In recent time, a sub-set of Drum and Bass producers have been making music that is blurring the boundaries of the genre, giving a real lease of life to a scene that has felt somewhat tired of late. Instra:mental have been at the forefront of this resurgence in cutting edge music at 170bpm, as well as starting to experiment with a dubstep tempo. Together with Bad Company veteran D-Bridge, they have released two absolute stormers on their new label, Nonplus.
‘Watching You/Tramma’ is the second release from the promising new label, following dBridge’s lighter-raising anthem ‘Wonder Where’ backed with ‘No future’, and it has proven that the quality of the first 12 was no fluke. ‘Watching You’ is a jittering, haunting work, based on a stop-start half time groove, accompanied by twitching rhythmic fills. The melodic synths are mesmerising, and the processed vocals (sung by dBridge himself) are nothing short of astonishing, creating a mood that is edgy and brilliantly unsure of itself, with quasi-sinister overtones. The minimal quality of this track allows the music space to breath, with room for all the intricacies to be registered. With production as unique as this, I don’t know what to expect from Nonplus next, but I can’t wait to hear it whatever it is.
Completely unpredictably, the brilliant ‘Tramma’ changes the tempo and the style, showing Instra:mental’s skills at working out of their established comfort zone. This techno-flavoured dubstep track has a real sense of melancholic urgency to it, with a less minimal feel than the superb ‘Futurist’, recently released on Naked Lunch. Once again, Instra:mental have achieved something original and ‘Tramma’ has a real soulful beauty to it, moving you whether in a darkened club or in the comfort of your home.
The Label describe their ethos as favouring “Quality, longevity, freedom of expression and nonconformity”. I’d say that, so far, they’re spot on.