TFword Review: Zero T and Onj’s Kilburn LP

If someone’s keen on being introduced to drum & bass and they want to experience the length and breadth of the genre’s styles in one package, Lenzman’s ‘The North Quarter’ will be the label we will recommend.

Starting their adventures in 2016 and in just under 6 years, The North Quarter have etched their name as one of the most respected labels in drum & bass. Courtesy of Lenzman’s unrivalled scouting and timing of releases, The North Quarter has been able to pioneer its genre-bending approach where every release is fresh, unique and futuristic.

While Lenzman’s drum & bass sound is associated with the liquid side of the genre but he hasn’t let his personal preferences come in the way of his long term vision for The North Quarter. So far with albums from FD, Submorphics, and Abnormal Sleepz, along with appearances from names like IAMDDB, KinKai, Akemi Fox and many more, the Amsterdam-based label boasts one of the most diverse catalogues in drum & bass.

The North Quarter closed 2021 with a magnificent multi-tempo compilation album featuring label regulars and some new talents. Lenzman then began this year with music from American extraordinaire Echo Brown and Kiwi legend Tokyo Prose, and now for the label’s third release of the year, the Dutchman has struck gold again.

Bringing veteran Irish drum & bass producer Zero T along with blind jazz pianist Andre Louis (PKA Onj) on a remarkable concept album, The North Quarter has already delivered an early contender for the album of the year. The ‘Kilburn’ LP features a series of collaborations from Zero T and Onj with T-Man, Steo and lots more exciting talents from the UK and beyond.

The 13-track showpiece from Zero T and Onj begins with a rolling summertime number called ‘Rodeo Drive’ featuring the R&B influenced vocals of Mercy’s Cartel layed over Onj’s breathtaking melodies and Zero T’s intense bassline. Next up is a tune that will leave you astounded wondering how good it is. ‘Spiritual Sound’ with its rhythms and smooth chord progressions makes for a perfect beachside drink track.

Zero T and Onj crank up the heat with the next featuring an unmistakable blend of Onj’s perfectly timed melodies and Zero T’s industrial breaks for a tune that shapeshifts between the bright and gloomy. Lenzman brings Manchester-based Jordan Max with the album’s protagonists on the next one who is known for his poignant neo-soul output for an immersive liquid drum & bass journey.

T-Man makes an appearance on the album on ‘Rain’ for an engaging deep-stepper where his vocals combine seamlessly with Onj’s chords and Zero T’s sharp drum work. Quite honestly, we’d struggle to put the next one into words. To sum it up the best way we can, its music delivered from Jungle, Jazz and DnB’s deepest depths delivered to perfection.

‘Stick Up’ is where Zero T shows off his insurmountable hold over the rolling style of drum & bass with the tune’s dubwise aesthetics, rudeboy vocal samples, and somber euphonies. ‘Juggle Different’ takes a notch up with its decibel levels through its funky drums and stabby notes that evoke both old-school and contemporary jungle and drum & bass flavors.

Steo’s powerful vocal prowess is painted masterfully on another jazz, r&b, and drum & bass infused offering. Zero T and Onj close the album impeccably with their collaborative work that is entwined with the iconic Ursula Rucker’s enlightening vocals. When you take your headphones off after listening to the album, you will perhaps agree on why we are calling it one of the albums of the year.

Stream the ‘Kilburn’ LP here:

You may also like: Matt Bossa’s Breathe & Bass Magic
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