As part of Ivy Lab, Laurence Reading explored a sector of bass music where drum & bass, dubstep and hip-hop mingled. He was always great at old-fashioned drum & bass, which he released through a steady trickle of Halogenix solo EPs. Now that he's left Ivy Lab, he's giving Halogenix his full attention once again, returning with Deep News, his first EP since parting ways with Stray and Sabre.
Deep News is split between orthodox drum & bass and experiments at other tempos. Reading's light touch is all over "Bitter" and "Embers," two wistful 170 BPM tunes with dynamic drum loops and pensive chords, but with the occasional brusque bassline to balance things out. "Future Flow" is where things start to go topsy-turvy, tipping drum & bass onto its side. It's a lopsided track supported by basslines that sound like ripping velcro. "Raeph," a piece of heavy-duty halftime, is equally staggered and stomping, though lush synths keep its harder moments from feeling obnoxious.
The same goes for "Blej VIP" and "Yellow Yellow," where long, beatless intros create an air of mystery before the beat drops, adding an arty dimension to what otherwise could be festival bangers. The impressive sound design also helps, like on "Deep News," with its anvil-drop drum pattern and high-pitched melodies that sound like a strangled horn instrument. Just "Only Ever Kind," with its ghostly R&B vocal, feels predictable. The rest of Deep News is forward-thinking and beautifully produced, no matter the tempo.