We’ve continually stressed how labels are the principal factor of how strong a music scene is, and in the case of drum & bass, some labels have built unrivalled legacies and Critical Music is one of them.
Launched in 2002 by Kasra, Critical Music has built a catalogue that represents the essence of the drum & bass underground featuring artists who they’ve believed in and the ones who are regarded as the titans of the genre.
Fresh off their 20-year anniversary celebrations at the iconic Printworks in London, Critical Music have now released a mammoth 22-track compilation featuring the best and biggest names in the scene like Calibre, Hyroglifics, Enei, Ivy Lab, Mefjus and many more.
Speaking about the ’20 Years Of Underground Sonics’, label boss Kasra said “Compilation albums have a special place in my heart and to mark our birthday year I really wanted to release a project that was distinctive and exciting. An album that showcases the diversity of the label, the talents of the many artists we work with and ties together the threads and themes the producers explore.”
While it is difficult to pick favourites from the compilation, we’ve selected some tunes that will make you want to put the entire compilation on repeat:
KASRA – ELASTIC[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F05kpa6VNxA]
Starting with the bossman Kasra himself with his deep and energetic grooves on ‘Elastic’. The tune is also a representation of Critical Music’s sound that’s built its foundation around the low end and then steadily moving towards the more expansive and pioneering styles of drum & bass.
Haunting atmospheres and subtle bass growls are just what you need to kickstart your day or your workout session. A proper belter.
QZB – HALF AWAKE (FEAT. III)[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCu0Pq3AAgU]
Label regulars QZB make an appearance on the label with their synth-led brand of drum & bass and this time, they take the mellow route, a style that they have been championing on the label.
‘Half Awake’ begins with an airy intro topped over III’s vocals which later culminate into an emotional drum & bass roller.
EMZ & SAM BINGA – DON’T STRESS[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wW7J0Ao5qFM]
Another label regular, Sam Binga brings his funk drilled style once again on the imprint for a vocal-led and grimey drum & Bass banger called ‘Don’t Stress’ featuring Emz. The diverse producer who is known to dish out his wonky style of bass music with ease teams up with Emz to deliver a flowy mid-set banger.
One of our favourites from the compilation and it is also accompanied by a fun video.
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ENEI – OMEGA (FEAT. JAKES)[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIsGet6B63E]
Jakes is a voice that has featured heavily on Critical Music in the last few years, and Kasra paired him with one of the label’s finest artists and one that recently released a mini album with the label boss himself.
Russian don Enei brought his ‘In Your Face’ style of productions with jakes brawny vocals to create a dancefloor drum & bass banger.
CAUZER – THE DEPTHS[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjnXen29SE0]
Cauzer who made her full debut on Critical Music in 2021, picked up where she left off featuring her gushing drum & bass exploits.
The Welsh producer who is a the forefront of the country’s flourishing DnB scene turned up the heat with a tune that showcases a power-packed bassline that warps and gurgles beneath spaced out overlays.
Listen to the full compilation here:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries?list=PLYumLpGwfjJSgo86oZKcM3dcmu6yVXktS]
Buy Critical Music’s ’20 Years Of Underground Sonics’ – HERE