Bad Taste Celebrates 50 Releases With 20 Hard Hitters

Posted by Ben on 15th June 2016

I feel like lots of labels have been hitting milestones recently. Ram 200 was last year and Shogun 100 was this year, along with 20 years of Playaz and others including Fokuz Recordings’ excellent 80 releases compilation. This time it’s the turn of Bad Taste Recordings, who to mark their 50th release have come up with Black Box Four, a 20 track compilation that is “a reflection of the strength and diversity of this essential label”. I think that sums it up pretty well, because what Bad Taste do best is make Drum & Bass that surprises you and leaves you perhaps feeling a bit unwell, but in a good way, which is exactly what Black Box Four does.

There’s a whole host of different artists featured on the LP, including big names such as Noisia, Teddy Killerz, The Upbeats and Current Value but also a few newcomers and slightly less well known quantities as well. A good example of this is COD3X, a Russian producer who is only 18 and who I mentioned the other day in a review of Reaktiv by Volatile Cycle. He’s back on Black Box Four with Undead, an unstoppable track that I can already imagine blasting through a basement in Moscow. It’s pounding, monotonous and I can’t really tell where each element ends, it all just merges together to create a track that’s as fluid as it is dynamic.

This next tune I first heard on Noisia Radio quite a few weeks back and I absolutely loved it, so I was seriously happy to see it listed in this release. It’s by Malux, which is actually the neurofunk alias of Skope, it’s called Turbine and bloody hell it hits hard. A long, bassy synth line underpins some eerie stabs that give the track a really choppy, unfinished and mechanical feel to it, and while there’s no doubt that this track was aimed at the dancefloor, it’s also sonically interesting enough to make good listening at  home as well, so well played Malux.

In the title I said that Black Box Four was 20 hard hitters, but that’s not entirely true. The exception comes from a duo who aren’t known for making more laid back, minimal music, but Girl Gone by The Upbeats is exactly that. A stripped back but funky drum section brings the track in, and it’s soon joined by some ambient guitar chords and warm but ethereal vocals, a partnership that works great all the way through the tune. The combination is finished off with a nice little bass line that, unlike in most of  what The Upbeats makes, isn’t the main focus, but compliments the track really well and adds another layer to the spacious vibes that make this song great.

Black Box Four is no doubt a good, solid release that manages to find some variation inside a subgenre where variety can be hard to come by. There aren’t many neurofunk labels that do it better than Bad Taste, so you go grab it from iTunes or the Bad Taste Recordings website for 20 tunes that prove techy music can be intelligent music.

1. Teddy Killerz – New Drums (Neonlight Remix)
2. Agressor Bunx – Illusion
3. The Upbeats – Girl Gone
4. Audio – Control Freak
5. Current Value – Conditioning
6. Cod3x – Undead
7. Heamy – Vortex
8. Gydra & Mailky – 7 Circles
9. Zombie Cats & L 33 – Zombots
10. Silent Witness – High Flyer
11. Malux – Turbine
12. Hypoxia & Doctrine – Carcosa
13. Heamy & Asphexia – Digital Mayhem
14. Billain – Colossus
15. Prolix – Throwdown
16. Cruk – Condition Zero
17. Signs – Less Is More
18. Aeph – Scumbag (Teddy Killerz Remix)
19. State Of Mind – Only Way Out
20. Noisia, Maldini & Vega’s – Meditation

AudioBad Taste RecordingsBlack Box FourCod3xMaluxNoisiaTeddy KillerzThe Upbeats

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