Following the critically acclaimed inaugural ‘Programmed’ series in February, Program has curated another powerhouse four-piece. Peppered with some of the most talented and creative producers in the global drum & bass game, it’s a sterling sonic showcase that leaves no style stone unturned.
The Italian sonic stallion Maztek takes the lead with ‘Dizzy Step’. Celebrating his biggest year so far, the young artist shows why he’s currently in huge demand with this precision produced stepper. The bassline scuffs and skitters over the pummelling riddim, acting as both a lead line and the driving force of the track. Following one of Maztek’s most monstrous build ups to date, the drop teases as it waits for a bar to show off its savage power. Truly tremendous.
We head to Moscow for the second track of the EP as Program introduce the blistering new talent Traffic. A muscular medley of blunt bass barks; ‘Structures’ is a rolling moment of undiluted moodiness. As the track title suggests, the power can be found in the tight, energetic arrangement. Unforgiving, otherworldly pads provide consistency as the bass dynamics weave and bob, fly and sting, nip and tuck with demonstrative darkness.
The Russian reppage continues as Eastcolors and Noel step up with ‘Crispy’. Another example of audio onomatopoeia, ‘Crispy’ lives up to its name with deadly effect as cutlass-sharp hi-hats and precise kick drum punctuation drive the groove into the future. There’s a playful air about the unpredictable bassline as it heaves us back and forth across the floor, creating space for the turbo riddim to flourish and short-but-dreamy pads on the breakdown to breath.
It’s down to Stealth and Altair to provide the EP’s final, feisty climax. A tried and tested partnership over the last few years, the duo deliver the goods in every way… Opening with blissed out processed guitar strums, oceanic pads and subtle string sprinkles, a rich, warm soulful vocal captures our attention before the elements switch and a gritty bassline takes over. Gradually the lush instrumentation trickles back into the blend, allowing for a stunning breakdown where the vocal really comes into its own. Then, at the blink of a beat, we’re thrown back into staccato bass groove and steppy riddim. Barbed but beautiful, it’s the epitome of contemporary soulful D&B.
Four next level cuts, four of the most exciting names to have emerged in D&B in recent years. It’s time, once again to get with the program!
2.1: Maztek – Dizzy Step