Release Date: 28th February 2020
The Black Sea is a curious place. Bordered by Europe and Asia, it is somewhat isolated, but still nourished by seas and rivers that touch distant lands and times past. Its unique geography causes the water to form two separate layers; the top is full of movement and life, while beneath lies a basin devoid of oxygen, where nothing but the most basic organisms can survive.
On the coast of the Black Sea, in a Russian town called Gelendzhik, lives Kercha — a rising producer, whose new ‘Broken Illusions’ EP reflects all the mysterious complexities of the depths just beyond his doorstep.
Like the sea’s rich surface, each of the EP’s tracks draw from sources separated by vast distances and generational gaps.
Opener ‘Eagle’ looks to the Middle East, its methodical plod accentuated by eerie, sun-baked flutterings — ancient instruments meeting a distinctly digital dubstep pulse. ‘Frozen’ matches oily, oscillating mids with half-heard flashes of jungle; throwing yet another curveball via the thick pops of distinctly electro kicks and snares.
‘Broken Illusions’ itself harks back to turn-of-the-millenium UKG, intricately skipping percussion meeting urgent snatches of clarinet and suspicious sax straight from the neon-lit, rain-slashed streets of some classic noir flick.
Underpinning each track is an obsidian low-end — abyssal subs that, like the hidden expanse at the bottom of the Black Sea, threaten to suffocate all life with their oppressive bass-weight.
These three stone-cold cuts not only showcase Kercha’s irrefutable raw talent, but also mark the first outing from DNO Records, the new label from the brains behind Brighton dubstep institution The Mine. A home for international talents who refuse to be confined by genre or tempo, DNO promises to be a home for rhythms of postmodern realism, and a force to be reckoned with on the dancefloor.
Kercha’s ‘Broken Illusions’ EP arrives on 12” vinyl and digital in the end of February 2020.
a1. Kercha - Eagle
b1. Kercha - Frozen
b2. Kercha - Broken Illusions
Release date: 19th June 2020
Though citizens the world over are trapped inside under lockdown measures, freshly minted Brighton label, DNO Records, continues traversing the globe to highlight rising talents from the international bass community.
Release number two — the ‘Kiswahili’ EP — comes from CITY1, himself something of a wandering spirit. He hails from the Okinawa islands in Japan’s tropical southern tip, a place of teeming coral reefs and long golden sands, where inhabitants are known for living long lives. Having moved to the bustling capital of Tokyo, CITY1 has since joined Goth-Trad’s Back To Chill crew.
The sound of the ‘Kiswahili’ EP is the sound of CITY1’s two worlds combined — the Pacific island’s mystical soul binding with the digital roar of the hyper-modern metropolis. A-side ‘Sifa’ draws on the polyrhythmic interplay between ramshackle percussive constructions and a gruff, oscillating low-end, built to push sound systems to their limit. Over on the B-side, beat work takes a step back, allowing thunderous atmospherics to take the fore. ‘Funza’ is a sparse futurescape, where blacksmith-hammer strikes puncture the swell of murderous subs, as swarms of acidic bleeps fire off like overactive synapses. On ‘Vitu’, flabby drum skins reverberate beneath the dominating undulation of bass and mournful Middle Eastern wails — a ritualistic death march for the dawn of a new decade. Last but not least comes the digital bonus track, ‘Cheka’. Though the most traditional dubstep offering here in terms of arrangement, CITY1 infuses the track with a coarse, Doppler effect dynamism to ensure it remains a cut above your average dancefloor weapon.
Another essential release from a label determined to make its mark, CITY1’s ‘Kiswahili’ EP arrives on 12” vinyl and digital on the 19th of June 2020.
Rhythms of postmodern realism at the very bottom of the DNO
a1. CITY1 - Sifa
b1. CITY1 - Funza
b2. CITY1 - Vitu
Digital Bonus: CITY1 - Cheka
Release Date: 27th November 2020
Having opened the scoring for DNO Records with an explorative ‘Broken Illusions’ EP back in February, Gelendzhik-based producer Kercha returns to the Brighton label with his ‘Fulminating’ EP.
This time, the Russian artist presents four tracks not dissimilar to M. C. Escher’s iconic artwork, Relativity. Like the physically impossible, yet mathematically perfect staircases of the latter, Kercha’s world is structurally logical on its most basic level — but beyond that becomes a thing of wonder.
The familiar snap of each half-step snare is as rigid as the laws of Newton — solid, dependable. But the rest of the picture is topsy-turvy. Each track shifts in the aftershock of subs hidden deep in the frequency spectrum; while gaping expanses and narrow corridors of negative space twist together, leaving room for the imagination to wander.
There are more tangible but no less fantastical properties too. From the opening crackle of ‘Hold Your Breath’ to the closing whoop of ‘Fulminating’ itself, Kercha stirs a concoction that’s gloopy and viscus with the immense gravity of sinkhole bass, yet comes alive to haywire samples that bubble and fizz in organised chaos. A whistle blast here, a whispered vocal there. Suddenly, an erratic ping that whizzes off into the ether. Each element comes together in a swirling, psychedelic mass that would be completely mad if it wasn’t so damn brilliant.
One to keep you on your toes, Kercha’s ‘Fulminating’ EP lands on the 20th of November 2020 on 12” vinyl and digital.
Rhythms of postmodern realism at the very bottom of the DNO.
a1. Kercha - Hold The Breath
a2. Kercha - Jazz Symptoms
b1. Kercha - Suggestion
b2. Kercha - Fulminating
Release Date: 29th January 2021
Throughout the history of electronic music, the tempo has often been a defining factor. Whole sounds and subcultures have evolved around the number of beats per minute in their productions. It’s the movement in the music — the energy of the dance.
Though its first releases could be filed under 140, Brighton’s DNO Records has never been a one-trick pony. With release number four, the label continues to bend perceptions, both of itself and of how tempo and genre interact. The ‘Culture Clash’ EP comes from an act revered for their ability to blur the lines between dub and jungle — a Belgian duo The Untouchables. Mystical atmospherics and a knack for entrancing, ritualistic drums have put them at the forefront of the dubby, halftime drum & bass scene, and earned them spots on the likes of Samurai Music and Rupture, alongside regular releases on their own Mutable Beats label
For their DNO debut, The Untouchables blend their signature thrumming junglism with the Brighton imprint’s own sub-obsessed foundations — utilising a decade of percussive mastery to merge the two so immaculately as to make them one. Take the title track ‘Culture Clash’, where ricocheting polyrhythms bound around like particles gone berserk, giving the impression of rapidity — but take a closer look and it clocks in at a cool 140bpm.
Conversely, halftime stomper ‘Audacity’ may fit snugly into a d&b set, but the sheer sparsity of its snarling bassline and vicious kick drum give it a sluggish façade. ‘Galactic Noise’ brings a dramatic urgency, both in its alarm-like blasts and hungry beat, while the appropriately titled ‘Time Travellers’ throws countless curveballs of gruff low-end and idiosyncratic dub siren against its jungle framework. Finally, digital bonus track ‘China Haze’ unhinges from its dubstep pulse with a whirring sub and hefty smothering of delay and reverb.
Throughout each of the five tracks, the interplay of fast and slow makes the whole release as nourishing for the brain as it is for the feet — uniting styles divided by speed but bound together by their origins in soundsystem culture.
The Untouchables ‘Culture Clash’ EP lands on the 29th of January 2021 on 12” vinyl and digital.
Rhythms of postmodern realism at the very bottom of the DNO.
a1. The Untouchables - Audacity
a2. The Untouchables - Galactic Noise
b1. The Untouchables - Culture Clash
b2. The Untouchables - Time Travellers