“Drum and Bass is anything you can get away with.” -Blocks
One of the few genres to be defined almost purely by tempo, Blocks hit the nail on the head recently when he described our beloved d&b. That freedom he speaks of is definitely something he’s exploring with his recent Seance EP on the label he part founded; Narratives Music. Continuing the label’s penchant for sophisticated and thoughtful music, his four track outing twists the genre to within an inch of being recognisable as casually echoing drums meet serene melodies, live instrumentation lending a trip hop twist and high brow class to it’s sound.
Whether it’s the lone kick and spacious cinematics of the A side Moon & Stars calming introduction – clapping snares, engulfing bass and vocal harmonies later creeping in on it’s subtle drop – or the contemplative notes and mechanic chirpses of the more brooding Patriarch, Blocks’ sound across the four tracks is universally contemplative and engaging in it’s understated detail. However, it’s with the addition of vocalist Jennifer Hall on Haven that the stripped back nature of the instrumentals really comes into it’s own. As if scratching an itch you weren’t even aware of, her ghostly vocals balance out the stark nature of the tracks pneumatic hisses and downbeat melody to add another layer to the releases delicate texture. Portishead esque, it’s pensive nature is hard not to get lost in, live violins wavering on the point of distortion as it tenderly rises in emotion. Finishing off the release, Seance takes a more purely atmospheric, cinematic approach, it’s rhythm held almost solely by it’s bass twangs as sublimely crafted atmos intertwines, floating and weaving into one mass before calmly signing off.
Although sensitive, at times fragile, there’s a robust undertone in the thumping kicks and assertive snares that define the EPs steady rhythm. However, it’s undoubtedly defined by the sublime elegance that permeates throughout, an atmosphere that’s often hard to come across in the d&b scene. Artful and succinctly emotive, it’s inherent sadness will no doubt stay with you but there’s joy to be found in it’s careful expression and emotive power. So does Blocks get away with it? Most definitely. Listen below and pick it up from Surus here.