microcosm is a compelling sub-roller, kick driven and reverb laden, that will let you go on for ages; the flip Tech9 is a little more playful and adds quite some breaks to its powerful half-time sub bass procedures. So though I wouldn’t know what the Mathieu brothers were up to with the requested item, I’d certainly be compelled to give them their Tech9, and do really recommend you get yours.
Mtwn – Microcosm / Tech9 (Diffrent Music)
Speaking of trains, I’ve been on the verge of suspecting that it were indeed different things that I and Symmetry owner Break were looking for in our beloved, yet manifold genre. But when I heard Steam Train I was compelled to believe we were but the same person, so exactly did the powerful, deliciously sticky bass procedures (and especially those groovy leaps undertaken in the second part) upon simple, crisp drum foundations match my taste. Take also the profound wobbling of the sub into account and you’ll not want to flip this one. Luckily, there’s hardly anything to be found on its flip anyway…
Break – Steam Train / Detail & Tiiju – Days Go By (Symmetry Recordings)
More of the Break I know and sometimes fear is available from Symmetry’s follow-up single, Music Is Better, an energetic and uplifting, even beautiful tune that nicely blends some Donna Summerism with agitated basses and definitely has a lot of sub and soul to it. Needless to say that this one too is served upon Break’s impermeable carpet of thickness. Fields, Hydro, Mako & Villem take over on the flip Celestine for seven minutes of rolling, and in case you’re looking for the moment, here it comes.
Break – Music Is Better / Fields, Hydro, Mako & Villem – Celestine (Symmetry Recordings)
Then there’s another Survey single on Protect Audio, and the Berlin based duo continues to supply us with techno infused quality rollers par excellence. Away does its best to take you right there, driven by its thumping bass drum pattern while scruffy shards of bass and scapes circle around a strong gravitational centre of low end. Delirium too is very appropriately named, for it has a strong tendency to swallow its unwary listener in its dark depths. Also enclosed is a pretty nice VIP version of Grid Sheet that manages to make it even denser. You might however also get this one for free over at Bass Explorer.
Survey – Away / Delirium / Grid Sheet VIP (Protect Audio)
On the compilation side of this summer we have Structured Music’s Foundations EP that features three proper hypnotic tunes by Kije (the energetic), Jay Mythix (the tasteful) and Konfront Audio (the gnarly), among one of my personal favourites this summer, nScape’s masterful drive-lesson through the jungle Storm, which under no circumstances should be missed in any fast-paced and serious floorworking.
Kije, Jay Mythix, Konfront Audio, nScape – Foundations EP (Structured Music)
Then there’s an at least partially nice EP from Interactive Recordings: Fade’s Shadows rolls like a fat and dirty ninja, Fre4knc’s bass-heavy Vincent Vague is like a deep Strange Owl Experiment, full of trickling terror and suspense, and Psycho-Mantis’ Mind Controlled Music narrows down the amazing possibilities of repetitive sound disorder.
Fade, Fre4knc, Psycho-Mantis, Getz, Nuage – Light In Cave (Interactive Recordings)
Concluding this short summers’ essentials we have Blanca, whom I did not know until now but shall not likely forget any time soon. Inner Spatial Complex and Thabto consequently are two audacious tightrope walks between composure and frenzy, simplicity and chaos, being and nothing. In all honesty I might hint that Thabto is not quite as free from giddiness as its flippy companion, but if you’re seriously into subs and don’t mind the one or other layer messing with your brain you’ll definitely find joy in this release.
Blanca – Inner Spatial Complex / Thabto (Subculture Music)
So these were the tracks that made it through my endless narrowing process and which I therefore must consider most essential. If you’re still looking for more music you might want to check out the following tunes too:
Myselor – Parallel Consciousness LP (Mindtech Recordings)
Release – Talon / Kryten (Proximity Recordings)
7th Sense – Chromestar (Dabs Remix) (Soul & Ice Recordings)
Besides all that we’re celebrating one year of Subsphere, so if you want to light a candle and send me cake, that’s cool. However, if you just drop by from time to time that’s fine too, I’m gonna do my best to keep supplying with the most essential in drum & bass music in the years to come.