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12.23.20 2019 In Drum & Bass10.15.20 Evok’s 2017: In Retrospect
10.08.20 HiFi Owners Of Sputnik 08.04.19 Chonky Dubs, Pt. I
11.04.18 2018 In Drum & Bass

2019 In Drum & Bass

Well, I'm a year late to making this list, but for the sake of consistency I'm going for it anyway. 2019 was another awesome year for drum & bass, so here's a list of ten releases that underscore how stellar the year was for 170bpm music. It's far from a comprehensive list, but these cuts are among the ones that really stood out.
1Acid_Lab And Ahmad
Shimazu Clan

Deep, deep jungle music that's as foreboding as it is cathartic. This EP from the venerable vanguards of modern amen breaks at Repertoire really know where the best junglist producers hide out, an Acid_Lab and Ahmad's collaborative effort is no exception to their high standard of quality.
Tinnies & Ciggies

Amoss is slowly taking over the deep tech game. He's not a neurofunk producer, nor is he forging anything you'd consider deep/minimal drum & bass, but somewhere between these two worlds his signature sound is turning heads and inspiring other producers everywhere he goes. He's arguably a torchbearer for a whole new spin on drum & bass, and with Tinnies & Ciggies it's easy to hear why. This shit goes off in a big way, boasting low-end heft and cerebral stabs that roll like landslides and hit like a freight train.

Om Unit's Cosmic Bridge label is earning a solid reputation for pushing out properly tasteful and leftfield bass music, and in 2019 Es.tereo's imprint debut is arguably the highlight. Ra is a swirling, angular take on modern jungle music that's both mesmerizing and hype as all hell.
Lateral Thinking

Hydro's Lateral Thinking LP is an incredible work of thematic continuity, intriguing texture and convincing emotion. Striking a fine balance between deep dub inspirations and liquid soul, it's a drum & bass album that swings through the spectrum without ever once losing a grip of its own identity. You absolutely need to hear this one!
Focus On The Love

Now that Kasra is seemingly comfortable putting out solo efforts after a long career behind the scenes, the Critical Music bossman and DJ extraordinaire is churning out some genuinely high quality shit. Focus On The Love picks up where Ski Mask left off, brandishing four hard-hitting selections in cahoots with Bou and Enei that hold true to his peak-hours modus operandi.
6KLAX and Enei

Questions is simply a beast of an EP from four wildly talented household Critical Music names (three of them comprising KLAX, and fourth being the one and only Enei) that strikes a perfect blend of heady neuroscopes and feathery finesse. To "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee", as one legendary boxer said, is an approach that garners a fine recipe for dancefloor destroying drum & bass, and in that regard, this EP checks every box and then some.
7The Sauce
Mr Robot/The Click

Who the hell are The Sauce? Why, none other than Total Science, DLR and Hydro. How's that for a supergroup? The namedrops alone should be more than enough to indicate the quality you'll find here, but you really need to hear it for yourself to understand just how well they marry the classic drum & bass motif to absolutely masterclass production and unabashedly fun songcraft. Two tracks is all they needed with this one.
8Skylark (FRA)
Minimal Process

The rising star of France's 170bpm scene, Skylark made some serious moves in 2019 and onward to cement himself among the highest ranks of contemporary dnb's landscape. Minimal Process is a statement piece more than an EP, with four insanely deep cuts that lathe the senses into submission with sublime percussion and monolithic basslines that revel in the tenets of a less-is-more attitude.
Dubplate Style

Dubplate Style was born from a drive to honour the past while keeping a foot firmly rooted in the present, and with that in mind, S.P.Y's 2019 opus is, in a word, masterful. It carries with it all the energy and spirit that made the jungle scene of yore so damn special, all while keeping things packaged in a tonally clean yet properly vintage sounding finish.
Tannhauser Gate

Fuck. I don't even know what to say about this one. Tannhauser Gate is just... different. But not so different that your average DJ couldn't weaponize any of the cuts on this six-track EP, just different in the sense that Talkre makes his 170 move in ways that no one else really can. It's like magic. The dude is on a level that not only disarms my penchant for penning sommelier descriptions, but can readily disarm any dancefloor his music is unleashed upon. Hear it.
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