Kindred souls LSB and DRS broaden the vista once more with a full collaborative album: The Blue Hour.
To be released November 29 on LSB’s Footnotes label, it not only builds on their growing line of remarkable link-ups over the last few years such as The View, New Day, Angels Fall and Missing You (not to mention countless shows and their crucial Space Age mix series) but also takes us much deeper into their shared musical psyche.
Written over the course of the last few years – including an intense DIY Airbnb session on tour in the US this year – the album samples live musicians and explores the most introspective, thoughtful corners of both artists’ repertoire. It’s every bit as touching and immersive as you’d hope it to be. The first track Faded landed today:
LSB gave us a few more details…
I think this has been bubbling for a while. Like maybe years. How long have you been working on this and what triggered the album process?
We’ve been passing tunes back and forth since Marcus linked us around 2014 to help with the second DRS album. The View and New Day were both written in that time. New Day wouldn’t eventually make Mid Mic Crisis, but it was the beginning of a working relationship which is now stronger than ever.
Tracks like Scarred, I’m Changing and Angels Fall were written a few years back but parked as I don’t think either of us knew what to do with them. There’s a shared folder that’s always existed that DRS would dip in and out of and we mused about the idea of an EP. Then we had a burst of creativity earlier this year and it felt like maybe we had an album on our hands. I was keen to push on from my album Content, but not just write the same album again. This felt like a great opportunity to be experiential and creative, knowing that I had someone with me along for the ride. We then toured America twice in early 2019 and wrote a few of the tracks together in an Airbnb with a laptop and Del’s MC mic. It was there we discussed the concept and the overall feeling we wanted to achieve.
It’s a very personal piece of work for both of you, right?
Completely, I think the protection we provide each other allows us both to be more personal, or at least that’s certainly how it feels with me. DRS has been opening up through his music piece by piece over the years, and in particular with his album From The Deep. For me personally I’ve often envisaged colour when writing music and the colour that I predominately look for is blue. I think that’s reflected in Del’s lyrics within this album. Hence the title. In some tenuous way, musically it’s all focused on that central point. Only a few tracks deviate from that feeling for me, I didn’t want to feel like a strict concept album or something overly pretentious (even though I’m aware of how I’m sounded here haha!) I just wanted a common theme.
We both wanted it to sound raw and personal. Which, as a producer of D&B, is liberating. Free from huge mixdowns and restrictive arrangements. However, we wanted it to be pushing the boundaries of a drum & bass album, rather than being two D&B guys writing non-D&B. Only two tracks aren’t in the 170-175 range and it’s a celebration of our mutual love of a broad range of music within the melting pot of D&B.
Have you collaborated with real musicians on this? The musicality and sound of it – especially tracks like Letting Go, Jazz Arps etc – feels like you’ve sampled real players…
Yes, a select few friends plus a few online collaborations. I was influenced by the early works of Cinematic Orchestra where they would work by writing in samples, getting musicians to replay it, then resampling and re-arranging it again. So we had piano, bass, flute, strings, cello and a few other bits thrown in there. I also wrote Make You Love Me, or at least the backing track to it, years ago by looping my terrible guitar playing and layering and layering it whilst trying to blur the line between live and sequenced elements.
Please sign out with a big up and celebration of the poetry and clarity of man like Del…
I can’t speak highly enough of Del as an artist as a person. A DJ set don’t feel the same without him. Some of my favourite moments on stage have been Del just going on over some of my tunes. It’s those moments where I sit back and wonder if it’s all real. I’m immensely proud to work with him, and regardless of how it’s received, I’m immensely proud of this album.
LSB & DRS – The Blue Hour is out November 29 on Footnotes