Category Archives: Ear & Drum Session

Ear & Drum: Session 254 – One Six Four

160bpm D&B continues to expand and grow as a genre and while there isn’t any set ‘sound’ at the moment, the one thing there is a lot of is quality. Following in the footsteps of Fracture and his 0860 LP and mixtape, Kid Drama and DJ Trace have released a similar package again looking back at the classic Amen driven days of rave. The project titled Rule of Thirds came out under a combined alias of Nine Windows, and well worth your time as you’ll hear in this mix.

Kid Drama also features with breakbeat mastermind Tim Reaper on Ambien Sequence from Future Retro’s excellent Meeting of the Minds series of releases. Wardown’s Graphite and Glitter and The Ideal City come from the kitsch Wardown II LP, Pete Rogers of Technimatic’s ode to 60s futurism. And I have to shout out Orbit from Om Unit alias Philip D Kick’s stunning and sadly last LP, Off World Tales. Having jacked in making fasted BPMs for Electro and Techno inspired sounds, he will be missed.

One Six Four – 1hr of 160bpm D&B

Optimistic – Helper
Nine Windows – Looking Back
Nine Windows – Galaxian
Speckman – One the Flip (Synkro’s Ambient Jungle Flip)
Jamie Myerson – Shade Without Color
Nine Windows – Innersense
Philip D Kick – Orbit
Wardown – Graphite & Glitter
Arcologies – Secret Keeper
Adred – Before Your Eyes
Fracture – From the Very Top
Orboram – Sun Showers
Arcologies – City at Dawn
Kid Drama & Tim Reaper – Ambien Sequence
Nine Windows & Tim Reaper – Transitions
Robert Haigh – Koto Line (ASC Spatial Remix)
Wardown – The Ideal City
Fracture – First Aid Kit

Ear & Drum: Session 253 – Neon Jungle

Who say rewind on all the classic Jungle dub plates and VIPs finally seeing the light of day some 30 years later? Thanks to labels like Aphrodite’s – Urban Shakedown, DJ Rap’s – Proper Talent, Deep Jungle and Suburban Base digging out their DATs and releasing a swag of tunes that only ever cut to dub plate and played by a very select few DJs back in the 90s. That is until today.

A lot of the tunes in here I only ever hear on tapes from pirate radio or recorded from UK raves back in the day. If I was lucky I may have heard one or two mixed live at some of the local parties I went to. It feels fitting that D’Cruze bookends this mix with tunes from his Hidden Tracks EP only recently release on Suburban Base. Sandwiched in between D’Cruze’s Hardstep and Sublime State are some of the ruffest Jungle cuts I’ve had the pleasure to play. Enjoy.

Neon Jungle – 1hr of Dubplate & VIP Jungle

D’Cruze – Hardstep
Jaz Klash – BQE
Pascal – Just Rollin A Fat B
Krome & Time – Original Juggling
M.T.S. – Brothers & Sisters
M.T.S. – Bad Boy Sound (95 VIP)
Undercover Agent – Oh Gosh! – (Daz ’95 Dubplate)
Splash – Babylon (DJ Trace Mix Part 2)
Dexterous feat. Beverley Gage – Moments of Pleasure
DJ Rap – Spiritual Aura (94 Mix)
DJ Rap & Outlaw Candy – Intelligent Woman (On A Positive Vibe)
Dilinja – The Angels Fell
DJ Swift & DJ Zinc – It’s Time (feat. Stevie B)
Future Assassins – Future Sound (Dead Dred Remix)
Urban Shakedown – Burning Passion ’94 (Original Dubplate Mix)
Urban Shakedown – Some Justice ’94 (Original Dubplate Mix)
Undercover Agent – Bass Kick Mix 2 (96 Exclusive Unreleased Version)
D’Cruze – Sublime State

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: Session 251 – Motions

Heading into the soulful side with this mix of smooth sounds. When it comes to soul Dogger & Mindstate, Calibre, Lenzman and LSB instantly spring to mind, but the vocalist they always lean on is the seminal DRS. Having been around since the hey-day of Bukem and his MC compatriot Conrad, DRS has reinvented himself constantly down the years and his 2020s incarnation as Mr Soul just might be his best yet.

A good chunk of this mix is from DRS’s Del-Rok-Ski LP, which came out towards the end of last year. Collaborating with a who’s who of soulful D&B producers, this LP had way more hits than misses and was one of the strongest releases for me in 2022. Another LP well worth a listen is FX909’s Liquid Heart which also features hear along with a few tracks from Need for Mirrors super strong Nerd EP.

Motions – 1hr of Soulful D&B

Akemi Fox – Lie to You
DRS & Monroe – Kiss & Tell
Dogger & Mildaste & DRS – TMWFTE
Need for Mirrors – Happy Mondays
Auris – The Difference
Colossus – Possession
DRS & Calibre – Embers Reign
DRS & Dogger & Mindstate – Wake You Up
DRS & Duskee & Disrupta – Waiting to Go
Dub Phizix – Snowprints
Gabanna – Always the Same
DRS & Document One – Can’t Explain
FX909 – Without a Name
Missing – Ever Wanted
FX909 – Two Little Birds
Need for Mirrors – Mourning Tune
Echomatics – Sense of Control
Bop & Subway – Last Night
Degs feat. Nu:Tone & Duskee – Can We Talk (Imo-Lu Remix)
Sl8r – Magnolia
Echo Brown & KSR – Motions
DSR & LSB – Sweet Love

Ear & Drum: Session 250 – 101325 Pascals

Session number 250, and we’re headed in an Atmospheric direction for this one. My good friends over at Omni Music have once again come up with the good with label boss Eschaton’s Speed of Light and Calm Resolve doing bits, along with long time friend of the show Starski dropping the mesmerising Memphis Lemongrab from his recent In a Funk LP. Shouts to Mineral, Echo 1, Arcologies, Parallel and The Astronics for also representing the Omni camp.

I love a good Amen, but too much of a good thing is never good for a genre and Atmospheric D&B is showing some real depth here, with a much appreciated move away from pure Amen edits and into some deeper more crafted breaks. Shenji provides us with a perfect opener in his track Promises, Dub Phizix keep up his incredible run of releases with Love Changes and Wardown’s Graphite & Glitter from their amazing sci-fi themed concept album on Blu Mar Ten Music, Wardown II LP is also a standout.

101325 Pascals – 1hr of Atmospheric D&B

Shenji – Promises
Beyonders – Release
Furney – Love Changes
Dub Phizix – A Real Thing
Starski – Memphis Lemongrab
Mineral – Why Don’t We See (Moakz Remix)
Okee – Light Being
Wardown – Graphite & Glitter
Shenji – Dreaming Mode (Kharm Remix)
Echo 1 – Where We Ride
Eschaton & Parallel – Calm Resolve
Arcologies – Outer Worlds
Mikal – Space Age Dubbing
Eschaton – Speed of Light
The Astronics – Heart of Soul (Con-figure Remix)
Airstrike – Warp Factor Nine
Echo 1 – The Morning After
Rhythm Tek – Ghost Planes
Acid_Lab – Imagine the Future (Art Cuebik Remix)

Ear & Drum: Session 249 – The Squeeze

I recently had an online chat about how Liquid has become a bit of a dirty word and the genre has split in three down the years into Soulful, Melodic and Stadium style. This mix sits squarely in the melodic sweet spot for me.

Tunes like A-Sides & MC Fats – Never Yesterday feel timeless too me, and in fact they release a variation on this sound just about every year and every year I play them because they are just great tunes. Bop, Dawn Wall and Alix Perez are regulars in my mixes and always bring the goods and it was a good time dropping 2022 remaster of Marcus Intalex feat. Calibre – Meltdown because once again this tune will never get old.

The Squeeze – 1hr of Melodic D&B

Rafa Etamski – Changes
Klinical – Dusk Talks
Impartial – Flow State
Matter – Hold Me Close
Fishy & Freeboard – Cause I Miss You
Bop – Space 2 Breath VIP
Dawn Wall – Fears
A-Sides & MC Fats – Never Yesterday
Dawn Wall – Judgement
nCamargo – On Route
Secret Structure & Shibumi – Holding On
Alpha Rhythm – What I Need
Low:r – Mother
Alec Perez – Wairua
Khyu – 8 Years Ago
EN:VY – Over You
Total Science – Gravy Girls (Calibre Remix)
Secret Structures – Hurt Me
Marcus Intalex feat. Calibre – Meltdown (2022 Remaster)

Ear & Drum: Session 248 – Rush Job

New year, new sounds as we roll into the first mix of ’23 and we’re peeling back the BPMs to 160. This mix was inspired by Fracture’s recent ode to 90s pirate radio 0860, which was one of THE releases of ’22 for me. Nailing the 90s hardcore sound and crossing it with modern day production to create laid back but dance floor vibes is something I hope we hear a lot more of in the coming year.

Kid Chameleon’s Open Soul EP was another big release toward the end of last year, and features heavily here. Weaved in between these two heavy releases are tracks from OGs like J Majik, Lemon D, Cloud 9, DJ Crystal along with modern day legends such as ASC, Acid_Lab and Adred.

Rush Job – 1hr of 160bpm Vibes

Fracture – Telepathy
DJ Focus – Online (Recoded)
Kid Chameleon – Open Soul
Eusebeia – Change Your Stars
J Majik – Hold ‘You (Lemon D Remix)
Fracture – 0860 (feat. Eastman)
Cloud 9 – Warriors Revenge
DJ Crystal – Meditation
Acid_Lab – Conquest of Space
Adred – Before Your Eyes
Fracture – From The Very Top
Kid Chameleon – Electric Machine
ASC – Black Rain
Con-Figure – Ataraxia
Kid Chameleon – Syrup
Oboram – Sun Showers
Thought-Forms – Star Struck
Mineral – Old School 2022
Fracture – First Aid Kit
Nitepunk – Unspoken
Acid_Lab – Imagine The Future
DJ Crystal – Warp Drive (Dubplate Mix)

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 244 – Call the Ambience 17: Silent Night

A return to the infrequent Call the Ambience series, this mix features laid back beats from some the genres best. Some of the usual suspects are here such as Bop, Shenji and Synkro, with bits from his amazing Collected compilation. And then there are some surprises such as Noisia in their Muffler form with the beautiful Water Piano Ambient, and incredibly Scar on Metalheadz with a few piece from his deep The Road Loss Traveled EP.

Call the Ambience 17: Silent Night

Kublai – Back Home
Rowpieces – 1st Love (Downtempo Remix)
Khramer – Far Away
Ink – Lost In Time
Muffler – Water Piano Ambient
Generic Meds – About Time (Remastered Remix)
Scar – Computerised Humanity
Shenji – Dreaming Mode
Synkro – Weakness (Akuratyde Remix)
Bop – Insight
Mineral feat. Resound – Spiritual 7
Syknro – Luminous
Synkro – Gagaku (Frederick Robinson Remix)
Fanu – Silent Resistance
Shenji – Old Memories
Easy – The Beginning
Flowanastasia & Stranjah – Face Yourself (Halftime Mix)
FX909 – Now (Half Step Mix)
Scar – Error

Ear & Drum: Session 243 – Bowled

Deep and rolling is the order of the day. This selection of minimalist and tech rollers hits just the right amount of heaviness and mood for me. A huge shout to Herron Flow for the Do 2 U EP on 31 Recordings. It’s one of the strongest EPs of the year for me, with every single track hitting home. Big up to Radders killer MC tune No Go and Slay feat. Chimpo & SL8R for the hype Dis One.

Bowled – 1hr of Deep Rolling D&B

Buunshin & Idea Days – I’m Okay
C:Critz – Panic
Radders – No Go
Dub Phizix – Blossom
I Am Legion – Choosing for You (Forbidden Society Remix)
Foreign Concept – China Plate
Siloh & Dan Structure – Swivel
Intake – Closing
Heron Flow – Swear Down
Heron Flow – Raging Sea
S.P.Y – Night Fury
Slay feat. Chimpo & SL8R – Dis One
Heron Flow – Serpentine
Conrad Subs – Heritage
Flipper – Nergal
Midik – The White Room
Moakz – A New Future (Mineral Remix)
Echomatics – Lost Focus
Date 3 – String Theory
Heron Flow – In Drag