This year has seen Drum & Bass build upon the success it witnessed in 2014, continuing to improve and diversify. A number of new acts have stepped up to shape the scene with their own vision’s of the genre.
However, you could argue that Grime music has been the real winner of 2015. Often found in the shadows of other genres, this year has seen it move into the mainstream and the UK has been inundated with a steady flow of tracks from all around. With London and Manchester standing out as the real melting pots of the moment, the collectives of Boy Better Know and Levelz have led their respective hometowns. My first choice falls with the former collective and JME‘s album ‘Integrity>‘. Featuring multiple producers across the album, allowing JME to focus on his unique blend of often humorous, social opinions.
Back to Drum and Bass, I had a feeling, from his output in the early part of the year that 2015 was going to be a big year for Xtrah, this was an understatement. With countless releases across multiple labels, he’s gone on to setup his own label (Cyberfunk) and clocked up a couple of EPs. It’s fair to say he’s kept himself very busy throughout 2015. My second choice falls with his EP on Noisia’s Invisible Recordings, ‘Gravitas EP‘. I mean seriously !! The title track alone is in my opinion one of the tune’s of the year, throw in some other quality tracks and you have one of the best D&B releases of 2015.
A personal favourite next, I’ve been a huge fan of Special Request (aka Paul Woolford) for a number of years now. His release this year (Modern Warefare EPs1-3) was highly anticipated and delivered with a sound he is synonymous for. I don’t agree with trying to crowbar an artist into a genre to meet media necessity, this is just great music. The one consistent in his music is the flashbacks to rave music and that can be heard in abundance in these tracks.
In addition, I would also recommend grabbing this essential mix, you will not regret it.
It wouldn’t be a look back on the year’s releases without mentioning the contributions from Ivy Lab, this site has supported them throughout and rightly so, it’s fantastic to see such talented producers make music we all love. My choice from their bulging 2015 back catalogue is the ‘Twenty Questions EP‘ having heard all of these tracks in previous radio shows and mixes, I was desperate to get my hands on them. I can confidently say that this release speaks for itself and shows an outstanding capability to produce across multiple genres.
Finally, a bit of a leftfield selection that I expect would have passed many of you by. Etch with ‘The Serpent & The Rainbow EP‘ I don’t want to say too much about this, rather let you absorb a trio of tracks that have been masterfully produced, with a D&B acknowledgement audible throughout.