Division Recordings is proud to announce a new series of EP's called the Partial Series. Partial#1 lays down the fundamental with a varied line-up consisting of All Mode, Dotcrawl, Mo Vibez, OCEE, Boltex, EiZO and Noer the Boy. ITunes:geni.us/DVSN031
TIme is an illusion that all mortals subscribe to, and yet the basis of all music is derived from time. How many beats per second can be done within a measure, the number of times those beats can be struck to sound like a heartbeat, or placing the sound of a warped record at just the exact spot in juxtaposition to the synth waves to get that perfect break. We need time, and yet we want to fill it in order to prove to ourselves and others that we are not wasting time.
Drum and bass artists are masters of time. In their latest release called the Partial Series, Division Recordings gathers these time masters for your listening pleasure with the hopes that they can reveal to you the beauty of illusionary time.
First up on the list is All Mode with “Insight.” This is a great example of artistic timing, The initial thump thump is near prefect to a resting heartbeat and is followed up with four beats of brass horns to create the first layer of sounds, all the while a faster echo of electronica reminds the listener that this is suspenseful. What is the suspense building up to? The heartbeat is more varied as the song becomes more layered and there’s the sound of something like a soft beep, as if the listener is hooked to a heart monitor. Suddenly there’s an utterance, soft and sweet, like a child in the distance, and now… Is that a slow motion helicopter blade whirring? A series of clicks, an organ, break for the helicopter again, and then just the child and the heart monitor. When I listen to this song I think about someone facing mortality: they had an attack, a helicopter came to air-flight them to a hospital, and the child is their guardian reminding them that time doesn’t matter and this is all just an illusion. it’s beautiful to the point that it’s barely drum and bass - it’s more art - and it’s probably the best track on this release.
Dotcrawl’s “Alternative Facts” is a totally different sound, but in a good way. It’s always great to get an album that is so varied in sound. This one to me sounds more like trip hop with a deep bass and drawn out notes. The scratching records and bass almost make the notes sound like beat boxing and the drums mimic an audience clapping. There are a few breaks of synthetic beats combined with some high-pitched single notes, almost as if this is a battle between old school and new school. It’s a great track and really harkens back to the older styles hip hop while still remaining fresh to drum and bass.
The next track reminds me of robotic animals. Mo Vibez featuring L.o.J. doing “Wisdom” begins with what really sounds like a mechanical bird slowly winding down after a malfunction. There’s this higher pitch almost chirping sound that slowly degrades into lower bass notes. Once the bird disappears we get rapid fire video game noises against the first real snare drum beats of the album, but this is not a fast-paced song in the least. The synthesizer in this song sounds more like someone yelling at you from outside of time and it cannot travel through space quite fast enough to be made out. At one point there is a sound almost like a dog barking as well. It’s a really tripped out song that makes you feel like you’re in a hazy dream involving parakeets, a dachshund, and that obnoxious landlord. Wait… was that last Wednesday?
OCEE’s “Slope” is the next track. This one also has some elements of trip hop with the deeper bass and record scratching, but there’s some Asian influence here as well, such as the sounds of wind mixed with what sounds like wind chimes. There’s heavier synthesizer here and I am reminded of older anime from Toonami back when I was a kid (Samurai Cha
a fight scene since there are moments where it sounds like someone sucking in a breath as they block a punch, and the haunting wind sounds fading at the end of the song are very much like those found at the end of popular anime title songs where the hero fondly looks off into the distance from the balcony of a temple.
Time rears its ugly head very prominently with the next track by Boltex titled “Wreckless.” The drums here mimic a ticking clock that seems to always be in the background, even subtly, reminding the listener not only of the beat but of the ever encroaching end. Even if this was not the intention of the artist, there is an increasing feel of suspense because of it. There are some quick tapping drum sounds, both tin sounding and deeper snare drums, but it is the almost siren-like sound of the synthesizers that bring up the foreground for the first half of the song. Then there is a break with some 80s future music and the tick-tock of the clock. We are getting near the end now. This becomes the pattern of the song, going from the clock to the quick drums and synthesizers, and then breaking to return to the sound of the clock. What is really the key to this piece is the ending: it seems to end suddenly as if in mid-thought - as though the musician wasn’t looking at the clock. As though they simply ran out of time.
EiZO’s “Fury” sounds like a game of horse between a flute and a synthesizer. There are some very breathy, staccato, high-pitched notes first, then it seems as though the drums and synthesizers try to match those notes, each time adding one or two additional notes, challenging anyone who wants to take them on. Probably doesn’t hurt to have the f-word dropped a few times as if the artist is trying to get in your head before you try and play his game (and at the end when he reminds you he is the one who is the master at this). It’s interesting, but it isn’t the best track on the album.
Alright, last one! Are you still with me? Good, because this one is a great beat. Noer the Boy’s “Generator” continues the theme of beginning with one sound and slowly building up layers by adding other sounds with similar beats, the first two being a deep bass and the clapping drums from way back in “Alternative Facts.” but there’s also some video game sounds from what sounds like an old platformer that is frozen playing just the introduction music. Add in some cymbals and synthesizer and you have what really is like a video game on its last legs. There’s even a point near the end when it sounds like the song is cutting in out, as though the signal just isn’t strong enough to keep the sound of the church organ around long enough to make an impression. Again, this isn’t my favorite track on the album, but it makes some interesting choices to give a unique feel, and ultimately it contributes to the themes set before it.
Pick up the Partial Series #1 from Division Recordings out now and decide for yourself if it’s worth your time.