Hospital Records Artists Fred V Latest Album, Oxygen
Review by Xtene Sixtene Let me start this out on the right foot for all of you…I am not drum and bass fan. Now, understand me, this is not to say that I am not a fan of drum and bass, or that I am somehow saying that I don’t like drum and bass…not at all. Just understand from the outset here that I knew nothing about drum and bass before I was carefully and expertly spoon-fed my first bites of the genre by Jason Bakes, artist name BC#9, an amazing drum and bass producer and the founder of the phenomenal website that you are currently reading this review on. Further disclaimer, this guy is also my oldest friend in the world, and if I may veer into a rather personal corner, is also the love of my life. Jason and I met in 1985, when I was a ragged little punk rock skater girl with a mohawk and a very tough attitude, living on a steady diet of hard driving, three minute, three chord eighties punk music…Jason was actually a smokin’ hot guitar player in a punk band in those days, as well. I tell you this because what nobody knew at the time, including Jason, was that hidden behind my impressive collection of loud and snotty punk records were twelve inch remixes of Depeche Mode, beloved copies of Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, New Order, and many other dark and dreamy new wave albums that I also listened to constantly, behind closed doors of course, lest my friends think I was soft. But music was, and is, my constant companion, the soundtrack to my days and nights, and I am an unapologetic audiophile through and through. So, the score of my life has never been limited to only one sound, whose is? Fast forward thirty years of continued total and complete obsession with music of all sorts and kinds, and I am introduced to drum and bass by this guy, who by now is quite aware of my varied and sometimes disparate tastes. He orchestrates an introduction into this new genre skillfully, as there is nobody who knows or loves this music more than he does. So, as I perform my duties here at DNB◉UNITED RECORDS , he comes to my desk and assigns me this EP to review, Fred V and Grafix, specifically the song Ultraviolet. Now, I have listened to and largely really enjoyed the whole new release, but the track Ultraviolet is my favorite, and here is why…from the first notes, the song’s melody snakes around your ears, effortlessly floating right into your heart, stirring up really warm and fuzzy feelings…this is clearly going to be a love song, and the poetic and profound lyrics pour out of the vocalist with sweet and melodic ease. The vocal is soulful, and lush, and the lyrics match, straight to the gut…“You bring my heart to life again…” and the beat starts to build and then it absolutely soars, entwined with gorgeous synths that take me right back to my bedroom in the late eighties, but with that beat that I have come to know as the heartbeat of drum and bass…it’s impossibly fast, but there is nothing rushed about it. It is simply ebullient, lifting the song up to dizzying heights and then keeping you there, with counter beats and more ethereal vocals floating like smoke behind, around, and in front of your ears. “You bring my heart to life again, now I can see in ultraviolet…” and yes, so can I. This song creates nothing short of a soundscape, really, the kind of song that you can (and no doubt will) play over and over again, because it just never stops being gorgeous. There are deep chords that contrast with the natural and beautifully clear vocals, and again, the rhythm is infectious. The song makes you want to be in a dark club full of glittering lights, pulsing around you while you dance, arms in the air. It makes you want to be in the arms of somebody you love, who loves, you, who maybe makes you see in ultraviolet. Its a complex piece of music and it is very much what I have come to know and love about the best of drum and bass, which is that it is not so much a song as an experience, imbued with technological expertise and emotion at the same time. Ultraviolet is a song that loves music, so if you also love music, put this one in your soundtrack. Trust me, it will make a fan out of you too. XteneSixtene DNB◉UNITED RECORDS/ DNB◉UNITED.COM.