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Don't Be Afraid

Science & Soul - (6:01) 123 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Science & Soul (Maximillion Dunbar remix) - (5:17) 138 BPM
Played by: Shadow Dancer
DUB 003
16 Dec 13
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Alis feat Alis
You Can Try - (5:48) 112 BPM
Azimuth - (5:25) 124 BPM
Azimuth (D'Marc Cantu remix) - (5:02) 115 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Imperium - (4:17) 118 BPM
Review: Azimuth sees the ever impressive Don't Be Afraid turn to Italo-Bulgarian Berlin transplant Alis for their latest release. Alis is the current nom de plume of Sabina Plamenova, who formerly recorded under the name Subeena, and she joins the Don't Be Afraid fray soon after releasing her debut album Hybrids In The Attic. Plamenova apparently established the Alis pseudonym as a means to reflect a more personal and vocal lead side to her production palette, "not just music about music" as she terms it. It's an approach she continues to develop with finesse on this EP, which slots nicely in the DBA canon of deep but danceable house and techno and comes backed with a superb remix from D'Marc Cantu!
DBA 010
25 Feb 13
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Kanem Bu Warriors - (6:03) 122 BPM
Black Oddyssey - (7:05) 120 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Night Of The Purple Moon - (6:02) 125 BPM
Slowsss - (3:08) 115 BPM
Played by: Paul Mac
Review: Having been impressed by Ben Cohen's contribution to Don't Be Afraid's 19.5 label sampler 12", Semtek has decided to give the relative newcomer a full EP on which to showcase his talents. The Purple Moon EP is an intriguingly atmospheric affair, with Cohen delivering a trio of dancefloor workouts - plus the pleasing ambient weirdness of "Slowness" - variously influenced by classic Detroit techno, the creepiness of '80s industrial, and the snappy beats of Chicago house. The spooky throb and spacey synths of "Black Oddyssey" [sic] arguably standout, though most DJs will instinctively reach for the title track, whose cracking military percussion, clandestine textures and barely audible vocal samples make it something of a banger. Spacey techno opener "Kanem Bu Warriors" is pretty darn tasty, too.
DBA 022
25 Sep 15
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Followers Fate - (5:40) 120 BPM
Psycho-Spiritual Parasites - (7:31) 128 BPM
Dice Lude - (1:56) 120 BPM
Penchant For Persuasion - (7:36) 124 BPM
Surfing On Haemoglobin - (5:58) 134 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Blame It On The Tame - (5:17) 120 BPM
DBA 040
12 Oct 18
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The Light - (7:16) 117 BPM
D3 - (5:45) 128 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Third Thought - (9:30) 122 BPM
Played by: Paul Mac, Shadow Dancer
Review: Sub Club resident Domenic Capello teams up with Lee Duncan for a release that lives up to its name. Ceol is the Gaelic word for music and this three-tracker has no shortage of musical moments. The title track is led by a ponderous bass and a rolling groove. It sounds like Octave One united with Prescription-style house as tripped out keys create a beautiful feeling. "D3" is harder and faster, with any semblance of melody stripped away and a focus on the brutal bass. However, Capello finds it hard to stray too far from his love of US dance music and "Third Thought" unravels with all the shimmering synth mystery of early Carl Craig productions.
DBA 016
22 Sep 14
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Profumo - (6:32) 120 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Profumo (Gosub remix) - (5:40) 130 BPM
DUB 001
01 Jul 13
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Indian Time - (5:57) 125 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Indian Time (Basic Soul Unit remix) - (6:02) 129 BPM
Review: Don't Be Afraid sub-label DBA Dubs pulls out an intriguing single, pitching tastings of Bristol bass, middle-eastern themes and watery tabla rhythms of D-Malice with Canada's house faithful Basic Soul Unit. This D-Malice release, somewhat of a surprise inclusion to the label, follows music by Claws For?, beat fusionist Kelpe, Adjowa and No Corner and Idle Hands artist Lily. Both tracks fit a house tempo and it's the percussion of the original that's the real hook, while BSU's thumping remixing delivers a menacing Vermona kick drum with swathes of heavy, dub techno-spheres. A versatile release.
DUB 005
07 Aug 15
Funky/Club House
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Ankh Boogie - (9:30) 134 BPM
Aural Afrek - (7:22) 134 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Time For Change - (4:31) 133 BPM
Played by: Giampi Spinelli
Review: Now, Damon Bell is an interesting signing, indeed. This is especially true for this latest EP on Bristol's Don't Be Afraid, both because he acts as an interesting and refreshing addition to the label's catalogue, but also because he has pretty much only released on Deepblak until now. "Ankh Boogie" is everything you'd expect from Damon Bell: a kinetic, dusty percussion that has been processed significantly, and an airy collection of circulating atmospherics. "Aural Afrek" is deeper, more mysterious and techno-minded, while "Time For Change" breaks out the dubbiness and goes for a Basic Channel kind of approach that is layered smoothly over a more delicate house framework. Effective and impressive - shouts to Semtek.
DBA 025
19 Aug 16
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Differ-Ent(Hrall) - (7:08) 129 BPM
Differ-Ent(Ity) - (6:13) 130 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Review: Speaking to Resident Advisor recently to accompany his podcast, veteran Detroit artist DJ Bone looked to clarify the distinction behind his new DIFF-ERENT project, stating it is "darker, more aggressive and straight to the point but still manages to remain beautiful in a very twisted way." This statement is fully qualified on the two track for Don't Be Afraid that make up this excellent debut 12" from the DIFF-ERENT project. "Differ-Ent (Hrall)" is the more musical of the two, with Bone teasing minor keys and acid squiggles over a stripped back, yet still quite forceful rhythm. "Differ-Ent (Ity)" is where that dark aggression is let loose and is the sort of ominous techno you crave to hear deep into the night.
DBA 018
09 Feb 15
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Inhabit Tense - (4:57) 131 BPM
Marvel Less - (9:31) 128 BPM
Met Allergic Flew Antsy - (9:20) 128 BPM
Compute Her - (3:41) 136 BPM
Drum Addict - (8:03) 128 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
We Have U Surrounded - (6:42) 130 BPM
Motive Hate Shun - (4:40) 136 BPM
Fasten 8 Shun - (7:04) 130 BPM
Gem In Eyes (feat DJ Bone) - (7:56) 129 BPM
A Calm Bliss - (7:43) 89 BPM
Laser Eyes - (3:40) 136 BPM
I M Differ-Ent - (7:42) 126 BPM
Review: Detroit's DJ Bone is and always has been one of his city's most underrated producers. In fact, the man is a killer behind the decks too, mashing up house and techno with that inimitable US speed that has also been championed by the likes of DJ Rush et al. His relationship with Bristol's Don't Be Afraid has been a fruitful one of the last year or two, releasing a couple of gnarly EPs under the Differ-ENT moniker, a sound that expands upon his comparatively more rigid techno sound. This is the debut album under the Differ-ENT alias, and we most certainly agree that It's Good To Be Differ-ENT." There isn't a dud tune on here, and for an LP that focusses primarily on the dancefloor, it manages to convey a strong narrative throughout, built with mastery and dedication by this talented artist. Tunes like "Met Allergic Flew Antsy" or "Marvel Less" are muscly and fast-paced, but there is still plenty of exploration going on at their core, while remnants of electro can be heard on tunes like "Compute Her". This is a vibrant LP, made up of many different guises and shades, all finely tuned around the dancehall, and strangely fitting with the UK's lust for the broken sound. Recommended.
17 Mar 17
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M.O.M. - (10:17) 128 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
The Final Driver - (10:06) 128 BPM
DBA 024
04 Dec 15
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Money Don't Matter 2 Night - (4:22) 127 BPM
Late Nights - (6:00) 124 BPM
MIdnight To St John - (4:49) 128 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
St John's Drums - (4:45) 128 BPM
Played by: Shadow Dancer
Review: Not content with two conceptual sub labels to keep themselves occupied inbetween releases on main operation Don't Be Afraid, Semtek and co launch another theme specific offshoot in the shape of DBA Special Editions. Described as "a series of classic dancefloor cuts from the most sought after producers on the underground house circuit" the Special Editions label has been primed as an outlet for label boss Semtek to release dancefloor specific one-off releases from artists not so closely tied to the DBA roster and the upcoming debut release from Disco Nihilist sets a high standard. Four tracks deep, Journey To The End Of The Night sees the Maine-based producer continue to plunder his raw take on house music made using analogue sequencers and hardware, all recorded straight to tape with the slightly deranged jackbeat of "Midnight To St. John" a particular highlight.
SPE 001V
05 Aug 13
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Poor Dog - (7:20) 123 BPM
When I Was Young - (6:30) 124 BPM
Dios - (5:49) 118 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Frosx - (7:03) 129 BPM
Review: Responsible for two killer releases on DVS1's Mistress label, Doubt now drops an excellent record for Semtek's imprint. The title track is a linear, pulsing groove, led by hypnotic pads and electronic squiggles, but featuring a rhythm that's tough enough for techno DJs. "When I Was Young" sees the US producer focus more on techno, with a droning sequence unravelling over a rolling, grainy groove. Doubt goes off the dance floor radar on "Dios", using broken beats and a buzzing bass to create a captivating alternative, but soon enough he's back with the Mr G-style filters and punishing subs of "Frosx."
DBA 017
20 Oct 14
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April - (6:21) 129 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Bad Plans - (6:53) 128 BPM
What Is Happening - (6:04) 130 BPM
Samusex - (7:11) 127 BPM
Review: Ian Lehman's debut release as Doubt appeared on Don't Be Afraid back in 2014, and after a string of releases on other imprints , he makes his way back to Semtek's imprint. "April" starts the release with dreamy, lullaby melodies and an understated, organic groove, while on the title track, Lehman offers up a more tracky affair. While the loose, out there approach remains, there is a sense of mystery with the arrangement also integrating eerie sound effects. There is a similar aesthetic at play on "What Is Happening", albeit with a more electronic, glitchy sensibility playing out, while on "Samusex" Lehman voyages into a darker, more foreboding space, still supported by those loose drums and percussion.
DBA 039
06 Jul 18
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Illumine - (6:12) 127 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Oblique - (6:47) 126 BPM
Played by: Honey Soundsystem
Review: Bristol's Don't Be Afraid, proudly helmed by the experienced DJ Semtek, is fast becoming one of our go-to imprints, and is arguably in the running for label of the year. Each new release is more finessed and mature than the next, and Semtek is quickly introducing us to a whole new selection of artists. This time, it's the Dyad duo that make an appearance on the label, and their cold, steely strain of techno is a perfect way to bring in the Autumnal months. Ben Gibson and Fundamental Interaction are the two producers behind this project, and this is the first time that they branch out from their self-titled DYAD imprint. "Illumine" is a fast, kick-driven techno missile with a spiralling set of sonics at its core, while "Oblique" takes a darker, more barren approach to its thumping 4/4; it's one which instantly calls to the warehouse, and the sort of material one drops as the clock hits 5am. Sick.
DBA 027
21 Oct 16
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Cloudy Apple - (3:39) 126 BPM
Speak On The Spotlight - (4:25) 118 BPM
Humming - (2:50) 155 BPM
Lockhead - (6:39) 120 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Pieced Apart - (6:58) 126 BPM
Played by: Shadow Dancer, Batu
Review: Initially coming to prominence under the name Darling Farah, Kamau Baaqi delivered one of last year's most striking debut albums in the form of Body, a smoky collection of introspective techno that recalled Actress in his more straightforward moments. Here he drops the first half of his moniker to become simply known as Farah, and delivers an excellent EP for Don't Be Afraid. The honed sound design that has characterised the producer's work is still very much present on Metal Irene, but there's a newfound warmth and directness on display that make them feel like a step forward as well. "Cloudy Apple" and "Speak In The Spotlight" straddle the line between deep house and techno with finesse, but it's "Lockhead" and "Pieced Apart" which really impress, both revolving around stripped back rhythm constructions which play havoc with your perception due to their strobing sonics and heavy use of delay. For a label that is often so defined by its focus on house music, the Metal Irene EP was an interesting move into different sonic territory for Don't Be Afraid, and a fine development for a maturing producer.
DBA 014
16 Dec 13
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General Ludd - "Owl" - (5:04) 133 BPM
Herva - "Constructive Pessimism" - (5:20) 132 BPM
Nene H - "Ghetto" - (6:48) 135 BPM
Altered Natives - "Dancing Girl" - (7:04) 130 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
DBA 0395
02 Nov 18
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Finding Yourself - (5:38) 125 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
A Thousand Years - (5:07)
Barracuda - (5:37) 134 BPM
Face Two - (5:12) 128 BPM
Played by: Shadow Dancer
Review: Although Don't Be Afraid have had a busy year in 2013, adding DBA Dubs and DBA Special Editions to its label family, and issuing an album from Mr Beatnick, label owner Semtek has still found time to uncover some new talent in the form of unheralded Finnish producer Halvtrak. Little is known about the producer aside from a fondness for Chicago house, but the music on his debut Dust Under Bridges EP for DBA more than speaks for itself; opener "Finding Yourself" combines rumbling bass, searching chords and acidic textures in a Legowelt vein, while the frantic pace of "A Thousand Years" sounds almost UK funky-inspired. The dark melody and bubbling acid of "Barracuda" sees a return to restless sci-fi inspired melodies while "Face Two" delves into hypnotic 303 territory.
DBA 013
28 Oct 13
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Dreamers Of Unknown Tales - (3:55) 136 BPM
From The Inside - (4:06) 89 BPM
Nice & Crisp - (4:17) 123 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Pissed Monitoring - (4:43) 139 BPM
DBA 019
20 Apr 15
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Oral Suspension - (5:16) 86 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Oral Suspension (Big Strick remix) - (8:21) 128 BPM
DUB 009
17 Nov 17
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Your Body - (6:06) 126 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Nobody - (4:49) 121 BPM
What Kinda Pain Are We Talking About? - (5:00) 130 BPM
Bodied (Roller mix) - (5:00) 128 BPM
Review: As ever, the legendary production stylings of Ikonika have done it again as she unveils an absolutely stunning selection here on Don't Be Afraid' under the EP name 'Bodies'. It's always an enjoyable experience taking in one of her new EP's, but this one stands out for sure as we firstly dive into the stunning harmonic layerings and melodic inputs of 'Your Body', before sweeping smoothly into the more moogy bass punches and tight drum switches of 'Nobody'. Next, 'What Kinda Pain Are We Talking About?' combines moody sub-lines with hypnotic arpeggios and softer carnival rhythms with really fun results, finishing up with the shimmering delays and sweeping pads within the Roller mix of 'Bodied'. Awesome stuff as per!
DBA 045
17 Apr 20
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Amalthea - (5:29) 128 BPM
Dione - (5:29) 128 BPM
Elara - (5:25) 124 BPM
Larissa - (6:28) 124 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Review: Michigan's Jason Fine has appeared mainly for esteemed imprints like FXHE and Kontra Musik since 2007. He makes his debut for Semtek's Bristol based imprint Don't Be Afraid with the Moonscapes EP, following up his remix of Typesun on the label's Dubs 10" series in 2016. The shadowy producer's deep and emotive takes on the homegrown 'hi-tech soul' sound are expertly executed. From the dubby and evocative opener "Amalthea", to the spacey and tunnelling acid of "Dione" and the sublimely galactic excursions in deepness like "Elara" or "Larissa", respectively, which hone in on the same vibe of Windy City experts like Chris Gray or Da Rand Land: Fine has really got it going on!
DBA 031
01 Sep 17
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Beta (version) - (6:33) 120 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
One Hundred N Forty - (6:08) 140 BPM
Into The Void - (6:28) 86 BPM
The Kansei Method - (8:37) 125 BPM
Review: Brum's best techno export since Regis, Jayson Wynters returns to Don't Be Afraid with four more strident constructions. Rooted in classic machine funk and loop craft we take off with the gradually pummelling percussive hypnotiser "Beta" and crash land to the soothing synthesis and deep acid textures of "The Kansei Method". In between we're treated to the soft-but-stern swoons of the white knuckle "One Hundred N Forty" and bashed senseless by the warehouse crumbling jacker "Into The Void". On point.
DBA 037
16 Mar 18
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Technological Enslavement - (6:41) 126 BPM
Double Standards - (6:43) 83 BPM
Technological Enslavement (Kowton remix) - (5:20) 126 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Sonic Boxing - (8:04) 115 BPM
Review: DJ Semtek's Don't Be Afraid Returns with more soulful Detroit inspired techno courtesy of one Jayson Wynters from Birmingham. Starting off with the emotive and classic hi-tech soul sounds of "Technological Enslavement" which gets a seething and bass heavy remix by Bristol favoutite Kowton, "Double Standards" has an evocative element abut it similar to early Carl Craig and the EP finishes in fine form on the deep and sublime "Sonic Boxing" with its layers of rich pads, dark strings and stylish sense of restraint.
DBA 030
14 Apr 17
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Faces On Ankles - (7:32) 140 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Ian On Fire - (5:22) 123 BPM
Cherries On Shoulders - (7:10) 130 BPM
Ribbon On Neck - (6:20) 121 BPM
DBA 042
12 Jul 19
Minimal/Tech House
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The Workers Are On Strike (Via App remix) - (5:29) 131 BPM
He's Been Teaching Me To Drive (Ron Morelli remix) - (5:52) 127 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
It's Not Worth The Bother (E. Myers remix) - (5:18) 136 BPM
Why Does Your Father Look So Nervous (M/R remix) - (7:42) 125 BPM
Review: Karen Gwyer's third album, Rembo was one of 2017's best long players. It saw the US artist consolidate her reputation as a purveyor of raw, hardware-driven electronic music and was one of the many highlights in Don't Be Afraid's stellar release schedule. Now Gwyer's material from the album gets reworked by an impressive group of artists. First up is Via App, who drops a grating, abstract take on "The Workers Are On Strike", while Ron Morelli takes time out from running L.I.E.S. to drops a skewed, stripped back techno version of 'He's Been Teaching Me to Drive'. It's hard to choose a highlight, but that honour belongs here to E.Myers, who uses sublime keys and a funk bass to turn 'It's Not Worth the Bother' into a gloriously soulful affair.
02 Feb 18
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Why Is There A Long Line In Front Of The Factory? - (3:44) 138 BPM
The Workers Are On Strike - (7:11) 136 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Why Don't You Make Your Bed? - (5:52) 126 BPM
It's Not Worth The Bother - (1:59) 136 BPM
Why Does Your Father Look So Nervous? - (5:44) 132 BPM
He's Been Teaching Me To Drive - (7:55) 136 BPM
Did You Hear The Owls Last Night? - (3:59) 136 BPM
Yes, But I Didn't Know They Were Owls - (2:48) 152 BPM
Played by: ORKA
Review: Given her rising reputation in recent years, it's something of a surprise to find that Rembo is Karen Gwyer's first full-length excursion since 2013's Kiki The Wormhole on Opal Tapes. While that latter set was impressive, Rembi is arguably even better. For starters, Gwyer refuses to settle on one groove, following a glistening ambient opener with a fuzzy, IDM-influenced chunk of left-of-centre dancefloor techno, which in turn makes way for a beat-less slab of hazy synthesizer positivity. It's a pattern that continues throughout, as the talent American producer delivers bustling, redlined techno jams laden with dirt-encrusted synthesizer motifs, spacey IDM club tracks and picturesque electronic soundscapes that sidestep easy categorization.
21 Jul 17
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Prophase Metaphase Anaphase Telophase - (9:03) 124 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
And Again Those Eyes - (1:13) 136 BPM
Meiosis Gametes - (8:53) 90 BPM
Played by: J Khobb
Review: London-based electronic artist Karen Gwyer has kept on impressing us over the last four years. With releases for labels like No Pain In Pop, Kaleidoscope, and Nous, Semtek's Don't Be Afraid seems like a natural fit to her improvisational take on techno. "Prophase Metaphase Anaphase Telophase" is a stunner, a nine minutes' techno journey that's spans the whole length over nine minutes with its loose, aqueous groove barely held in place by raw, analog drum programming. "And Again Those Eyes" sees the artist return to more familiar territories thanks to a broken sway of beats and melodics, whereas "Meiosis Gametes" is a harsh, menacing techno swing with an electrifying buzz running through its groove. Solid, as per usual. This material comes hotly recommended. She's one to watch out for in 2016 and beyond.
DBA 026
23 Sep 16
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Monte Verita - (5:33) 115 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Monte Verita (Kevin Reynolds truth mix) - (7:48) 121 BPM
Played by: Shadow Dancer
Review: Ever evolving as a producer with a sizable catalogue of charming electronica, Kel McKeown reaches out to a label he has no previous history with; Don't Be Afraid. It's a move that makes sense as the London label continues to establish itself as a reliable source of left-leaning but listenable machine music, and that's exactly what you get with "Monte Verita". The rhythmic function is loosely based around house, but as you would expect with Kelpe there are plentiful kinks and errors in the groove. The synths are the real stars here though, from warm fuzzy chords to Radiophonic bubbles in that heart-warming delivery that Kelpe has made his own. Kevin Reynolds meanwhile takes what he likes from the original and threads a whole new tapestry of more focused, not to mention decidedly pared-down, techno musings.
DUB 002
19 Aug 13
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Carduelis - (6:07) 116 BPM
Carduelis (Differ-Ent remix) - (10:40) 126 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
DUB 008
23 Jun 17
Deep House
from $1.49
Before Calm - (4:32) 132 BPM
Acid8 Slider - (5:07) 132 BPM
Curveball - (5:23) 131 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Orb Weaver - (8:12) 131 BPM
DBA 043
01 Nov 19
from $1.49
Memory Jacket - (4:39) 103 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Memory Jacket (Madteo's Tutto Nero remix) - (7:31) 113 BPM
Review: Semtek's Don't Be Afraid imprint returns with a rather special little two-tracker for the Dubs series. Mystery producer Lily - who has quietly appeared on Spargel Trax, No Corner and Idle Hands in the past - drops "Memory Jacket, one of the strangest and most daring five minutes to emanate from the Bristol-based imprint. The tune is a stuttering, pseudo-house joint filled with flurries of FX and resembling something more like a post-punk B-side than a club number. Strangely enough, it's NY's Madteo who is the one to re-arrange the track back into some sort of regular shape and the Queens-based goes for a truly 'insider' house approach, where a stumbling 4/4 groove meets deadly, club-ready chords. Warmly recommended.
DUB 004
09 Mar 15
from $1.49
Pok - (5:06) 114 BPM
Half Past 3 - (8:29) 121 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Don't Hurt Yo Self - (4:50) 113 BPM
Past Due - (9:10) 119 BPM
Bed & Breakfast - (6:01) 123 BPM
NVR - (7:04) 163 BPM
Veyra - (9:10) 122 BPM
Nobs - (3:15) 120 BPM
Review: Given Don't Be Afraid's long relationship with Manuel 'M Gun' Gonzales, it's pleasing to see Semtek's label releasing the Detroit producer's long-awaited debut album. Predictably, it's a fine set, containing a mix of far-out techno throbbers - the hypnotic, piano-laden alien funk of "Half Past 3", fuzzy "Past Due", and classic Derrick May revivalism of "Bed & Breakfast" - dusty electro jams (the brilliant "NVR"), and more experimental downtempo fare (see the bass-heavy, dubbed-out "Nobs" and jazzy opener "Pok"). While it arguably takes mutiple listens to really peel back the layers and get your head round Gonzalez's impressive use of textures, it's more than worth the effort. Put simply, Gentium more than delivers on its' promise.
22 Apr 16
from $1.49
Asssumptions - (2:05) 161 BPM
Funkshun - (5:25) 124 BPM
Migraine - (5:27) 150 BPM
Flutter - (3:10) 119 BPM
In The Road - (5:55) 120 BPM
90 Sumtin - (5:27) 123 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Review: Since his breakout solo debut as MGUN on Wild Oats with the psychedelically charged Harmnear back in early 2012, Detroit's Manuel Gonzales has found a place for himself among the current crop of talent from the Mid West's techno capital with a prolific production rate that's seemingly too much for labels to keep up with. Operating at the more abrasive end of the techno scale, Gonzales nonetheless has exhibited a keen understanding of Detroit's music heritage across a killer run of records for Semtek's increasingly influential Don't Be Afraid, The Trilogy Tapes, Berceuse Heroique and the Third Ear label. Having most recently rubbed shoulders with Jamal Moss on Pangaea's excellent mix CD for Fabric, MGUN now graces the Don't Be Afraid label for a third time with the Resin EP. Some six tracks deep, this EP sees Gonzales occasionally dip into the experimental style taken on his Savant side project - see opener "Assumptions" which could almost be from a Minimal Wave reissue - but there is still plenty of gritty techno here for the heads, "In The Road" is particularly apocalyptic.
DBA 015
24 Mar 14
from $1.49
Hand Over Fifth - (2:07)
Proxy - (7:47) 120 BPM
Funnel Vision - (4:17) 128 BPM
Jijijijij$ijijijiji - (3:19) 120 BPM
Tritan - (7:22) 129 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Bean Chirp - (2:49) 122 BPM
Review: Since his emergence on Wild Oats collaborating with Kyle Hall as NSNT PRJCT, Manuel Gonzales has impressed under the MGUN moniker across a string of releases for the likes of Don't Be Afraid and Will Bankhead's The Trilogy Tapes. His return to the former with Are You Reading This is a hefty six tracks deep, and allows him the space for an expansive portrayal of the MGUN production palette with excellent results. Demented moments such as the rickety rhythms of opening track "Hand Over Fifth" and the unpronounceable exercise in tape screeching boom bap that is "Jijijijij$ijijijiji" sit next to clubbier arrangements like "Proxy" and the almost Berghain-like "Funnel Vision", but it's "Tritan" and "Bean Chirp", tracks with similarities to his aforementioned Kyle Hall collaboration, albeit moistened with wet reverb, dribbling acid and washy synths, that evoke a more classic Detroit style, albeit in his own unique way. Highly recommended stuff all round.
DBA 012
10 Jun 13
from $1.49
Let Conversation Take Place - (7:02) 118 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Gas Chamber - (3:27)
Westerns - (2:57)
Files React - (5:38) 118 BPM
Review: Something of an unearthed gem in the Detroit scene, Manuel Gonzalez has been touring with Underground Resistance and working with Kyle Hall before this appearance on London label Don't Be Afraid, but he's far from a familiar name. From the strength of this four track EP, it's highly likely we'll be hearing more from him in the future, as he glides between strung-out house ("Let Conversation Take Place") and decaying, virulent electro ("Gas Chamber") with ease. There's a healthy amount of homespun charm to these decidedly unpolished tracks, as the wobbly machines jerk to Gonzalez's whims and carve him an unpredictable space in the Motor City scene.
DBA 009
05 Nov 12
Deep House
from $1.49
You Inside Me - (6:10) 109 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
K Art W Heel - (4:59) 120 BPM
Nichrome - (7:38) 120 BPM
Sil - (8:25) 122 BPM
See It For Myself - (0:36) 120 BPM
She Finna Blow - (5:12) 123 BPM
359 - (7:35) 127 BPM
Hole - (4:15) 84 BPM
Your Never Home - (8:23) 123 BPM
Vap - (1:43) 92 BPM
Cancel - (6:39) 138 BPM
Sift - (9:05) 123 BPM
Review: Manuel Gonzales aka MGUN follows up 2016's Gentium album with another inspired, sprawling work. As befits the Detroit producer's freewheeling approach, Axiom veers wildly in styles, from the disco-led "You Inside Me" to the more tracky grooves like "Nichrome" and "Sil". The album also features more abstract, minimal arrangements in the form of "K Art W Heel" and "She Finna Blow", while he also makes nods to deeper techno strains on the moody, chord-led "359". As he has demonstrated before, MGUN isn't just about house and techno, and Gonzales proves himself to be an adept electro arranger on the spiky "Hole". If you're looking for a snapshot of where modern electronic music is heading, give Axiom your attention.
01 Jun 18
from $1.49
Brown Sauce - (5:47) 79 BPM
Coaxial Drive - (6:50) 87 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Mammoth - (1:56) 67 BPM
They're Here - (4:08) 77 BPM
Aquaplaning - (6:48) 69 BPM
Brown Sauce (Claude Young remix) - (7:51) 62 BPM
DBA 044
31 Jan 20
from $1.49
Synthetes - (4:47) 124 BPM
Symbiosis - (5:30) 115 BPM
Beneath The Reef - (6:02) 117 BPM
Waning Moon - (4:59) 110 BPM
Casio Romance - (4:58) 112 BPM
Shifting Sands - (6:31) 117 BPM
Yacht On The Nile - (4:59)
Sun Goddess - (5:57) 123 BPM
Nuit Blanche - (3:40) 119 BPM
Savannah - (5:12) 129 BPM
Parallax Scroll - (5:14) 129 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Never Dies - (3:19)
Played by: Shadow Dancer
21 Oct 13
Deep House
from $1.49
Stutter - (5:04) 125 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Jellyfish - (5:13) 129 BPM
Formed In The Stance - (5:08) 159 BPM
Obsidian Morning - (5:14) 123 BPM
Review: It's two years since Nick 'Mr Beatnick' Wilson released the final part of his brilliant Synthetes Trilogy on Don't Be Afraid, and a year since his similarly impressive Marshmallows 12" on Tief. As usual, he's in fine form, kicking things off with the spacey but melancholic synthesizer chords, sun-kissed electronic melodies and rolling, Italo-influenced bottom end of "Stutter". His renowned beat programming skills come to the fore on the Detroit futurism-goes-broken beat brilliance of "Jellyfish", before "Formed In The Stance" offers up a deeper, marginally darker and certainly moodier take on broken techno. Finally, he's back to his sunny, melodious best with the sparkling brilliance of "Obsidian Morning". Stellar stuff, as always.
DBA 021
24 Jul 15
from $1.49
Synthetes (original mix) - (4:46) 124 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Don't Walk Away From My Love - (6:36) 123 BPM
Casio Romance - (4:57) 112 BPM
Synthetes (Architeq remix) - (6:28) 116 BPM
DBA 005
18 Jul 11
Funky/Club House
from $1.49
Sun Goddess - (5:57) 123 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Beneath The Reef - (6:02) 117 BPM
Shifting Sands - (6:31) 117 BPM
Savoir Faire - (5:13) 117 BPM
Review: The increasingly impressive Don't Be Afraid label drops perhaps their best EP to date - no mean feat given the recent Photonz killer - with London button caresser Mr Beatnick at the helm. The Sun Goddess EP is Beatnick's second outing for the DBA imprint, impressing further on our ears his undeniable talent for crafting housier tackle than the smudged out boogie he came to the fore with for labels like Burntprogress and Altered Vibes. It would take an uneducated ear to not bask in the glory of the title track, which positively reeks of glowering warmth and rhythmic intricacy that's reminiscent of Theo P in his more laidback moments. This approach to programming of subtly introducing track mutations - either melodically or rhythmically - seeps through the rest of the EP ensuring each track reveals all new moments of delight with each listen.
DBA 008
26 Mar 12
Minimal/Tech House
from $1.49
Savannah - (5:10) 129 BPM
Symbiosis - (5:29) 115 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Parallax Scroll - (5:14) 129 BPM
Blue Dream - (5:29) 116 BPM
DBA 011
13 May 13
Funky/Club House
from $1.49
Tutonic - (7:37) 128 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Last Chance Saloon (Mango Boy's Plantation dub) - (8:03) 123 BPM
Rum Trip Up - (7:02) 123 BPM
Review: Following two superb, floor-friendly EPs from Disco Nihilist and Neville Watson, Don't Be Afraid's occasional Special Editions series returns with a typically bombastic EP from British techno stalwart Colin "Mr. G" McBean. Predictably, McBean is in ruthless form, delivering a trio of sweaty, late night assaults in his distinctive no-nonsense style. "Tutonic" is particularly punchy, layering hazy after-party chords and occasional keys over a formidably restless groove (think five-note bass, thumping kicks, powerful handclaps and incessant cymbals). There's a dubbier, acid-flecked feel to the hypnotic "Last Chance Saloon (Mango Boy's Plantation Dub)", while the thrilling "Rum Trip Up" sounds like it was inspired by early bleep techno explorations by Juno, Ability 2, Ital Rockers and Xon.
SPE 003
12 May 14
from $1.49
Points Zero - (5:27) 130 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
4MT - (4:35) 127 BPM
Prefec-R - (6:05) 130 BPM
Thieves - (5:16) 123 BPM
Played by: Shadow Dancer, NYMA
SPE 005
29 Dec 14
from $1.49
Night Of The Inflatable Muscle Heads - (5:37) 124 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Creatine Cretin - (8:18) 131 BPM
Deep Vee Douche - (5:43) 130 BPM
M8, Do You Even Squat? - (5:16) 125 BPM
DBA 023
23 Oct 15
Deep House
from $1.49
Interna Externa - (2:51) 91 BPM
Come On In - (5:55) 120 BPM
Anarcho Midnight - (5:51) 131 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Reet Dux - (5:54) 126 BPM
Eine Kleine Emusik - (6:03) 123 BPM
The Returning - (3:55) 160 BPM
Twin Tub - (6:15) 119 BPM
Dee Sides - (5:13) 134 BPM
We Own The Night - (3:59) 126 BPM
4am In The Trees - (5:45) 131 BPM
Displays Of Brotherly Love - (5:02) 122 BPM
Phosphorescent - (6:03) 160 BPM
30 Nov 18
from $1.49
Force Signal - (6:40) 100 BPM
Earthbound - (6:09) 128 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
The Calling - (5:11) 128 BPM
Photosynesthesia - (8:03) 129 BPM
Played by: Roman Flugel
06 Dec 19
from $1.49
Spectre - (5:20) 122 BPM Biggest-selling track on this release
Wall - (7:06) 123 BPM
Dokos - (5:19) 123 BPM
Prometheus - (5:09)
Played by: Shadow Dancer
Review: In recent times Photonz have been on fire, establishing their own One Eyed Jacks imprint, which delivered the humongous chunk of Fulton style dancefloor terror known as Lamborghini Funk last year. They've already emerged with one of our favourite releases so far this year in the unhinged WEO for new Lisbon based label Principe, and here now they grace the Don't Be Afraid imprint with the equally excellent The Love Spectre EP. The curious chiming melodies and hallow percussion on opening jam "Spectre" contain just the slightest nod towards classic Chicago House yet retains a wholly singular - and immensely beguiling - feel throughout. "Wall" sounds like it was recorded in one take in a sweaty Lisbon basement and is all the better for it; this is followed by the brilliant spacey electro of "Dokos" and frankly mad "Prometheus" (we suggest pitching this down for sleazy/hypnotic results!). Highly recommended.
DBA 007
13 Feb 12
Deep House
from $1.49
Forward Flamingo - (4:23) 118 BPM
Forward Flamingo (Joe remix) - (5:00) 118 BPM
Forward Flamingo (Altered Natives remix) - (5:06) 130 BPM
Forward Flamingo (Badsista remix) - (5:16) 128 BPM
Forward Flamingo (DJ Plead remix) - (5:28) 129 BPM
Forward Flamingo (Banga remix) - (4:04) 128 BPM
Review: "Forward Flamingo" originally appeared on rRoxymore's 2019 album, Face To Phase, also on Don't Be Afraid, and now the label has commissioned a rich variety of remixes of this dystopian track. First up is Hessle Audio regular Joe with a tight, stepping groove, underpinned by dense drums and containing dreamy samples. Altered Natives opts for a different route, with atmospheric synths unfolding over cascading drums, while the Badsista version offers a more dance floor-friendly proposition, with acid-soaked vocal samples unfolding over a sinewy groove. DJ Plead's take sees organic drums fused with dreamy synths, while rounding out this remix package is the rickety rhythm and lo-fi tones of Banga's reshape.
02 Oct 20
from $1.49


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