The Drum & Bass fraternity experienced one of its best years in 2021, with groundbreaking singles, exquisite EPs and insane collaborations coming out from every corner of the genre. American DJ & record producer, DJ Craze, rightly refers to the genre as one of the most exciting ones within electronic music at the moment.
After closing a brilliant year, DnB has kicked things off in the year with a menacing pace. In just under 30 days, we have experienced a lot of great Drum & Bass music already! Now, we are listing some releases that we thought were the finest of the lot this month.
L-SIDE X PARLY B – GALANG
First, we have a huge dancefloor weapon that didn’t see the light of day for the best part of 3 years. Brazilian Drum & Bass phenomenon, L-side, sure knows how to make them riddims heavy and jumpy! On ‘Galang’, featuring Parly B, he has fired up a dancefloor riddim that will be on heavy rotation for a long, long time. ‘Galang’ debuted on the legendary V Recordings’ sub-label Philly Blunt yesterday, and boy, are we grateful!
BEN ROLO & FULLALOVE FT. LAUREN WALTON – BLACK HOLE
Next, we have a hot release from UK-based producer, Ben Rolo. Bringing his influences from the cinematic lands of Drum & Bass, Ben Rolo has only dealt in one business – to deliver soul-stirring Drum & Bass numbers. Combining euphoric melodies with his pulsating style of production, Ben is one of the most exciting producers in the genre. His latest EP on Bay 6 Recordings attests to the fact that the exquisite business of making DnB music is only getting stronger. From the producer’s ‘Distant Notion’ EP, our pick is the vocal-laden journey of ‘Black Hole’, featuring Fullalove and Lauren Walton.
LAKEWAY – LIGHTER
When we talk about Lakeway, even ‘underrated’ sounds like an understatement for the sheer ability this British producer possesses. Blending Footwork, Grime and Progressive Electronic, and eventually circling these elements back to Drum & Bass, he makes music that is exciting, explosive and innovative. The elusive producer has begun his year in grandeur, with an EP on Unchained Recordings that certifies his ability to deliver music that is not for the faint-hearted.
His ‘No Escape’ EP is packed with three mind-bending 170 BPM cuts and an introspective grime collaboration. Our pick of the lot is ‘Lighter’. This masterpiece begins with a feeling that transcends you into deep space, before bringing you back for a ferocious peak time drop. One of the best tunes from Lakeway, in our opinion!
ALIX PEREZ, DLR & SP:MC – KEEP UP
How many times do you see collaborations like this? An association of this scale, this early in the year is so much more than a win for DnB! For ‘Keep Up’, Alix Perez and DLR, known to be the two undisputed overlords of the deep, dark and punchy realms of the genre, teamed up with SPMC, one of the best MCs to have graced the genre. The result? A tune that can be rolled in any club as a proper mid-set banger.
GREY CODE – ACTRESS
Another highly-anticipated tune that has landed in the first month of the year! Grey Code’s talent has been evident ever since his first release in 2017. The catalogue he has built since, speaks for itself. Metalheadz boss, Goldie, who has a knack for spotting great talent, was quick to snap up Grey Code for an album. Of course, the outcome is spectacular!
Our pick from the album is ‘Actress’, which features the producer’s intense Drum & Bass landscapes with a forward thinking touch. TFword also premiered ‘Lone’ from Grey Code’s album, and its a beauty!
LOGISTICS FEAT. FRANK H. CARTER III – NIGHTINGALE
When Logistics‘ is about to drop new tunes, we are not only in for a great day, but also a better month and an awesome year. One of the champions of the Liquid Funk sound has made his return to Hospital Records for a six-track EP called ‘Love Letters’. The EP features a bunch of tunes that transport us back into the early 2000s, the golden days of classic Liquid Funk.
While it was incredibly difficult to pick a favorite from the EP, with a lot of contemplation, we have to shine a light on ‘Nightingale’. The track is packed with gorgeous vocals by American vocalist, Frank H. Carter III, coupled with Logistics’ classic Liqui-funk sensibilities. Together, the maestros deliver an uplifting tune, with a hefty bassline and striking drumwork arranged immaculately over Frank H. Carter III’s profound vocals.
IYRE X ALPHA RHYTHM – RAIN TRIBE
Sri Lankan producer, IYRE, made his debut during April of last year, 2021. Despite his comparatively short presence in the scene, this DnB artist is, in our opinion, easily one of the best producers of 2021.
Following releases on Fokuz Recordings and Pilot Records to close the year that was, IYRE returns with another banger! Alongside one of the finest purveyors of Liquid Drum & Bass music, American producer Alpha Rhythm, the producer delivers a tune that will surely make you wish for rainy weather immediately, for purposes of vibing, of course.
Part of Goldfat Records’ ‘Nuggets’ series, the V/A also features the likes of Pyxis, Iris, Kublai, and Higher Than for, three gorgeous numbers.
DYNAMITE MC – LEGACY (FEAT. VOLTAGE)
Naturally, Hospital Records hits the scene with yet another release that is phat, and seminal. The label has brought Dynamite MC, who is regarded as one of the most iconic voices in Jungle & Drum & Bass, for a 7-track EP called ‘Deep Waters’. The EP features heavyweight collaborations from Dynamite MC with the likes of Danny Byrd, Makoto, S.P.Y and Winslow but our pick is the heavy and bouncy ‘Legacy’ featuring Voltage which brings two ears of Drum & Bass into a single tune.
IMANU & THE CARACAL PROJECT – NEIGES
We keep saying that Noisia’s parting gift to the genre is the Dutch producer IMANU. And now, it seems like he is ready to take the reigns as one of the most expansive and forward-thinking producers in the game. Initially operating as Signal for a more Industrial sound, IMANU came to life in 2019. He has since become known for his dynamic Drum & Bass music, that brings rhythm and texture flawlessly over fresh and cutting-edge sub frequencies.
Our pick from his 2-tracker on Critical Music is ‘Neiges’ with Caracal Project, which manifests the wide range of influences and styles that the producers have on offer.
LOCKJAW – NERVE ENDINGS
‘Nerve Endings’ marked the return of the genre’s most exciting producers. It is safe to say that we can’t get enough of this release! Lockjaw blends his experimental style of DnB into an explosive tune that works equally well on the dancefloor.
‘Nerve Endings’ debuted on Lockjaw’s imprint, Locked Concept, a platform to enable creative control and ensure a high quality marriage of visual and auditory art forms.
The track leans towards the dark and industrial side of Drum & bass, which is a slender move away from Lockjaw’s intricate sound designs and water-tight drums. BRB, listening to this for the 900th time this month!
Find the entire TFword Selects: Drum & Bass – Jan ’22 Playlist on Spotify
We’ll be back with our next selection of some more exciting Drum & Bass music in the coming month. Keep an eye out! Until then, get these tracks onto your playlists and get listening!