ncql annouces himself in no uncertain fashion with the anthemic strings of >the framed dreams of loki<. the track nods to dj premier, prefuse 73 and classic metalheadz d&b hidden agenda style and theres a subtle (!) reference to a certain classic 90s rave tune in there aswell. it sounds like a mess – its anything but! this is uplifting breakbeat at its very best. its not often a tune gets played twice by bailey on his bbc 1xtra show in the space of a month, so this must be something special. the flipside has a similar organic & uplifting aesthetic. a strutting break is the base for a deluge of warmth in the shape of synths, strings, flutes, harp and vocals – an unusual sound palette for a drum & bass track these days but refreshing to hear. dj flight thought so and has aired it on one of her next chapter rinse fm broadcasts.
this collection of vinyls kicks off with the epic blackness of nebula s amen led -noir-, then flips the script with the ethereal medeski, martin & wood sampling -speechless- by dub one. the vibe goes from leisurely to insanity and back again when the drum machines of alpha omega s -know how- are added to railroading breaks supplied by aroma nice & earl grey. the combination makes for an epic remix of the debut subtle audio release. mecca goes for a more stripped down approach on the aptly titled -analysis-. the sudden injection of breakbeat mayhem near the end is all the more devastating after the spacious rhythm section that lays the track s foundation. ncql s -breath of the eve- marries clipped vocals, soaring atmospherics and a driving amen for a track that has become a subtle audio anthem since it s digital release back in 2013. after numerous requests they ve bowed to the pressure and given it a vinyl press! the breaks in reactiv s -metatron falls- pulse and move with real vibrancy, their vitality representative of the injection of energy a new breed of breakbeat manipulators have given to this style of d&b / jungle. if you want to hear what they have to offer, then this release would be a good place to start ! here s to the next decade. -
nic tvg is something of an anomaly within drum & bass. his tunes consistently surprise with irregular beat structures and his unique hand-stitched micro-arrangements. these traits are very much in evidence here.
dgohn is one of the artists that best encapsulates the subtle audio sound. he offsets heavy breakbeats with an array of smooth keys, strings and vocals, while his arrangements always carry the listener on a journey that is never quite certain but always interesting. these are qualities that have ensured aphex twin regularly plays his music at festivals around the world and that dgohn himself gets booked to play at the most esoteric drum & bass nights like technicality and ichione aswell as at eclectic events such as bangface.“hang nail” employs the ubqitious amen but with a crunch and a twist that only dgohn could provide. the incessant nature of the drums is tempered by a wistful repetitive synth-line and some kind of weird voice and pipe symbosis (we did say it would be interesting). rough with smooth was never such a delicate balance! the title of the next track prepares you for the slightly obtuse nature of the music – “4.377445 yards” has an abundance of melody and some nice male vocals that would be considered overtly saccharin elsewhere but not alongside dgohn’s railroading breaks and menacing basslines. the off-kilter redeployment of different elements as the tune progresses and the general rhythmical deviancy also ensure that this is no sunday stroll.finally “be gentle” rounds off proceedings by abandoning the traditional drum & bass 4/4 time signature and the unconventional rhythmic structure allows for a unique interplay between the beats, bass and melodics. this is some different business, but then, what did you expect from someone called ‘dgohn’ ???
despite the fact that he hadnt even reached his teenage years around the time of jungles hey-day in the mid nineties, thats the sound that still influences nebula (aka peter saunders) the most to this day. the >astral soul< ep focusses on the atmospheric and meditiative side of nebulas production but the breakbeat manipulation and rumbling bass people best know him for are still to the fore.
marlon sterling aka equinox cements his reputation as one of the d&b scenes most versatile, single-minded and dextrous beat manipulators on his latest in a long catalogue of brain-bending releases. the incendiary opener to a now infamous equinox & bailey set at technicality in 2003 - >meecha< finally sees the light of day. originally completed in 1996 on an amiga computer, the tune has lost none of its appeal 15 years on and its all the better for the audible crunch on the amen beats. this is one of the very best tunes from equinoxs unreleased dat library, and thats saying something!
this is the second compilation album from irelands ever inventive subtle audio label. with djs as diverse as mary anne hobbs of bbc radio 1, bailey on bbc radio 1xtra and possibly the best-known name in electronica, aphex twin playing subtle audio material regularly, you can rest assured that this is drum & bass beyond the normal scope and will be enjoyed by many who thought they didnt like that style of music! the vinyl side of the project holds 5 exclusive tracks by requiem, accidental style, mecca, dan habarnam and sub.
subtle audio makes its return to the vinyl fold with this brand new 3 tracker by austrias sub. living at high altitude in his native land, it comes as no surprise that these tracks exude an icy sound. >tensions< is a beautifully delicate piece of d&b. sharp snares, hi-hats and drifting atmospheres are underpinned by a sub-zero bass sound. suddenly the beats thicken and become twisted and glitchy. its almost as if a frozen lake you were standing on is beginning to crack and give way!
nic tvg, aka producer nic taylor, has been lurking in the shadows since 2010, occasionally stepping forward to deliver decidedly dark, murky and unusual blends of drum and bass, abstract electronica and leftfield beats.