VA: Diffraction of Sound EP
Protect Audio

Four drum'n'bass stormers from Protect Audio, which launched in June 2012 and now issues its sixth EP, the digital-only Diffraction Of Sound. Featuring four artists previously heard on the label (Marukomu, Survey, Shiver, Homemade Weapons), the EP serves as a fine sampler of its overall sound.

Lead track “Treibgut” by Berlin-based duo Survey includes enough deep-throated bass growl and beat thunder to satisfy the fussiest drum'n'bass connoisseur, and, cranked high, the tune's raw groove hits as hard as a gut-punch. A bit of early Prodigy-styled dread seeps into the opening frames of Homemade Weapons' “Slivers VIP” before the cut lays out a somewhat more experimental vibe in its fusion of stutter-funk beats and cut-up vocal interjections. Listen closely and the artistry of the track's arrangement comes into full focus, as Homemade Weapons amplifies its swirl with hand drums and micro-edits of various sonic stripes. Shiver likewise opts for an experimental take on the genre in “Displaced,” which the producer grounds with an alternately lurching and jungle-inflected beat pattern and then crowns with generous dashes of atmospheric colour. Marukomu's closing “Iridium” bears more than a little resemblance to Photek's “Ni-Ten-Ichi-Ryu”—not only is the groove similar but Marukomu even includes percussive and vocal accents reminiscent of the 1996 classic—though the similarity in no way negates the pleasures “Iridium” offers.

Of course, any modern producer can't help but be influenced by those who came before, and certainly Photek casts a considerable shadow upon current practitioners. Regardless, listeners hungry for contemporary takes on the drum'n'bass form are well advised to check out Protect Audio if they haven't done so already.

May 2013