Bungle: Astral Travel / Aura

VA: Junction 12

Soul:R overseer Marcus Intalex has hailed the latest single from Brazilian producer Bungle (André Oliveira Sobota) as one of the best Soul:R singles to have appeared in recent days. Apparently, the tracks have had such a strong impact during Intalex DJ sets, clubbers have rushed to find out what the tunes are the moment they're finished playing, something that even a single listen makes easy to fathom. They're both drum'n'bass tracks, of course, but also fabulous examples of the form. Having established a classic drum'n'bass groove as a foundation, “Astral Travel” takes glorious flight at the forty-second mark and never looks back. A beautiful descending theme gives the tune a melancholy air that's offset by a widescreen production style that likens the material to trance as much as its root style. “Aura” is the more earthbound cut of the pair, but there's much to be said for it, too. Though less frenetic by comparison, the track also courts a widescreen vibe in its repeated alternation between restrained moodscaping and epic build-ups, and one comes away from the release soundly impressed by Sobota's artistry and production acumen.

IM:Ltd's impressive Junction 12 set features throwdowns by six drum'n'bass producers, with the French label making the release available as a download but also as a triple twelve-inch vinyl package. Enhancing the release's appeal is the fact that all six of the tracks stretch the form in slightly different ways, such that room is allowed for the dystopic dread of Es.tereo as well as the trippy invention of Gerwin. On disc one, Berlin producer Es.tereo opts for a cold, industrial riff on the form in his “Junction 12,” which sees complex rhythmic interplay conjoined to cryptic robotic vocals, while French techstep artisans Kantyze roll out a classic, straight-to-the-point roller in “Tough Breaker.” The middle twelve finds Mortem serving up an intricate swirl of beats, cymbals, and bass pulses in “Converter” and Cardiff duo Quartz contributing their first vinyl effort, “Amour King,” a stormer as well-crafted and punchy as anything else on the release. The final disc features Gerwin, whose “It's All in Your Head” finds the producer redefining genre boundary lines with a heady exercise in minimal tech funk, and Belgian producer Atmospherix and S-Vb, who end the release with a heavy-hitting slice of roughness called “Modular Revenge.”

February 2013