Ten not enough for you? Us neither. Here are ten more, plus the best of the rest...
Lynx is one of those comparatively rare producers with a sound utterly and uniquely his own, and his combination of intelligence, playfulness, peerless production skills and keen sense of melody and space have made him one for real connoisseurs, to use a hideously pretentious term. He already has two full-lengths to his name - The Raw Truth, with regular partner-in-crime Kemo, and 2011's Devil's in the Detail - with a third due this year, and he advises us to expect something a bit different.
"The album is about seven tracks in so far," he says, "and will be a collaboration with Sydney-based singer-songwriter Naomi Pryor, who featured on the Detail release Locked on the Low last year. As she lives on the other side of the world we have been working exclusively over the net, sending parts back and forth. We still haven't met in person yet, in much the same way that myself and Kemo didn't meet until we had released a few singles together back in 2007.
We have around 20 tracks on the go in total." Elaborating on the different approach he is taking this time round, he continued: "I have been known for ages for writing deep dnb. It felt time for a change and a new challenge. This album has already stepped me way outside of the confines of just writing DJ music and into the creative zone where anything goes as long as it sounds good! We are aiming for a radio-friendly but eclectic album that matches our tastes in music.
So there will be all kinds of styles from dnb, house and dubstep to jazz and ballads. If I had to compare the album so far to existing artists, it sounds a bit like combining Magnetic Man with The XX. Then throw in a bit of Kate Bush and Vangelis for good measure! There are some bangers in there and some real emotional moments, definitely something for everyone."
The album will most likely drop on Detail at the end of the summer, although Lynx says that "we are open to other avenues with bigger labels if the deal is right". It's currently untitled, but the tracks will include Love & Fear, Too Bad, Fly Your Flag and Possession.
Survival and Silent Witness
Where precision beats and punishing yet agile neuro bass are concerned, Survival and Silent Witness are two of the best around. Having made their names separately with releases on the likes of Quarantine, Shogun and Audio Tactics, the pair joined forces in 2009 and are now preparing to unleash their debut LP, Into the Wild, on Dispatch Recordings.
Featuring collaborations with the likes of Cern, Commercial Suicide boss Klute, MC LowQui and Submotion Orchestra's Ruby Wood, it will be preceded by a sampler EP on the 14th of January before the full release in February, with plate one appearing on the 4th, followed by plate two on the 11th (along with the full digital release) and the final plate on the 18th.
The duo have previously told us that they wanted to encompass a number of different styles on the album, from the hard-hitting and techy to deeper, more melodic pieces, and judging by what we've heard so far - from the clean synths and submarine bass wash of the DJ Friction-aired Feel It, to the shifting atmospherics showcased in the Ant TC1-mixed preview minimix available on the Dispatch SoundCloud page - we're looking forward to an LP of exceptionally high quality and variety. Other tracks confirmed for the album include Between Worlds, Visitation and Reflection.
Loadstar, or the artists formerly known as Xample and Lomax, having made their names with choons like Lowdown, Contra and Rushing Dragon, were responsible for perhaps one of the most devastating 'debuts' that a new drum & bass partnership has ever unleashed - the all-conquering Link to the Past, which ripped 2010 a new one, topped every chart going and announced that Loadstar had arrived, and could we all please pay attention, thank you very much.
Having signed to dnb's Galactic Empire (in a good way), RAM Records, they've been busy since then churning out such mammoth singles as Berlin, Space Between and Passenger, and we are reliably informed that 2013 will finally see the release of their long-gestating full-length album.
They've told us in the past that they're planning on doing something unexpected with this release, aiming to deliver an LP that isn't simply a collection of bangers that reflect whatever happens to be in at the moment, so with that delightfully/infuriatingly - delete as applicable - vague thought in mind, go back and listen to their old tunes and try to imagine what the album is going to be like...
Justice & Metro
Having amazed listeners and critics with their experimental 839 album and its subsequent remix LP - which came number one in our rundown of essential drum & bass albums this time last year - Justice and Metro will be making a highly anticipated return in 2013 with their next album, Oxymoron, on forward-thinking label Modern Urban Jazz. We grabbed a few words from the pair about the album, which should be dropping in the springtime.
"[The album is] a nod to our early days in rave pre-dnb," says Justice, "in dodgy clubs and shady house parties in and around Luton and London. The sounds being played were a heady mix of lots of different genres, acid, breakbeat, house, hardcore, hip hop etc were all played back to back in no order but somehow they all went, they maybe shouldn't have but they did, dark and light, bittersweet, oxymorons in sound... hence the name."
Metro's take is similarly nostalgic. "I think because we knocked around with each other in the early days our musical tastes are the same," he says. "I remember going to a jazz club in Luton with Tony and we all had white shirts, brogues and chinos on (the first time chinos were in), shuffling our feet to rare grooves underage. It progressed from there to the underground scene and beyond.
The duo say that Oxymoron will be more uptempo than 839, with all tracks being around the 170bpm mark - although they may not always be dnb. "They are just written at that tempo," explains Metro, "as it's a great tempo to work at. There are a couple of halfstep, melancholic tracks too, which adds light to the dark, as well as a few quirky, skitty, minimal things too.
The rest of the tracks are dark, gritty, clicky, techy, heavy-bassed and druggy... really it's all based around the raw naivety of the early sounds that influenced us."
Wellington-based duo The Upbeats have been creating stampeding dnb monsters together since the ye olden days of 2001, and in that time they've not only graced the likes of Commercial Suicide, RAM and Lifted with their singles, but have also released a grand total of three LPs.
Their first, self-titled album dropped on New Zealand's LOOP Recordings in 2004 and featured cosmic scuttler From the Deep, while their sophomore effort, Nobody's Out There, graced the incomparable Bad Taste in 2007, and featured the likes of Will Shatner, Warp and Black Swarm.
Their third full-length, Big Skeleton, appeared on their own Non Vogue imprint in 2009, and now the long-awaited fourth is due to explode onto Noisia's majestic Vision Recordings around late April/early May. Entitled Primitive Technique, the album will feature collaborations with Noisia, Trei, Dose and lyricist Tasha Baxter, and the first single, Diffused, drops this month, to be followed by Beyond Reality at a later date.
Vision bosses and all-round whomp specialists Noisia offered the following words, which encapsulate the appeal of The Upbeats better than anything we could have come up with: "We can't get enough of their combination of rawness, funk and melodic sex lava toast."
Yes, you read that right. Alex Reece, jazzstep pioneer, early jungle star and one of the first to grace the Metalheadz roster, has a new LP coming this year. His first proper release for a decade, having torn up the 90s with releases on Moving Shadow, Island Records and, of course, Goldie's Metalheadz, the album is called Electro Flyz and is due to drop in late March / early April on Creative Wax.
Confirmed track titles include Retrowaxable, Electro Flyz, Doomsday and Funky Spasm, plus a couple of remixes, and the few words we could glean from Creative Wax describe the album - which is entirely drum & bass - as "definitely experimental and heavily influenced by Alex's love of Detroit techno and electro".
Promising an LP that will sound very different from what we're used to in contemporary dnb, Creative Wax are "hoping it will turn some heads as it's certainly uncompromising in its production style".
Even more excitingly? Part two is already in the making...
J Majik & Wickaman
With banger after banger on highly-respected labels like Breakbeat Kaos, Viper, Ganja, Metalheadz, Virus and the mighty RAM to their name - as well as an entry in the official UK top 40, no mean feat for drum & bass artists - J Majik & Wickaman's status as scene heavyweights is assured.
It's been over four years since their Crazy World LP, years that the duo have filled with numerous DJ dates and many big singles, and now in 2013 we have a brand-new album to look forward to. As yet untitled, the LP will drop on InfraRed somewhere around late March/early April, and although the backdrop to its creation has been somewhat tumultuous for the pair, the end product should be no less uncompromising for it.
Running the gamut from massive, concrete-shattering dubstep - Apocolips - to ice-cool, futuristic jungle - Fight It - and even the odd diversion into house territory, it's sure to be another worthy addition to DJs' record bags and home listeners' collections.
Tokyo Prose is a lesser-known name, but that could - and deservedly should - change this year when his debut album drops on Samurai Music. Originally a duo, Tokyo Prose is now just one man, Auckland-based Sam Reed, and his lush, melodic compositions are some of the silkiest and most polished around.
Evoking the light-as-a-feather vibes of artists like Calibre, with an impeccable balance of soul and groove, Tokyo Prose has been championed by such luminaries as Spectrasoul, dBridge and Lenzman, and his crisp, clean production and ear for a smooth piano sample ensure that hopes are high for his first full-length.
Unfortunately there is next to no concrete information about the LP available, leaving us to point you in the direction of tunes like Saving Grace, Echoes, Apogee, Reach and this month's Raised By Wolves/Status Anxiety, and let the music speak for itself. Keep an eye out - this one will be special.
To some heads, entering the UK charts - let alone the Radio One daytime playlist - is a line that simply cannot be crossed, and those who dare transgress must be mocked and cast out. But to denigrate Danny Byrd for his crossover success - or his penchant for a euphoric, populist edge that some would dismiss as cheesy - is to churlishly ignore what a top-drawer producer he really is.
His tunes, apart from being infectious, bouncy and, to put it very simply, fun, are intricate and full of clever details, incorporating hyperdriven jungle edits and all manner of brightly-coloured bells and whistles, making him a bit of a kitchen sink producer - something that has become increasingly obvious on his two LPs on Hospital Records.
One of the most interesting elements of his two albums, from 2008's Supersized, which was light years ahead of his previous singles, to 2010's Rave Digger, which took elements of classic rave and injected them with cutting-edge jump-up vibes, has been the progression.
While clearly the work of the same artist - Byrd has cultivated an unmistakable sound - they displayed an energetic creativity and a desire to explore different avenues, giving us high hopes for his third album. Unfortunately we can't offer any details (currently there is no title, no tracklist, not even a release date, and only recent singles such as the batshit General Levy-featuring Blaze the Fire and Roni Size collaboration Grit can fuel speculation as to how it might sound) but we can be sure of three things: it'll be fun, it'll be hyperactive...
And it won't sound like anybody else.
Invaders of Nine
This duo hail from North Wales and, although they've only been producing since 2011, they've already had support from BBC Radio 1 and London's Reprezent 107.2FM, DJed alongside Matrix & Futurebound and the Scratch Perverts, and released a bunch of futuristic, buzzing drum & bass cuts that combine the main-room catchiness of the Hospital Records crew with the simultaneously clean and down 'n' dirty stylings of Mediks or other Viper affiliates such as Genetic Bros and InsideInfo. Now they've signed exclusively to InfraRed, home of J Majik & Wickaman, and their debut album, Life Without Sound, is due later this year. We grabbed a few words with the boys:
"The album has evolved over the past six months," they said. "Originally we were intending to release a couple of EPs, but after a few months' work we realised that we had enough material for a full album. We're working with some great vocalists, for example Jasmine Knight and Louisa Bass, who has featured on Hospital Records. Also we have a track on the album featuring a great rock trio from London called The Disciples which we are excited about."
Invaders of Nine started as "a bit of an experiment crossing over electronic music with live performance". "We were heavily influenced from seeing acts such as Pendulum, DJ Fresh and Netsky," they continue. "Danny was producing trance and electro and Mark was writing and performing as a bassist in a local band. We didn't start out with plans to release an album, we just wanted to put our music out there and see if anyone else enjoyed it. The reaction has been great so far and we hope to continue putting out drum & bass that people love with Life Without Sound."
And the best of the rest...
But wait, there's more! This year you can also look forward to albums from Illskillz, Fanu, Rockwell, Alix Perez, Jubei, Lenzman, Klute, Goldie, dBridge, Skeptical, Clarity, John B, Wilkinson and Sub Focus... more information on each of these as we get it. As ever - don't sleep.
Words: Stefan Mohamed
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