- A versatile producer returns to his drum & bass roots—with excellent results.
- UVB-76 records these days take as much influence from post-industrial, film scores and trip-hop as they do from their original bread and butter of drum & bass. Apart from pushing themselves stylistically, they're also prolific enough to warrant launching three sub-labels: The Stone Tapes, DROOGS and 4 6 2 5. But while few drum & bass crews have shown this much artistic growth in the last five years, there's still a special appeal to the 170-BPM missiles with which they made their name. So although they should be commended for experimenting with the sounds that excite them, hearing new drum & bass material from the crew is always something to savour.
The most visible UVB-76 artist is Pessimist, who's also been one of the most successful working in new styles. Burundaga, however, is a welcome return to drum & bass, even though Pessimist fans will immediately recognise the sounds used and style of execution. The title track and "Thug" are the standouts, presenting Pessimist's signature combination of fathoms-deep intensity with a contrastingly lithe approach to rhythm—these tunes glide along despite being bone-crushingly heavy. "Lithosphere" mines the abyssal, Scorn-centric downtempo vein that served so well on Pessimist & Karim Maas while Simon Shreeve's remix of "Paian" recalls Regis's breakbeat techno from the '10s. The latter is unassuming in its hypnotic development but wallows in an overwhelming, billowing soundstage that almost sags under its own gassy mass. It shows how mutable the UVB-76 sound signature has become, but those drum & bass cuts still steal the show.
B1 Paian (Simon Shreeve Remix)