dBridge & Instra:mental's Autonomic mix for FabricLive eschews expectations for a drum 'n' bass mix by slowing things down. Right down.
After collaborating on a track together, dBridge and Instra:mental collaborated to form Autonomatic - ultimately a club night with spin-offs, the most significant of which is, as the press release say, ultimately a style of music.
Because FabricLive 50 doesn't just slow things down. It is considerably slower than even a breakbeat set, with the tempo coming in below a chilled out 100bpm. This is still distinctively dnb though, and both dBridge (formerly part of the fairly legendary Bad Company) and Instra:mental clearly know their craft.
The album opener, Riva's 'Seems Like', glides a soulful vocal over a spacious backing that gently melds into Instra:mental's own 'From The Start' but as soulful as the whole thing feels the beats are deep, percussive and ultimately pure liquid drum 'n' bass.
But slow drum 'n' bass sounds about as much fun as stretching out the Queen's speech to last the whole of Christmas day, Boxing day and maybe even right up to New Year's Eve... Surely the point is that it gets you moving, the rolling basslines, pitched vocals, and the last thing we want is more bloody dubstep.
But as we said, dBridge and Instra:mental clearly know what they are doing. Just as liquid dnb made BlackPlastic's heart go aquiver about eight years ago by giving the genre vocals and, as a result, a tune, FabricLive 50 works because of the space the production gets. There are relatively few vocals here as it happens but the speed gives the album an intelligent, soulful feel more reminiscent of Jazzanova and the Compost label than any dnb or dubstep we ever heard.
FabricLive 50 is actually fairly reminiscent of Global Communication's Fabric album (Fabric 26), robotic yet soulful... Ferocious let subtle. By redefining what drum 'n' bass is dBridge and Instra:mental have just pushed a genre forward that desperately needed innovation. Dubstep be damned - dnb died and Autonomic just brought it back.
Check out the 30-minute promo mix over at Fabric's MixCloud page.
FabricLive 50 is out on 15 February, available for pre-order from Amazon.co.uk on CD [affiliate link].