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Single Review: J Plates - A Cut Above / Strength To Strength [J Plates]


Following hot on the heels of his Brain Drain EP, J Plates comes correct with another nostalgia-infused slice of timeless Drum & Bass, for the debut release on his very own imprint. Originally appearing in 2014 on now-defunct Sonata Recordings, these two singles have been remastered and sound absolutely massive, sitting firmly in the wheelhouse of atmospheric, low-BPM DnB pioneered by the likes of LTJ Bukem.


A Cut Above leads off with a soaring, melancholic rave synth before settling into a contemplative beat with crisp percussion and clean, booming bottom end, peppered with tasteful reverbed blips and that ever-present old-school synth bringing the vibes.


Strength To Strength similarly invokes mid-90’s atmospheres with sparkling minor key progressions, a ruffneck amen break providing the grit alongside the evocative high-end.


Tunes like these are a rare breed these days, with the liquid subgenre dominated by hazy, vocal-heavy offerings, and the jungle side of things heavily influenced by jump-up sounds. So it’s a genuine pleasure to hear a producer harken back to a simpler time when it was more about the journey and vibe than whoever could manufacture the heaviest, craziest drop. If you’ve got a hankering for closing your eyes and getting lost in the music, make sure you add this to your collection.

Available from 5th June 2020 on bandcamp.

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