Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.
Listen in playlist format here.
I first heard i_o‘s “Low” in the early months of 2018 when he sprinkled the track in a mau5trap mix. Its thumping bass and sultry vocals immediately caught my attention, and in the months since, I’ve replayed that snippet of the mix more times than I’d care to mention. This is i_o in his finest form: churning out preposterously filthy beats with a catchy vocal loop that lures the listener from the get-go. “Low” makes up the first half of his latest EP, which is out now on mau5trap.
So much respect for American drum & bass producers who are pushing the scene here in the States! One of my current favorites is BoxPlot, a Boston-based artist who’s been building a following through releases like “Sunroad” with Flite (who’s also American!) on Liquicity. His latest is a rework of Mint Royale’s 2002 “Blue Song.” BoxPlot has modernized the track and brought it swiftly into 2018, switching up the pace considerably by adding a truly intimidating drum & bass backbone to the song.
Following his “Mirage” release in July, Monstercat mastermind Rogue has returned to deliver “Badlands.” This track is a breath of fresh air in a genre where there’s often little variety in sound: future bass. Badlands is beautifully complex, lush with airy melodies and an overall ferociousness that’s apparent from the first few seconds. This intense atmosphere makes it perfect the compilation its a part of: the latest Monstercat x Rocket League compilation.
After building anticipation through singles like “Just Life” and “Behind Those Clothes,” Jaguar Dreams have at last unveiled their debut self-titled EP. The seven-track collection of songs leads the listener on a somewhat nostalgic journey, dwindling down with the last song, “Tapts.” This one’s a bit darker than its predecessors but is equally beautiful. “This first EP is a collection of songs that came about somewhat effortlessly in a shack in the middle of the jungle using basic instruments,” they tell their listeners in the EP’s description. “We produced and arranged everything back in our studio in NYC and the collection became a true culmination of our collective pasts embodied in a new shape that felt right.”
While I can’t understand a word of this song, its beauty is so utterly apparent. “Hislerim” manages to build a bridge between what many would consider a “heater” and a more melodic, ethereal piece. It ebbs and flows from bass-filled choruses to verses of gorgeous vocals backed by minimalist instrumental elements. This song has it all: twinkling piano melodies, heavenly vocals, a hefty dose of bass — and still comes together in a neatly packaged, comprehensive way. Good music truly transcends language barriers.