For the first of our Essential DNB picks, NSD reviews the best promos that have landed in his inbox for February
Black Sun Empire & State of Mind – Until the World Ends EP [Blackout NL]
Black Sun Empire has teamed up with another giant in State of Mind in creating this EP. 5 firing tracks, all with the trademark energy and darkness that both BSE & SOM provide. Bad is a typically hi energy beast, as is Moonbox. Ego which has been well received in Scene, with its slow intro and build into a heavy kick drum drop is one of the tracks of the EP. With that said Until the World Ends, has excellent Neuro sound but for me Jack Nicholson is the pick. Again the use of the kick on the intro works well, sampling the man himself, it drops into a seriously heavy bass driven Neuro track. Repetitively hypnotic and just enough Electro elements so you don’t feint.
Current Value – Binary Vol 4 [Critical]
Current Value’s take on the Binary series, is something else. 5 excellent tracks. The series which is excellent, just got better. This release is quality throughout. Dissonant’s steppy Electronic sounds, coupled with a suitably dark, haunting vibe. Division 32 is just madness, pure Electro/Techno influences on this track, a great take on modern Neuro. Whiplash, taking you on a bass heavy Tech ride, with plenty of menace. Both Phaselock and Escalate (Digital exclusive) are my favourites. Phase lock is pure future sounding Neuro. Escalate, the pick of all the tracks is so energetic! The Techno/Electro sounds building into the drop, a huge funky baseline which is sure to make you skank. Pure class.
Heamy – Spacetime EP [Bad Taste]
If you didn’t know about Heamy before this, I am sure you will be keeping an eye out now. Bad Taste one of my favourite labels, have again signed a forward thinking D&B artist. Heamy has crafted an accomplished EP in Spacetime. Covering the Neuro/Tech angle, throwing in a couple of dreamy deep tracks as well. Tracks of the EP for me are his collaboration with Asphyxia, Digital Mayhem. A very Heavy stepper. Dream vision, a deep rolling atmospheric beauty of a track, with sparse Piano. The Title track itself is likely my pick, just in front of Dream vision. It’s hard hitting, excellent production on the beats, there is another Electronic feel to this track that makes it sound minimal, which it is anything but. Check it out, 8 tracks in all.
InsideInfo – Mushroom/The Plains [Viper]
I am a big fan of InsideInfo and his work on Viper. Paul has created 2 very different tracks, both with his trademark Hard D&B sound. The Plains has an excellent slow, kick on the intro, building the anticipation until it drops into a pure Neurofunk baseline, plenty of actual Funk in the Bass, something that is sometimes lacking now. The title track and arguably the better of the two is Mushroom. A UKG style intro which distorts into a Ferocious banger. Retains the melodic influence with that UKG sound, but it’s just a beast. Very heavy, chugging almost and one of my favourite tunes. Big tune.
Co:Lateral – Toe Tagger/Underground Immunity [Flexout Audio]
Flexout Audio, another excellent label. Always releasing the forward thinking Drum & Bass. In Co:Lateral they have found my perfect crossover between the firing hard Neuro and the rolling Tech. Underground Immunity is that Techy rolling sound. Laden with some bars that compliment the track. This maintains the Deep Bass and tight percussion, which I associate with Flexout. Toe Tagger is that track that captures the Neuro future Funk, love the bouncy bassline on this track. The beats are tight, the Electro sounds are used well and it gets the floor moving. Serious quality, as you expect from the Flexout crew. Co:Lateral one to watch.
Conduct – Vanguard/Confrontation/Residiuum [Diffrent Music]
Conduct is another producer I really enjoy. This release, the mail out states 2 years in the making and I can safely say…worth the wait. Confrontation is as you would expect. An atmospheric Guitar intro, Heavy drop into that serious forward thinking Tech. The bassline on this track is so good, it evolves as the track does which shakes the foundations. Residuum, an altogether different affair. This is pure atmospheric dreamscape stuff. Still with a hint of menace. The pick of the tracks is Vanguard. Has that unique Conduct sound, the genuinely unique percussion, the kick and the baseline. The minimal roll of this track, coupled with the dark sounds make a great track.
Impish, Soligen & Type 2 – Make me Feel EP [Citrus]
These guys are producing some excellent D&B right now. This is another example of that in the Make me Feel EP. Impish, Soligen & Type 2 collaborate and create, Just Lies. This is a lively funk fused Techy track. The title track Make me Feel, taking the disco sample of the same name and creating a lovely Drum & Bass track. The bassline, coupled with the piano and the high energy of the track, go so well together. I really love what these guys are doing right now.
Ice Stereo – Don’t look back EP [Schedule One Recordings]
Ice Stereo, another producer I rate. Has produced a really good EP for Schedule One Recordings. 4 really good tracks. This EP again has that energetic Tech/Neuro vibe I love. The tracks of note are Confused, The Prey and the title track. Don’t look back is a hard hitting track, plenty of that stuttering bassline Neuro tracks have. Confused, is another bass heavy rolling Techy track. The Prey is my pick, it’s got that heavy baseline, with a stepper vibe but it progresses really well.
Rene LaVice – The Calling ft Ivy Mairi/ Freudian [Ram]
Ram really are taking hold early on 2015. The Calling and Freudian are one of a collection of very big tracks right now. The Calling is getting a lot of play and with the excellent vocal talent of Ivy Mairi, you can see why. It has the production of an Indie track from the intro, her vocals compliment this perfectly. The synchs come in and you would be forgiven for thinking this may be a little too Pop. It’s not, when that bass drops, with the dirty switch it’s a near perfect crossover tune. Freudian for me is just such a tune, it complements the more melodic title track. With its near perfect sound. I cannot recommend this track enough!!! Check both these out.
Kritix – Traction ft Coppa/ Drop it [Mayan Audio]
Mayan Audio and Kritix are giving you some firepower for your set in these 2 tracks. MC Coppa always adds the right lyrics and flow to any track and his addition to Traction is a masterstroke. Drop it a good track in its own right, with some great bass and lovely switches. It has that dance floor feel and should be well received. Back to the title track. What Coppa adds to a track on the intro is what I love. It sets the tone, teases and you know when it drops it’s gonna go off! The moment I heard this, I loved it. It’s a perfect set starter for peak time or a serious switch track mid set. Big sound.
Borderline – Zero Theorem EP [Red Light Records]
Optiv’s label Red Light Records, release an EP with Borderline on production. 4 tracks, each a little take on the Neuro sound. This is a really good EP. Zero Theorem has that Techstep sound, we all love. Regulate are pure firing track, which packs a punch. Hooves – Puppet, possibly the greatest name of a track I have seen is another pacy technological sounding Tech outing. The track of the EP for me is Capture. Dirty bass and that heavy sound. A great EP.
Frankee – All Four One EP [Ram]
As I said previously Ram are taking 2015 from the start. Frankee again, creating a well rounded EP. Deep down ft Caan, is a blissful track in the same vein as Away, another great track. Drop it low, now I will be surprised if you haven’t heard this track. Horn intro, the drop it low sample and big, big drop into peak time gully beast of a track. BIG. Flim Flam, a more upbeat dancefloor track. The pick of this EP is Snarl. Snarl, is a heavy hitting track. It’s pretty difficult to explain but I love the track, just get the EP as it’s excellent. Frankee producing good things.