Fabriclive.50

dBridge / Instra:mental

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Fabriclive.50 Review

by Rick Anderson

Those who think electronica nomenclatures are becoming unnecessarily confusing won't find any relief here. DJ/producers Darren White (aka dBridge, formerly of Bad Company) and Instra:mental (aka Alex Green) have joined forces to create a collaborative called Autonomic -- which refers not only to the duo as a musical unit but also to its club night and podcast. The music may be a little bit confusing as well, to anyone expecting the drum'n'bass that has been each producer's stock in trade up until now. Proceeding under the slogan "music first; drum'n'bass second," the duo has put together a DJ mix that seems to bring drum'n'bass full circle, morphing it back toward the soul and techno elements that informed its development in the early '90s (though largely ignoring the reggae influences that were equally important). And true to their mission, they've done an excellent job of focusing on musical quality first and genre boundaries second: the program opens with the gorgeous "Seems Like" by Riya, a languid but soulful pop song; they also bring in the surprisingly gentle "Pushed" by Stray, which features a kick drum that sounds like a thumb stroking a record needle, a snare drum that comes in very rarely from the cold of outer space, and the faintest possible wood block. Vaccine's "Ochre" is built on unsettlingly dark sounds and an off-center beat, but gradually the sun rises as the vocal samples pile up in layers and it ends on a quietly joyful note. The over the top Auto-Tune effects on Genotype's "Distorted Dreams" add an element of whimsical fun to the proceedings, while Instra:mental's "Fist [Level 2B Mix]" starts out coolly funky and then gets cooler as vocals and groove get progressively denser; this is where the first hints of "traditional" drum'n'bass start becoming audible. Over the course of 31 tracks the sounds and grooves do eventually start blurring together a bit, but not in a bad way -- there's a compelling, tensile strength at the core of all of these rather understated tracks, and they end up weaving together into an unusually beautiful whole.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Laura Pacheco / Riya 04:08 Amazon
2 Instra:mental / dBridge 03:23 Amazon
3 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Stray 01:07 Amazon
4 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Dan Habarnam 02:38 Amazon
5 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Vaccine 01:30 Amazon
6 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: ASC 02:49 Amazon
7 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Consequence 02:15 Amazon
8 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Distance 01:52 Amazon
9
Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Alix Perez 02:49 Amazon
10 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Genotype / Meleka 03:00 Amazon
11 Instra:mental / dBridge 03:00 Amazon
12 Instra:mental / dBridge 01:52 Amazon
13 Instra:mental / dBridge 03:00 Amazon
14 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Consequence 02:15 Amazon
15 Instra:mental / dBridge 03:00 Amazon
16 Instra:mental / dBridge 03:45 Amazon
17 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Genotype / Loxy 03:00 Amazon
18 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Pearson Sound 03:00 Amazon
19
Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Scuba 01:52 Amazon
20 Instra:mental / dBridge 03:23 Amazon
21 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Code 3 01:52 Amazon
22 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Consequence 02:15 Amazon
23 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: ASC 01:52 Amazon
24 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Skream 01:52 Amazon
25 Instra:mental / dBridge 02:15 Amazon
26 Instra:mental / dBridge 02:38 Amazon
27 Instra:mental / dBridge 01:02 Amazon
28
Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Scuba 01:35 Amazon
29 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: ASC 01:30 Amazon
30 Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Abstract Elements 01:30 Amazon
31
Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Actress 01:40 Amazon
32
Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Abstract Elements Amazon
33
Instra:mental / dBridge feat: Actress Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick