Danny Byrd

Rave Digger

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While the likes of Chase & Status and Sub Focus have recently incorporated the relatively contemporary sounds of dubstep and grime into their trademark brand of drum'n'bass, DJ and producer Danny Byrd has defiantly traveled in the opposite direction for his second album, Rave Digger. Reportedly fed up with the direction the genre is heading, his follow-up to 2008's Supersized is a purely old-school affair, which harks back to the epic breakbeats, techno synths, and hardcore stabs of the early-'90s rave and jungle scene. Indeed, two brief, mock local news report skits ("Rave TV, Pt. 1" & "Pt. 2") which punctuate the album's 13 tracks, only add to the overwhelming sense of nostalgia that's served up via faithful reworkings of classic floor-fillers like Wildchild's "Renegade Master" ("Ill Behaviour") and Liquid's "Sweet Harmony." Elsewhere, the infectious raga-infused "Planet Earth" borrows the chunky acid-house riffs of the Prodigy's monster anthem "Out of Space," "Hot Fuzz" is a dirty bass-driven club banger full of whooping hip-hop vocal loops and iconic piano chords, and "Tonight" opens with some Vangelis-esque dreamy synths before descending into a hypnotic fusion of chopped-up vocodored vocals, breakneck-speed beats, and kaleidoscopic bleeps. An esteemed array of guests artists also join the party, including liquid funk collective and Hospital Records founders London Elektricity on the euphoric classical leanings of "Failsafe," sassy soul vocalist Zarif on the summery, acoustic-driven "Wait for Me," and rising singer/songwriter Tori Beaumont on the chilled-out dreamscape rave of "We Could Have It All." As the atmospheric, sci-fi soundtrack-inspired finale "Amen Alley" draws to a close, you'll feel like you've just emerged from the kind of illegal warehouse rave that defined the early-'90s dance scene. Rave Digger may not be the most envelope-pushing drum‘n'bass release of the year, but as its title suggests, for any hardcore seasoned clubber it's an exhilarating journey back to the days of boiler suits, smiley faces, and glow sticks.

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