Brace yourselves, week 41 is coming. And one of the most anticipated releases of the year is storming in. Sub Focus & Wilkinson team up for a stunning Portals LP. But there's a lot more inside, including the fresh cuts from the likes of Machinedrum & Sub Focus, Mindmapper & Silvahfonk, Phentix & Wingz and Picota & Kumbh & Marianna Ray.
It's here. Portals are finally being unleashed in full upon us and it's all we've been hoping for. It's what we've waited for, expected, but at the same time it is so much more. I have to admit I can get very emotional when it comes to music. And amid the seemingly never-ending shit storm that 2020 brought along, this is the proverbial (Ray of Sun) light at the end of the tunnel. It's a top tier Drum & Bass album, a state of the art opus exploring all the corners of the modern mainstream sound of the genre. But it also goes deeper, it's not all just happy sing-alongs or festival anthems...well, not yet, anyways, as far as the latter goes. Apart from the singles preceding the full release, there's a handful of never-heard-before tunes included and for me, it's "Freedom" which hits on a different level. This piece of music is nothing short of epic - clever song-writing, heartbreaking vocals, instantly recognizable and catchy hook, piano chords and insane strings on top of a rolling beat and bass. It's not your standard dance floor banger, it's an absolute emotional rollercoaster, it goes straight for the jugular. And I just can't help but think that I haven't been struck as much by a mainstream Drum & Bass album since Chase & Status' iconic debut More Than A Lot more than a decade ago. This is a true masterpiece.
It’s for you if you like: Chase & Status, Netsky, Sub Focus & Wilkinson
These two fellow lads come from Austria, the legendary land of schnitzel funk. Joining their forces for the Swiss label Demand, here comes a taster from their upcoming EP. "Fragment" is a techy percussive monster of a tune with a bass line as deep as Mariana's Trench. While the vicious growls are as dirty as a puddle of mud, the overal sound design is so crisp and clear you can easily hear every single sound element coming in and out. It's like hearing it all coming together and then falling apart, assembling and dismembering piece by piece in real time. The omnipresent clinical precision, a hefty sci-fi atmosphere and irresistible rolling vibe are making this one an instant head nodders gang's favorite. Can't wait to hear the rest of the fragments (hehe) of this release!
It’s for you if you like: Icicle, Kasra, Particle
Let's move on to another duo, this time it's the Dutch one. Mindmapper & Silvahfonk are rarely putting out music, but what they lack in frequency, they make up for in substance. I believe I own every single release these guys ever put out and for a good reason. Their collaborations are always a top notch techy Drum & Bass material. This time they're teaming up for the Vicinity EP coming out on an excellent UK label Flexout Audio, bringing us 4 fresh cuts of tech heaven. "Fascinating Science" is indeed fascinating, with its clockwork beat, fierce growls and eerie atmospherics, culminating with a "I find this scientifically fascinating" vocal sample right before the drop. And it just keeps on rolling and rolling. A proper Drum & Bass, an honest work.
It’s for you if you like: Gamma, Hydro, NC-17
I know, I know, is this a fucking duo special? Well, as it turns out, it very well might be. Picota & Kumbh are a duo hailing all the way down from sunny Spain and I've been keeping my eye on those lads for quite some time now, too. They've always been true to the craft, keeping their signature sound, not aiming for the trends. "Run" starts with a rather spooky piano intro, evolving with desperate vocals of Marianna Ray, suddenly turning into a "run...hide" last breath warning as the reece comes in. And the drop follows. This is a proper neurofunk banger taking you straight back to the previous decade, yet slamming you in the face with a top notch up-to-date sound design. Sometimes you just need a little reminder of how powerful can a darker and heavier Drum & Bass be if done properly, building upon a thick moody atmosphere. Sick sick tune.
It’s for you if you like: Encode, Receptor, Spor
Last tune that caught my ear this Friday again sees two producers teaming up and it also features Sub Focus yet again. This time, it's a collab he's gone and done with Machinedrum for his new A View Of You LP. "1000 Miles" is an atmospheric roller, a rather stripped back tune with velvet female vocals, absolutely insane drum work (as usual, when it comes to the man like Machinedrum) and a nice warm bassline. It's the kind of the tune taking you back, making you feel inexplicably warm inside, inducing the sweet nostalgia of the (holi)days long gone. Where "Freedom" takes over the big stages, "1000 Miles" is taking over your cars, stereos, laptops and phones as you're stumbling through your days. And you suddenly forget about all the stupid bullshit and just feel good. We all know how important that is, especially nowadays. The music is never going to die. Art and culture are always here to stay. We can get through this. Just. Hold. On.
It’s for you if you like: good music and trips down the memory lane