Various Vent 0004: A Drum and Bass Document

Not to be confused with the numerous collections of drum & bass music found out there, Vent 0004 wanders a more ambitious path. Here, the folks at Tar Media have put together 13 tracks by 11 international and independent producers who celebrate the drum and the bass as key instruments in contemporary sample-based music. Not surprisingly, hip-hop beats and breaks reign supreme throughout. Plane's most excellent "Fade" kicks things off with naked drum beats, a catchy, melodic bass line and singing scratches all guaranteed to put head-nodders in a frenzy. The Groove Criminals' "Ghost" is a strong slice of down-tempo, with chilled beats, crazy scratching and heartfelt strings, and samples. Prine's "MC's and Me" picks up the pace and adds some breaks and the UK's Catfish offers "Orak," a spacy slab of jazzy drum & bass that somehow recalls Magazine and early new wave. But the real find here is Norway's Xploding Plastix, who contributes two refined beauties. "The Beat of the Drum" is a mid-tempo, melancholic trip down somebody's memory lane with jazzy sax riffs and a sampled upright bass telling the tale. "Funnybonez and Lazylegs" walks a more live sounding turf, coming out on top with drums strutting and rolling, a light touch on the synths, intense string effects and breaks and builds that literally give me a chill. Despite the fact that the sound begins to wear a bit thin at points in the entirely instrumental comp, Tar Media is to be commended for the superfine concept and the brand new discoveries. (Tar)