‘B&b is a collaboration between rapper/poet/vocalist Sean Braithwaite (MC Buzz B, Lion Rock) and producer Ben Ashdown (Truant, Showbanned) that was first conceptualised in 2009 as a “wouldn’t be nice if…” idea. Well they got round to it… and I’m really pleased they did.’

This is a stunning piece of music. It will exaggerate any mood you are in and I have listened to this several times now – still reaching for the repeat play button each time. I absolutely love the soundscape that is crafted from the ambience at the beginning through to the carefully constructed instruments leaving space for the vocals to sit, without being in your face or over bearing.

The production is brilliant, I really can’t fault it. The bass is round and weighty, the vocals are soft, yet clear and present, the drums hold the track together perfectly. There are not too many other instruments that try to take the lead or simply get in the way, this is one of the most organic piece of music I have heard for a while and I was so happy to come across it.

Here’s to hoping that this collective continue to produce and write music of this calibre, we could all benefit from sounds like this in our lives.

This is available on Aficionado Records and is part of a collaborative EP called – Good Measure EP Part Two, and is also available on vinyl.

From the artwork, you would be forgiven for thinking this is going to be an easy ride of an EP with relaxing tones throughout. That would be a no. This is a fantastically diverse set of tracks with contrasting tones of sound design and recognisable instrumentation that really engages the listener.

The track Honestly from this EP is a blend of ethereal vocals and heavy precision drums, with a smooth bass holding everything together. This track feels so raw with its drums pounding away, driving the track through the reverberant tails of vocals and pianos. Its quite haunting yet inviting at the same time and this is brilliant in a piece of music, being able to evoke two contrasting emotions at the same time. The production on this track is second to none and it really is something to admire within the drum and bass spectrum, it is also a great example of relatively simple instrumentation sounding huge and being perfectly crafted together to create the very character of this track. This is a brilliant piece of music to start the EP that is available on Soul Deep Recordings. The rest of the EP takes us through several other sub genres of drum and bass, all executed with the same precision and extreme craft that is the Conrad Subs sound.

I would recommend checking out some of the other releases of this producer if this is the first track you have heard, he has an impressive catalogue and release rate that is inspiring in itself.

The EP is available on Soul Deep Recordings.

Jade Parker’s Lead Me Astray EP comes with much anticipation and intrigue. ‘Closer’ introduces us the the chilled vibes, pulsating drums and beautiful vocals that really give this music producer her own space in time.

The music itself is really well produced with well balanced sounds and amazing detail in the textures that are spaced around the sonic stereo field. The drum sounds are really well polished giving a heart and soul to the music with out being over bearing to the vibe of the track. The interesting weave of melodic tones and moving textures hold the audience which leaving space for the rich vocal to cut through the mix, drift off with a subtle delay and leaves the listener wanting more.

This is a mesmerising track and a really nice way to be introduced to Jade Parker’s sounds if you haven’t already heard them. The rest of the EP is excellent.

The video adds another dimension to the track so its worth a watch!

Forbidden Planet are a techno duo from Manchester. With a wealth of knowledge and technical ability, they have crafted this masterpiece of an album. The analogue soundscapes and driving beats mixed perfectly with ethereal vocals and floating pads.

Every track on this album is stand out, and yet pulls together to form an even stronger body of music. This is worth listening to from start to finish, over and over. Personal favourite tracks are “Ariel’s Dream (The Tempest)” and “That does not compute”. Two great contrasts on the album that weaves in and out of soundscapes and through ambient noise and in to beautifully polished laid back techno.

Vaiafi - The Golden Outline EP

What a way to be introduced to an artist and group of talented musicians and producers. I have an affinity and weak point for music that has soul and feels organic. This ep, from first to last, is a beautiful blend of soulful vocals, soft sweeping pads, rounded bass and supremely crafted drums.This all pulls together to create a fantastic ep which starts with the title track, Golden Outline, a calm track with an underbelly of energy surrounded by catchy melodies and pristine vocals.

Happy People is more of a meandering journey in to the subconscious of these musicians, with a different, more bouncy feel that replicates the positive yet questioning lyrics in the vocal delivery.

The third track, Stamina, is my personal Mel favourite because of the difference in mood. It’s a little darker with some slightly more abstract sounds mixed with the glass type chords. I find this track hypnotic and I literally never wanted it to end. The space within the drinks of this track is really nicely accented with the perfect reverb, just the right tail length.

P & P happily brings us back up to the full pace dnb but yet retaining the spacious and uncluttered style that is now familiar from Vaiafi on this ep. The final track Night Cry Sky drops back into the super chilled broken beat influenced soundscape. The wonderful thing about this ep is how diverse each track is within the drum and bass genre, showing off the influences and open minded approach to composition, sound design and musical boundaries.

This ep is available from Atmomatix Records.

Find out more about Vaiafi on Facebook.

The latest track from electronic Med School band, “The Erised”, is a euphoric build up of promise that does not disappoint when the full power of this beautiful track lands on the ears.

The drums are punchy but not overwhelming, leaving space for the soft pads and soaring vocals to weave toward the listener. The energy produced as the track progresses is mirrored by the impressive vocals melodies that seem to get better and better with each listen.

There is a much more evolved production on this track from previous songs, and that is not a negative point at all, but an acknowledgement of the progression that this Ukrainian electronic band has achieved.

From the mind boggling and captivating artwork, to the interesting and attention holding arrangement, The Erised have yet again created a masterpiece of a piece of music. This track was also a finalist of the Ukrainian National Selection for Eurovision Song Contest 2018.

This track starts with really nice filtered cold pads rising and drawing in the listener. The break pushes the track forward up until the lovely little percussive yet watery type fill. It reminds me of drum sticks rolling through a puddle – lovely!

Then the track drops and the bass warms the track with a swell and pump in the lower region. This is a really accomplished piece of drum and bass with well crafted, punchy drums  and a great complement of sounds.

The overall mood of the track is almost a mysterious adventure theme and on several moments through the track, I imagined it supporting a scene in a secret agent type film like James Bond. It might just be the mood that I’m in, but either way, this is no criticism, I really like the feel of the track and will most definitely be on the look out for more from BlastikZ.

This track is available on Nu Venture Records.

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It has soul, it has a bouncy bass driving the track forward, it has a galloping drum pattern and delicate, warm keys. And then Boudah’s vocal sweeps you off your feet while telling such a heartfelt story, although its not for you, it feels like you are part of the track, the subject that everything is dancing around.

Such a powerful development in a piece of music that is predominantly electronic, yet with so many real instruments, this could easily be a performance of many musicians. Imagine that. The mix exaggerates the sense of space and position of each sound which allows the vocal all the air and sense of presence to bring her closer to you. It’s amazing.

If you listen to this track on headphones, it is one of the most personal experiences you could ever have with a piece of music. And its buried right in the middle of a superb LP by Zed Bias called Different Response available on Exit Records. For me this a stand out feature of the LP is the vocal production, which is inspiring to say the very least.