Blocks & Escher - Sagan / Broken
Hotly-tipped new label Narratives Music is the brainchild of collaborative duo Blocks and Escher, two of drum & bass’ new school of tech-jungle producers. Bursting onto the scene early last year withan uncharacteristically brutal release for Digital Soundboy, Shadow Play and Miller showcased the diverse talents of the pairing and forced many ears to prick up. But it’s the duo’s desire to completely control their output that has seen the birth of Narratives Music, and the debut release is an impressive indication of this relatively new pair’s judgment.
Sagan is aggressive and malicious in equal measure, beginning with an ominous monotone undercurrent that lurks in the shadows throughout and sounds like something straight off a Lynchian soundtrack. A perfectly scripted broken beat structure, interspersed with gritty amen break fills and delays, show the duo’s grounding in the industrial sounds of Photek et al circa 1996, and perhaps also in the discordant musicality of collectives like The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble. An off-kilter and downright evil stepper.
Broken is a more classically autonomic number, with its instantly recognizable and enchanting Blade Runner-esque melody. Accompanied once again by their seemingly trademark scattered breaks and a muffled kick drum that sounds like it’s being played out inside a long-lost and mystical temple, this is pure retrospective futurism at its most intriguing.
Finally, Cymbal Runner – a track exclusive to the digital release – cements Blocks & Escher’s neo-jungle sound into the 2012 repertoire with its huge fizzing bassline and half-step drum pattern of disparate shakers and sporadic bongos. New year, another exciting new label – one to watch!