Weekly updated Spotify Playlist H2L: New Drum & Bass
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Last Week’s list http://reddit.com/lkcbsx


Picks Of The Week (by u/lefuniname)

1. Jack Mirror, Elle Exxe – Junipero [Viper Recordings]

Recommended if you like: Metrik, Blaine Stranger, Grafix

How does he do it? How does he keep getting away with it?

Okay wait, let me back up a bit here.

Jack Mirror, previously known under his old Priority One pseudonym, is one of the most exciting and in my opinion most underrated dancefloor producers out there. He’s not quite a newcomer, he’s been around for a while now after all, but I still feel like people are sleeping on him way too much. His story as a producer, as Priority One, begins way back in 2008 with his remix of Trance remix of D:FOLT and Marcie collaboration This Is Me. He stayed true to those initial Trance roots with a few singles and EPs here and there until his genre priorities shifted around 2014, the year he released his first DnB track on Most Addictive: Ambition. After two straight-up DnB anthems on Liquicity and Monstercat in the following year, he went on to… not much else really.

How did that happen? Well, as he told the world in an UKF interview two years ago, he simply wasn’t happy with his sound quite yet. Since he worked full-time as a music PR person, he couldn’t simply put in as much time to hone his production craft as he wanted to. One could say production wasn’t Priority One in his life at the time. Hehe. Anyway, he took a year off to be able to focus on the music full-time. Instead of helping other people reach their producer goals, he was now finally able to chase his own dreams.

Once he was finally satisfied with the tracks he was producing, he started reaching out to labels, eventually gaining the attention of Futurebound‘s label Viper. Not long after, they offered Priority One to be signed to the label. Just like with his label mate Millbrook, it was decided this shift in sound needed a clean cut to go along with it. A new name maybe. Enter Jack Mirror.

Since this transformation in 2019, he has put out banger after banger. I’m a big fan of vocal stuff, so it’s probably a easy to guess my favorites are This Lie and Oculus, his collab with Champion and easily one of my favorite tunes of 2020, but on tunes like Pressure or Utopia he has shown that his incredibly clean productions works just as well without them.

His newest single Junipero is definitely not an exception to this. Man, do I ever love this tune. As you might have suspected already, this new single belongs to the vocal-driven dancefloor category that I so much love to rave about. In this case the vocals come from the lovely UK-based singer Elle Exxe, who you might recognize from bangers such as Oliverse’s Unspoken or last year’s Paradise by The Prototypes. Whenever she is involved in a DnB production my play count takes inspiration from her name and goes from 0 to sixty in no time. A roman numeral joke. LX = 60. Yes, good one.

Like some of you might have already guessed, this tune is inspired by the Black Mirror episode San Junipero, not just for the name but for the general feel of it all too. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it. In short, San Junipero is a story about love in a setting that combines the modern and nostalgic. As such, it heavily features 1980s aesthestics and sounds. For Jack Mirror‘s version of this, he combined his modern, incredibly clean dancefloor production with a main synth lead that makes you think of neon signs and cruising through Miami in the night. This great base is mixed together with Elle Exxe‘s beautiful vocals about the butterfly feelings of a new-found love, creating the perfect Junipero cocktail.

Back to my first question, how does he keep pumping out banger after banger? I am not one bit closer to an answer to that, I’m just very glad he does it because I’m enjoying it a lot.

I don’t think I will get tired of this anytime soon. Absolute anthem right here.

Other dancefloor and liquid things that happened this week: – Koven – Worlds Collide (Grafix Remix) 🦀🦀 – BCee, L.I.T.A – Cannot Escape Your Love (Millbrook Remix) – Subshock & Evangelos, Voicians – If You Wanna – Maduk – Fire Away – Polaris – Deliverance – Camo & Krooked – No Tomorrow (Tom Finster Remix) ❤ – Kasger – Dimensions EP – FD – Here With Me – DRS – Light Language LP – Low:r – Pixel / Well

2. Kit Jones – Isolus [Surveillance Music]

Recommended if you like: Freshney, Synergy, Vowel

Time for another entry in my would have been my Hidden Gem of the week if they weren’t too well-known already series! It’s a working title.

Kit Jones is one of the newcomers I’m most excited about. The Bristol-based 20-year-old, together with the likes of gyrofield, Vowel or The Caracal Project, is part of the new wave of producers whose fresh takes on the genre make following DnB all the more fun. While he obviously focuses a lot on the technical aspects of his modern production, he never loses sight of the musicality and emotionality of a track. Nothing shows this better than his work as Circumference, the collaborative project he started in 2019 with his fellow uni student and flat mate Freshney and also the project where Grafix steals all his drums from. Kit’s words, not mine. After a few releases as Circumference on Soulvent Recordings last year, it’s now finally time for some solo output!

This solo output is his debut EP Isolus on Surveillance Music, the Porto-based label run by Jon Tho, Vowel and Blast. For a bit more on the label, check out my review of Jon Tho’s Sundials EP last year.

The EP starts off with the menacing opener Counting. While the high-pitched plucks in the buildup might sound like we’re in for a nice time, the rough static in the intro and muted horns already gives us a hint in what direction this track is going. At first the plucks and sometimes-snappy-sometimes-metal drums have full reign over the drop, but soon it transforms into a back-and-forth between the plucks trying to correct the course and the aggressive as hell roaring bass. This feud continues to develop later in the track with screechy piercing stabs joining in on the fun and the plucks undergoing quite the changes here and there. Towards the end the track’s rhythm even briefly transitions over to a 4×4 style beat. I’m counting quite a lot of variations and styles in one track already!

Next up we’ve got Valeyard, a perfect example of the type of “outside influence” Kit Jones likes to bring to the table. At first, Valeyard was a house music experiment of his, created during a writer’s block. However, when he played around with the tempo of it, he realised the track sounded even better at DnB tempo. The plucky synth style from Counting is still present, but the whole vibe is completely different. It’s more reminiscent of a sunny spring day, but 1000 years in the future. Throughout the track Kit plays around a lot with the melody and speed of the plucks and it’s honestly my favorite thing. Maybe I’m just imagining things, but at times the rhythm of it even approaches hip-hop-y speech patterns. After the first “normal” syncopated part, the track quickly transitions into a full-on 4×4 part. The techno-style muted sub-bass-heavy drums are soon joined by some more snappy snares for the climax of the track.

Okay this is getting to happy and uplifting, let’s go back to some more darkness. On Isolus, Kit Jones shows us how well he is able to play with the atmosphere in his tracks. Turns out, quite well! While less experimental than the previous two, this one is still just as cleanly produced and the massive focus on the atmosphere really transports you to the dark yet beautiful places that this track could be a soundtrack for. The way the melody evolves throughout the drops is simply stunning. Also, this is already the second track name that references Doctor Who, but I honestly don’t know anything about it. Wikipedia tells me that Isolus’ (Isolusses?) are little beings that create worlds out of their own imagination. Definitely a fitting track and EP name!

Lastly, we’ve got Foretold. In some ways, it much feels like an amalgamation of some of the elements found throughout the EP so far: Synth plucks, the aggressive back and forth between the plucks and bass, the tempo switches. While the elements itself might be familiar, the emphasis on the tempo switches makes this track stand out from the rest. You’ve got some classic Amen breaks, you’ve got the wonky rhythm from Valeyard that is pushed to be even more wonky at times and, of course, we’ve got a 4×4 rhythm change at the end. All of these different sections flow together so well that you don’t even necessarily notice it switched again. The Foretold is apparently also another Doctor Who villain, an ancient soldier driven by malfunctioning technology. I like to think he chose the name because of the ancient Amen breaks used in the track.

All in all, a great unique little ride through the different styles that form Kit Jones. This definitely won’t be the last you’ll hear from him. Big recommendation!

Some more deep and techy things that happened this week: – Whiney, Inja – Game Face (Stay Alert) – Skantia – Tenebris (first single of his upcoming album!) – Hyroglifics, AC13 – Mercy & Misery – Xenon (DNB) – Dissolved In Disorder EP – Somatic – Deep Water / Dusk Flight – Puzzle – Tempera

3. Synestika – Rebellion [High Resistance]

Recommended if you like: Despersion, Gancher & Ruin, Dextems

Gather round, it’s Hidden Gem Of The Week™ time! Yaaay!

This week’s entry comes straight from Moscow, Russia: It’s the Rebellion EP by Synestika! Previously known to some as Adenoiz, a name under which he was active from 2013 until 2017, he has only very recently rebranded himself to Synestika. In 2019 he first showed the world what his newly named productions are all about on his debut EP on Greypost Records. After releases on the likes of Invasion Records and Ignescent in 2020, he has now returned for his second EP on High Resistance.

After having released a few of my favorite EPs and singles of the year in 2020, High Resistance seems to be on the way to be just as good if not better this year. Just in this year, they’ve already released great EP after great EP by producers like MindHead, Brain Wave, Vecster and Despersion. Considering the label has only been founded in 2019 by 2Whales, this is some impressive output, both in quality and quantity. Let’s talk about their newest output!

I really hope you’re ready for even more 4×4, because you’re going to get a lot of it. In my defense, this 4×4 goes more in a hardcore direction than a techno one.

As the name Rebellion suggests, this EP is about the uprising of a society that has endured pain and violence for too long and seeks to upend the status quo. The EP opener, which is also the title track, immediately shows us that this doesn’t necessarily mean pure rage or carnage. While the first half of Rebellion is more laid-back, with some snappy techy drums pushing the underlying bass and high plucks forward, the whole arrangement and the castlevania-esque melody still give off a very sinister vibe. A little 4×4 part in the buildup of the second drop already shows us that the tension is rising though.

It doesn’t take long until the tension is overflowing completely. On Burn It Down, it’s not just a short 4×4 buildup section anymore, nearly the whole drop is pounding on the door now. Only after this initial assault does it go back to a melodically ominous and more chaotic, but still distinctively drum and bass rhythm, with the final section bringing it back to the more straight-forward dnb drums we are more used to. Together with the great vocal sample Synestika created quite a catchy and unique tune here.

For the climax of the rebellion he got help from a fellow High Resistance alumnus MindHead. As the high point of the story, this one goes in even more than the previous entries. While the drops start off with a more techy approach, it doesn’t take long until the ominous voice sample tells us to Run just as the 4×4 comes in and takes control of the track. Before the breakdown the rhythm switches back to the usual DnB, but the second buildup shows us that 4×4 isn’t done with us quite yet. With an absolutely relentless 4×4 section, which is also the longest on the release yet, the two producers really hammer home the chaos and anarchy that the Rebellion brought in this story.

After all this chaos we’ve got one more track ahead of us. No 4×4 in this one, I promise. Within the EP’s story, the closing track Timeless feels like a “day after” track, packed with hopeful melodies and serene atmosphere. The fight is past its peak, the worst is behind us. There’s still fights to fight and causes to support, but not as big as the things that came before. Not yet at least. For me, Timeless is pure beautiful musicality intertwined with forward-pushing energy. All the elements, the strings, the main descending melody, all the different sections in the drops, the super interesting and great flowing drumwork, all of it is merged together so well it creates a truly great tune. My favorite of the EP.

Awesome EP. Big recommendation for this one from me, especially if you enjoy different rhythms. Even if you don’t, at least listen to Timeless. I don’t think you’ll regret it one bit.

Other Hidden Gems of this week (unbelievable week for this category): – Ponz – Circles ❤ – Absence Of Self – Set Free – Houbass, Volume Plus – Fall out of time – Various Artists – Deepmission 3 [RustOut Records] (now on Spotify) – Save The Rave – 2000 Era (Remixes) – Shrike – Red Smoke EP – Æos – Believe – HVRLYN – Lost: Signals 004 – Patch Notes, Sign – Bunker / Hive – Bassdubbers – Lardar EP – Misshapen Mind – Battle Kicks EP – Neo-Geo – Funky Routine – Nuex – Lucid Nights EP


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