QZB – Systems 009
Posted by Adam on 27th September 2017
QZB (previously Qbig & Zenith B) are far from new in the scene, with previous releases on Flexout, Demand and, somewhat more surprisingly, Liquicity. Their debut release under their new 3-letter alias is on Critical’s System series; a 5-track valhalla for those who like their textures crispy, their rhythms techy and their bass subby.
Opening track WYGD (what you gonna do) is one of the most convincing pieces of minimal Drum & Bass I’ve heard in a long while. With its rapid shuffles, swift themes and clean sound design left and right, it quickly has me intrigued and wondering what else I can expect on this EP.
Track 2 has a more playful twist to it; Double and half time are both explored in Apollo, there’s a funky swing in the drums now and I haven’t even mentioned the vocals and brass hits that make you feel like you’re at some kind of futuristic robot-themed rave.
On to track 3… Turning Point is not to be messed with. While everything is still meticulously crispy, there’s definitely a more simple focus on the hefty staticity of the drum pattern with the growling bass theme falling perfectly in sync, but that’s where the tracks immense weight comes from. It’s sometimes a slippery slope, but QZB aren’t new to production; they play around with sound design and twist up the arrangement at exactly the right times so that the listener doesn’t lose focus.
Track 4 sees the Swiss duo head into more mellow, harmonious territory. Almost microfunky at times, Revenant once again showcases great competence in songwriting, sound design and rhythmic skills, presenting it in a half-time fashion.
Bonus track Valhalla returns to a more conventional Drum & Bass sound pallette, building up elements around atmospheric harmonies and techy bass stabs. Again, the amount of detail in production is what stands out to me, there are so many layers to discover, so many details to figure out, which I why I will definitely be returning to this set of tracks. A superb and promising debut from QZB, very excited to hear what they’ll do in the future.