Review: Fresh off the back of his rebrand, the man previously known as Signal but now performing under the moniker of IMANU has his first release out in his new identity. On Noisia's Vision Recordings, Ego is a stunning return to form and deeply diverse, complex and well-produced piece of music. His ability to turn dystopic soundscapes into recognisable pieces of dance music was always a talent for the young Dutch producer and this might be the best example so far. It's very hard to pick a favourite, but the fluttering synths of 'Nonplus' are unbelievably good, paired as they are with pummelling low frequencies that are masterfully balanced. Sarah Hezen features on the atmospheric 'Flower Veil', Johnathan returns to halftime expertise on 'Noir' and the Neurofunk history is perfectly apparent on 'All Talk'. An incredible release from one of the 2010's best D&B breakout acts.
Review: Vision are just full of surprises right now. Straight off the back of Noisia's "Armajet" OST comes this gully-AF quartet from Machinedrum and EDM/trap producer Holly. Neither artist is known for making drum & bass (although you can hear elements of it in many of their past productions) but it sounds like they've been bending breaks at 170 forever. From the rave tension of "Berry Patch" to the glacial textures and experimentalism of "Bramble" to the underwater Rockwell soul "Goji" and the Salvador Dali style bass of "Yangmei", this is the absolute business.
Review: Two more stunning pieces of work to come from Mefjus's forthcoming sophomore album Manifest... "Muskox" is a savage piece of neuro theatre with a touch of the technoids about it thanks to its Bodzin-styled rise. "Assembler" takes a step back for a moment with its industrial beat textures before steaming into your every sense with an intoxicating bassline that will, if mistreated, ruin your skin, your life and the ones you hold nearest. Yeah it's that heavy. Bring on the album!
Review: Oi oi! The mighty Mefjus returns with his highly anticipated second album Manifest and it's every bit as crispy, dizzying and fizzy as you want it to be. One of the most respected artists in the more technical corners of drum & bass, this is his statement about a much wider slice of the jungle pie. Still laced with his signature riotous sparks but laced with a whole new blast of dynamics such as vocals, strings and twists in the tale, highlights include the utter wiliness of "Fractured", the fugly toxicity of halftime stamper "Physically", the subversive hurricane soul of "Together", the squidgy slapbass and sudden twists of "Pivot" and the Konflict salute finale "The Sirens". Bravo Mefjus.
Review: Fresh from announcing his forthcoming album on Noisia's Vision imprint (the label spared only for the label bosses, The Upbeats and now Mefjus himself), Mefjus delivers his first solo originals in over two years. "If I Could" is a real hurricane theatre piece with a perfectly manipulated vocal and really airy, light vibe that's underpinned with gritty venom. "Ringshifter" lives up to its name, meanwhile, with some of the most savage angular metallic blasts and punches to ever be served from Austria. It's Mefjus, but not as we know him.
Review: With Vision Recordings being one of the most exciting projects working within the experimental areas of drum and bass music's extended circles currently, we had no doubt that we were opening a pair of firecrackers when 'Ringshifter' appeared in the store. We begin with Culprate's mettlesome rework of 'Ringshifter' itself, which smashes an assortment of contorted bass synths together in a perfect dystopian harmony. On the flip side however the fun continues as Levitate rises forth to give 'Assembler' some similar treatment, jam packed with hysteric synth designs and pinging drum structures. Amazing stuff.
Review: Mefjus' second album - Manifest - came out last year and was one of the biggest releases of the year, with every inch of the release absolutely dripping with insane sound design and characteristically frenzied tones. The man himself is currently releasing his forthcoming remix album as a series of singles and this is the latest, a double-sided display of technical prowess from Break and Misanthrop. Break's remix of 'Uneasy' is typically top-notch, those Break drums rattle and shake as per usual and the complex simplicity with which he arranges his basslines ties the knot on a hard-hitting piece of work. Misanthrop's contribution is more frenzied yet somehow even more precise, it's synth stabs and jagged edges tear and fold over and over, turning the original into a strange yet improved version of itself. We can't wait for the full album.
Review: It's been quite a while since Martin Mefjus last treated us to a full release, but boy have him and Vision-owners Noisia more than made up for it with this seminal release. Particles is a six-tracker with features on every tune: Camo & Krooked, Skeptical, Phace, IMANU, Break & Noisia. What a lineup that is, and it exceeds expectations as the Austrian trio of Mefjus and Camo & Krooked smash things to pieces on 'Sidewinder', a deeply unique track with a stepping, featherweight drum line, funky synth work and a seriously track structure which moves from hardstyle-esque sounds into drum & bass and back again. IMANU's feature on 'Transit' nails the neurofunk vibe (emphasis on the funk), whilst things get minimal on Skeptical's 'Amber'. Unbelievable Jeff.
Review: Seriously - seriously - before any more words are said, just get your mitts on this LP. A seminal piece of work, it charts a decade in the life of Vision Recordings, the label at the foremost terrifying edge of neurofunk and beyond. Sharing the strobes with Black Sun Empire, Phace, Spor, The Upbeats and Calyx, and Teebee, it's hard to imagine what on earth drum and bass sounded like without these guys tearing a hole in the space time continuum every time they dropped a new EP. Black-hearted excitement from the darkest recesses of Europe. Don't pretend you don't need to hear "Diplodocus" one more time.
Review: Best drum & bass album of 2016 b2b best remix album of 2017: 20 versions courtesy of some of the biggest, brightest and baddest in the bass game. From the thunderous bass theatre of Mat Zo's take on "Mantra" and Machinedrum's post-tropical twist of "Get Deaded" to abstract beat experiments such as Roly Poly's take on "Sinkhole" and Amon Tobin's movie-ready adventure on "Vigilantes" by way of a whole host of absolute killer drum & bass versions from Teddy Killerz, Neonlight, DLR, The Upbeats, this really is an incredible piece of work that stretches several times around the bass cosmos. Noisia never mess around. They even make hairy donuts serious.
Review: Yet more raucous brilliance from Dutch destroyers Noisia on Vision. Don't be fooled by the title - "Friendly Intentions" has anything but - with pummelling drums and warbling layers of sub bass let loose beneath vocal snatches which are deployed brilliantly. It's jump-up fire from beginning to end, but the Juno favourite is the more stripped back, mangled vibe of "Displaced" in which Noisia create a punishing soundscape of twisted metal and scorched synths; almost like old school Tresor techno beats smashed out of the 4/4 pattern.
Review: Few things are certain in life: death, taxes, lack of sleep when you become a parent and Noisia slaying the Dickens out of the competition with every new production. Timed with the launch of their new live show (and, with any luck, new album), "Anomaly" once again takes the idea of arrangement, sound design and production dynamics to another level. The tumbling drums, the hair-singing organ blasts, the eight-or-nine part operatic characteristics.... Every element kicks right here.
Review: Outer Edges: One of 2016's best drum & bass albums just keeps on giving. First came the whopping remix collection from some of the biggest and best names in the game. Now come rubs from the top cats themselves (plus a few classic VIPs thrown in for good measure)... "Voodoo" gets the 172 treatment with a snare-slapping bashment riddim, "Dead Limit" is torn to pieces by a gurning halftime switch-up and "Surfaceless" enjoys a new industrial strength coat of arms. Beyond the outer edges we have 2011's classically-trained "Tommy's Theme" getting deaded 2017-style and "Diplodocus" finally rising from dubplate status in all its gritty, sheet-metal-bending glory. Five slices of serious remix toxicity. Essential.
The Entangled (Camo & Krooked remix) - (4:42) 175 BPM
Review: It's one of the biggest remix fires drum & bass is likely to see this side of summer (perhaps all year) - Noisia's critically acclaimed second album Outer Edges is about to enjoy a premiership version package with some of the biggest names in the game... And Camo & Krooked have sparked the touch-paper. Taking one of the most remarkable tunes from the album - the creeped-out graveyard 140 jam "The Entangled" - the Austrian duo stretch out the space and add their own harrowed textures and tones in the most minimal, mysterious and deepest ways. Genuine remix perfection.
Review: Under present sunny circumstances, you'd think crazed-intellectual neurofunk noise would be the last thing on everybody's mind... This EP is a stride out into new directions, stepping through the void to reach past minimal and, in first track "Incessant", right into the guts of hardcore. Noisia teams up with Hybris and Mefjus to create a six-headed beast that is "Clusterfunk" before a entering the black-hole strewn "Reptilians". Meanwhile "Banshee" sees Noisia settle into an eerily tuneful conclusion and it only compounds the feeling that there's still more rage to come.
Review: The mighty Dutch trio team up with Neosignal's Phace for one of the roughest rides since, well, the last Noisia release! "Program" builds from a "Desert Orgy" style intro, full of scraping SFX, industrial beats and ominous melodic progression, into a full throttle aural assault with tense percussion, accelerating drop and rambunctious drums. "Regurgitate" sees Noisia going solo for another sterling affair; a sonorous, instrumental intro paves the way for a tough tumultuous main tune, replete with a reverberating, chopped up vocal which sounds like it's trapped beneath the smashing beats, thudding subs and crushing bassline. Magnificent.
Review: Dutch drum and bass lynchpins Noisia clearly believe their latest release Dead Limit, a joint effort with irregular collaborators The Upbeats, is something special with a limited 12" double-pack edition featuring a poster and t-shirt. Those who prefer their Noisia in binary form will not be disappointed with just the music as these four tracks find them in rip-roaring form from the very off. The title track does that special Noisia trick of starting off quite calm before swiftly unleashing all manner of sonic hell, whilst "Inverse" deftly weaves between intense soundscapes and tightly wound beats. "Omnivore" is the type of track you deploy when you want a dancefloor to explode whilst "Mouthbreather" is the sonic equivalent of encountering a hungry great white shark in a bad mood.