- Since its genesis last year, Blocks and Escher's Narratives Music has been run with a certain grace that feels otherwise absent from drum & bass, encompassing its elegant artwork, slow and steady release schedule and, of course, the exquisite music it releases. Even Narratives' most aggressive moments have been suffused with enveloping body heat, like the warmth of a hearty sip of good whiskey. This is drum & bass that sounds more suited to movie credits than raves. The fourth release hands over the reins to someone other than Blocks and Escher for the first time, and the results are every bit as lovely.
Overlook's "Three Shards" is tough, but everything from its theatrically creeping chords to its fluid drums is prime Narratives. The screeching basslines and other melodic devices flash like shooting stars captured in slow motion, and the restless drum programming—calling to mind Stray—comes from a totally different place than the pedestrian loops of minimal drum & bass. Blocks or Escher take the flipside, and it exemplifies what makes the label such a diamond in the rough. Loosely slotting into the Autonomic sound with its deep valley of reverb, "Embers" pairs slamming halftime beats with rousing chords and rising basslines. It could be a call to arms or a wrenching scene of bereavement. Either way, it's stunning.
A Overlook - Three Shards
B Blocks and Escher - Embers