The Binary Collective - The Binary Collective

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  • dBridge's Exit label is mostly known for club-ready drum & bass and the Autonomic sound it helped create. But what's often overlooked is the experimental streak that has taken Exit beyond drum & bass norms. Consider artists like Joe Seven and Consequence, who are responsible for some of the label's most perplexing and brilliant music. Those two have now joined dBridge and Kid Drama—half of former duo Instra:mental—as The Binary Collective, a new project where the group are free to explore their most far-out inclinations. The coldest, darkest work of these four artists evokes a lonely metropolitan sprawl: alleyways brightened only by the glow of streetlights and screens. The Binary Collective, the soundtrack to an imaginary dystopian film (in which "corporations control all our personal information"), takes it one step further. The music sounds almost completely devoid of humanity, like a deserted, ruined city. You won't find dBridge's signature vocals here, just the occasional spoken word snippet manipulated and pitch-shifted until it sounds vaguely unsettling. The group's emphasis on hardware and their four-pronged approach means that The Binary Collective is also obsessively detailed, with glitchy, snaking sounds that scurry up and down the beats like electricity traveling through a circuit. Tempos vary wildly. The group tends to lock into a rigid groove somewhere between techno and drum & bass, though distinctly not either genre. Only once do they dip into a drum & bass tempo, with "Sentries Watch Us," where a steel-toed march meets the glowing embers of Autonomic. You can hear dBridge's wistful sense of melody in "Rise Of The Overdrive" and "Host Night"—two more bangers touched by somber synths. On tracks like "Jumped," Consequence's clicky noises cut through the steely backbone like unintentional interference. Touches like those can make the record seem fussy at times, especially during shorter, more cerebral interludes. There's always a drop lurking around the next corner, though, or a gorgeous melody waiting to bloom. The album's continual push-and-pull, along with its strong sense of loneliness, make it anything but easy listening, even for fans of the Exit crew. The majestic and ethereal sections bookending The Binary Collective (subtitled "Prologue," "End Credits" and so forth) feel vastly different from the stark middle—it would've been nice if the rest of the album shared those qualities. But even if they didn't deliver a blockbuster this time around, these four producers still proved themselves to have one of the most distinct voices emerging from drum & bass today.
  • Tracklist
      01. Storm City (Prologue) 02. Binary Theme 03. In Pursuit 04. Data Jam 05. Cloud Creeping 06. Jumped 07. Host Night 08. Sentries Watch Us 09. Rise Of The Overdrive 10. At What End 11. Apocryphal 12. Love & Death (End Credits) 13. EK Tails (Post Credits) 14. Ash (Epilogue)