The Technique faithful will be familiar with the man behind two of these tracks, Al Storm. Formerly known as Deadman, this frequent collaborator with T-Phonic has dropped some lethal releases since signing his DnB productions exclusively to the label. (By the way, for fans of hardcore: yep, it is that Al Storm!) Completing the compilation is a team-up between Canadian duo Reflektor and Dave Owen.
Al Storm kicks things off with “Back to the Jungle”. We know this producer can turn his hand to all flavours of rave, so when the dark, reverberating atmosphere of the intro creeps in, we’re none the wiser as to where he could be taking us. We’re dropped into a high-impact roller, modulating legato and staccato basses in a sonic duel. Bound to appeal to heads across sub-genre divisions, this is DnB for any dancefloor.
Up next is Reflektor and Dave Owen’s “Undertow”. Soothing harmonies and subtle touches of percussion draw us in. This is a moment of hypnotic ambience, sunrise and sunset music. But there’s more. A build takes us to an explosion of bass, room-shaking subs and savagely grinding synths. Bringing together elements of dub, liquid, and tech, this is blueprint-defying music.
Finally there’s Al Storm’s second contribution, “Real Low Down”. Mr Storm immediately fires funk and jazz samples at us, ominously glitched up, over moody chords. Harking back to the “jazzstep” rollers of the late nineties, it’s simultaneously ultra-current. The weighty bassline comes in like a battleaxe, and combined with the expertly-deployed breaks, brings the essence of the classic funky roller into 2019.
The compilation might be mini but the breadth of creativity and studio science on show here is anything but. Across three tracks, Al Storm, Reflektor and Dave Owen have showcased multiple facets of the modern drum ‘n’ bass sound. Seems like the Back to the Beat series is becoming a download-on-sight proposition.