Review: Gently opening the door of 2018 with the able assistance of vocalist legend Tali and newcomers Paramount, Ben Soundscape kicks off Intrigue's year with the style and class we've come to expect from him. "Keepsake" is a delicate roller with minimal elements, trippy pianos and subtly gullified bass while "Imaginary Enemies" pries deep into our psyches with Tali giving us the counselling we all need but don't deserve. Intrigue never fail to beguile.
Review: Ben Soundscape's Bristolian Intrigue Music imprint is one of the most highly regarded smaller labels in D&B and its especially known for its annual compilations, which display some of the best-made high-brow D&B in the game. This is the second part of their 16th anniversary collection and its just as top-notch. Mako & label boss Ben Soundscape team up on the inimitable 'Uplift', a snapping, steppy tune which combines a classically Mako drum pattern with Ben Soundscape's characteristic wispy ambience. New Intrigue artist Mosaic chimes in with a stunning contribution, 'Airspace' has crisp, metallic drums that roll out inside a swirl of pads and deeply rich synth textures, a seriously melancholic track that ramps up and back down at various points. Stunning stuff here.
Random Movement & Ben Soundscape - "Dreaming" - (5:24) 175 BPM
Isola Dusk - "Waiting For You" (Ben Soundscape remix) - (6:30) 175 BPM
Review: Intrigue founder Ben Soundscape lays down two blissful rollers in the form of a collaboration and a remix. "Dreaming" sees him joining forces with the inimitable Random Movement where the two try and out-soul each other their groove elasticity and sense of pace and restraint. "Waiting For You" sees Ben remixing Isola Dusk's 2013 future bass roller into a 2016 slippery D&B roller with warm pads, humming bass and light, brushed drums. Genuinely beautiful.
Review: Fokuz release some of the best compilations in the business, in part because they have such a large orbit of artists around them but also just because the curational skills at Fokuz HQ have been honed over twenty years of releasing music. Better Days is a classic Fokuz compilation, as a blend of artists both well known and lesser so come together to celebrate all things liquid. HumaNature and Royalty are both veteran Fokuz producers and their contribution - 'Stand On Our Own' - is a lovely mixture of bouncy synthetic funk notes and smooth, rolling soul. The mighty Villem & Mcleod team up once more with regular collaborator Leo Wood and the result is once again sheer goosebumps, as Leo's serene voice floats with a hint of magic. Lovely, lovely work.