A couple of weeks ago the unthinkable happened… I dropped a cup of tea on my mac, it passed away and all of its contents were lost, including my DLR feature so apologies for the late nature of this!
From jump-up then onto the deeper stuff, I’m a D&B obsessive that for many years has insistently bought the genres wax, cut shapes at its events and written about its releases. Unfortunately like with anything (most recently I’ve made up for a life without cashew butter and have been spooning jars per day) things can be overdone and that became the case with D&B. DLR’s ‘Seeing Sounds’ is the first album I’ve written a feature on since my estrangement from the genre and quite honestly I couldn’t think of a better LP to remind me of all of the things I’ve been missing and all of the worthy reasons to be obsessing over Drum & Bass!
Given DLR’s previous work, anticipating an LP situated more on the tech side of things was a fair assumption to make; tunes such as ‘Human Error (ft Break)’ and ‘Django’ wholly satisfy any cravings for traditional dance-floor tech material, whilst ‘The Grip (feat Ant TC1)’ and ‘I Play’ are groove intensive hard-hitters that make you question how a supposedly rigid drum pattern can curve around a soundscape!
Unmistakably tech sounds aside, DLR is the architect of an album that explores a broad range of styles, ‘Synesthesia (feat Hydro)’ and ‘Problematic’ are fundamentally interesting pieces of music, both see DLR mould his traditionally vigorous style to a drawn-out, atmospheric arrangement. The charm of these two tunes lays in the ambiguousness of a rhythm layered under the simultaneous exploration of a number of different sounds. ‘Seeing Sounds’ is everything you would expect and more, two of my favourite tunes on this album are ‘Empyreal’ (Hydro) and ‘Minds Eye (feat Viv May), both tunes contrast soulful vocals and delicate instrumentation with militant percussion and an abrasive bassline. ‘Seeing Sounds’ is an incredibly strong D&B album and no doubt its influences vary greatly, giving us an insight to these influences DLR stopped by and discussed 5 of his all time favourite albums: Rhythm & Sound – See Mi Yah
“It’s one of those albums that only worked its way into my life recently. It’s an album that is pro at being timeless, when you first hear the music and production it hits you in a way that you never forget… it totally changes your perception forever.”
(Full album available here) Jackie Mittoo – Keyboard King
“Such a sick album, the tracks have a real similar feel but on a close listen are all totally different and original ideas, instead of hitting you with a more obvious vocal hook it focusses on his amazing keyboard skills. Whilst not to be too wanky, it’s such a good listen you can check it everyday on your travels etc. without really ever getting bored because nothing is too obvious! And he’s an original badman for real!”
(Full album available here) Joe Gibbs – African Dub – Chapter 3
“The lead track is pure killer – as the intro vocal sample says. This one is definitely the more standout from this series of albums from Joe Gibbs, it hits you with a few different rhythms than normal for dub or reggae so offers up something a little bit different in my opinion, but as a whole it’s such a strong album.”
(Full album available here) Moving Shadow – Mixed By Timecode – 02.1
“Not technically an album but you can grab it as one on iTunes! This was hammered into my head when I was 17-19 and in the car with my mates, subs turned up far too much, a 6x9s tearing, such a good mix, got a bit of music, straight rolling tech, tearing baselines, interesting beats… it sounded a bit different and original with more of a tech sound yet mixed in its appeal which I still love about the best dnb, it doesn’t really fit into a box.”
MAW – The Tenth Anniversary Collection
“It’s hard to choose a favourite with these guys as they basically are house music, just unbelievable productivity and stamp on a music scene! I am in awe… This collection at least sums up some of the classics from them, it’s all good really, and lightyears ahead of its time, it’s hilarious that some guys are being bigged up as being original, smashing out simple house vibes on ableton etc. when these guys have been there, done that, built the scene and definitely have a lot t-shirts! No one can test them, I’d be scared to even try!”