Now seems like as good of a time as any to remember that life has its cycles and nothing is really permanent. Blackout Music certainly didn’t have the current global rut in mind when the new EP series called Lifecycle was created but it’s certainly a poignant and timely reminder. Rather, the series is meant to explore the lifecycle of drum & bass by cross-referencing and sometimes collabing styles of both veteran artists and new talent. The first part is Lifecycle – Creation and it’s out today.
With tracks by Audio and Current Value, a remix of Gridlok’s “Germ” by Misanthrop and a sweet new collab with Black Sun Empire themselves and Imanu, Creation delivers what it promises. “Marauder” by Audio shows the veteran producer’s dedication to the craft with a techstep/early neuro base and a tempo that’s blisteringly fast due to innovative, circular-sounding snares. With this track, Audio melds his own homage to the beginning of hard D&B with current methods to for some killer, genre-defying bass.
Current Value’s “Overturn” continues in the vein of his current style: ravey synths and snappy beats open the track before it drops in to a teeth-kicker of a metallic synth and at least two more beat patterns to ensure the chest of the listener is also well-kicked. The phrase transitions here tip a hat to the old school, with just a wisp of the transitions from Krust’s “Warhead” but as far as CV is concerned in the life cycle of D&B, it’s onward ho.
The collab between Black Sun Empire and Imanu is really interesting as it’s the clearest representation of the vision of the Lifecycle series. Imanu’s trippy, ambient, semi-halftime style in the intro juxtaposed against and then mixed in with BSE’s searing roller of a beat and neuro-style synths makes for emotive, contemplative listening and major dancefloor skanking.
Finally Misanthrop has deigned to take on Gridlok’s eerie, horror movie of a neuro track, “Germ.” It’s probably just a coincidence but again, all too timely. Misanthrop seems to have brought the whole track down a level, adding some crunchy feedback to both the pitched-down synths and the snappy beats. It goes from being and creepy to a chugging locomotive of a track as Misanthrop plays with pitch and sound design to make a completely different feel to the track. This is the cycle of creation personified: both creation and re-creating are important to this genre.
Though it’s a three-part series, Part one of Lifecycle has already encapsulated much of the evolution of drum & bass. In every one of these tracks, the artists play off influence from other artists as well as sounds, rhythms and subgenres gone by. This is really how all music evolves and is created, in a constant cycle of influence, learning and innovating. This is why art and music are so important right now. Art doesn’t just imitate life; it moves, evolves, creates and inspires with life. Keep that Lifecycle moving, heads
Lifecycle – Creation is out now on Blackout Music on Beatport and Spotify exclusive. Click here to stream or purchase.