One Third Of Ivy Lab Is Still Bigger Than Most: Halogenix And The Velvet EP
Posted by Ben on 2nd July 2017
All three members of drum n bass’s best supergroup, Ivy Lab, create ridiculously good music in their own time, for themselves. Stray furnishes some of the most luxurious halftime cuts around, look no further than Injustice to see what Sabre can do with a beat, whilst Halogenix’s Flames is up there for my personal track of the year.
It’s the main reason why Ivy Lab is so fucking good, it’s simply the sum of three exceptional producers. But onto the solo stuff, this time around it’s Halogenix delivering the goods for Critical Music with his Velvet EP, a four tracker that in my mind encompasses a lot of the styles and sounds him and the other two have become renowned for.
I have to start with Blej, really. You may have seen the video of Noisia dropping this one at Glastonbury, every man and his dog raving about it on Twitter, or even the birds dropping dead out of the sky as it rolls through. Maybe not the last one, but the way Blej seems sentient is unnerving, ripping through sonic fabric painfully but purposefully like a steam engine in a laundromat. It’s that visceral edge we’ve come to expect from Critical, except in the form of something mutated, monstrous and unbelievably creative.
Variety is the name of the game and contrasting with Blej are Velvet and Cliche, two slighter cuts that fall over themselves with consistent elegance. That’s the key word for these two: elegance. Velvet is nebulous, wispy and honestly doesn’t give a fuck what you think, it’s too busy preening in the mirror over the tumbling percussion and stop-gap synths that add all its charm. A truly graceful piece of music and slightly reminiscent of the aforementioned Flames, it’s a trend that Cliche continues, except with snappier drums that lack weight in all the right places. A bit more stripped back, this tune isn’t quite as memorable but slips into Halogenix’s back catalogue extremely comfortably all the same.
Finally, the collaboration with Monty gives this EP a boost it didn’t even need. Not complaining though, as Old Town brings in that funky, tech vibe with a characterful back end of pointed discomfort, seemingly bouncing over the drums and laying down a concrete bed for everything else. It sounds incredible and I’m interested to know when Halogenix stops and Monty starts, the latter being a producer who’s really gotten under my skin with his cutting creations. Brilliant tune.
We cover lots of Critical releases simply because they’re so good, and this is one of the best in recent memory, perhaps aside from their 15 years album. Halogenix has killed it here, so buy it here and thank him if you see him, just don’t get knocked out by the inevitable birds falling out the sky.