It’s been a big year for the halftime sound. Since its emergence a few years ago many have ventured into the territory where hip-hop, jungle, footwork and drum and bass blend with seriously impressive results.
Alix Perez flexed his halftime muscle last year with the ruthless U EP whilst the Ivy Lab trio haven’t just found their sound within the scene but run with it to pastures that no one else have dared to. Other advocates of the hybrid genre who command big shouts are Om Unit and Fracture who continue to push the movement further and further afield on their Cosmic Bridge and Astrophonica imprints respectively.
In the last year halftime has covered all areas, from trap to breaks to dub and pure head-shaking madness. Boundaries are widening, creativity is flowing, there are no limits.
A crowd favourite in the clubs and a producer’s favourite in the studio. With the cross-pollination of various parts from our other favourite genres and the seasoned names of those in the movement continuing shell it down we’ve picked out 10 of the best halftime tracks that 2015 has had to offer us.
Hyroglifics – No Drama (Critical)
Does what it says on the tin: No drama. Taken from the EP of the same title, by way of Critical, this ticks all the boxes on the halftime checklist, blending in his already known d&b skills with cuts from grime and hip hop influences. No better way to describe the halftime sound and we’ve only just started!
Fracture X Kid Drama – Tell Me How ft. Lucie La Mode (Exit)
A different vibe to Hyroglifics but another stellar example of the halftime sound. Fracture and Kid D use Lucie La Mode’s voice perfectly over the halftime/hip hop beat, and why not throw in a 90s bassline in there? All coming together on this one.
Stray – Walk On By (Exit)
Always one for creating drum and bass away from the conventional, Stray has refined his sound towards the hip hop side of things. This year we heard his Paradise EP on Exit filled with some of his finest hip hop and jungle work. A third of the mighty Ivy Lab team, Stray is no stranger to the halftime and it’s not hard to tell – executing it like a boss!
Sabre – Yoga (Alix Perez Club Mix) (Plasma Audio)
Perez’s first appearance in this list…. And not his last. On this one we hear the wizard of future beats taking control of Sabre’s Yoga and disfiguring it the best way he knows how. He’s brought two incredible remixes on the EP, the warped version is as far out as halftime gets while this Club mix just slaps in all the right places. A serious heavy hitter.
Om Unit – Wagonist Riddim (Cosmic Bridge)
The halftime veteran was as prolific as ever in 2015, typified by his Torchlight EP that was headed by the murderous Wagonist Riddim. Om Unit continues to produce some of the finest halftime perfectly designed for the depths of the underground club. Director and chief of Cosmic Bridge this man has had a heavy hand in the success of halftime this year, would have been rude not to mention him!
Ivy Lab – Shamrock (20/20 LDN)
We couldn’t complete a list like this without including these guys. Ivy Lab have been taking the genre to far and wide places, bringing in the vibes of the US with their trap and heavy hip hop influences along the way. Their ridiculous debut album, 20/20 Volume One, was bursting with sounds and designs of a distant future, with Shamrock standing out a favourite.
Alix Perez – Understand (Alix Perez/Bandcamp)
Released as a free download, yes free download, this year, Perez steps his halftime game up a notch with this absolute wrecker. A man who’s production is heavily halftime based at the moment, Alix Perez continues to produce on the heavier side of genre; with signature raw bass lines and head-shaking rhythm.
Sam Binga – AYO Ft. Redders (Ivy Lab Remix) (Critical)
Ivy Lab step up to the plate again with this infectious remix of club favourite AYO by Sam Binga. Bringing their trap style to their remixing duties, the trio have slowed down the pace from the original but keep Redders’ bad boy sound as the catalyst on the track which gets big love in the clubs.
Danny Scrilla – Riddim (Cosmic Bridge)
A relatively new name to the halftime/160 bpm scene but one who has grabbed it by the scruff of the neck. Riddim is just ridiculous. So we felt it had to be high up in these selections. A tempo in between dubstep and drum and bass, Scrilla produces something you’d expect to hear from a young Skream circa 2006. I literally can’t say any more, you’ve got to check this one yourself!
DJ Spinn & DJ Rashad – Dubby ft. Danny Brown (Hyperdub)
Spinn and Rashad are two producers who have innovated and pioneered the footwork genre. Despite the untimely death of DJ Rashad in 2014, the two of America’s finest halftime players still had material to show. Released posthumously, Dubby is a piece of halftime beauty taking in the classic trap beat, then switching to garage and even throwing some jazz in there too and all working perfectly off each other. Salutes all round.