Electronic music is a fast-paced world where the big track today is yesterday’s news in the blink of an eye. One of the crowning achievements of drum and bass is that while it does move quickly, it as a whole has kept very much in touch with its roots; in DJ sets, a DJ who can effortlessly blend old classics with new bangers is highly regarded, and in the world of production it’s common to see tried and true formulas blended with marvels of modern techniques. Kenji’s release on Liondub International, High Rollers Vol. 1:Kenji, further cements this legacy of the genre.
“Next” begins with all the classic elements – moody atmospherics, the repetitive click of the hi-hats, and energetic beat- that build into the drop. With a roaring bass line replete with a solid vibrational undertone, the song charges along as it introduces techy variations and hypnotizing melodies that create a swirling sensation in the mind.
Kenji has been a legend in jump-up for a long time now, and “On my Mind” quickly reveals why that is the case. This track is a tour de force in repetition, showcasing all the best sides of this subgenre. The grinding bassline is a hallmark of this particular, and along with the beat, creates the intensity of the tune. However, he further reveals his prowess by bringing in fresh elements pulled from neuro, deep , ragga, and other forms of DnB.
Collabs are always interesting to behold, as we observe two different styles playing with each other and establishing something new. “Product of Me” finds Kenji working with none other than Alex SLK, a ferocious producer well known for his dark and minimal style. This track has a plethora of tension and release moments running through it: the blast of distorted bass are offset the blissful atmospherics, meanwhile the technical drum pattern is counterpointed well by the melody the deeper bassline creates.
“Coke or Cream” is a vibe heavy number, utilizing a very simple groove right from the start to get it going. The foghorn blasts and vocal sample change it up, revealing how simple layers all add up to a bigger whole. Without a doubt this one is a dancefloor smasher, as it pretty much impossible not to picture a dancefloor full of steppers or to stop yourself from becoming one.
Nothing hits as well as that perfect blend of a synth stab backed by the high energy of that snare snap and a heavy kick. Kenji knows this and “Drop” is his testament to that notion. The drop is heralded by a killer bassline paired with a deep sub bass that ebbs and flows. This track is a bass lovers dream with its dueling swordsman sense of style with the bassline, while making excellent use of effects and timing to create its dynamic range.
Set for release on April 24th, High Rollers Vol. 1:Kenji, is a must-have. Whether you’re an old school head or a fresh newcomer, a studio audiophile or avid listener, there is something for everyone to dive into here!