I like diversity. I have diverse musical tastes. That’s why I listen to College Radio, and why my iTunes is always on shuffle. I don’t want to get stuck in one groove, I keep my life on a variable soundtrack…Rage Against the Machine (Take the Power Back), flowing seamlessly into Max Roach (Stompin’ at the Savoy)….why the fuck not? It works.
Providing great new music to fill that playlist is the mission of DNB United Records, a new recording label that is looking to upset the Drum and Bass Applecart by being a musical uniter, not divider…it’s (actually) in their name.
DNB United’s debut releases are “So Alive” and “Vandergrift.” I would first like to offer a disclaimer. I am mostly “blind testing” releases for this column. I only get the music, no liner notes or attributions. My interest is in the sensuous and sensual nature of the music. I care about how it sounds and feels and what emotions it inspires. Does it move me to create, to dance; to fuck or to dissolve into my headphones…what aura does this music project? Now back to the songs.
“So Alive” is like a beautiful woman subtly smiling as she broods over mildly dark fantasies. The song is impeccably mixed, with organic instrument samples so clear that I can see the drumstick tips tap the bell of the ride cymbal. “So Alive” moves in a minor key progression that places darkness and beauty in a slightly Tantric Tension, which then opens up to displace the claustrophobia that comes from being boxed into the darkness.
The music starts slowly, as the instruments introduce themselves, weaving in and out and around one another. The snare and toms sometimes slightly behind the beat as counterpoint to precision stick work on the cymbals. The song covers the spectrum from low bass to high frequency without clutter that gives it room to breathe. It builds into a mild crescendo that slowly and delicately fades to black. Ending as it began with a sustained chord.
The vocals are strong, yet ethereal, gracefully shimmering over a beat so rooted that the vocalist easily flies where she wishes without losing us or the song. “So Alive” is a twilight drive along a mountain highway with the top down, and the city lights twinkling on in the valley below.
Buy BC#9's So Alive on iTunes: