Unearthing from the depth’s of the underground jungle scene in London, is a heavy, fully loaded LP from Danger Chamber. From the Depths LP is a 39 track smasher, that will add a new chapter to the junglists playbook, and fully cement itself into dj’s arsenals around the world. It hits on all cylinders. You have a collection of styles, ranging from deep halftime, soulful ragga-jungle, sci-fi inspired tearout, sound clash battle anthems, drum funk, heavy amens, and genuine old school tech step. Sourcing tunes from artists all over the globe, such as, MAC V , Jonny5, Opius, Polarity, Antares, Zebedee, Y2 & ED808, Sargy, Jack Rapture, Dreadmaul, Vince Rollin, Jesta, Rez, Skru, Furious, If Read, Jah Bliddie, No_Name, Splinter, Fayaka, Gred Lvov, Future, Warbreaker, Abstract Drums, John Tetly, & Amenarchist , give this LP a genuine sense of depth, versatility, and balance. Many of the artists on this LP have had solo releases with this label, so putting them together on one release and showcasing how well they can blend together, or stand alone is a testament to the strength of this roster. From start to finish this LP is a roller coaster and complete journey through modern drum and bass, with respect to the foundations of the music and culture.
Kicking off the album is “Message” by Antares. A futuristic tech step tune reminiscent of No-U-Turn esque’ style and sound. The amount of drum edits, combined with the right amount of industrial clicks and glitches will turn heads immediately. Add in a continuous drone like synth to ride along heavy 808’s and it paints a dismal picture in a post apocalyptic world where there is only darkness.
Jah Bliddie, Polarity & Zebedee come in next with some of the more uplifting sounds. All are focused on messages of positivity and representing culture. The tunes have distinctive sounds that create separation from each other, but still maintain similar rolling amen vibes, alongside catchy ragga vocal lines, with familiar reggae horns and percussion sounds . Jah Jah has this vibes that is very reminiscent of early Breakage/Fracture. Red Earth comes in a little brighter on the mix, leaving you feeling as if it was channeling older Digital mixed mixed with the styling’s of Chopstick Dubplate . Both of these tunes are on the positive tip, and are a much needed switch up in tone from the rest of the LP. Polarity comes through with “Strong Meditation” as a sonic demonstration of letting a vocal line become the focal point of the tune. Really hammering in the meditation aspect of music therapy, alongside a gritty amen pattern that gives contrast against very clean synth’s and vocals.
As we dig deeper into this album the elements of drum funk and hyper sophisticated drum edits begin to emerge. And that’s where tunes from Abstract Drums, If Read, & Vince Rollin come into play. All of these artists seem to gain strength in focusing solely on drum work. “Cyberpunk Dystopia” has got the drums on lock. Super clean and realistic drum sounds take you into a place to where you feel like you can see the drummer laying down sophisticated patterns and classic amen breaks. Combined with a synth line that could have emerged from a dystopian novel, this tune pretty much has everything you look for in modern drum funk. If Read comes forth with two really complex tunes that blend classical Dread with Exit Records soundscapes and nu skool halftime together so seamlessly that it makes you wonder why haven’t there been more jungle like this. A perfect mix between the atmospherics and drums really give these tunes a groove set to just nod your head continuously at. Throw in some good vocal samples that have you questioning your own existence and heavy low end reece basslines, and you have two incredibly balanced songs that can be played in any environment to create or switch up a vibe. The remix of “No Hero” by Antares is possibly one of the best songs on this LP. It feels as if its three compositions in one. All three movements of this song stand alone and build tension, something not that common in standardized drum and bass music. Making the arrangement something you can revisit again, and again, to find new nuances.
Y2 & Stranjah, Jack Rupture, Opius, Jesta, Skru, & REZ, Greg Lvov & Kybel come through on the more dance floor friendly tunes. All are styled in the vein of classic Renegade Hardware/Outbreak/Cylon/Reinforced styles and dress code. All of these artists have multiple songs on this album, and all of them blend seamlessly together. You have blistering combinations of timeless drum samples, synths, and rave stabs that sculpt a feeling of distress and anxiousness. Which will have you bouncing without even knowing it. Add in some heady vocal sampling , laden with reverb and delay, and you get a synthesized acid trip, without the loss of appetite and sleep. Nailing down a favorite between these tunes is difficult, but I have mixed them all together, and you will get a solid 1/2 hour of bouncing dance floor amens with all of the bells and whistles.
Now as we dig deeper into the more tearout/heady amen selections of this album, you’ll be looking at the works from Mac V, Jon Tetly, Jesta, Splinter, Amenarchist, ED808, & Furious. These are the type of tunes you bring in at the end of your set to break the necks and ankles of everyone on the dance floor, leaving the next dj clueless as how to maintain the vibe you just built up. Every tune in from these artists exhibit a skill ability to turn up the tempo, crank up the drums, smash the ping pong effect, and literally “mash up the place” . “Elder Jedi” Splinter rmx is a perfect example of how to make a modern jungle tune, and pay homage to the innovators of the past. Great drum edits with a tasteful use of high/lowpass filtering, rolling basslines, familiar rave stabs, and dark parallel synth chords are a perfect pairing to any Loxy/Dylan/Perfect Combination/DomnRoland styled drum and bass tune. All of these artists have shown tremendous production chops, as well as, an integration of self into such a well known clique of dnb classics.
A tune that stands out is “Brain of a mad man” by Future. It starts off like a bad case of tunnel vision. With layers of female screams and filtered drums, whisking you to the first break, leaving one second to breathe, and then the drop happens. Reminds me of the times when hardcore and jungle would intersect. Like many of the new Limewax/Thrasher/Dolphin sounds on labels like PRSPCT or Mindocrasy. There are layers upon layers of amens sewn together, atop a network of drop bass lines, and gabber synths that go in and out of pitch, creating a disorienting feeling. Finishing off with a evil vocal sample, your left in a cavern of slamming drum edits and more terror. This is the type of tune you hear walking through a house of horrors, a sound that will follow you out into the open, and one you’ll take into your dreams.
“Cop Talk” by Jesta leans in the same direction. It begins with a lightly patched in synth, setting a somber tone, and a hoping jack amen that is filtered down to walk you into the adventure the producer is about to take you on. Follow up with a dreamlike vocal sample, laden with delay, it guides you into the first drop which is just a precursor to the darkness you’ll see as you turn the corner. At the second break is when it gets nasty. A heavily distorted baselines emerges, and everything begins to go dark. As if you were reaching the top of a roller coaster and you can hear every link of the track creak, until, suddenly, you enter the freefall. But in this case, its a plummet through sweeping drum work, and a network of roaring bass and straight tear out. This tune comes in with restraint, edging you gracefully to the end , where you realize your on some “full on brock out” shit. This one hits hard and heavy for sure.
All in all, this album shreds. It has everything one would look for when trying to find new dnb that begins to travel back in time to when breakbeat culture transitioned to spawn jungle/dnb culture. You could spend an entire set taking listeners on a journey through jungle music with just this album alone. Its not often that big labels release a piece of work this inclusive, without half of it being filler and b-sides you’ll probably never get to. Every tune here has a purpose and can stand on its own. there is something for every listener. You have some dark, dangerous, and gritty old school sounding tunes that allow to to let your hair down, fists up, and slam your heads towards the bassbins. And the you have some really over the top, finessed & exquisitely polished production for the audiophiles and sound design aficionados which becomes a clinic on drum work and composition. Bang for your buck, there isn’t an LP out there right now that has more to offer than what the folks at Danger Chamber have put forth. I highly recommend picking this up and taking yourself, or your listeners back to the old school.
This album is available for purchase right now!!!