The Ninja Ninja Submission Box: Episode 001
Posted by Ben on 11th September 2017
Earlier on this month we set up the Submission Box, a place for you guys to send in your unsigned music so that we could listen and share our favourites. Quite a few of you did exactly that, so thank you to everyone who pitched in – it was a lot of fun checking them all out. It’s approaching the end of the month now, so it’s time for us to share those we enjoyed most and talk about what the grassroots drum n bass community has to offer. If you’d like to see your music here next month, please pop an email over with a couple of Soundcloud links to firstname.lastname@example.org.
First up, then, is D.Side. This guy’s Soundcloud says he’s from Bristol which doesn’t surprise me, as the city which loves all things bass can be heard in Disposed, a subterranean stroller that stays engaging all the way through. Low frequency subtlety is the main attraction, other elements bounce off well and I particularly love the scale-climbing stabs that fill in the otherwise neglected high end of the range. Murky stuff.
Low:r isn’t exactly an undblooded newcomer, he’s released via new label Terra Firma and the older Soul Deep Recordings, but his submission Bakuto is thankfully unsigned. Deftly touched with a glossy electro shine to it, this fidgety little skipper is subtle enough but still interesting as it creates space in all the right places. Not captivating but drum n bass without an ego. Keep an eye out for this guy in the future, maybe on Terra Firma again or a slightly bigger imprint, as Bakuto shows he doesn’t struggle to produce well-sounding, well-meaning music.
On a completely different note is ob:verse on remix duties for Flume’s Sleepless, a track which in some ways is begging for a 170 remix. If the previous occupied the basement, this enjoys rooftop sunshine; garish flares sprinkled amongst Jezzebell Doran’s spliced up vocal leads, underpinned by energetic if slightly rough percussion. Not the most complicated tune, but probably one of the happiest. He sent in another called Breathe which is of similar quality, so check out his profile below.
Producers that can craft a sense of weightiness, that relationship between drums and bass which gives a sense of rise and fall, of a slight hang in time before the next snare hits you, are on the right track. That’s exactly what Alloy has managed here with Damage Control, each kick feels satisfying and you can tell he’s thought about the little details, a necessity for quality music. Not exceedingly eventful, but well crafted and solid nonetheless.
Nineties-era breakbeat duo Kicks Like A Mule struck timelessness with a pickaxe when they sampled your typical bouncer telling an unlucky punter that if “your names not down, you’re not coming in”. It’s been reused to death but doesn’t get old, and Joe Waudby has made it the base for Your Not Coming In, a simple but effective roller that pulses in all the right places. Featuring one of the nicest sounding snares in the inbox right now, this is another tune that punches more than it thinks and to be honest, I’m really into it. Who says you need brains? Alright?
Slowing things down a bit tempo wise is Soul Beat Runna with Remember Me. I really, really like this one, probably the most creative cut and possessing that hard-nosed bass sound done so well by guys like Detboi or Survival. Raucous and unforgiving, each drum hit gets to you fast and direct, each more satisfying than the last. The rhythmic structure is interesting, splicing in some always welcome individuality and driving home a clear message. Big tune.
One of very few submissions this month with original vocal work is Walk The Line by Paramount, featuring Matt Freeman. The clear, concise production is echoed in Freeman’s MC’ing, pin-point drums and unsmiling bass giving him a clean run over which to do his somewhat haunting run of rap and verse. Plucked strings shimmer in some oriental vibes, whilst the instrumentation is used sparingly to maintain a sense of space and melancholia. Excellent work from Paramount.
A lot of unexperienced producers seem to think they can forgo melodies and replace them with crazy samples, big basses and in-your-face attitude. Not true, and creating a melody that brings something to the table, be it catchiness, satisfaction, relaxation or similar, can completely make a tune that perhaps lacks in other areas. I guess it’s why despite production being a technical, learnable medium, artists with natural talent for writing good music still shine through. Nuex is a good example here, Blue Stones being unremarkable in some ways but fantastic in one important one: groove and melody. It just sounds really good, and Nuex has managed to arrange elements around that main hook to bring out its best qualities.
Well! That’s it for the Ninja Ninja Submission Box this month, thank you to everyone who sent their music in, and to anyone else reading this: If you fancy yourself as a dnb producer, send a public Soundcloud link with a couple tunes to email@example.com. We listen to every single one!
Find the tracks mentioned above in a playlist on the Ninja Ninja Soundcloud page.