When we used to think of 2011 we envisioned Neon-lit Tron suits, Time-travelling cars and Micro-portion food pills that you toss into the oven. When we look outside we still see business suits, gas guzzlers and 99 cent pizza shops and one word comes to mind: Bummer. To me, the only thing that reflects living in the future would be Drum & Bass. The evolution has seen speedy and efficient growth, and it’s founding members and followers are using the latest cutting edge sound-sculpting technology to create sounds that could probably be used as weapons if engaged in an inter-galactic war of the worlds. 2011 saw Drum & Bass producers move on to different styles, lending their much needed soul and knowledge to other genres like Electro, Dubstep and Drumstep yet still found time to dominate the fast and furious sound they know and love. In all, 2011 saw a vast improvement in the coalition of styles and scenes, and coming from a personal point of view Montreal alone has made huge steps towards bringing the beloved genre back to the forefront of EDM. The future of Drum & Bass now lies in the hands of only a certain few, my pick for 2011 is an artist named Borderline.
« The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style? » – Doc Brown (Back To The Future)
This New Zealand Drum & Bass/Future Funk producer will definitely need his own interview in the coming months, but for the time being I’d like to shine some light on his latest singles and get some word-of-mouth circulating about one of my favorite producers this year.
With tunes lined up on Bulletproof’s Cyanide Recordings, Optiv’s Red Light and C4C Recordings, Rich Gibbins has definitely taken the reins where The Upbeats have left off and he isn’t showing us any signs of slowing down. The first EP I picked up this year was The Way I feel / Foothold, two extremely anticipated tunes on Citrus Recordings. « The Way I Feel » starts with creepy vocals and FX that culminate to a smash-and-grab funk fest, smacking you in the face with solid drums and bass. Heavy Optiv and C4C influence in the track proves that D&B in 2011 is still living up to it’s futuristic name. The flip called « Foothold » is equally praised in my books. Funky claps and rides lead the way to a distorted bass lead that shakes the bins like Michael J. Fox on a bad day. This is one of those EP’s that gets me so excited to play out that I end up dropping it within minutes of opening my set. I look forward to setting my headphones down so I can enjoy hearing these tracks loud. A good start for Rich to say the least.
The second EP I picked up from the man is Time Tester / Look Forward on Black Seeds. « Time Tester » follows in the footsteps of last year’s « Informed » debut. The familiar bongo-ridden ping-snared breakbeat shines through like the aforementioned single but has a new swing that sounds like it’s been worked on by a Shiatsu Masseuse to a stiff client. Mid range bass seems to be this producers main fling. Even with the subs completely turned off, it still pounds through the monitors with brute force. With a distorted and quirky jump up bass line in the vein of Break, this unrelenting roller will trick you into thinking it was made by the don himself. Rich does an amazing job of keeping things loud, spacey and mixes it all down perfectly. The flip sees a similar vibe to Cern, a minimal and funky number called « Look Forward ». Harmonic and grinding leads make this tune a delight for the ears, with a huge Gridlok influence in the FX and bass line. This single is a must have for any fan of the roller.
His third and most recent EP is on Symptom entitled Mussaman / Intransigent. This release is MAJOR! Again the Break influence comes through like nothing I’ve heard yet this year, not even from Break himself. « Intransigent » is riddled with grinding-harmonic leads and bass stabs that will make you want to slap yourself for not thinking of it first. Backed by a series of ghostly atmos and creepy screaming FX, evil doesn’t begin to describe this cut. The flip « Mussaman » sees us exploring the deeper side of Rich’s talents. An echoey vacation into time and space is the concept that binds this tune together. A more minimal roller with a grinding lead and shiny ride to keep you moving, this one reminds me of the earlier days when Drum & Bass was just called Jungle. « Mussaman » takes me back in time and reproduces a feeling I haven’t had since I first heard Photek and AK1200. Rich is definitely one of the remaining few artists that can hold their own in the studio and his music is a pure delight to play on systems everywhere.
written by Host One