Different Music, led by their trademark pink giraffe and a host of London’s finest upcoming producers, have really been ticking the boxes for us of late. Fresh, original music with a definitive sound combines with a steady release schedule, decent artwork and a generally well run label with a habit of making things easy for people like ourselves. In short, they’re running a young label exactly how we feel it should be done, but none of that would ammount to more than a skimmed through email in our inbox if the music wasn’t top notch.
An experimental take on the 170 tempo, their releases over the last year have been varied. From the dark, serated basslines of Arkaik’s Cutting Edge EP (review and interview here), to the melodic, genre twisting skittiness of Frederic Robinson’s Laughing at Clouds, it’s fair to say their boundary pushing attitude is thoroughly deserving of the labels name. With that in mind, their take on the LP format was always going to be something worth a listen, and their debut various artists release, The Evolution of the Giraffe, certainly doesn’t disappoint. Taking their off the wall approach to d&b even further with a ten track onslaught of clicks, pops and intriguing synth work, it creates an atmosphere of it’s own, a futuristic sound full of space, depth and tension.
What holds an eclectic eight tracks together (not to mention a further four from the sampler and free releases), is largely their shunning of typical d&b drum patterns, instead opting for a range of shuffling, pausing and twisting breaks that will no doubt be the subject of many a moment of genre confusion among those who’s brains don’t run on bpm figures. Taking the crown on that front, the dark, dubstep influenced sounds of Dominic Ridgway’s Siren steps with more swagger than a nineties rudeboy in a brand new pair of Reeboks, while Jekyll’s Horcurso drips and shuffles through a stomach dropping bass synth. It’s a delightfully strange piece of music that treads an odd line between being almost uncomfortable to listen to and leaving you wanting more; rubber-necking for the d&b connoisseur. Label boss Dexta also proves he’s more than just an admin monkey with the similarly mechanical, tension filled Slugger alongside Mouoq.
In terms of the release’s more conventionally pleasant moments, Kolectiv’s Slow is an incredibly vibey piece of tight, minimal heartbreak, a deep vocal combining with a laid back electric guitar melody that’s like cherubs to the brain. A track that progresses in and out of a vast range of melodies, atmospheres, drum additions and bass tears, it’s a zoning piece of late night music that’s been getting a lot of plays round these parts. Belgian trio M-Zine, Scepticz and Mtwn provide a savage bass workout with the fizzing Choices, tribal shouts adding an ingenious piece of originality to it, while Arkaiks Wax stands out as the LP’s most conventional dance floor stomper with nightmarish atmospherics and a hard vocal snatch introducing a nose scrunching bass wobble.
It’s release that sums up why the 170 tempo will forever remain a hotbed of musical experimentation, always bubbling under the surface despite the peaks and troughs we may see on the more commercial end of it’s spectrum. Vastly removed from that, Diffrent’s unapologetic, marmite like, take on the genre is one that some may find hard to get, while those that do need no convincing. Seemingly a statement of intent as much as a label, it’s summed up by a desire to tread where none have before, as if they’re intentionally flexing the genre just to see what they can get away with. This time, they definitely get away with it with an album designed for the true drum geeks, while also having the potential to genre step across to a wider audience of electronic music aficionados. See for yourself below and grab it in all formats from the Diffrent website. Also, find out more about the label and the LP from Dexta himself in a recent interview by our extended famiglia over at In Reach.
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