Category Archives: Hard D&B

Ear & Drum: Session 273 – Ruckus

The heavier side of Drum & Bass has recently decided to get it’s groove back, which I am here for. Not so abstract, still dark and heavy, but with a distinct dance floor flavour that gets the head nodding.

As per usual, Kasra and Critical Music seem to be on the bleeding edge of the sound with releases such as Shatter with YAANO and bb.oo. Metalheadz are holding it down too with Marly Marl’s Feel Deep Headz and Run Away doing bits, Dark ’97 by Immerse, Philth & Ant TC1 rolling out and Inner Terrain’s killer track No More also holding the groove. And I couldn’t resist throwing in the recent Universal Project remasters of Bleach and Rux Flava because they are just too damn good.

A word of warning that there is a slight glitch in this mix around 30 minutes in due to a recording muck up. I loved the rest of the mix so much, that the thought of re-doing it just to smooth over a tiny glitch just didn’t feel right. Hopefully you can over look it while listening through.

Ruckus – 1hr of Hard and Heavy D&B

Marly Marl – Feel Deep Headz
Total Science – No Smoking (T>| Remix)
Mako & Seba – Brotherhood
Kid Drama & Garvo – Nitrosurge
Kid Drama – Ratchet
Breakage – Style
Dunk – Danger
Inner Terrain – No More
Immerse, Philth & Ant TC1 – Dark ’97
Marly Marl – Run Away
Kasra & YAANO – Shatter
Cycom – Yucatan (The Green Man (TGM) Remix)
Chris.Su – Antiserum (Klute Remix)
Envy &. Azifm – All Night Long
Motive – Tuff Luv
Kasra – bb.oo
Photek – C-Note (Instrumental Mix)
Noisia, Sleepnet & Lumen – Finality
Universal Project – Bleach
Alibi – Rave Digger VIP
Universal Project – Rux Flava

Ear & Drum: Session 267 – Obesity

Rolling with some phat beats from the harder end of the spectrum this time around with Metalheadz getting a special mention for a particularly strong year. With Tech Noir – Pitchwheel, Nookie – Over & Over, Goldie – Inner City Life (Break Remix) and Scar’s The Lane VIP, Count It Off VIP and his remix of Goldie – Angel all giving solid vibes though out the mix.

Other notables are Kid Drama & Garvo’s heavy Nitrosurge on CNVX doing bits, more goodness from Loxy & Resound’s Dub Pack Vol. 1 in the form of Metro VIP and DLR’s best tune this year Tryna Get This Money. Special shout out from me to the classic Sinthetix Remix of BSE’s Smoke which recently received a much appreciated remaster for 2023.

Obesity – 1hr of Phat D&B Beats

Goldie – Angel (SCAR Remix)
Amoss x Molecular – Effortless
Scar – The Lane VIP
Tech Noir – Pitchwheel
Total Science – Fallen Angel (Kolectiv & OB1 Remix)
Black Sun Empire – Smoke (Sinthetix Remix)
Kid Drama & Garvo – Nitrosurge
Loxy & Resound – Metro VIP
Chimpo – Domino Rally
Enel & Odddi – Other Side
A-Audio &. Unoaked – Dip Out
Myth & Black Barrel – The Woolen Man
Ink – Tell Me (feat. Collette Warren) (SIN Remix)
Aleyum – Glowing Memories (Silence Groove Remix)
Beeson & Dynamite MC – ‘Til 4am
Nookie – Over & Over
Goldie – Inner City Life (Break Remix)
Unglued – Tilted
Digital & Response – Traces
Scar – Count It Off VIP (ft. 2NickB)
DLR – Tryna Get This Money
Acuna & L-Side – Heavy Drop

Ear & Drum: Session 258 – The Well

A little bit of old and a little bit of new with a big bit of bitch slapping beats in this mix off tuff tracks from 2023. The old comes in the form of Doc Scott’s rework of Rider’s Ghost called Ghost 25, and some very tasty remasters from Seba and Paradox thanks to the Secret Operations Reissue series.

The ‘new’ is everything else, with my picks being Carlito coming out of nowhere with a banging 12″ on V Recordings. Both tracks Take Me Down and Got It are doing the damage. Electrosoul System also takes a turn for the darker with his outstanding Black Album on his own Kos.Mos.Music imprint. I love it when producers step out of their lane and do something different and both of these releases fit that bill!

The Well – 1hr of Tuff D&B Beats

Break – Don’t You Ever Stop
Electrosoul System – Suicide Suicide
Electrosoul System – Somatic Blues
Acid_Lab – Wait No More
Dom & Rolland – Scatter
Ed:it – Wikid Bad
Leaf – Keep On Truckin’
Carlitio – Take Me Down
Doc Scott – Ghost 25
Seba – Wakeup Call 2023
Subfocus & MC ID – Alarm
aBLe – Still There
Carlitio – Got It
Seba & Paradox – Fire Like This
Kasra – Negative Space
Electrosoul System – Chuck Norris On LSD
Jubei & LSB – The Source

Ear & Drum: Session 252 – Functional

With the retro trend sweeping across D&B, it was only a matter of time that nostalgia returned for tech-step tinge tunes to come back. While a lot of these tunes might not lean into the stripped back 2-step beats of that era, the one thing that brings them all together is the funk that Ed Rush and Optical helped pioneer back in the day. Nailing the perfect drum and bass loop to give a tune that funky rolling flex is not an easy thing to pull off, but I hear a lot of it in all of these tunes and I have to say, I’m here for it!

Labels liked Souped Up and Sofa Sounds Bristol have been heading this way for a while now, but T>I’s recent Rollers Delight EP really nails the tech-funk. Critical Music, while not putting all their eggs into the tech-step revival basket, are also pushing the sound through their label boss’ latest LP – Humans in tracks like Acid Shot and Calm.

Functional – 1hr of Heavy D&B Rollers

T>I – Dye Migration
Rainforest – Antihero
Bladerunner – Rave Machine
Skoel – Letisound
Slay feat. Chimpo & SLR – Dis One
Calibre – Verstat
Enei – Acid Shot
DJ Trace & HLZ – Valves
Heron Flow – Raging Sea
Blocks & Escher – Shot in the Dark
Beeson & Dynamite MC – ‘Til 4am
aBLe – Still There
Enei – Calm
Enei & Jakes – Omega
Iris – Not Even a Big Up
Unglued – Peanut Butter Kid
T>I – Outboard
Data 3 – String Theory
Scar feat 2Nick8 – Count It Off
Emz & Sam Binga – Don’t Stress
T>I – Step Back

Ear & Drum: Sessions 245, 246 & 247 – New Year’s Special Selection

For a genre that is declared dead every couple of years, D&B is healthier than ever with a whole new generation discovering the 90s and the OGs still pushing limits of what music can do. To celebrate this, and the fact that 2023 is just around the corner, I’ve put together three mixes that sum up everything that I thought was great in D&B in 2022.

Mix one is dedicated to the Soulful side of things. DRS, LSB, Dogger & Mindstate, GLXY, Heron Flow, Calibre and many more made music this year that reached beyond the generic Liquid category and brought a soul and pathos to their music that is absolutely mesmerizing.

Soul Side ’22 – 1hr+ of Soulful D&B from 2022

DRS & Monroe – Kiss & Tell
LSB – Endless
Dogger & Mindstate feat. DRS – TMWFTE
Random Movement – How Many Ways
DuoScience – Edge
Issue Cross & Wilkinson – Used to This
Impartial – Flowstate
HEFT – Timeline
HEFT – Promise
LSB – Bell Tune
Muffler – Water Piano Ambient
GLXY – Dreamers
The Sauce – BST Vibes
A-Sides & MC Fats – Never Yesterday
Seba – Public Beauty
Intake – Closing
Dawn Wall – Judgement
Dawn Wall – Fears
DRS & Dogger feat. Mindstate – Wake You Up
Wilkinson & iiola – Close Your Eyes
Heron Flow – Serpentine
Dynamite MC feat. Bop x Subwave – Into
LSB – Renaissance Song
GLXY – New Day
DRS & Document One – Can’t Explain
Particle – Drivin’ Me Crazy
Alix Perez & Verbz – Stay the Same
Redeyes & Fox – Wait Ting
Bungle – Forms
Workforce – Forever
Lensman & Echo Brown – Nokia Days
Fox feat. Swing Ting – Day One (Lenzman Remix)
Alix Perez – Wairua
DRS & LSB – Sweet Love
High Contrast – Return of Forever (Came & Krooked & Mefjus Remix)
Dogger & Mindstate feat. Liam Bailey – Broken Home (Calibre Remix)

Mix two is all about the deep, the dark and the heavy. Blocks & Escher, T>I, Buunshin, Dub Phizix, Conrad Subs, NC-17, Acid_Lab and many more tore the absolute roof off this year with BIG tunes and even bigger basslines. Labels like Metalheadz and Critical Music continued to blazer a trail, but even better was all the smaller imprints that popped up and smacked it this year.

Dark Side ’22 – 1hr+ of Deep, Dark & Heavy D&B from 2022

Soul Intent – Infrared Shadow
Seba & Digital – Love Story
Seba & Oilskin – The Future
Latyn – Dust & Ages (Silence Groove Remix)
Mako – The Both of Us
Buunshin & Idle Days – I’m Okay
Voyager – Aurora (Remix)
Fishy & Freeboard – Cause I Miss You
NC-17 & Dunk – New Jack Hustler
Dub Phizix – Demon Seed
Calibre – Verstat
Slay feat. Chimpo & SL8R – Dis One
Heron Flow – Raging Sea
Foreign Concept – China Plate
Technimatic & Komatic – Make Me Feel
Heron Flow – Serpentine
Echo 1 – Shifting Sounds
Acid_Lab – Imagine the Future (Art Cubic Remix)
Beeson & Dynamite MC – ‘Til 4am
Advisory – End Credits
Grey Code – Illiad
Dub Phizix – Item
aBLe – Still There
Script – Set up the Set (DLR’s Clash VIP)
Conrad Subs – Temple
T>I – Outboard
Dub Phizix – Come On
NC-17 – State of Grace
Audioholic – Bottlerockets
Blocks & Escher – This One
FX909 – Now (Half Step Mix)
Emz & Sam Bingo – Don’t Stress
NC-17 – Ghost Song

Last, but no where near least is the 160bpm genre that took over in 2022. Slowing things down and bringing back that original rave sound was THE best musical surprise for me in ’22. Artists like J Majik, Chimpo and ASC have always been there, but it was Fracture who really brought the 160bpm sound alive with his incredible 0860 Mix Tape release. Capturing the 90s pirate radio vibe, this release proved you can look back and still keep a modern production ethic. And I only hope that this is the beginning of more music like this!

Vibez Side ’22 – 1hr+ of 160bpm Vibes from 2022

Grey Code – Primrose
Coco Bryce – Dial M for Mayor
Fracture – Telepathy
The Vanguard Project & Jemima Read – Stitches (Coco Bryce Remix)
J Majik – Hold You (Lemon D Remix)
Fracture feat. Eastman – 0860
Kid Chameleon – Open Soul
Chimpo – Rig Doctor
Cryogenics – Haunted
IMANU & The Caracal Project feat. Josh Pan – La Fournaise
Adred – Before Your Eyes
Fracture – From the Very Top
Conman, Evasion & Mod:co – Lifestyle
Kid Chameleon – Syrup
Moakz – Distant Waves
Antony G – Lockdown
ASC – Black Rain
Mineral – Old School 2022
Fracture – First Aid Kit
D’Cruze – Sublime State

No matter if you are staying home, hitting the parties or somewhere in between there should be a sound here for everyone. Thanks for all the support in 2022 and big ups to Blick and Will for joining the Ear & Drum and bringing even more great music to the people. Happy New Year everyone and may 2023 be bigger and better for y’all.

Ear & Drum: Session 240 – Flex

Hard hitting D&B has been having a real resurgence in 2022. Stepping away from the loudness wars of the past, producers have been going back to writing tunes that let the spaces in between do the talking to produce a more cinematic feel to them and proving some real flex.

Digital has always had his finger on the pulse, so when he signed up Seba to make the 222 Road to Nowhere EP I just knew it was going to come correct. His tracks Love Story and The Future have that classic Seba roll, but with the tough beats you’d expect from a Function Records release.

Another man who always comes correct Dub Phizix has the Senka Mix Tape out with a swag of impressive tunes of all genres. Most of the tunes on there have been released in long form on various EPs, but Demon Seed, Blossom and Item all have the heavyweight sound. Shouts out to NC-17, Mako and all the rest of the Metalheadz kru who have been keeping it real.

Flex – 1hr of D&B Heavy Hitters

Mako – The Both of Us
Added & Cory James – Concentric
Seba & Digital – Love Story
Seba & Oilskin – The Future
Loxy & Resound – Leagues Deep (Resound Mix)
NC-17 & Dunk – New Jack Hustler
Dub Phizix – Demon Seed
Dub Phizix – Blossom
Slay feat. Chimpo & SL8R – Dis One
DLR – Do I Know What I’m Doing VIP
HLZ – Capone Diet
Subwave – Mercury (Hyroglifics Remix)
Raiden – Fallin Revised
Conrad Subs – Dark Set In
Particle – Driven’ Me Crazy
Dub Phizix – Item
Script – Set Up The Set (DLR’s Clash VIP)
Grey Code – Illiad
NC-17 – State of Grace
Silence Groove – Offset
NC-17 – Ghost Song

Ear & Drum: Session 236 – Reprint

From 97-03 Stakka and Skynet’s Audio Blueprint label took the Tech Step sound of drum & bass and infused it with faster skittering drums, arcing b-lines and a little Techno magic to create what ended up being the blueprint for Neurofunk. While Nuero ended up becoming a formulaic dead-end in a lot of respects by the end of the 2000s, the pioneering sounds of Audio Blueprint at the time was fresh and exciting.

Audio Blueprint ended up with an enviable stable of producers such as Psion, Arcane, Kemal & Rob Data, Skinny & Lynx and the mighty Gridlock. Many of these went on to have long and respected careers in D&B, but it was Stakka & Skynet themselves who really blazed the trail for the sound. Audio Blueprint (and its sister label Underfire Records) were unique with a sound that is seeing a revival today as new artists look back to what truly ended up being an Audio Blueprint for tech-infused D&B.

Reprint – 1.5hrs of Audio Blueprint

Zerolux – Micro Burst
Stakka & Skynet – Logistics
Psion – Reverse Engineering
Stakka & K.Tee – Jagged Edge
Sublogics – U Know (Remix)
Stakka & Skynet – S4
Stakka & Skynet – Voyager
Psion – Rising Tides
Stakka & Skynet – Molecular
Stakka & Skynet – Nova Soils
Stakka & Skynet – Pathogen
Stakka & K.Tee – Territorial
Arcane – Implant
Kemal & Rob Data – Hybrid
Skinny & Lynx – Melting Pot
Sublogics – Void
Stakka & Skynet – Amorphia
Stakka & Skynet – Amorphia (Remix)
Stakka & Skynet – MK Ultra
Stakka & Skynet – Subterranean
Gridlock – The Search
Gridlock – Horizon

EAR & DRUM: SESSION 227 – Bruised

Been a hot minute since I’ve dropped a heavier set, but this one is coming out swinging. The ruff D&B sound has been having a BIG resurgence lately with quality tracks hitting hard and fast.

First up Breakage dropped his At the Controls Vol.2 EP which featured the killer Lickshots for Headtops and Untitled Dubplate. When Breakage is on form not many can touch him. Blocks and Escher’s – Shot In The Dark EP finally dropped after what seems like years of the title track being played by everyone, although This One is my pick of the bunch from the release. And one of my favorite artists, Klute has remastered some of his classic remixes in the form of Digital & Spirit’s – Remote Control (Klute Remix) and Concord Dawn’s – Morning Light (Klute Remix) so I couldn’t pass up dropping these in even though they are a little long in the tooth.

Extra special shouts to Offish for his moody AF – Pareidolia [Intro] track and Mister Shifter for his massive Murder One drop on Straight Up Breakbeat. Seeing all my online Dogs coming correct gives me huge amounts of joy, so big up ya chest to all involved.

Bruised – 1hr of Tuff D&B Beats

Offish – Pareidolia [Intro]
Disrupta & J Select – Tequila
Breakage – Untitled Dubplate
Mister Shifter – Murder One
Digital & Spirit – Remote Control (Klute Remix)
Concord Dawn – Morning Light (Klute Remix)
S.P.Y – Nebula
Blocks & Escher – Shot In The Dark
Noisia – Incessant (IMANU Remix)
Conrad Subs – Dark Sets In
DLR – Make My Mind Go
Sub Focus – Deep Space (Data 3 Remix)
Roho – Deviuz Law
Breakage – Lickshots for Headtops
Blocks & Escher – This One
Silence Groove – Offset
Silence Groove – Feel
Inja – Soul Silhouette (feat. Singing Fats)

Ear & Drum: Session 222 – 2021 Rolled Out

2021 was another strong year for D&B, but the one thing that stood out was the harder edge of the genre got a little less beard-stroking and lot more funky with rolling tunes aimed squarely at the floor becoming the flavour of the day. A lot of producers looked back to the sounds of the 2000s for a more stripped back, bass driven sound with less complicated beat work. But what the tunes lacked in complexity they gained in groove and that can never be a bad thing.

This is a compilation of all the tunes in 2021 that rinsed and rolled out across the year. Special shouts to the Bristol crews like DLR, The Sauce, Fox and labels such as Sofa Sounds, Dispatch and Metalheadz who all had a BIG year.

2021 Rolled Out – 1hr+ of the Best D&B of 2021

Ninja feat. Singing Fats – Soul Silhouette
Technimatic – Mirror Image (Phaction Remix)
John B – Up All Night (Data 3 Remix)
Universal Project – Lost In It
The Sauce & Fox – Everything Boss
DLR, Script & MC Fokus – Perception (Trail & Debby Remix)
Inja – Take Me Home
T>I – The Locksmith
BCee & Charlotte Haining – Reminds Me (S.P.Y Remix)
Monika & Akuratyde – Amber
Inja feat. Charlotte Haining – Reach Out
DLR – U.D.O
Came & Krooked, Mefjus & Sophie Lindinger – No Tomorrow (Tom Finster Remix)
Bop – Surfing the Anxiety Waves
PFM – For Caron (Are You Ready)
QZB & Rider Shafique – The Banker
S.P.Y – Is Anybody Out There (S.P.Y VIP)
Punctual & Nabiha – The Step (Pola & Bryson Remix)
Conrad Subs – Love 4 U
Inja – Stranger
L-Sides & MC Fats – High Times (Break Remix)
Shades of Rhythm – Sound of Eden (Benny Page Remix)
Payback – Inter-Connected
DLR – Make My Mind Go
DLR – Sufferation
Tony Anthem feat. Doctor – Tears Of Mine (Gunmen & Specimen A Remix)
Jubei – Slipstream
Akuratyde – Evergreen
Paul T & Edward Oberon feat. Cleveland Watkiss)
QZB & Gardna – Music’s Got Soul
Mystic State – Whole Half
Cosmology – Something Different

Ear & Drum Session: 219 – Rinse Cycle

A bit of the old and a lot of the new in this mix of tuffer D&B beats. S.P.Y. doing his own remix duties on Is Anybody Out There (S.P.Y VIP) and Sub Focus’s bass heavy Deep Space (Date 3 Remix) are just some of the new highlights. Nico’s rework of Bill Laswell early work Oscilations and Quadrant & Iris remix of Marcus Intalex & Future Cut classic Plastic are representing for the OG vibes.

Rinse Cycle – 1hr of D&B Rinsers

Inja & Singing Fats – Soul Silhouette
DLR, Script & MC Focus – Perception (Trail & Dibby Remix)
Inja – Take Me Home
DIsrupta & J Select – Tequila
Mikal – Resampled
DuoScience – Mismatched
Cauzer – Form One
S.P.Y. – Is Anybody Out There (S.P.Y VIP)
Bill Laswell – OScilations (Nico No U-Turn Mix)
Marcus Intalex & Future Cut – Plastic (Quadrant & Iris Remix)
Gest – Futurism
Particle – Nosedive
Payback – Inter-Connected
DLR – Make My Mind Go
Sub Focus – Deep Space (Date 3 Remix)
Jubei – Slipstream
Shades of Rhythm – Sound of Eden (Benny Page Remix)
DJ SS & Azpect – Feeling Blessed (DJ SS Remix)
Foreign Concept, Enei & Magugu – Sticks
Paul T & Edward Oberon feat. Cleveland Watkiss – Music’s Got Soul
QZB & Gardna – Landline