I remember my early Drum & Bass days, scared and confused. When I thought Jump-Up was the happy go lucky melodic stuff, Noisia’s Split the Atom dominated my car stereo and I did all of my hunting for new tracks and beats via YouTube…
I one day stumbled across a liquid mix that featured a few beautiful pieces from, one, London Elektricity, who’s Syncopated City album I instantly bought (fucking beautiful album, really need to do a piece on that!) and secondly: the Bachelors Of Science.
I very vividly remember a particular video for what, up until a second ago, I thought was a Bachelors Of Science track. A video that featured a looped clip of traffic at night in the rain, floating points of bokeh light dancing on the blurred screen.
I just re-found that very same video, for the sake of this article, and it turns out that it belongs to a mix from the american trio themselves, the Bachelors Of Science – perhaps its the very same mix?? I haven’t the time, right now, to listen through and uncover the truths but either way, I’m linking it right here so that you lovely lot can get your ears in now and so that I can dip my own in later!
Anyway, these guys hovered on my radar and at around the same time, during my romance with that first album from The XX, simply titled, XX, I came upon a remix, from the trio, of one of the album tracks, Infinity. What struck me were the strong echoes of the original piece, retaining the signature tropical guitar sounds of The XX that make their productions so open, but not just this, it was the beautiful aerial shots: icy caps and open sheets of white and most of all, the signature change. The remix features a bridge between its two peaks, a bridge that changes the pace and pulls the 170 beat back down to its original XX status. That stood out to me and that sort of production manoeuvre still does; bpm change isn’t a regular occurrence in electronic production by any means, and is massively appreciated in almost every instance I’ve come across it. It really is a lovely track that I still adore coming back to today.
The years rolled on by, 5 of them, and these guys, a part of my toe-dipping past, remained as such. They’d pop up from time to time, something really nice, or something that’d make me go “Naaa man, what? Too sparkly for me!” – these occasions were too often for me to consider the production trio a true part of my core Drum & Bass make-up, though my respect for the liquid loveliness I’d seen from the group was always enough to call an air of definite respect – there was peng-peng potential within their being and fans have and do see it on the regs – I just can’t put up with some of the excess material.
In that, I keep an eye on them. Always click ‘play’ on the material should I come across it. But it was only until recently that I hit play and was instantly transported into a world of liquid wonder I find all-too-rare in these 170 days.
There’s a new LP on the way – and it’s one of the best Drum & Bass albums of 2015 by far!
An open, spacious and bare omnimity makes up the title track of The Space Between – the perfect encapsulation of the Light/Dark themes of the album. A full bodied centre though somewhat empty in the space between its dark and brooding bass notes and open skittering drum patterns. The same can be said for the following track, Kanto (Pokemon region reference? I hope so…), which takes the turn to half time rhythms and again, blasts us with open, spacious and airy steps… plenty of space between.
The album is a blend of gorgeous signature sounding Bachelors Of Science serenity, darker and more spacious visages of noise and then dub-friendly, ragga-movement, summer-vibe classics. For me, I’m in it for those three elements in the order listed: I’m there, first and foremost, for the incredible liquid loveliness…
And secondly, I’m there to investigate the darker tones, signs of which I’d seen in growls during the final phase of their Infinity remix – something that had impressed me then and insights excitement now…
Suffice to say I’m less there for the more raggaton summer vibes, like those seen in Backfoot Dub with Emcee Child, but I can appreciate them none-the less, with a groove in my moves and a smile on my face.
The LP delights me with an old vocal sample that I and close Bite the Belt friends have immersed ourselves in through tune and tune again – our first romance with the kit that the female vocal is from was in Muwookie’s Memories. The album tickles my train-spotter nature with a drum loop from LTJ Bukem’s Atlantis, and I’m guessing by ear here, but I’m sure the track it’s used in, Satisfy, is at 150…? Which impresses me even more in these post-90s days where DnB & Jungle alike are more commonly produced above 160 and most especially 170+. And also because Atlantis was produced around the 150 mark. It’s a little respectable nod to the past… and I love that. No surprises that the LTJ Bukem is one of the names supporting this release as well! The album treats me to an array of breaks and bass rhythms, piano melodies of a beautiful nature, gentle pads and calling vocals, it’s all I can ask for of Liquid, but not something often delivered.
This album is one that has been impressing me with every pre-release clip that’s surfaced over the past month or so. With each 3 minutes of available sounds, I’ve become ever more excited not only for a new album that I will definitely be purchasing, but for the trio that I once praised and heralded as so sexual and seductive in their liquid mastery, something I had doubted and questioned in the following years, only to be told straight in 2015, that these guys are deserved of every credit and respect that they have earned, as prominent figures in the Drum & Bass scene, American and global.
And it’s not just me singing their praises, the guys have already had love for the LP from the likes of the ever-loveable, ever-trustworthy source of excellence in DnB, Bailey (source of Muwookie and especially the aforementioned Memories), the classic, “old skool” legend that is Fabio, and beyond them all… the master of the finest 170 finesse, the Doc Scott himself.
If the Doctor is prescribing The Space Between you should take a dosage without question.
The LP lands next week on Thursday – 19/05/2015 and you can prepare yourself with this FABRICLIVE promo mix they put together below.
Stream the pre-release clips of the entire LP here
Pre-order a copy here
Joshua Of Science