If a diehard junglist, or a new voyager on the waves of drum & bass were to have a new year’s resolution for 2011, if might be to broaden their musical horizons, and reach out to new and uncharted sounds. Those of a club-attending bent can do no worse than to check out the upcoming Hospitality night at London’s Fabric on Friday January 7th. Whilst there, if they were to wander into room 3, they will find the strains of a different sound, one offering a new perspective on d&b. They will find the strains of Blu Mar Ten playing in the Med School room.
London-based production team Blu Mar Ten have provided Med School music with a mix to celebrate this new perspective. Med School, a sister label and offshoot of the infamous Hospital Records, was established in 2006, to showcase up and coming producers and DJs who bring a slightly different approach to the landscape of d&b, creating a distinct sound. Med School are one of my personal favourite labels, so I was excited to see this mix advertised on Facebook.
Blu Mar Ten, as well as being prolific producers and remixers in their own right, have long had a reputation for providing mixes which throw unusual and unexpected tracks into the path of listeners, and one can always be sure of gaining some new insight into the world of music when listening to any of their output. This was never truer than with the December 2010 Med School Fabric mix.
From the flow and majesty of opener, the Double A remix of BMT’s own Believe Me, to the skittering, half-time beats and clicks of Pro Luxe’s Give Me Your Heart, the mix begins in open, questing fashion, before moving on to slightly darker, more futuristic, stripped back territory with tracks from Felix K and Data.
Stand-out track is ‘Count The Stars’ by BCee vs Lingby, a track for listening to late at night, being filled with hope of new beginnings and new possibilities, which is surely the point of music like this.
Juxtaposing this emotion, with the downright dirt and grime of tracks such as the Need For Mirrors remix of Three In One by Spirit reflects the fact that different styles and approaches can work well together inside the same mix, if handled with the care and detail which BMT bring to proceedings. Tracks from Malsum and Dillinja show that glitchy and disconcerting can work alongside jungly, bassy and breaky.
The uncomplicated mix, organised into a blissful, chilled intro, followed by a dark, grimey underbelly of a middle stretch, is capped by the pay off of three tracks from Swedish polymath Seba. Before I Can Breath (with Physics), with its floating, soaring vocals showcases the distinctive Seba feel, categorised by tight drums and ambient sounds, This is followed by Nostalgia, the sheer power of which makes being into d&b even more worthwhile. The track has everything you could hope for, but is by no means ‘kitchen sink, chuck everything in and hope’. This description can equally be applied to the whole mix.
Known for their remixes (Erykah Badu, Bop, amongst others), two BMT tracks remixed by others close out the mix. Klute and Fink provide the additional production on ‘By The Time My Light Reaches You I’ll Be Gone’ (which surely must win an award somewhere for track title of the year, perhaps along with Unquote’s ‘Hide Your Tears Because We Are In Heaven’ (also on Med School)), and ‘The Conversationalist’, respectively.
‘By The Time…’ is a perfect summing up, encapsulating the feelings, and passion that this music has in BMT’s (six) hands, whilst ‘The Converstaionalist’ is perhaps a rather unusual ending, being, in the form of the Fink remix, a future garage/smooth jazz mélange, complete with horn stabs and reggae MC samples, once again showing off the variety and different levels at which this mix operates.
Deep, emotional and thoughtful are words to describe both BMT and Med School. They are both taking d&b further, with different influences and end results. D&b on a higher level, you can expect to hear these vibes and more on January 7th.