Anyone who follows Billain’s career outside of the Beatport releases (which show him rocking Bad Taste, Invisible, Eatbrain and Critical, by the way) will know that he’s been venturing out into video game and movie music production. In recent releases, this influence has featured heavily for Billain. His new LP Nomad’s Revenge being released on the largely techy halftime label Renraku, which also does video game soundtracks, should be further indication that Billain’s branching out. On first listen to the LP, however, there’s even more to it than that.
Stopping just a hair shy of experimental, Nomad’s Revenge is meant to tell a story not just through music but also through sound design and actual audio “scenes” within certain tracks. Halftime, beatless ambient music, wildly varying tempos and long interludes of dialogue are on the menu here, so strap in; this one’s a thinker.
While Nomad’s Revenge is, in essence, its own animated audio movie or video game and is meant to be heard as a comprehensive piece regardless of genre, there’s still no shortage of individual D&B and specifically of hard, techy dancefloor stinkers. “Transhumanist” is one such stinker and sees Billain partner with the equally diverse producer Vorso to create a track which is technically D&B (check the tempo) and definitely danceable but once again, there’s more to it than that.
Starting with the beat, discerning listeners will be able to suss it out before the main drop almost three minutes into the track but don’t go looking for a standard kick/snare combo. It’s not there. The intro starts out with a number of tempo and beat changes and the first drop starts off in a more 150-160 range, almost imperceptibly marching its way up in tempo until that second drop into 174. Impossible to mix? No, but just barely. The synths and bass are what drive the track and so the space between must be picked up to match with any other track.
“Transhumanist” is a wild ride whether it’s mixed or the listener decides to just let it roll and it shows that Billain’s pushing boundaries is not just going to be confined to going outside of D&B. The bass madness is coming from inside the track. There’s even more throughout Nomad’s Revenge. This LP will no doubt be discussed widely in the D&B scene and beyond but Billain’s hope is that it also opens up that“beyond” to farther and farther reaches. That’s what nomads do, after all.