Mosaic LP Vol 1
When it was announced that the hugely influential drum & bass producer dBridge was gearing up to release a long player compiling a number of up and coming and established artists alongside some new tracks of his own, we at Example could barely hide our excitement. Read on for the lowdown on this landmark release and our interview with the Exit Records Boss himself!
Mosaic Volume 1 is a various artist project that showcases some of the scenes leading lights and represents the experimental side of drum and bass. Musically, it is likely to appeal to fans of Marcus Intalex’s highly acclaimed DAT compilations, Temah, and the massively successful Autonomic podcasts and club nights. The level of quality control is faultless with dBridge carefully pulling together 22 tracks, the results of which are truly breath taking.
One thing (intentional or not) that becomes apparent early on is that this record is one of contrast; opposing qualities and ideals lay side by side but rarely in conflict. Mosaic takes the very best aspects of the jungle/dnb and electronica of bygone days and fuses it with today’s production values and delivers something that sounds positively futuristic. The collection features everything from the bleakest of soundscapes to intense, pounding electronic rhythms and mixes organic sounding instruments alongside robotic beats, synths and glitches.
With so many quality tracks it’s difficult to pick favourites and with every listen you discover something new but some of the standout moments include Croms' eerie sci-fi gem ‘invisible Cities’ which called to mind of some of the great soundtrack scores written in the early days of synthesizers, dubstep pioneer Skreams ‘Motorway’ which at time feels like a stomping 2010 reworking of Kraftwerks Autobahn (no, really!) and Instra:mental’s ‘Scene 3’
Which simply must be heard over a decent system, it’s not for the faint hearted though so you have been warned. As you might expect dBridge’s contributions are rather special as you might expect and do nothing but back up his already revered status as one of the innovators and protectors of intelligent drum and bass music.Also check out Manchesters own Indigo whose track ‘Time’ blends snappy drums with dubby echo box vocals and atmospherics and his sometime partner in crime Synkro who comes correct with a beautiful musical track recapturing the vibe of some of the best 90s ambient electronica - both continue to do the city (and themselves) very proud indeed.
Mosaic is a quality release that embodies much of what is exciting in drum and bass today, the tracks are well constructed and continue to grow over time meaning that this is probably going to be one of those records you can return to again and again.
We caught up with man behind the project and head honcho of Exit Records dBridge to talk studios, music, Mosaic and more…
Example: What's new with you?
dBridge: New toys in my studio, synths and an MPC, so fun times
Example: So how did the Mosaic LP come about?
dBridge: It came about because I was being sent tracks I wanted to sign as 12" but at the time they were mainly just one side and I was waiting on the artists to complete their 12". So I had a load of really good tracks by different artist in a playlist on my computer and as I listened to them it came apparent that they'd work together as part of a compilation. It also dawned on me that there wasn't really anyone catering for this style of electronica compilations anymore.
Example: Is there an underlying ethos to what you do as dBridge and also with the label Exit?
dBridge: It has to have soul, I have to genuinely feel the artist within their music. To much music is paint by numbers and devoid of life, what I loved about DnB was the passion I could feel within it, that was lost for a while but thankfully I've found people who have a real love for what they're doing and that shines through with the music they make
Example: Have your feelings for drum and bass changed over the years?
dBridge: I think like any relationship you have your ups and downs. I've been loved by it, I've felt cheated on, I've wanted to split up and find another, but no matter what I always come back. It's too big a part of my life. It's looked after me in so many ways.
Example: How have you managed to stay at the cutting edge of the scene for so long?
dBridge: I'm glad you think I have. I think the secret is to keep yourself interested. I know I've alienated fans over the years with the way I've changed but that’s a risk I take. If I didn't try new things and push myself I'd feel stuck and bored. I think a quote by Oscar Wilde sums up how I feel "Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative."
Example: If you had to choose one… DJ, producer or label boss?
Example: What gear do you use in the studio these days?
dBridge:I use a mixture of things, Logic is my front end sequencer, but I also use Ableton, Maschine and now I have an MPC, I also use outboard synths, at last count I have 21.
Example: Has your process changed much?
dBridge: I think it has, as I said I like to continually evolve, I try to learn new things, I'm forced to with every new synth I buy, they all have there own unique way of working which I have to learn. Throughout all of this though is a core which is hopefully uniquely me.
Example: What achievement are you most proud of?
dBridge: Hard to say but I'm very proud of a song I did called The Hills which was on my brothers album (Steve Spacek) Space Shit, the reason being it appeared alongside a J Dilla track. Along with my brother he's my musical idol
Example: What's with the singing?
dBridge: I've always dabbled but never really had the confidence to do it on a song. It was talking to Calibre and listening to him sing on his songs that gave me the confidence to do it more. So I'm giving it a go and again it's something new to learn and keep me interested.
Example: You have a pretty strong online presence, how do you feel about the web and social networking?
dBridge: It's something you have to get involved with in some way or another. It can be a nightmare trying to cover all the bases. It clearly is the only way to reach your audience but I do feel some people get it wrong and oversaturate, I try to base my presence on the same way I consume information online, as I'm a punter too.
Example: What excites you outside of music?
dBridge: I'm a fan of the arts as a whole so that and travel are what excite me
Example: Any closing words?
dBridge: Keep an open ear, you never know what you might hear.....