Category Archives: Hard D&B

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

Ear & Drum Session: 218 – Marinade

Going a bit deeper and darker in this mix of new-ish tunes. 2021 has been a good year for harder styles, and even though there isn’t as much minimal techy stuff coming out there is still a decent selection of deep beats and darker cuts still being produced.

Probably the deepest and darkest of them in this selection is the Missive triple play close to the beginning. Cavernous bass and stripped back beats characterised Missives top quality Lithos EP which came out around the middle of this year. Other tunes to keep an ear out for are T>I’s The Locksmith and Let it Go which both shred, Foriegn Concepts ragga tinged Kultja and Zero T’s killer VIP reworking of Goldie feat. Jose James – Truth.

Extra big shout to Offish for providing the opener on this mix, his LP Garden of Eyes is full of deep, dark beats and well worth a listen over at his Bandcamp page. https://offish.bandcamp.com/album/garden-of-eyes

Marinade – 1hr of Deep & Dark D&B

Offish – Pareidolia [Intro]
Disrupta & J Select – Tequila
T>I – The Locksmith
Missive – 9Test
Missive – Denoument
Missive – Stadius
Last Life – Trial
DuoSciemce – Mismatched
Foriegn Concept – Kultja
Mystic State feat. Congi – Too Late (Captivate Remix)
Cynical Gene – Nucleus
Bop – Surfing the Anxiety Waves
Goldie vs J:Kenzo – Official Jah Roller
QZB & Rider Shafique – The Banker
Goldie feat. Jose James – Truth (Zero T VIP Remix)
VROMM feat. Rider Shafique – Level Up
Loma – Watches
Foreign Concept, Enei & Magugu – Sticks
T>I – Let It Go
Minimalist & Heklur – The Titan
QZB & Gardna – Landline
Mystic State – Whole Half
Enei – Ignit

Ear & Drum Session: 212 – Urbane

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve hit up the rougher side of D&B, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some excellent heavy hitters out there at the moment.

Workforce continue to kill it with their giant roller Back Up. The ever reliable Muffler has smashed it again with the suitably titled Super Heavy. And ever the usually laid back and atmospheric Rain Forrest has come out swinging with his shot at hard and heavy, Shadow Work.

With a good mix of of old and new producers, this mix is one worth turning the volume and sub up on.

Urbane – 1hr of Heavy D&B

Q Project & Myth – Demonz
John B – Up All Night (Data 3 Remix)
Workforce – Back Up
Blood Trust – Transparent Blue (feat. Kid Drama)
Hexa – No More
Mikal – Resampled
Muffler – Super Heavy
Physics – Cultivator
Conrad Subs – Love 4 U
Jem One – Sunday Rain
Malign – Tearaway
Jubei – Slipstream
MKD – Krill
Rainforest – Shadow Work
Airstrike – Radials
Doctor feat. Tony Anthem – Tears of Mine (Gunmen & Specimen A Remix)
Paul T & Edward Oberon – Music’s Got Soul (feat. Cleaveland Watkiss)

Ear & Drum Session: 201 – Rollin’ Dirty

We’re back to some contemporary beats after the 200th Anniversary sets with a mix of rollers from 2020-21. These tracks are almost a genre on their own with their tuff but rolling beats and dirty basslines. They feel a bit more accessible and floor friendly that the usual hardcore D&B tracks and give a bit of a nod to the older Jump Up sound of the early 2000s.

Artists like Buunshin, Mikal and Was a Be are definitely leading the pack along with players like Workforce and Breakage in this sound. This set features work from Mikal’s amazing Metalworks LP which was packed full of tuff rollers and definitely a highlight for Metalheadz late last year.

As hard as some of these tracks are, it is almost impossible not to nod your head and have a smile while you’re at it.

Rollin’ Dirty – 1hr of Dirty Rollers

Degs feat. Pola & Bryson – Sleepless (Bladerunner Version)
Buunshin – Descended
Kidsonic & Swift – Follow Me
Substance – Be Forgiven
Mikal – Resampled
Mikal – Doesn’t Matter
Mikal – Journey into the Reverb
Was A Be – The Walk (Radiax Remix)
Mikal – Turn it Around
Goldie feat. Natalie Williams – I Adore You (Total Science Remix)
Mikal – Strident
Breakage – Valhalla
Was A Be & Radiax – Beijing Banger (Was A Be Remix)
Soul Intent & Ms Tempz – 2 Bad
Breakage – As We Enter (Break Remix)
OAKK, Rider SHafique & Radiax – Growning (Radiax Remix)
Duoscience – Shallow
Kidsonic – Deeper Love
John B – up All Night (Data 3 Remix)

Ear & Drum: Session 197 – Dead Set

The final in the silly season mixes is all about tough beats and booming b-lines. Rough D&B never really goes out of style, but it does eveolve and this year saw artists like Dom & Roland, Conrad Subs and Bungle bring back an original jungle vibe with a heaping serve of heaviness.

Metalheadz had a stellar 2020 with so many great LPs dropping it felt like every month there was something worth dropping from Goldie’s stable of production talent. But they weren’t alone with Dom & Roland’s self titled label, Doc Scott’s 31 Recordings and a whole host of other bringing the absolute heat.

Dead Set – 1hr of Ruff and Rowdy Beats

Goldie – The Mirrored River (Grey Code Remix)
Goldie – Prism (Dom & Roland Remix)
Heitor Leal Farnese – E näo foi à lápis (Thermal’s Black Dog Remix)
T95 & DRS – On Site
Soul Intent & Acid Lab – Clash of Headz
High Contrast – If We Ever VIP
Conrad Sub – Bump & Grind
Conrad Subs – Love Me Tender
Goldie feat. José James – Truth (Zero T VIP)
Hyroglifics – God Given
Bungle – Runaway
Polaris – Eternal Conflicts
DJ Marky & Pola & Bryson – Run the Streets
Myth – Long Time
Muffler – Super Heavy
DJ Marky – Parlet
Total Science – Lightweight (Break Remix)
Goldie – I Think of You (Digital & Spirit Remix)