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Various Artists
Arcola Essential Bundle 2
Catalogue Number
Release Date
April 21, 2020


This eerie collection takes the same approach to drum & bass as artists like Overlook, Pessimist, Outer Heaven and the rest of the UVB-76/Stone Tapes crew. Rather than using punchy kicks and rattling breakbeats as a way to create euphoric energy, these tracks instead follow these sounds into the fog. Grainy atmospheres and thick pulses of sub swirl around the mix, and when synths enter in the higher registers they are icy enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Lukid - Drip

Drip’s title cut sets the tone for the rest of the record. With its pretty dollops of synth, pitter-patter beat and grainy mix, this is a track that would slot seamlessly into Actress’ AZD LP. That record, a series of futuro-punk vignettes, feels like a companion piece to Drip - particularly AZD’s more lo-fi entries like ‘Runner’. Zomby’s bassweight nihilism is another touchstone, and some of Bullion’s work shares a similarly dry wit with this record.

Basic Rhythm - Dough Boy/Can't You See?

Up top, 'Dough Boy' rolls a tough LFO heavy dance floor number that is sure to mash heads up everywhere it is deployed. It's tough rhythm track continuously gaining momentum before smashing out with the heavy-handed clatter of the bone-shaking bassline at its core.

Bone Head - Soft Power

Soft Power is the debut release of a new sound and style for Joe, one that musically is influenced by import 12"s and YouTube rips of grime, early 00's dubstep, and drum & bass, but mutates them into his own unique sound and style. Opener 'Busy Body' comes to life with a sequencer smashing arrangement of gyroscopic drums and clipped vocal hooks that instantly start to morph into a tightly wound metallic beat reminiscent of his poptones techno, before recoiling in angst at the sharply let loose 'F*ck You Up!' refrain, Eski grime left to melt in the L.A. heat. 'Virtua' follows with a properly heavy mix of percussion that flexes a sound that could be Blawan scoring Terminator. 'Soft Power' on the flip then fires in a few rounds with a delicate, yet unforgiving mix of future-bound DNB noir, shot through with Joe's impeccable sound design and a seriously strong musical knowledge of all things hardcore. Soft Power ends with the magnetic pulse of 'Peace Keeper', splitting atoms of trap and Natural Born Killa style Photek with all the intensity and fierceness of the very best sides from Zuli, Rabit or Dark0. Proper head melting 12" from this one to watch producer...

The Doubtful Guest - Voyage to Blacklantis

The Doubtful Guest resurfaces following a decade of silence since her tear-out jungle/gabba LP Acid Sauna was released on Planet Mu circa 2008, Voyage To Blacklantis finds the elusive producer crossing into new worlds that resembles a cross between the aquatic exploration of Drexciya and the mid 90's ghost in the machine ambience of the Coil vs ELpH project. The entire recording was written while channelling the underwater currents that surround London's New River Studios.


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