Personal, offbeat and unrivalled, these are the standout albums that spoke loudest to me in the last 12 months of drum & bass releases
Ulterior Motive - The Fourth Wall
The Fourth Wall is the long-awaited debut album from favourites James & Greg. I’ve been a massive fan of these two ever since I heard their early releases on Teebee’s Subtitles back in 2009 and so when this one dropped I had exorbitantly high expectations. Their production is simply outstanding and under the guidance of Goldie, the pair have delivered an LP that proudly wears its influence on its sleeve.
If I had to pick one track from the album it would have to be "Keep It Moving" – a mishmash of unimaginable drums and jabs that would maraud even the most demanding of dancefloors.
Kimyan Law – Coeur Came
It was a pleasant surprise when I first heard 19 year old Kimyan Law’s debut album only a few months ago. Having just broken onto the scene this year and with one release previous to the album, his unique and innovative approach to making 170 music has already made a significant impact. His style incorporates tribal African instruments with finely tuned percussion and live bass, disrupting the standard 16-bar arrangements that we see all too often in drum and bass releases these days.
Tokyo Prose – Presence
Showcasing Tokyo Prose’s ability to fuse together soulful piano chords with punchy drum breaks, this jazz influenced liquid drum and bass album is an encouraging entry into a sub-genre that is dominated by one artist – Calibre. Presence makes for a perfect summer album that can be appreciated by fans of all genres and is testament to Samurai’s growing back catalogue.
Cern – Under Another Sky
Cern’s second album Under Another Sky is an all-encompassing listening experience from start to finish. Ollie has nailed that eerie, vicious stepping sound that influences so many newcomers and it is evident that his sound design has been finely crafted to stay ahead of the curve. The superbly layered "Conway" is my favourite on the album; an ultra-stripped, breathtaking display of amen breaks and subtle basslines, that requires focused listening straight from the off.
Calibre - Shelflife 3
The arrival of a new Calibre album is always a special moment and with Shelflife 3 you can really see the progression in Calibre’s distinctive sound. Taking on elements of jazz, funk, dub and techno whilst losing none of its soul, the LP is a collection of thirteen of his most requested dubs from 1997 to 2013. For the music man it is business as usual, but for everyone else it is a rare piece of eternal drum & bass. "Bellamee" is the pick of the bunch; an elegantly crafted anthem that is full of soul and depth.
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23 Dec 2014