Monday, 24 February 2014


As a born and bred Englishman, it's impossible to escape the looming influence of drum and bass on youth culture. Often the gateway for pimpled faced schoolboys into club culture, it's long been a British institution that's somewhere between David Attenborough and anti-immigration rhetoric. There was a dark point in the mid 00s where it seemed like nothing interesting was happening at 170+ (although under the surface people like Breakage and Paradox were flying the flag for late jungle experimentalism). Then people like ASC, dBridge and Instra:mental came along and brought a mini revolution with the Autonomic sound and the rest, as some say, is history. There has been plenty written about the artistic resurgence of drum and bass so I won't add to that noise, but there's one act that has really impressed me recently.

Hardwax approved Ruffhouse is a trio of producers from Bristol that have carved a niche of deep, stripped back, tribal drum and bass. They produce dark, rolling tunes that all seem like a variation of a base idea, exploring the possibilites within set artistic boundaries. There's a comparison to be made with someone like techno's own Mike Parker. Both specialize in minimalistic, dark beats that are layered with psychedelic sounds over the top that given the right setting, can become completely immersive. There are echos of old Prototype tunes but filtered through the post-Autonomic landscape with a penchant for acute sound design. For a great introduction, I recommend this live recording as hearing these sounds mixed together gives a broader understanding of what these guys are trying to do. This sound is one that perfectly fits with some of the more psychedelic, headfuck ends of the dance spectrum, and if you're into labels like Prologue and Fullpanda, this is definitely one to check out if you want to hear something a bit different.

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