Review: Modern auteur James Clements is back with more fascinating explorations of the grey zone. Starting out with the psychotic acid experiment of "Ignite" it is then business as usual on the title track, with its dark atmospheres and industrial textures contrasted by a belting gabber style beat; it's pretty brilliant. On the flip "Reveal" is another furious 170 BPM experiment, innovative as much as it is utterly confronting, while final track "Vanium" switches to cruise control on this mysteriously bleepy sci-fi epic somewhere between Sahko and the Autonomic sound. Sounds good enough right?
Review: There's no denying ASC's work ethic; the Brit-in-San Diego has released a steady stream of albums and singles since 1999, and still finds time to run the lauded Auxillary imprint. Here he returns to Samurai Red Seal, with his first full-length for the imprint since 2012. As usual, he's working at drum and bass's experimental fringes, delivering blends of fuzzy electronics, creepy textures and subtle, pared-back jungle rhythms that arguably have more in common with vintage IDM (the much-forgotten Neotropic project on Ninja Tune's NTone offshoot, for starters) than blistering dancefloor jungle. Few do this kind of murky D&B futurism better, though, and Imagine The Future is a mighty impressive set.
Review: As Djrum, Londoner Felix Manuel has exclusively restricted his output to the 2nd Drop label - remember that immense debut album Seven Lies from 2013? Absent from the shelves of record shops since April last year, Manuel resurfaces here with some much needed material, not for 2nd Drop but Geoff Presha's ever on point Samurai Red Seal endeavour. If you are a Felix fan this partnership makes perfect sense and hopefully we will see more Djrum music given the Samurai Red Seal! Premium beat science is evident on both cuts here, with the little graffiti can shakes on the epic eight minute A-side "Plantain" a nice touch. Hit the superbly titled flip "What I Was Doing When I Was Doing What I Was Doing" for a more abstract, dank basement affair.
Review: New Zealander now in London, Tokyo Prose (AKA Sam Reed) is about to drop one of the smoothest, classy D&B albums of the year so far, and these two cuts are the perfect introduction. "Waiting On" features the delicate vocals of D&B's leading songstress Riya where spacious pianos take the lead over the subtle weeping synths, creating the perfect bed for her heartfelt sermon. "Ventura" follows suit with similar silky dynamics. Driven by a skippy, heavier drum dynamic, this time the vocal element is just sensuous moans over a warm, insistent synth sample. Both are perfect - as is the album when it drops in due course.
Review: Here it is then, New Zealand's very own world-beating D&B LP from Tokyo Prose. Featuring some of the best names in the business from the lush sounds of Lenzman, Juno favourite LSB and the lyrical talents of Fox, DRS and Riya - even Synkro appears for a breathtaking moment. This is the most beautiful, inventive and musical drum & bass release of the year so far. It'll take some beating because, we're not kidding, it is phenomenal. There's no track-by-track here, just get it and play it and then replay it. You'll feel reborn.