Selections: The Untouchables
In this series, Selections, we invite DJs, producers and label heads to dig into their digital crates and share the contents of their Bandcamp collections. This week, following the release of their recent album on Presha’s Samurai Music, drum & bass duo The Untouchables spotlight some recent favourites
The Untouchables have returned to Presha’s Samurai Music powerhouse with their second album for the label, ‘Grassroots’. The LP — which evolved naturally from a smaller project — is perhaps the best example yet of how the Brussels-based drum & bass duo have developed a true signature sound, but are still able to maintain variety in their output. Across all 12 of the tracks on offer, there are fundamental components at work: kick-drums rise like great stone obelisks from dense pits of tar-black bass, while swarms of percussion and dub effects make each sparse soundscape come alive.
Diversity comes when the balance of elements is shifted between tracks. ‘Gunmetal’, Loxy collaboration ‘Genetic X’, and ‘Helena’ with Mantra bring pressure-cooker energy — boiling drums causing a relentless forward momentum. ‘Devils Dance’ and ‘Sorcerer Supreme’, on the other hand, are ungainly beasts, happy to lumber along in an awkward but no less ominous fashion. On ‘Fouls Game’ and ‘Poison Dart’ — the latter produced with another Samurai staple, Sam KDC — growling, overdriven low-end forms the hook, while ‘Stage 3’ with Djinn brings eerie flickers of dub siren to the fore.
The album continues a prolific period for the husband and wife pairing, individually known as Nitrox and Kay. In the last 12 months or so, their output has included an EP for rising Brighton label DNO Records — delivering moody rumblers around both 140 and 170bpm — a collection of VIP takes on tracks from their 2018 Samurai Music album ‘Mutations’, a four-tracker for London’s Rupture label, and numerous singles and EPs on their own Mutable Beats imprint.
Listen to and buy the ‘Grassroots’ LP here.
The pair also have pretty impeccable taste, as demonstrated in their Selections below.
“Been waiting a long time for this to be released. Absolutely adore this one. Deep, dark and militant. Straight to the point — a must-have in your box.”
“Love the engage on this one. The techno loop hypnotises your head and the kicks hit hard to bring you back to reality. The clubs will definitely be shaking to this one... great EP overall.”
“The old skool atmospheric jungle vibes on this one take you back to the early days of d&b. The chopped breaks keep the tune rolling.”
“Perfect dancefloor tune. A mesmerising percussion pattern accompanied by a deadly bassline is always a dangerous combination. Absolute killer.”
“Pure dubby jungle vibes. Absolutely loved discovering Double O’s ‘Lost Files’ through the pandemic. This one truly takes you back to the early ’90s. Dub utterly smashed it with this one.”
“Love this tune. The melodies and percussion take us back to when we were kids discovering dub. The whole [‘Acid Dub Studies’] album is so lovely and musical, it was hard to pick our favourite.”
“The raw percussive energy in this tune is absolutely mad, and all the siren sounds round off the tune perfectly.”
“Probably one of the deepest ones on this list. The atmosphere, pad and strings are just so magical. A perfect combination of trip-hop and boom-bap. Perfect for a long journey.”
“Catchy and happy, nothing but positive vibes. Chopped breaks, deep pads, and the vocal holds everything together brilliantly.”
“In comes the danger. Love this tune for the sheer brutality of it. No messing around — this tune is filthy. A perfect tune to let off steam.”