Summer Is Here, Courtesy Of Technique Recordings
Posted by Ben on 28th July 2016
I fucking love compilations. I mean, a renowned label, artist or otherwise musically affiliated organisation producing and creating a selection of sick tracks? Yes please. This time around it’s the turn of Technique Recordings, the Derbyshire based label owned by Drumsound and Bassline Smith, with their Technique Summer 2016 compilation. The 30 tracks it contains all strive to meet this tagline, and the vibe all the way through is (predictably) summer-y and funky, Drum & Bass that is best enjoyed outside with a beer and a spliff.
But what’s great about this release is that it’s more than just the same vocal tracks over and over under the guise of a ‘Summer’ LP, there’s real variety here. Some laid back more downtempo stuff, several junglist monstrosities and a couple seriously unique tracks, all of which come together to make a compilation that does what all compilations should do – touch every base, respect all and adore none.
Still though, it’s inevitable that vocalists are going to play a pretty big role in a release like this, and tunes like Don’t Let Me Go by The Prototypes, Cover Our Eyes by Drumsound and Bassline Smith, and Climb High by the Brookes Brothers and Danny Byrd seem to plug this gap. Both Don’t Let Me Go and Climb High have been out for some time, and honestly I was a little surprised to see their inclusion in the album, but if you set that aside and focus on quality they’re easy choices. Climb High is so clearly a fusion of the Brookes Bro’s vocal infused, melodic sound and Danny Byrd’s trademark bouncy flow that it almost feels too easy, but it’s excellent nonetheless and I think looking too deep into it would be a mistake.
The track that, for me, exemplifies the album and it’s purpose is Day I Left by J Majik and 78°. It’s been on repeat for weeks now, because it’s so insanely funky and feel good that it would make Cersei smile, Putin laugh and perhaps if Farage gave this a spin every now and then he wouldn’t hate everyone so much. The combined funk force of some swelling synths, a wicked vocal sample and non-invasive drums that provide energy without drowning the rest out make this one memorable, and in my opinion the best track on here.
Schematic and Polaris are both from Toronto and both artists that, despite making first rate tunes for a while, haven’t perhaps received as much attention as they deserve. I hope this changes, because bloody hell this next track is one those songs that makes whatever you happen to be doing at the time seem irrelevant. Please Don’t isn’t revolutionary, it’s nothing spectacularly original and it won’t change the world. But what it will do is give you a lot of enjoyment; simple pleasure that only comes from this type of crisp drum work and playful, bouncy bass line. It never gets old, I love it, and if I wasn’t obsessed with these two before I definitely am now.
Piano’s often play a big role in summery Drum & Bass, and this next one is no exception. Reflections takes the listener on a bit of a journey; it’s chilled out, spacious intro gives way to a cacophony of jungle breaks and a gorgeous mash of euphoric piano chords. When it drops it has a sort of off-beat quality to it that makes for seriously interesting listening, and actually reminds quite a bit of In The Area by Krakota, another fantastic track. T-Phonic and Deadman have done a really good job of glancing back to the past and forward to the future, blending the respective influences and producing a tune that I think would go off equally well at a festival and at a rave. Well played boys.
If Reflections gives the jungle scene a nod, Rollin and Inbetween give it a fucking reach around. They’re both by Conspire and whilst arguably aren’t the most summery of tunes, their quality is undeniable and it always impresses me when producers somehow make funky, lovely sounding tracks with such aggressive, clashing drums. This can be said for either of these, but Inbetween is my favourite out of the two, purely because the percussion has that late 90s rustiness to it and the accompanying Rhodes piano just fits in perfectly, adding a bit of extra funky panache
The Technique Summer 2016 compilation does compilations right, I had an absolute blast listening to this and honestly didn’t know what the next track had in store. Other tunes worth a quick mention are Milkyway by Fade & Julia F which has one of my favourite bass lines from 2016 so far and Glass of Brass, also by Conspire, which wouldn’t be out of place on Fokuz Recordings and jams even more musicality into this LP through it’s jazzy sampling. I can’t recommend this release enough, so go and grab it from iTunes or the Technique Store.