Four years on from Aquatic Lab’s first compilation, ‘Sessions Vol. 2’ continues the celebration of underground aesthetics and sonic diversity. ‘Sessions Vol. 2’ unites the labels’ established luminaries such as Cluekid, Moving Ninja, Seven and Truth with a finely curated crop of upcoming producers. Aquatic Lab’s latest recruits all espouse their own forward-leaning takes on a range of authentic electronic sounds, and are ready to stamp their mark on the label’s future.
Aquatic Lab’s dichotomy of pushing darker and lighter sounds continues, as the warm, half-time autonomic stylings of Bardeya’s ‘Gordon’ and the laid back vibes of Truth & Dutty Ranks and Subreachers & Kiev shift in seamless juxtaposition with the upbeat swing of Perverse and the murkier tones of Seven, Core, Moving Ninja, Shredexx and Gantz.
The opening track, ‘Saw’, is a powerful Moving Ninja cut. Packing a heavily-chromed protoindustrial sound, ‘Saw’ fuses sublime cinematics with a visceral half-step slam. Formed in 2004, Moving Ninja was born at the forefront of underground dubstep’s early years; forging early releases and appearances on Bristol’s Tectonic Recordings. With Aquatic Lab as its spiritual outpost, this exclusive return of the esteemed artist Paul Jebanasam under the Moving Ninja guise follows his work in recent years as an accomplished modern-classical composer and experimental sound designer.
Hot off the heels of the ‘Dolphin’ EP (LAB014), his BBC1 supported and Mixmag-tipped ‘Single of the Month’, Cluekid returns with LD on ‘Dusty’, a classic jungle-ready roller. The two combine all the right mid-range and amen kick-drive in this nod to traditional tape-pack vibes.
Core’s recent debut for the label, LAB013 ('Civil War'/'Cyborg'), saw the Londoner garner wide praise for the monolithic power of his road-hardened tunes. His contribution to 'Vol. 2' comes in the form of ‘Eagle Scream’, an ode to the genre's techno-laced rave explosion of 2008/2009 – the sound pioneered by Seven on LAB004 and LAB005 – and most prominently associated with N-Type and Youngsta. The thick bassline and thumping groove of ‘Eagle Scream’ simply embodies the streetwise bass ethic he has rapidly become known for.
Continuing on from the launch of his Uprise Audio imprint in mid-2012, the almighty Seven returns to Aquatic Lab for the first time since 2009.'Dark Tribe' is a moody cut rooted in Seven's crisp sound design and hellish techno-injected excursions.
The mystic clairvoyance of Turkish producer Gantz is celebrated in the form of ‘Wintershine Music’ and ‘Lifebound’. Both of these dubwise tunes are deeply rooted in the ethereal, postapocalyptic urban sound design, weaved into hypnotic Near East mosaics. Gantz’s arrival embodies the label’s commitment to incubating only the best new talent.
Aquatic Lab’s ongoing connection with New Zealand’s finest continues with the Sunday sound system vibes of ‘Only Me’, a collaboration between Truth and Dutty Ranks. Coming off the back of well-received releases for J:Kenzo’s Artikal Music UK, hotly-tipped
Perverse make their first appearance for Aquatic Lab with the distinct techno-hopscotch of ‘Hamba’. Wrought with raw primal energy and bounce, ‘Hamba’ is proving a force to be reckoned with on every dancefloor it reaches.
The label’s hometown, Sydney, is represented by two fresh newcomers – Jon Deville and Teefreqs. The former’s ‘Plan B’ is a Hessle-inspired, minimalist deconstruction of rhythm and colour, whilst the latter’s offering is a visceral tribute to the dread sound of the mid-2000s.
In recent times, the label’s rebirth has seen the imprint outgrow its Australian roots. Aquatic Lab
now operates on an inter-continental front, through its Sydney-Berlin axis. With a bevy of new artists lined up for their full debuts on the label, ‘Sessions Vol. 2’ is a timely teaser of what lies ahead.
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