Call it drums and bass, call it techno, call it whatever you want. If you are not a die-hard fan of a particular type of music (where the listener becomes a collector) there are those compositions or recordings that just work for you ... and this is one of those rare breeds. Conditioned in the early seventies, my likings are typically first generation progressives, early electronic and the heavy guitar bits. DnB worked occasionally nice to bounce around on a party, but not more. Sub Focus is different: stumbling over it when researching on re-releases of the Dutch group FOCUS from the seventies, being intrigued by the amazon provided samples (love that intro taken from an early VANGELIS), ordering, playing and plainly loving it (which doesn't happen too often these days with new releases any more, after some 40 years of listening) ... I could probably give it to my grandma, and she would like it ... worth a try!
Cracking album typical high quality from Sub Focus and Ram records. Deep space and timewarp are my favs on this unmixed d&b album.All tracks are of high quality even though there are a couple of tracks which would go down the commercial route.An essential purchase for d&b lovers whatever styles they are into.
And so it is that finally after 4 years of number one singles in the UK Dance Chart and countless collaborations on some hugely successful tracks Sub Focus, aka Nick Douwma, releases his debut self titled record. "Now let the story begin."
The opening track starts like a D'n'B overture with unfolding sweeps of synths and orchestral fanfares, before the drums drive in for the first time leaving you in the midst of pounding and exciting bit of drum and bass. This is precise piece of Pendulum-esque that stands above and beyond the comparison, and serves as a fine opening to the album. `World of Hurt' then continues in a similar vein swelling ominously at the start. The perfectly mixed vocals lead the track beautifully into the wonderful sounds of a strong drum track and strange chainsaw like samples combined with exciting stabs of synth. `Follow the Light' is filled with energy that bounces along wonderfully before a Faithless like moment of quiet that leads back into the delirium of the main track via more well mixed vocals. The track also makes good use of what sounds distinctly like a cowbell.
The mood then changes slightly. `Last Jungle' starts in ominous fashion with quietly echoing female vocals with ghostly piano lines that echo into the background beautifully. It feels slightly like the calm before the storm. `Deep Space' then is a surprise because it doesn't fall into the predictable trap of following quiet with loud. It continues the echoing calm of the previous track sending piano lines off into space and never quite holding a build long enough for it to become ecstatic. It therefore serves to emphasise the impending storm which `Rock It' has no trouble in breaking. This is the first track of the album that truly steps away from the drum and bass formula instead throwing itself head long into the realms of Daft Punk. It actually appears to sample `Robot Rock' but for once this is no bad thing. The track is energetic and exciting with aggressive bass stabs and mesmerising synths. It feels in fact like the long lost brother to one of Daft Punk's master strokes.
Incredibly though this phenomenal high is not the only one on the album, `Move Higher' and `Vapourise' are also worthy contenders. The former has a dub feel to it with what can only be described as elastic bass lines and a persistent drum track. The later has an opening filled with energy and anticipation that slowly rises into pure D'n'B with big drum hits and consistently exciting intensity. To follow this `Splash' is the first moment on the album that feels relatively subdued though the relative calm that it produces as a result is welcome at this stage in the album. `Could This be Real' follows suite with a widescreen opening that wonders at the genius that has preceded it and then joins in the fun with a bouncy piano line and energetic vocals, that descend into another one of those elastic bass lines.
To close out the album you then have three tracks that start with the brutal drive of `Triple X'. Living up to its name this turns out to be a brilliantly dirty track worthy of any drum and bass club. `Timewarp' starts with the echoing vocals like those heard earlier on `Deep Space' though this time the sound is contained rather than echoing. It focuses the intensity of the track into another healthy slice of D'n'B. To finish the whole thing off then Sub Focus produces `Coming Close'. This is like an ethereal moment of clarity at the end of all the intensity. It is kind of like that feeling when you come out of a club at 6am in the morning and the bass lines of the last night are still ringing strong in your ears.
So after all the years of people waiting for Sub Focus to release his debut and the acclaim that has built up around him we are rewarded with a master stroke. This is diverse, ecstatic and enthralling.
I was looking for a good CD to put in my car for some good driving music. I basically just knew Rock It from this album and had heard a couple of other tracks on YouTube, and was kinda hoping the album would fill a similar role to Pendulum's Hold Your Colour (which I have heard enough times now I think...)
It basically does that and I like it! It's not exactly the same but then it shouldn't be. If you've ever played the SSX snowboarding games, some of the tracks kind of give me that sort of vibe (especially if you're driving around and you can see frost or snow) which makes me happy.
If these comparisons are meaningless then don't worry, it's basically a pretty good CD in my opinion. Not going to change your life but should provide plenty of enjoyment. Has a bit of variety of sounds and keeps me awake and motivated behind the wheel!
As drum and bass goes im a bit of a purist, I dont really do in for all this dub step/breaks whilst im clubbing. If I want DnB then thats what i want. Although this album isn't quite 100% DnB I love every track. All tunes are well produced as you would expect from a label such as ram with high quality control. If you go to matter, fabric, herbal etc you will probably by now of heard the vast majority of tracks on here but that takes nothing away from it. This is a great album for fans of most forums of DnB and is what you'd expect from the guy that brought us, X Ray, Swamp Thing and Ghost.
Follow the light drives your bass bass, sometimes deep and rich, sometimes pulling..Great mid range effects. Fantastic vocal that travels wistfully along behind the last part of the track, which is the part you will love, Pumped up melodic D and B. Deep Space is a lovely dark track which gives your bass speaker a work out. Pulls it nicely, growls with a dark sound. Pulsates. Put it through a good system to get the growl and reverb. Will have your head banging. Rock It, Triple X and Splash very reminiscent of newer Pendulum or Shock One. Stadium D and B. Could This Be Real. What can I say about this track? Just the retro sounding garage segment of the track is enough to make me cherish it and do a rewind. If you want the D and B segments darker, and dubber than the shorter version on this album, then the much longer remixed single is for you. Timewarp, great dark D and B. Pulls your bass, annoys your neighbors. Turn the volume up.