London’s Loxy and Finland’s Resound have always been known for their ragga-tinged, hard-hitting sound, where each beat slams through with an untouchable technical precision. The two producers have been combining forces for the last three years - including their 2009 anthem ‘Green Destiny/Storyboard’ (Digital Soundboy), remixes for Kryptic Minds, additions to Renegade Hardware compilations, last year’s ‘No Money - Deadly Venom/Driving Force’ (Def Recordings), and their contribution to Exit Records’ ‘Mosaic: Volume One’ (‘Vertigo’) earlier this year. But the duo’s long-awaited debut long player marks their first collaboration that has absolutely no boundaries: as experimental and creative as it gets. True to form, as most Exit Records releases go, ‘Burning Shadows’ sees both producers finding their stride, and treading into surprising new sonic territories from a few different directions. Taking the energy and force of early tech-heavy Drum & Bass, Loxy & Resound bring the genre into a sound that’s uniquely their own.
Exit Boss dBridge put it himself:
“I really love how there’s the reggae side to Loxy’s productions; I thought his sound would really come together as a a whole album, especially with the tech side of Resound. With an album, you’ve got 72 minutes to fill the space with whatever your heart desires. I just love what Loxy & Resound do, so I told them to write the album that they wanted to make. I feel like I got the best out of them this way.”
Deep and vibe-laden, ‘Burning Shadows’ as a whole feels like a trip into another world. There are moments of tranquility and calm, but overall it’s an intensely fast-moving and suspenseful body of work that always feels as though there’s something in wait. With a production style where each song is lead by the drums, the duo flex an incomparable understanding of rhythm and timing: every sample comes just when you least expect it, and each track builds to a point of tension and release, keeping the listener on edge and guessing throughout.
‘Celestial March’ is a downtempo introduction into their cinematic productions, building slowly with an ascending melody. ‘Depth Excess’ teases in a small vocal throughout, swells and waves, with percussion that sounds as if it comes straight from a tribal ceremony. ‘Part Human’ has a dark sci-fi feel to its eerie atmosphere: filled with crescendos, it gets louder and more forceful with each refrain. ‘Black Hole’ is a downtempo masterpiece, one that indeed makes the listener feel as though they’re lost within a never ending abyss.
The next few tracks stand as a modern take on the technical end of D&B, with such a sharp and fresh approach. It’s noticeable in the way the bass hits on the deep roller ‘Conscious,’ for instance, or the way the rhythms create a whirlwind of tension despite having a defined lack of heavy drums on ‘Declaration.’ ‘Sin City’ is filled with all the urgency and fear of pitch-black streets at night, with sparse percussion, but a dancefloor destroyer that will keep you on your toes nonetheless. ‘Fall’ feels like it could go in any direction for the first tense 1:30, but gives into a dark bassline that leads the way to a dense atmosphere with all manner of unexpected sounds. ‘Conqueror X’ is a deep helping of vibes, bringing back the darker edge of early 00’s D&B with a new twist. ‘Inversion’ slams down with old jungle rhythms and swathes of bass: a track that shows the duo’s rare ability to make something so raw and harsh with such delicate precision. ‘Thin Ice’ brings back that inimitable Loxy & Resound Drum & Bass sound - a layered, rhythmic track that hits with immense force. ‘Vindication’ starts to slow things down, with an atmosphere filled with haunting melodies and low-slung bass frequencies, while ‘Vertigo Reprisal’ closes the journey gracefully, carrying tribal drums and a two-tone bassline that waft through jagged-cut sounds. “Take me away,” takes the listener into a hypnotic trance, as a final release from the album’s tight grip.
- Drum & Bass