Friday 22nd March saw Kasra's Critical Sound being given, for the very first time, the Room 1 duties at London's Fabric nightclub. With this being quite a landmark for the North London based independent drum & bass label, Kmag braved the icy conditions and headed down to check it out.
The entire Critical roster were on the bill for the main room, a roster of artists that have proven themselves time and time again in rooms 2 and 3 of Fabric, with a sound and vision spanning the labels entire existence to simply release and represent quality drum & bass without compromise. Tonight was their long awaited opportunity to step up and hold down room one with their incomparable style of drum & bass.
The night started with new school artists Ivy Lab and Foreign Concept providing an array of pulsating tunes mixed at lightening speeds as the crowds filtered through and began filling out the venue. Even with this relatively early crowd, the positive energy was evident, and having the perfect vantage point up on the balcony, I could detect the event developing very nicely into one everyone involved with Critical would be remembering for a while to come.
Label veteran Enei was up next, followed by Head Honcho Kasra, who both displayed what the label is all about in their immaculate sets. Enei blasted through a tracklist that consisted mainly of hits from his huge debut album 'Machines' that was released at the end of last year. But just before the arrival of Kasra, he smashed through a handful of absolute classics including Bad Company's 'The Nine' that whipped the crowd up into a serious frenzy ahead of the arrival of the man whose vision made all of this possible.
By this point I had made it down to join the rest of the crowd, and with the stage out of action due to the set up for Neosignal, it was an intimate affair, but no bad vibes could be detected anywhere at all on the dance floor. Kasra arrived on the decks to a huge reception and seemed to be really enjoying himself as he rolled through a collection of tracks that feature on the CRITICAL X compilation released in December last year. Calyx & Teebee's 2012 summer hit 'Elevate this Sound' was featured later on in Kasra's set, and really seemed the perfect track to compliment just what was going on right then in that time and place.
After Kasra, the crowd turned their heads a full 180 and eagerly anticipated the arrival of Neosignal. Dubbed the 'Worldwide debut', I don't think many in attendance knew just what to expect from the Phace and Misanthrop musical alter ego. In the interview with Fabric prior to this event, the pair had talked about the Neosignal project covering various tempo's and styles between 86-120bpm, so I was intrigued to see what they would deliver to the critical crowd.
The reception was incredible as the pair, known for their heavyweight drum & bass productions, tore up the script and rolled through a series of bass fuelled breaks at 95bpm with heavy electro influences as well as signature sounds that were reminiscent of tracks on releases such as 'From Deep Space'(2010) and 'Progression'(2012).
Putting Neosignal at the top of this bill was a big move and one that clearly paid off, with these two producers showcasing how to push the boundaries of what is capable to great effect. Whether this is an insight into what we can expect in terms of future releases on the label?
We will have to wait and see. It was then up to Mefjus & Emperor to pick the pace up once again, and after a week where he saw his podcast for Critical top the iTunes charts, you could tell he was in high spirits, a highlight being seeing the reaction to his most recent release 'Signalz' that tore the place apart. Xtrah and Vicious Circle were left to see out the headstrong desperate to squeeze out every last drop and what a job they did, the sort of set you wish you had access to the track list!
It was a historic night for the label, who in a relatively short space of time have grown to become a leading brand within the drum & bass genre. They have done a sterling job of heading up the party at one of Europe's leading nightclubs, the importance of which was pointed out by Kasra himself, admitting on twitter in the week that due to the excitement of this night, he had actually forgotten his sisters birthday. Shouts to all involved with the event, be sure to check out any of the upcoming shows. The label also look forward to hosting their own stage and boat party at this years Outlook Festival in Croatia.
Words: Eddy Mac
Top 5 Free Tracks
Our weekly guide to the best free tracks to download features Judda, BTK, G.H.O.S.T, DJ Dubsta and Puzzle.
G.H.O.S.T are a new outfit consisting of four producers. Their releases have been picking up support from many of dnb's finest so we got in touch with Lewis, Matt and Will to find out more.
Top 5 Free Mixes
Our weekly guide to the best mixes features Mr Joseph, DJ IBM, Kulak, Deekline and Eskmo.
Botchit and Scarper To Release Leukaemia Charity LP
Beats and bass label Botchit & Scarper are to release Push Play, a compilation with all proceeds going to the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust.
Callide and Intraspekt Interview
Callide & Intraspekt's Outbreak EP is set to drop on Crissy Criss' The Zoooo imprint so we had a chat with them about it plus time travel, Ziggy-Wiggle-Robo-Pop-Step and reading each other's minds.
Kmag presents Fluid Los Angeles
Kmag is proud to partner up with West Coast affiliate Chris Muniz as he launches Fluid Los Angeles on Sunday July 27.
Free Bass Music Stage Visuals Kit
Accent and bass music clothing label Dataset have teamed up to release a free stage visuals kit designed specifically to be mixed with bass heavy music.
Kmag Presents Soul Flex Digital
Our next Kmag Presents session at Cafe 1001 is on August 8 with Soul Flex Digital to launch their new 'Vintage' LP. We caught up with Dubsta to find out what's in store from the night and the album.
In The Studio: Break
Break is giving other producers the chance to add a bit of his magic to their music with his Symmetry Drum & Bass sample pack. Here Break reveals how he works in the studio.
KG Gives Away Massive Preset Bank
Drum & bass producer KG is giving away his Drum N Bass Preset Pack For Massive, find out how to get your hands on it...
Since we last spoke to Technicolour & Komatic they've become Technimatic, signed to Shogun Audio and have written the 'Desire Paths', which is about to drop. High time for another chat then...
Top 10 Free Tracks
It's Tuesday so time for ten more tracks you can download for free. This week's list includes Spirit, Evol Intent, Makoto, Digital Niyabingh, Indivision, Dawn Raid & Jungle Drummer and more.
Bop Previews Punk's Not Dead On Spotify
Kmag checks in with the genre-bending minimalist Bop as he unleashes a Spotify preview of his highly anticipated Punk's Not Dead LP on Med School.
Top 5 Free Mixes
Our list of favourite mixes from the past week includes sets from Randall, Reso, Elite Force, Hatcha and Mindscape.
Novation Announce Launch Control XL
Novation have announced a new mixer controller called Launch Control XL.