2013/47 : Back from the Grind

It’s been quite a while since I last furnished you with my humble opinion on what is going on in the sonic wonderworld of drum and bass music; a fact attributed to not only an almost pathological state of overexposure to bad music but also to a severe lack of time and a subsequent collision of the blog and my work. Now I know what you’re thinking, gentle reader, the writer and critic of all things dnb should not be bothered by such profanities as trying to earn a living; but the bribes I receive for setting up good reviews are not even remotely enough to afford a decent diet of bread and water. I am, however, trying to make as much time as possible to uphold my subspherical efforts in the future, even if this means that I’ll have to give up my claim to completeness – but then again that was unhealthy anyway.

So before we head into the musical present, let’s take a small look into some of the most essential music that I did not write about in the last couple of weeks. Above all, there was Phace’s Vitreous EP that offered another glimpse into the man’s sick mind alongside its truly vitreous production. Funnily, I find a deeper understanding of former Phace works everytime he does something new, so you might want to go back to From Deep Space yourself and see if your understanding has broadened too (-even if not, a little time travel of that sort is always worth it-). Then there were Mefjus’ Sequenz remix and Contemporary EP, both like most things Austrian just a little smaller than what you’re used to from ze Germans, but especially his remix definitely belongs to the best in dnb this year. BSE’s next attempt to cover up their apparent lack of ideas –the next in the series of remix compilations, this one entitled Variations on Black– contained a few pretty nice tunes too, above all Noisia’s Arrakis remix. The dutch supertrio have also released a single of their own (together with Evol Intent and Calyx & Teebee) that I find just a little too polished but overall ineffably massive. And finally there was Xtrah’s Lost Time EP back in late September, bass-laden and massive as you would expect from him. There was of course much more music that was and is worth listening, but these were the few that caught my ear despite me not searching the internet 24-7 for novelties, so I guess they are somewhat essential.

That said, we can proceed into the aural rumbling of week 47, lead by Italian producer Enjoy and his steadily building break exercise Point III. Driven by a subtle techno-ish feeling, he skillfully mounts layer upon layer, amassing more and more drive with this sonic freight train that takes almost three-and-a-half minutes to come up to speed – but believe me, by that time it’s rarely stoppable anymore. I might add that a little more bass tweaking in particular might have kept Point III interesting a little while longer, but then again you can’t have everything from a track at once, so I guess if you’re looking for a sublime opener, a nice chance for a double drop or simply a good tune by a young and upcoming artist: don’t miss this one!

Enjoy – Point III (Subtle Audio Recordings)

For the deep faction we have Tephra & Arkoze’s new single on Proximity, and although there are no big surprises to be had from neither the soft wobbles of The Lion’s Den nor the simple stabs of Pressure, both tunes just flow, nice and mellow with a slight psychedelic edge and a whole universe of space for the sub. So whatever your home-listening experience may be just now, in the club they’ll unfold just fine. And by just fine I mean a solid 8,7 on the Richter scale.

Tephra & Arkoze – The Lions Den / Pressure feat. Innate MC (Proximity Recordings)

No real surprises too come from the long heralded Project Trendkill LP from Gridlok and Prolix, but that’s not exactly a bad thing: the whole album turned out just the massive rocking old-school dirty full power thing we all have come to expect and love from the two producers. The kickstarter-funded LP (-I mention this as little help to reaffirm the staggering believe in mankind-) accordingly starts off with the neuro basher Riot that’s followed by the Ed Rush-esque roller Revenge; both tunes that beautifully depict Project Trendkill’s foremost strength, being straight to the point with just the right amount of information and edits to keep things interesting. The upcoming Snowed In is my personal album favourite and sounds as if DJ Fresh had resolved his emotional issues: Founded upon the mighty sub’s frantic oscillation and driven by a steady backbeat evolves a weird circus melody that resolves into an even weirder floating funk part – an absolute masterpiece when it comes to messing with people’s minds with style (-and that’s what it’s all about, right?). Another of the album’s highlights is the no lesser psychotic Nightcrawler, a tense track with an even tenser build-up that firmly gets you in its grip and will not let go easily. Mode M then draws on the same vocal sample as Phace and Misanthrop’s My Arae (a classic track I never fail to mention) but goes in a completely different direction, powerfully displaying once more the relentless Get On With It! that’s written on this Project’s flag with blood and battery fluid; a notion inherent in the remaining tracks just the same. Finishing with the supreme braindrill Lounge Act, the San Francisco based bad boys thus leave nothing but scorched earth and a little more hope for humanity – and what else can anyone ask for?

Gridlok & Prolix – Project Trendkill (Project Trendkill)

Since it’s kind of hard to stay in touch, I just set up a newsletter. So if you wish to receive an e-mail notification whenever there’s a new article (and only then!) please subscribe here: http://bit.ly/SubsphereNewsletter

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