Wednesday, September 29

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The Tribal Genius of Integral Records

Unknown Masked artists in Drum & Bass isn’t an uncharted territory for the genre. Over the years, we have had artists like Squarepusher and Jaguar Skills who have brought their mask game into the scene and while Jaguar Skills has been successful in concealing his identity, people have seen him in some form performing at venues.

Now, we present Dawn Wall. Since their emergence in 2015, they have arguably been the biggest mystery that the Drum & Bass scene has been trying to uncover. So far, all we know about Dawn Wall is that it’s more than just two people and other than Lomax from Loadstar who has confirmed his association with the mysterious act, there’s no trace of any other artist who is linked with them.

A single Google search will land you on to several forums digging deep into Dawn Wall’s identities. To ensure that their anonymity is maintained, they have not performed a single gig since their inception which could potentially reveal the faces behind the act. Here’s where the Dawn Wall story takes a twisted turn; It’s not just them. Along with Dawn Wall, there’s Mohican Sun, Tatora, and now, maybe, just maybe, Kaloa. Four different aliases but united two by elements; their tribal artwork and their relationship with Integral Records.

 

DAWN WALL & MOHICAN SUN

It was early 2015 when Artificial Intelligence led Integral Records released the ‘You Remember’ EP featuring Dawn Wall. A name unheard of, so it was natural for people to assume they are newcomers, and the release was swept under the carpet; but just two months later, Integral Records released the ‘Kythera’, another EP tagged under Dawn Wall

 This time, it was different. Yes, they were newcomers in theory but the musical richness of ‘Kythera’ EP was too good for a newcomer. That’s when the conversations started and the most immediate guess was that it’s Artificial Intelligence’s new alias because Dawn Wall’s style was similar to AI’s high syncopated style of Liquid Drum & Bass; but once again, Integral decided to throw us into another whirlpool of questions. The EP from Dawn Wall had featured Artificial Intelligence in it, and with that, any doubts regarding AI’s involvement in the mysterious act had gone out of the window.

‘Kythera’ EP was followed by ‘Longshanks’ EP which featured two of their finest tunes like ‘Spears’ and ‘Lose Face’. The EP like the last one was too good for a newcomer’s sound and yet again, the EP was overlooked with the notion that it’s a one-off experiment from the guys at Integral Records that exceeded their expectations; and for a long time, it did feel that way since there was no sign of a Dawn Wall release for the best part of 2016.

Yet again, out of nowhere, came a Dawn Wall release in late 2016 but this time, there was something different. Along with the release of the ‘Ember’ EP came an intriguing artwork, and after spending a year keeping people in the dark, it was clear that Dawn Wall was a carefully arranged plot from the guys at Integral Records. The artwork which is now their logo was inspired from the farthest native lands, with the ‘Ember’ EP kick-starting a journey into the deep and tribal world of Integral Records.

Dawn Wall’s sampling game was immaculate since their first release and by wisely sampling Drake, Nils Frahm, Bruno Mars into their tunes, Dawn Wall had set the tone for their releases. The ‘Ember’ EP featured 4 pulsating numbers dishing out a blend of Liquid and Tribal elements with ‘Blood Diamond’ featuring a sample from Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars’ hit ‘Ankala’.

 But for a label that has played with us for a year without giving us a clue into their unknown adventure, it was too good to not take another twist, and as we expected, they did. Right after the ‘Ember’ EP came another alias and the plot started thickening.

In late 2016, Friction aired ‘Where Did You Go’ on his radio show without having an idea of who the track actually belongs to, and it was certain that the trouble makers were the people at Integral Records. UKF got in touch with Artificial Intelligence to know if something’s up in the Integral camp and all they got from them was “Mohican Sun is a new member of the tribe. A new combination of producers including original members of the camp.”  It wasn’t long before Dawn Wall’s identity had left us scratching our heads, and now we had another mysterious act to deal with.

 Dnb Forum, The undisputed hawk-eyes of Drum & Bass aliases and IDs hopped on to their research bikes to dig deeper into Mohican Sun but came empty-handed. After numerous futile efforts, the only thing that Drum & Bass heads could have done was, sit back and admire the unbelievably good music that was dished out through these unknown acts and hope that somethings falls their way with Dawn Wall’s and Mohican Sun’s identities.

What followed was a string of releases between Dawn Wall and Mohican on Integral Records; and these releases came with a peculiar pattern. At least one tune from Dawn Wall’s ‘Twin Falls’ and ‘Problems’ EP accompanied by Mohican Sun’s ‘Fixation’ and ‘Dead Sea’ EP had tribal influences with the rest being their signature uplifting Liquid Drum & Bass loaded with cherry-picked samples.

Along with their originals, members of Dawn Wall and Mohican Sun have been on top of their remix game after successfully flipping tunes from Nero, Dua Lipa, Chase & Status, and Friction to name a few. Taking inspiration from the successful branching both acts were able to achieve through a consistent run of releases on both sides of the underground and mainstream spectrum, Integral Records decided to give Dawn Wall and Mohican Sun an independent platform that catered to their style of music, which led to the birth of Ekho.

Following the ethos of their releases on Integral, the mysterious acts went on to releases of some groundbreaking music which was accompanied with intricate tribal artworks that exemplified their narrative of bringing native elements to Drum & Bass.

It was 2019 and despite spending 4 years excavating every detail around Dawn Wall and Mohican Sun, there was still no substantial evidence of the people behind the acts. After releasing music throughout 2018 and 2019, Dawn Wall went into hibernation while Mohican Sun released just one track throughout 2019 after eventually making a short return for two singles in 2020.

 

TATORA

Knowing Integral and how the last 5 years had panned out, Dawn Wall’s and Mohican Sun’s silence was enough to tell us that something was cooking once again; and like always, they didn’t disappoint. There was so much going on in 2020, that we never really got a chance to take notice of the happenings around the world Drum & Bass and music in general. Integral Records took this time to craft another story, and finally, after a long hiatus, came Tatora.

Another mysterious alias tied with Integral Records carrying the same musical schematics, but this time, it was without their customary tribal artworks. It started with Dawn Wall in 2015, Mohican Sun in 2016, and after spending 5 years looking for their identities and being largely unsuccessful, we had another mysterious act on the Integral roster.

Like Dawn Wall and Mohican Sun, we don’t know if it’s he/she/they, we know they’re a part of the Integral tribe and it is certain that the people behind Tatora are established artists who have just decided to play mind games again. The ‘About’ section of Tatora’s page just goes on to say Tatora several hundred times, and as usual, that’s how far we have come so far.

UKF got a chance to interview Tatora and when asked about doing an anonymous interview, they conveniently went on to say “It was kinda funny because I know you, and you don’t know who you’re speaking to.”

 Since the interview, Tatora have gone on to release two EPs with the same sweltering Liquid style of Drum & Bass as their predecessors; and since we all as a Drum & Bass community have done everything in our powers to look for breadcrumbs, we know that following the same exercise for Tatora will be a lost cause. They have also scattered some beans around a full-length Tatora album on Integral.

 

KALOA

In 2021, the plot thickened once again. Earlier this year, a mysterious name popped up with the same drill and if you have read this far, you know it already, but hey, there’s another twist; the Kaloa artwork rings a bell and takes us back to the Dawn Wall days, the music is on the same wavelength and too good for a newcomer but this time, all their releases so far have been self-released. That’s all we know about Kaloa and as we wait for more from yet another mysterious act, we wouldn’t be surprised if they decide to confuse us yet again.

As we prepare ourselves to dive deep into this deep D&B Justice League spiral, we aren’t complaining; because the music is incredible. To many more aliases from the Integral tribe, deep google searches, and of course, breathtaking Drum & Bass music.

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Written By

Drum & Bass head with a tinge of hip shake for Disco. A DJ when I am not glued to my screen!

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