by Ninja Tune
'SPIRIT IN THE SYSTEM'
Release date: 7 July (Japan) / 16 August (EUR) / 24 August (N.America)
Following the ground-rupturing, genre-fusing success of their ballistic debut full-length, 2009’s Join The Q, The Qemists return with their brilliant second album, Spirit In The System, a bolder and more sophisticated beast betraying a confidence drawn from playing their wild noise to riotous audiences across the globe.
The Qemists – Liam Black, Leon Harris and Dan Arnold – formed while they were school-kids, looking for distraction from the boredom of life on the rural outskirts of Brighton, Rock kids quickly seduced by Rave and Jungle who spent every free hour rehearsing in a barn, or building Electronic tracks on computers. Following years spent experimenting in search of the perfect hybrid of Drum & Bass, Rock, Dubstep, Techno, Dancehall and everything else The Qemists loved, the group exploded onto the scene in 2006 with an acclaimed remix of Coldcut’s ‘Everything Is Under Control’, subsequently signing to Ninja Tune Records as artists in their own right.
Their debut album, Join The Q arrived in February 2009, following a blazing series of 12”s: “Iron Shirt”, ‘Stompbox’, ‘Drop Audio’, ‘Lost Weekend’ (featuring ex-Faith No More front-man Mike Patton), and 2009’s ‘Dem Na Like Me’ (featuring Wiley); two subsequent singles, ‘On The Run’ and ‘S.W.A.G.’, both found their way onto the Radio 1 Daytime Playlist. The Qemists have spent much of the time since taking their music to the people, playing a huge array of festivals across the world (including Japan, where Join The Q was the No 1 electronic album), audiences responding with fervour to their genre-mashing melee, returning to the studio late last year to begin work on this sophomore stomper.
While Spirit In The System delivers plenty of The Qemists trademark visceral energy – like ‘Your Revolution’, first single off the album, with its galloping Drum & Bass tempo changes and ribcage-rattling sub-bass riffs and captivating vocals from Brighton-based Matt Rose – it’s a deeper experience than its predecessor, the group having gained the confidence to touch feelings as well as move bodies. Long-time Qemists collaborator Jenna G delivers the brilliantly anguished vocal for ‘Hurt Less’, second single from the album, one of several cathartic emotional crescendos on the album. Other guest singers on the album include Rob Hawkins, vocalist for Welsh rockers The Automatic, who sings on muscular Techno pumper ‘Apocalypse’; Grime MCs Maxtsa and MC ID, who rap on the wailing-siren skank of ‘Renegade’; Chantel, singer with Invasion, whose vocals grace the windswept drama of ‘Fading Halo’ and drive searing Soul of ‘Life’s Too Short’; and Qemists live hype man Bruno Balanta, who joins Matt Rose for the pavement-shattering stomp of ‘Dirty Words’. Recent tour-mates Enter Shikari, meanwhile, provided vocals and guitar riffs for the riot-starting Thrash-Jungle of ‘Take It Back’.
The Qemists remain as brilliantly, defiantly indefinable as ever: live Rock musicians who are also cutting edge Electronic producers, equally at home in the rehearsal room, on the stage, or working their wizardry in the studio. “Our audience know its cool to be this kind of ‘cross-breed’,” says Liam. “It’s okay to be into all different kinds of music, you don’t have to limit yourself creatively. We can be producers, we can be a band, we can make the music we want to make.”
Spirit In The System
Take It Back feat. Enter Shikari
Hurt Less feat. Jenna G
Dirty Words feat. Matt Rose & Bruno Balanta
Renegade feat. Maxsta
Fading Halo feat. Chantal of Invasion
The Only Love Song feat. MC ID
Life’s Too Short
Apocalypse feat. Rob Hawkins of The Automatic