One of d&b’s most coveted labels among the genre’s vinyl addicts and true connoisseurs, Samurai’s Horo series of limited edition 10″ vinyls have become instant collectors items, stunning music and a vinyl only stance making them firm favourites among those with a penchant for deep, thinking man’s 170. Now laying down a marker with 13 releases under their belt, they’ve released the Horo Vision compilation, a mighty fourteen track digital release that spans the history of the label, condensing their output into what plays like a history lesson of the imprints distinct sound and how it’s developed over the past few years. Although perhaps a controversial move considering their strong vinyl only fan base, many of whom have shown a lot of dedication to the label in collecting the full spectrum of their releases, we’d argue that they still have a collection to be very happy with and many tracks that will never make it into the bit-sphere. Besides, musically it’s an absolute treat for those who haven’t managed to pick up all the vinyls; opening up some of d&b’s finest output to a wider audience can only be a good thing. Over an hour of deeply textured, absorbing bass music that contorts it’s 170/85bpm tempo with a refreshingly blasé disregard for the rules, it’s one of electronic music’s finest moments this year. It’s sound is at times delicate and at others stacked and engulfing, it remains consistently sonically interesting.
From the twisted distortion and morbid atmospherics of Ena’s Dipteran to the mellow, organic nature of Sam KDC’s Between Dreams, the churning industrial mechanics of AnD’s FVS through the mellow yet euphoric synths of Theme’s Theme 3 to the cosmic futurism of Nightmute by ASC, it’s a varied release that showcases an expertly fine tuned sample of some of the most forward thinking, left field producers around right now. Where Kiyoko’s sweet, splashing percussion and meditative wind are soothing and dreamlike, Clarity and Overlook’s Rohypnol it’s equally as successful at the other end of the spectrum, earning it’s name with a thumping, jolt inducing kick and searing synth bass. Meanwhile, Fis & Tokyo Prose open things up in hypnotizing fashion, their pulsing The Dares inspiring unconscious movement as it’s boiling bass pressure continues to heat over, fizzing hats occasionally stirring up the froth, while Clarity’s Other Sights (VIP) clangs and rips it’s way through stepping drums to finish things off at the other end. ASC’s three track contribution also deserves a special mention and shows just how prolific he’s been of late, releasing a slew of LPs, EPs and Singles on labels from all corners of the globe. Here, the cosmic futurism of Nightmute takes the top spot for us in terms of his tracks.
Over an hour of classy, deeply textured d&b for those with a fine taste and a willingness to listen for the details, it’s a release packed with the names of incredibly talented producers that speaks for themselves. However, with those guys knocking on their door and releasing incredible music through Horo, it would be all too easy to forget about the little man. Luckily, they prove here that they’ve managed to stray away from doing exactly that; the infinitely textured, shuffling train track mechanics of Fis’ K Slap joining Ena’s two rock solid ambient tracks and and AnD’s aforementioned FVS. A testament to head honcho DJ Presha’s (interview here) ear for an incredible tune and rock solid A&R skills, Horo Vision comes at a time where you feel Samurai’s little sister label is just getting started and yet is already one of our favourite imprints in d&b. Long may it continue, and with releases promised from the likes of Kiyoko, Carrrier One, ASC and Ena (an LP no less) it seems it certainly shall. Listen above, check the tracklist below and grab it from Samurai’s new website here.
01. Fis & Tokyo Prose – The Dares
02. ASC – No Secrets
03. Clarity & Overlook – Rohypnol
04. Sam KDC – Between Dreams
05. ASC – Confounded
06. ASC – Nightmute
07. Fis – K Slap
08. Kiyoko – Track 3
09. Indigo – Tethys
10. Ena – Dipteran
11. Ena – Bacterium
12. AnD – FVS
13. Theme – Theme 3
14. Clarity – Other Sights VIP (Digital Bonus)