It’s been a fertile time for modern drum & bass recently. The work of dBridge and Instra:mental as Autonomic [evidently] has had a big effect on us here at fabric, but a lot of the artists that were getting discussed and mused over in the office all ended up having a binding thread. That thread was Critical Music. Artists like Stray, Rockwell and Sabre; new blood coming with fresh ideas and mutated takes on the classic 170pm template, had all been scouted by the label.
Label boss Kasra is typically coy about his imprint's success, heaping the praise on the music produced by the incredible bank of talent the label is home to; and deservedly so. His label stands simply as the means to get this music heard, producing physical product that reflects his own love and passion for the game.
“I’ve always been interested in the process of releasing music, the signing, production (as in the packaging), marketing side of things; the side most people find dull!” he tells us, beaming at his own admission. “I’d run small labels of my own in my teens, releasing all sorts of experimental music but when I got into drum & bass I realised that I’d like to be involved more in the scene. I was inspired by labels like 31 and Metalheadz, cutting edge underground dance music that doesn’t fit into an easily definable box."
With Critical’s latest compilation ‘Critical Sound’ released late last year, Kasra proved that he had the eye and ear to stand tall next to these iconic labels he respects so dearly. Collating work from a plethora of talent, both respected and brand new, he managed to define his label’s ethos with 19 tracks.
“People say to me the label does have its own sound; but even I’m not sure what that is. The label is pretty diverse, there’s some deep experimental bits, some more dancefloor aimed straight up rollers but I’d like to think the sound of the label is just one of quality. Obviously that’s completely up to the listener...” he smirks, “I just try to sign good music.”
“I’m especially proud of the albums that have come out on the label. So far we have released 3 compilations and just recently the Sabre album, 'A Wandering Journal.' Albums are such a labour of love, taking months to put together and really they do define a label. I am planning a new compilation but that’ll be in the New Year... 2010 is focused on bringing through some new talent. Artists like Stray, FD and Hybris are making some incredible music plus over the next few months there will be releases from Total Science, Lenzman, Rockwell, Jubei, Break, SPY, Raiden and more.”
With an upcoming release schedule of that calibre Critical is fast becoming impossible to ignore with numerous publications agreeing that the new brand of electronic music sprinting from their stable is some of the most “stunning” (ATM) and “thought provoking” (iDJ) out there. No suprise then that we’ve invited Kasra and his Critical imprint to become residents here, giving them a quarterly platform to showcase the best in talent and ingenuity loaded music, here in the heart of London.
“I feel very positive about the music at the moment; there are a lot of great tunes being made from many different producers. As with any genre there’s a lot of dross being made but that’s my opinion and I don’t waste my time focusing on the bad. All I know is that I’ve got more music to play than ever,” he informs us when we ask what we can expect on the night. “The first night features myself alongside Break, Rockwell, Sabre, Jubei and FD, a showcase of new and more established artists from the label who play a diverse mix of styles. The new fabric residency is a real highlight for me; I had been looking for a home for the label in London and I really couldn’t ask for anywhere better....”
Critical Sound launches at fabric on Friday 14th May in Room Three with Kasra, Break, Jubei, Sabre, Rockwell and FD hosted by emcees Wrec and Bassline.
To mark the occasion Kasra himself has put together a mix; “a showcase of the Critical Sound; the type of tunes you would expect to hear at a Critical event plus lots of tasty exclusive dubs and forthcoming Critical tunes.”