dBridge: Move Way
R&S Records

Following quickly on the heels of the stellar dBridge Presents Mosaic Vol. 2 compilation, Exit Records head dBridge (Darren White) keeps things rolling with a dynamic three-tracker for R&S Records that backs a Skeptical collaboration with two dBridge originals. It's a good fit as the label's ethos squares with White's, both being committed to extending drum'n'bass into an encompassing realm where the form merges fluidly with techno, electronica, dub, and bass music. The EP itself exemplifies that idea in threading dub, dubstep, and electronica into a single three-track package.

One might think a mix-up of some kind must have occurred at the production plant when the A-side's “Move Way” begins with the dreadwise speechifying of a Jamaican rastaman, but things come into focus once the voice sample is joined by a hammering drum pattern—as much dubstep as drum'n'bass—that swings with lazer-focused determination and whose monolithic pulse dBridge and Skeptical imaginatively augment with flurries of percussive detail.

The flip's “Death of a Drum Machine” shows how much mileage dBridge is able to get from a modest number of elements, in this case a muscular drum'n'bass groove, well-placed voice and piano accents, and a fleeting bass figure tinged with a subtle Doppler-esque quality. That the cut's a full-on belter doesn't obscure how exquisite an example it is of dBridge's advanced production skills. A mini-master class in counterpoint and syncopation, the final cut “Plain To See” is as much melancholy electronica as drum'n'bass, with dBridge accompanying the tune's stuttering electronic drum pulse with serpentine synth and piano phrases. Any drum'n'bass producer looking for inspiration could do worse than use Move Away as an instructive example, especially when White judiciously demonstrates how one can work within a form without being constrained by its conventions.

October 2013