Roni Size

Touching Down

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Roni Size's first "solo record" after two as the head of the Reprazent collective comes at a curious time for drum'n'bass. After a long lull, when jungle was criticized (often rightly) as the refuge of antisocial listeners and an increasingly stale sound, a comeback led by a few surprising chart hits (from Shy FX and others) helped push club fans back into the music. Though it's a sure bet at least three or four tracks from Touching Down will get their spins in the sets of jungle's top DJs, there's not much room here for a crossover on the level of his 1997 record, New Forms. With no vocalists, no collaborators, not even a co-producer in sight (and obviously no Die or Krust or Suv in the credits), the album simply powers its way through 16 tracks of seamlessly mixed high-velocity drum'n'bass. True, there's barely a hook to be found ("At the Movies" and "Feel the Heat" are two great exceptions), but there's a bit of next-level programming in place to ease the way.

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