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The Upbeats: Top 10 Deep D&B Tracks

The Upbeats’ De-Evolution program is finally complete. A LP-sized regression session designed to refocus the production perspective back to its grittier roots. They announced it last March, describing the project as “taking things back to being a little more human.”

16 tracks over one year via three EPs – and now officially an album project, although they didn’t describe it as such to begin with – the rawness renaissance has resulted in their largest, broadest body of work in their 13 years of releases. From theatrical gut-busters like Dungeon to much deeper, emotional compositions such as A Place For You, it’s the sound of two men just digging deep into the vibe of each track and not getting caught up in the larger picture, or pressure, of an album.

The final chapter of the project landed last week. With it came this restrained, rolling gem…

With these vibes in mind we quizzed them about the project and pressed them for their top favourite deep tracks. We weren’t disappointed… 

De-Evolution… What a crazy trip it’s been. What have your learnt during this near-year long process?

Yeah it has been a bit of a long learning experience. We actually didn’t know how this sort of release would be received, and it’s awesome to say the response has been really good. It was a bit of a curve ball going for the three Eps over a conventional album format, but we think it’s paid off. In this day and age where a lot people have limited attention span it has meant most of the tunes have had time to shine which is really nice.

So we’re cool to call it an album now?

Yeah we were a little hesitant to call it an album at the time as that opens up some expectations about what this should be… We just wanted it to really be its own thing as a series. But now that we are coming to a close with the parts being out and things falling into place we have plans to present the whole thing in an album format. The vinyl will have all 16 tracks on it, plus we have done a playlist so people can listen as though it’s an album.

You cover a lot of ground across the collection. Which tracks gave you the freshest territories to forage in and how did they come about?

We’ve always loved delving into the more unusual avenues of where D&B/170bpm music can go – and it really still feels like there’s un-forged territories if you have an open mind about it. Tunes from the project like Elevator, A Place For You, Streetlight, Babylon, Say Go and No Surprises all started as some really strange little sketches that each had a real spark that kept us pushing and developing them into what they are now. Keeping it varied and trying new things keeps us entertained and stuff fresh in the studio. And if you stick to the same formula for every track I think eventually people are going to get bored of it – the tune pond gets stagnant.

Can’t help to notice but Veiled landed within weeks of The Veil by six known associates of yours… Noisia & Black Sun Empire. What type of illuminati devilry is this?

This runs so deep. It’s all a massive cover up, hence the title. We are keeping everything in the shadows until it’s time. Such great secrecy, so great….. Yeah we had no idea. One of those unfortunate naming things that we were completely unaware of at the time. For the record, though; we were first!

Give us a high…

A high for us would be people reacting very well to some of the more musical/deeper cuts on the releases. You know sometimes these just get buried under the bangers, but it’s amazing to play out and have some really vibey moments to tunes like Say Go, Pharaoh or Elevator. It’s really rewarding when a tune goes down well and it’s not just sonically smashing someone around with a bunch of loud sounds, but has become something more than that and pulls at some emotional strings.

Give us a low…

Losing a lot of material from the final part of the series due to a hard drive failure. We are normally pretty good at backing up but this one stung us. We work a lot of the time in random spaces and studios so are mostly mobile with our setup and this comes with pitfalls like this. Having to remake a lot of the stuff on part three was pretty soul destroying.

Give us a fake news…

If you play our music backwards at 33rpm during a thunderstorm while watching re-runs of Alf and cracking nangs you’ll discover the meaning of life and the universe and everything. Actually… maybe you will?

Give us your top 10 deep drum & bass tunes…

Spectrasoul – Second Chance (Ish Chat, 2017)

There’s been a lot of deeper stuff lately grabbing our attention, but this latest offering from Spectrasoul definitely stands out. They’re always the masters of vibe, and this is that beautiful balance between beautiful musicality, rolling drums and dancefloor sensibilities (Snake)

 

Rockwell – Chorus of Disapproval (Shogun, 2016)

Rockwell has been a long time favourite of ours, but definitely in the last two years he’s really been on top of his game (in our humble opinion). This one walks the line a little between deepness and pop sensibilities, but it’s very cool, and always captivates a crowd (Snake)

 

Fourward – Over (Shogun, 2016)

This was the surprise winner for us from the Fourward album. Such a cool, interesting and understated trance/emo anthem. It really ticked all the boxes for us (Snake)

 

Noisia – Motion Blur (Vision, 2016)

Love this one from de Noisia. It’s up there as one of our favourite tracks from the album. Beautiful evolution throughout the track, that never feels like it’s in a rush (Snake)

 

Ivy Lab & Alix Perez – No One Else (Critical, 2016)

This was a little bit of a grower. I liked it from first listen, but didn’t quite think we could fit it in to our sets. Until these last few months, I’ve been getting a little self indulgent and pulling out a wee mix with this and Frank Ocean’s Seigfried. Gives me chills every time. (Snake)

 

Spectrasoul – Away With Me (Calibre Remix) (Shogun Audio, 2012)

A beautiful rework, that elevates what was already an amazing tune. Again one of those ones that finds the rare balance between deep, emotional content, and just the right amount of drive and energy from the drums and bassline (Snake)

 

Bad Company – Colonies (BC Recordings, 2000)

I remember being at a party with Jeremy when we were fresh out of high school – drinking vodka out of a plastic bottle mixed with Raro (NZ squash drink) and listening to this for the first time on the radio. It sounded so futuristic and other worldly at the time (Wolf)

 

Marcus Intalex & S.T files – Universe (Metalheadz, 2001)

We used to play the crap out of this. Simple and beautiful – it really has a timeless sound that sort of reminds me of some of the house and techno released around the same era (Wolf)

 

Klute – Part Of Me (Hospital, 2002)

This has always been an upbeats favourite. Kinda unconventional and holds itself as a song, but also translates to the dance floor (Wolf)

 

Adam F – Circles (Section 5, 1995)

Absolute classic. Still try to sneak this into sets if we can! (Wolf)

 

The Upbeats – De-Evolution III is out now on Vision

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