There’s new blood at Hospital Records, and they’re pushing out some of the best music on the drum and bass market today. Guys like Camo & Krooked, Metrik, and Fred V and Grafix are on the forefront of the dancefloor dnb scene, rivaling talent from RAM Records and beyond. The music in question would be Fred V & Grafix’s new EP, titled “Goggles”. It’s a forward thinking player from them, featuring not just the standard liquid vibes that you’d come to expect from the duo from Devon.
The title track, “Goggles”, is definitely one of more interesting tunes I’ve heard in a while. An unassuming bleepy sort of arpeggiated intro builds into a definite roller of a tune. Nothing outstandingly complex here, just some strong bass and their ever present snare rolls to move into the different parts of the song. Drops are definitely not the thing to notice in this, as the whole tune just rolls along with its brooding distorted sort of bassline and ever present bleepy arpeggios. I’m a big fan of this one, as the two definitely showcase that they’re not just about those same airy synth lines and jazzy motifs. Definitely one of my standout tunes on the new EP.
The followup to Goggles is “Games People Play”, and boy, what a tune! Those looking for a truly “Fred V & Grafix” experience, look no further. The two have absolutely nailed that absolutely blissful liquid drum and bass sound with this. The standard light intro with the brooding vocal samples building into a massive snare roll crescendo, no doubt the calling card of the boys, works a treat in “Games”. Definitely a track with undeniable playback appeal, yet retains enough energy to be played out on the dancefloor. The second drop is definitely the winner here, featuring just a sublime guitar solo that quite simply does not fail to deliver on the goosebumps. The whole track is composed just so simply yet so brilliantly, it’s not hard to see why the duo won “Newcomer Producers of the Year” at the 2012 DNB awards. Fantastic tune all around.
Next up, it’s the massive “Basilisk”. Definite drumstep vibes on this one, featuring lots and lots of very organic sounding instruments. Guitars and pianos galore in the intro, sweeping into a stomping build to get the blood pounding just a bit more. The build and drop definitely took me by surprise, as I’d never heard anything quite so..fearsome? by the boys. It’s definitely a dancefloor smasher, everything sounds impeccably crisp as you’d expect from the two, and still retains that playful air of fun that Fred and Grafix’s music just about always contains. It’s heavy, but it doesn’t take itself seriously whatsoever, and that’s what makes it so addicting. Longtime Hospital fans don’t seem too keen on drumstep lately, but I think this is absolutely a great move for the boys, it screams “Fred V and Grafix” but also sounds absolutely brand new to them. Definitely keeping in my heavy play list for my dj sets.
Rounding off the EP is the brilliantly chilled “Denmark Road”. Kicking off with a very airy sort of piano driven intro, it’s easy to just lean back and let your mind wander off a bit. This is strictly summer day – windows rolled down sort of vibes and it’s absolutely perfect. Another sublime example of how far some well written yet simply executed synths and some crisp bass can get you. Not quite dancefloor material, but it’s just a wonderful tune all the way through. The first time I heard it, I wondered how the duo could possibly encapsulate the mood and feelings that a nice summer day with friends and music better. Again, guitar use in this tune seems to emulate the rest of the EP, it all sounds incredibly organic with a great solo piece in the 2nd drop, guiding the tune along to its completion. One of my favorite Fred V and Grafix tunes to date. Simply brilliance in every way.
Fred V and Grafix continue to show you don’t need to make the same music over and over again when you are this talented at capturing the vibe of a song. They continue to impress with their astonishing DJ sets and are hands down one of the most exciting production duo’s I’ve heard in my years as a fan of drum and bass. Do yourself a huge favor and do NOT skip this EP. You won’t regret it.
– Derek Lombardo