- Even with a significant "atmospheric" contingent, I don't think many associate drum & bass with luscious and romantic production. Labels like Kokeshi and artists like ASC have worked hard to prove that the uptempo genre can have its softer side, and back in 2009 London producer Blocks and his frequent collaborator Escher released a track called "Heartshaped" that was kind of, well, heart-shaped. The duo revisit that somewhat softcore sound on the second release for Blocks' promising new Narratives label.
After the heavy metal toxicity of "Sagan" on their debut release, "Shiver" comes as a bit of a surprise, but it still packs an insidious wallop. Lurking behind the crumbling wall of ticking percussion and droning bass are waves of LFO that burst out like sudden fireballs, and with the track's theatrical cresting strings and whistling flutes, it makes for a nice bit of measured release—this is the kind of drum & bass that could soundtrack a film as well as move a dance floor. On the other side, ASC takes a hatchet to "Heartshaped," putting it in stilted halfstep (the San Diego-based producer isn't much for straightforward anymore). The lurch proves more lovelorn than ever, providing a buttressed heartbeat thump to go with those glistening piano chords. Even for those who aren't fans of the 170 tempo, it's hard not to hear the merit in Blocks & Escher's meticulously detailed, sumptuously atmospheric tracks, and "Shiver" brings Narratives Music two-for-two in the realm of unconventional drum & bass.
B Heartshaped (ASC Remix)