Break / Enei: So True VIP / Watch Out (Enei RMX)

VA: Mise En Place Pt. 2
Ingredients Records

More drum'n'bass-inspired goodness, in this case a twelve-inch single from Symmetry and an EP compilation from Ingredients Records. Break (who established Symmetry Recordings in 2006) and Enei's two-tracker treats the listener to a surprisingly genre-spanning ride. Break's “So True VIP” gets things moving with a raw'n'rootsy dub intro before its two-step skank kicks in. Echo-drenched voice effects and guitar shadings retain the tune's dubby edge until a gear-shifting breakdown cools the pace. Saloon-styled piano playing appears, too, to add to the surprises. Enei's remix of Eastcolours' “Watch Out” hews to a more standard drum'n'bass vibe though is no less appealing for doing so. In place of the A's dub focus, the B slips a heady dose of dubstep fire into its rolling groove and alongside its vocal elements. Dark clouds cover the horizon when the bass thunder strikes, however, making the cut the stormier of the two. There's no shortage of ideas packed into the single's eleven-minute running time.

Equally wide-ranging is Mise En Place Pt. 2, an elegantly coiffed EP from Ingredients Records featuring Skeptical, Dub Phizix, Villem, and dRamatic & dbAudio. Skeptical opts for classy understatement in his moody stepper “Blue Eyes VIP,” a kinetic and polished exercise in drum'n'bass funk that's as sultry as it is sophisticated, especially when lustrous vocal effects add to the tune's late-night feel. Manchester-based Dub Phizix similarly favours scene-painting in his “Rainy City Music,” which weaves mallet percussion accents and, yes, rain sounds into its elegant swing. Lest anyone think the EP will be laid-back from start to finish, dRamatic & dbAudio bring the noise to “No Return,” a raw, seven-minute throwdown replete with sirens, a lethal bass undertow, and an equally forceful percussive attack. Break's remix of Villem's “Splinter In Your Mind” is rough'n'ready, too, a light-footed dynamo of skipping breaks and sub-bass warble. The production skills of the contributors is impressive, but so too is how effectively they demonstrate the stylistic range the drum'n'bass genre is capable of having when the right personnel are involved.

March 2013