dBridge and Instra:mental present Autonomic
Sometime in the last decade the creative energy behind drum & bass production seemed to drain away. Song design focused on drawing a reaction from the club crowd and the breakdown->build->heavy-heavy-drop cycle seemed to be the only game around. Thankfully, that is a game former Bad Company member dBridge and production duo Instra:mental refuse to play. Working under the banner of their Autonomic club night/podcast, the trio put together a refreshingly refined and engaging mix of outsider drum & bass for the 50th edition of the Fabriclive mix series. This is a drum & bass mix for the people who once loved the music but lost interest with the ascent of the club sound as well as for those who were turned away by the over-the-top aggressiveness and clownish tendencies. It’s a welcome return to the exciting balance of the hard and the soft at the heart of everything once great about drum & bass.
Drawing heavily on tracks from their Exit and NonPlus+ labels, the selections let air into the spaces between the crisp drum breaks and aching low end sounds, easily slipping between full- and half-time breaks without losing momentum. The excitement level crests and crashes repeatedly throughout, never breaking through for a full on release, never waning too much to become negligible, and always ready with another subtly surprising turn. Beats stalk and crawl in the shadows cast by the echoing bass and drifting vocals. Alongside their own productions and their labels’ work, which are twisting DnB into new and exciting formations, dBridge and Instra:mental showcase unexpected DnB tempo contributions from dubstep icons Skream and Scuba. This dubstep presence makes perfect sense in the mix as this is clearly DnB that’s learned from its younger musical cousin how deceptively simple constructions can display a great pull of raw emotion. This is DnB with the confidence to show off all its subtleties. Plain and simple this mix is made of what drum & bass can best do, and it’s most welcome as the freshest slice of the sound in a very long while.