Review: Back in 1996, Rupert Parkes had yet to establish himself as one of drum and bass's most musically talented producers. It would be fair to say that "T'Raenon", his sole EP for Kirk Degiorgio's Operation Applied Rhythmic Technology (Op-ART) label, remains one of the standout releases of his early period. Here presented in lusciously re-mastered form, the title track remains a deliciously dreamy, melodious and atmospheric trip into deep drum & bass territory with distinctive nods to mid '90s intelligent techno. Those influences are explored further on the flipside "Version" of the title track, as well as the slow-burning IDM delight that is closer "Kenei".
Review: Last year's album Ku:Palm just keeps on giving. Rich production with more depth than a fracking factory, every listen provides a new narrative. Here Photek's picked one of the biggest highlights; "Pyramids" rolls with captivating live jazz drums that sparkle and splash on every delicate brush. Laced with far away twangs, big dub bass and cosmic undertones, it lends itself well to both home ears and heartfelt floors. For the remix, Beneath steps up with an intriguing rub of "Oshun". Loaded with tripped out reverse textures and well tempered, spacious drum work, this guarantees seriously bent minds whenever you drop it. We're all searching for that all important 'one', seems like it was Photek all along.
Review: One of drum & bass's most influential artists, Photek's very much trod his own path musically and never been afraid to venture into new sonic territories. The last few years have seen a significant shift in his style and a defiant drop of tempo. Ku Palm is the fruit of his explorations as we writhe and wriggle through naked, stripped back rhythms that nod dutifully at trance, electro, dubstep and techno. There's still the sparse, fearless edge he's always been known for, it's just presented at the polar opposite of his scale. A deep, engrossing listen. Facepalm if you don't check out Ku Palm.
Review: Erstwhile drum & bass pioneer Photek has enjoyed something of a renaissance of late, turning his hand to post-dubstep bass music and, perhaps more surprisingly, 4/4 tech-house. Here he offers up three previously unreleased cuts, all of which were included on his recent DJ Kicks mix. The standout is arguably "Fountainhead (DJ Kicks)", a bleep-heavy collaboration with Kuru that fuses Photek's traditional pads, melodies and filmic style with loose, post dubstep beats and future garage vocal cut-ups. That said, there's plenty to cheer elsewhere, not least the steppin', Carnival-themed atmospherics and deep electronics of "Azymuth".
Review: Whilst they occupy different eras in the hardcore continuum, little more needs to be said about either Pinch or Photek. What is certain is both individuals share a precision understanding of rhythmic structure and programming that makes the prospect of collaborations a mouth watering one to say the least. Undoubtedly borne out of the working relationship that began with Photek's debut on Tectonic last year, the Pinch dubplate version of "Acid Reign" is a lurching, acid drenched half step terroriser that will be familiar to fans of Pinch's all conquering Fabric mix. The flipside flex "M25FM" undoubtedly pays homage to Photek's formative years glued to the speakers taking in the sounds of pirate radio, adopting a housier poise that prick the radars of Boddika fans.
Review: Confusingly, this is actually the second full-length round up of exclusive tracks from the DJ Kicks mix series (the first, with the same title, was released in 2006). It gathers together notable exclusive tracks from some of the many DJs and producers who've contributed to the series in recent years. It makes for fascinating and enjoyable listening, flitting between sounds and styles at a breakneck pace. Highlights include jazz-flecked deep house from Motor City Drum Ensemble and Henrik Schwarz, dextrous dancefloor jazz from Four Tet, a Hall & Oates impersonation from Chromeo, booming bass music from Scuba and a dash of bleary-eyed New York disco from The Juan MacLean. Oh, and a decidedly bleep-heavy two-step rinse out from Photek & Kru. Check it.
Review: Electronic music's greatest Rupert is back! After a four year absence, Photek returns to a current climate of musical inspiration and endeavour perhaps similar in spirit to the days of jungle in which he made his name with such breathtakingly unique productions as "Ni Ten Ichi Ryu". In the period since then, Parkes has struggled adapt his own musical ideas to fit the contemporary template, with some more memorable than others (compare his Robert Owens collab "Mine To Give" with the hip hop styles of "We Got Heat"). "Avalanche" sees Photek embracing UK bass with resolutely impressive results, applying his own sonic identity to a rhythmic mid range thrust. Complementing this is the rumbling subterranean flex of "101" filled with dramatic excursions into cinematic synth outbursts, which gets given an excellent "Drum Machine" refix from Mr Bleeky himself, Boddika. "This City" veers into vocal breaks territory (eek!) whilst "Slowburn" returns to the shuddering dubstep template of the title track.