In seven days time heads up and down the country will be sat in their rooms having pre-session sweats as they forcibly inject their ears with the sounds of Exit Records, fingers tightening and nails shredding deep gouges into the arms of any chair unfortunate enough to seat them as their bodies tense in unbearable anticipation for a night 24hours-too-many away.
dBridge; an unquestionable monarch of your every-day drum and bass reprobate. After easing out of the historical Bad Company outfit he was kind enough to start his own label; Exit Records, which, following suit of its creator, has driven itself, like a peng stake made out of peng that you couldn’t possibly refuse a good staking from, through the heart of forward thinking production and progressive 170 experimentalisation and has become the very living, breathing soul of definitive exquisites in Dust & Binbags. Dust & Bin-Bags not being used there as a horrible metaphor for what sort of music Exit puts out, I just get tired of using the various DnB, Drum & Bass forms and when it comes to dBridge and his inarguable trove of fine-170-dining, is the term Drum and Bass even relevant? That’s another story altogether so let us start with this’n first…
Yeah thas right it’s the sound of the P-Rez…
Alix “Pepperson” P-Rez (as he’s formally known) stuck some sort of liquid melt-stick into my eye a fair few years ago. It got jammed right in there, cracked (as it says it will do on the can) and melted all through my brain and all of that delicious blue music inside got right into my ear-holes and left me unable to breath for months. 1984 was the best thing that had invaded so many of my facial features at once in a long time, but as I mentioned, that was a few years ago. Since then he’s been lurking around doing this’n’that and of course the Chroma Chords album which, although I avantly obsessed over in SoundCloud demos, around its release, I never got round to listening to in full until two weeks ago. A big shift in sound (as discussed far too many times already amongst Alix Perez fans around the globe) that some embraced and some cried about. It was hit & miss for me but what stood out was a big shift in sound. I was at Outlook 2012 and after watching Alix on the Shogun stage pop out an hour of trap before he progressed into the DnB arena I suppose there was no need for surprise when his new sound took on so many similar tones and lost so much of what it once was.
But it’s no downer… trust. There’s a new era dawning for the P-Rez. What 1984 once was will forever be just as incredible an experience as it was when we first heard it. What’s happening now with Alix’s noise has earned him a rightful release on a label that is more encyclopedia of 170 expertise than label and for damn good fucking reason…
The EP dropped on Exit earlier this month and had all of my facial features undergo an experience like they did with my first P-Rez encounter, except this time it was no slow creeping serene vibes that swallowed me into ignorant bliss but more a full-frontal raging assault on everything that I am. For far too long have I been listening to Stray dropping absolute bangers all over the place like some drunken miscreant falling out of a shop and stumbling so violently that bottles of varied boozes launch off in random flight paths around the world and all of them, on shattering impact, were completely unexpected and 100 and ten percent delicious. With U in my collection I was now aware of what half of those missile bottles of peng actually were.
The title track spins my inner-fidget into freak-mode and of course more fidgetable credit goes to the collaboration with juke/footwork kings DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn with Make It Worth. But as much as I was excited to finally uncover Sludge (one of the bottles.) and discover that it was a collab between Stray, the bomb-dropper himself, what really shook the foundations of my inner-soul and spilled my remains all over the carpet was the final and monstrosituckoshima of all bombs ever dropped… and that is those Gully… oh so fucking Gully Halves.
I’ll close on U as it began; Alix didn’t stop at Make It Worth when it came to the Rashad & Spinn collab ohh no… oh no indeed. No those boys had a monster to put out before they eased into a nice EP roller. I think this track had as much impact on me as the Gully Halves did. Perhaps my audio taste is biased but for me, out of all four EP tracks and this pre-EP-teaser release, it’s this and the halves that have my win all day. When this tune goes off shit gets real.
The U EP, without a single shadow of a doubt, is the turning point of Alix’s already highly praised career. It’s an open EP door from the room that was Chroma Chords to a whole new corridor of madness that I think the man has wanted to explore for quite some time. I would like to think that Exit and d-Jehovah-come-again-in-170-form-Bridge will be the Obi & Wan to guide this prodige through unscathed and incredible.
Darling there’s a Stray digging up holes in the lawn…
Now I mentioned how happy I was to uncover the labels of some of those bomb-bottles that Stray had been droppin’ all over the place. Imagine how happy I was to then find out that the other half of those bomb-bottles were soon to arrive on the very same label as the first lot, and not only that, but in the same month as well. AND NOT ONLY THAT. But in the form of a whole new Stray EP…
Stray has possibly been one of, if not my singular favorite Drum & Bass producer for fucking time. When he retweeted a piece I did on him late last year I near enough shat myself. True say. He’s a man that seems capable of making intoxicatingly addictive tracks in almost any field that you throw at him. Though this is no game of throw the dog a bone and he’ll eat it as best he can. No. This dog chooses his bones himself, eats them and all their marrowy goodness, allows the magic to happen, releases and throws the brand new golden shit at you and despite all the odds, with no understanding of how one man can produce so much audible shit of so many different textures, sizes and shades, every time a new piece comes flying your way you scoff the lot of it and love every single fucking bite.
Where Mixmag had the grabs on the U pre-release free DL, Fact had it’s paws all over the Chatterbox pre-tease and in stark contrast to the huge bass trolloping beast that Don’t This Ish was, Stray’s Triangles is the soothe-grooving opposite. Like P-Rez, Stray is just as capable of making heart-wrenchingly beautiful music as he is crafting a rusty & blunted musical war axe but unlike P-Rez, he seems to like to augment this talent in a nice 50:50 split of furious vs. tender. The closing track of this EP needs just that. A tender hand… she’s Fragile…
The Award Tour opening piece does all that an opener needs do; ease you into the dance, introduce you to your surroundings, lull you into a false sense of Stray security with it’s “classic Drum & Bass vibes”. It’s funky-dancefloor fun. The rest of the EP, however, is a journey into so much more. And it peaks for me with the most long awaited bottle of all. Following Matchsticks I should have seen it coming. Those crazy slapped up, hacked up, pitch-finger-fucked vocals. That funk. That crunk. That bass all up in my sweaty raver gooch junk. Everything about it screams Matchsticks after a max spin in the tumble drier with a A5 page of acid tabs, a few bumps of K, a nice dousing of brown for good measure and a half litre of Kraken Rum to mix it all up. Of course it was his own track. Trust me, this boy can dig as many holes in my yard as he wants, so long as he leaves a little shit in one of them for me to scoff up later.
Exit Records has been doing things extraordinary for one hop over a decade now and is my very favorite label in Drugs & Waste. These past two EPs from two of my favorite producers (exclude 170 for a minute, I’m purely talking producers.) of all time are yet two more staked claims to how credible this label is. To how credible the man behind it all is. The dBridge. To how credible the DnB/170 scene is right now. To how credible electronic production on the whole is right now. Me and my boys, me and my writers, telling my girlfriend, telling friends, telling people who know nothing about music at all; it is a conversation that can’t help but be whipped up at least once a week that underground music is in a highly credible place right now, with production being pushed in ridiculous directions on all fronts. But it’s most especially important for me to see so much of this progression in Drum & Bass. There’s been times over the years when Drum and Bass has seemed somewhat lacking in imagination, it’s always been good, don’t get me wrong, but it hasn’t always been great. And Drum & Bass started as something great so to see that lost is a sad thing. Exit is everything that pushes this genre forward and into the future yet comes from a man who was a part of that great past. There are, one thousand and 99 percent, many other labels doing incredible things in 170; Astrophonica, Soul:R & Samurai to name a few but for me, right now, Exit is right at the top of a game that no one else can even touch.
Seven Days & 24 Hours
On the 2nd day of May all Exit hell breaks loose. dBridge and his assortment of ironclad warriors will assault the Village Underground and unleash waves of all things Exit on heads lucky enough to attend. A few of our own fine BtB warriors will be attending to sweat in elated respect to this heralded label that we all agree on being the absolute peng. We hope that you will grab a ticket and do the same… young fiends of the night that you are.
Get your tickets here
Buy the U EP here
Buy the Chatterbox EP here