Frederic Robinson – Flea Waltz Preview

This album is amazing. On hearing the clips I wasn’t so sure about Frederic’s style of stripped back, live drum and bass, however after listening to the album in full I can say that it is a fantastic journey through beautiful soundscapes and interesting ideas. Standout tracks are ‘We’ve Been’, ‘City’ and the title track ‘Flea Waltz’. None of his tracks repeat themselves, they are all distinct journeys and need to all be experienced to get a taste of an alternative take on drum and bass music.

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Urbandawn: Gothenburg Cluster Preview

This is the new album from Urbandawn released on Hospital Records, and it is looking really good so far. I have not listened completely but I can say from the tracks that I have listened to so far that it is well in contention for album of the year. ‘Together Again’ is a standout track, with a beautiful 8-bar piano chord pattern and heavyweight drums and bass propelling you through this vocal-driven masterpiece. ‘Black Notes’ is another standout, with Daniel Baeder on the drums, played live so they just sound otherworldly. Again, Urbandawn’s amazing production and piano-led riffs pull you through this tune, with loads of interesting twists and turns throughout. Finally, ‘Prime Expansion’ is the third track I will describe, with shimmering pads and crunchy live drums, chopped vocal effects and a bass reminiscent of Camo and Krooked, however warped into Urbandawn’s distinct funky style.

Technimatic – Side Hustle (Preview)

Released as a free download as a preview for their upcoming album ‘Better Perspective’, this song is a masterpiece in its own right. Rolling out with chunky kicks and snares with a pad-like vocal sample, it drops into an intricate groove with a clean bass and reesy chops and stabs. In typical technimatic fashion, it breaks down before the second drop which is just sublime. If this is anything to go by, their next album will more than surpass expectations after their excellent debut LP in 2014.

Dimension – Automatik (Preview)

This has been making waves in the dnb scene over the last few weeks, and for good reason because it is one of the best songs I have heard in a while. Masterfully executed, with uplifting vibes and a classic dimension bassline, and crisp drums and pads filling out the higher frequencies, dimension is back with a vengeance in 2016. Just waiting on the flip side Hydraulic now.

Emperor – Dispositions Preview

Ever since Emperor’s Into Black EP released on Critical Records last May, I have been eagerly awaiting new material from him with high expectations. Well, his debut album is finally here and after listening to some of the tracks released so far it does not disappoint. I will discuss my favourite 3 from the already released previews: Haste, From Ashes and Interstellar.

Haste begins with an ominous atmospheric pad with crackling drums and a rising bassline, before dropping into all out chaos. With noisia-style wobbling bass and interesting sound effects, alongside amazing production and also sounding great in a mix, this is definitely one to watch.

From Ashes is apparently Emperor’s earliest completed track on the album. Again with an ominous intro, it is a full on neuro rampage with a grinding bass, rolling hihats and a really groovy feel. This is one meant for the dance floor.

Finally, Interstellar is my favourite of all the previewed tracks so far. A collaboration with Centra, it begins with a filtered bass and futuristic effects, but then the bass drops and all you feel is weight. Chunky, thunderous drums (I have never heard a kick and snare sound so huge) reverberate around the room, it starts with an interesting bass pattern but then switches to a usual rolling pattern. But, the second drop where the build up starts with filtered bassline and then goes quiet, with a vocal sample and then the drop… this is Emperor at his best, bringing heavyweight bass and his masterful production style to drum and bass.

Overall, a good start to an increasingly interesting LP. The neurofunk master has returned.