Bloodline is Steven Julien's first material since his critically acclaimed debut album Fallen (one of our albums of the year back in 2016) recorded at his Apron studios in East London. Each of its seven veins features the sound of a TR-808 heavily, in a dedication to the iconic Japanese engineer Ikutaro Kakehashi, who passed away April 2017. As both the title and artwork are a nod to the influence of Julien’s family on his rich musical world and distinct nonconformist style, he explains how “the influence my family has given me growing up and my ancestors from Africa to native Indians from the Caribbean, have all played a big part in the music I create.”
Opening with the spacious drift of Hunt, the scene is set with a slowly chiming bell that tolls over a spine-tingling synth that to our ears is possibly from the same sample source as Substation's darkside jungle classic, Scottie. While 'Roll Of The Dice' and 'Bloodline' are bonified classic Apron acid tracks through and through, Apache explores the funk side of FunkinEven with a proper earworm sample that has been fired into the sampler to let the reverse feature take centre stage. But for our money, its the Hi-Tek electro on 'Queen of Ungilsan' and filter house flattery of 'IDK' that are the ones to go straight for if you are looking for something that lands between Paperclip People and Breaker 1 2. The end track 'Temple Rd' points towards a possible new direction forward for Steven, classic grime flutes getting squashed into a shape of the best boogie wax you will come across this side of the next Apron 12".
While the ghosts of classic FunkinEven bangers 'Chips', 'Cha', 'Dracula' & 'Dreams Of Coke' are ever present in the machine (and that is, of course, no bad thing), Bloodlines truly is the sound of Steven Julien pushing his machines to the limit and then some. In doing so, it stands as his most expansive and inviting record, loaded at the brim with DJ fire while also capturing the essence of a real good dance record that begs to be spun at home or in the whip while cruising to da club.