For trap and halftime fans who only know Halogenix as one-third of the deadly-hot broken beat trio Ivy Lab, his new EP release on Critical Recordings might be quite a surprise. Halogenix, given name Lawrence Reading, has been releasing liquid drum and bass and jump up since 2013 under his own name, with labels like Dispatch and Metalheadz under his belt. Velvet is a return to form of sorts for Reading, after a couple of very big years for Ivy Lab, including the opening of their own label, 20/20 recordings.
Both Ivy Lab and Halogenix have worked with Critical Recordings in the past, and while Critical is a very diverse label, the sound and style on this EP may not only surprise Ivy Lab fans but also Critical collectors, as both are known for heavy bass and syncopated beats which border on brain-scrambling. None of the tracks on Velvet are heavy or brain-scrambling, but they are nonetheless well-crafted and, to the trained ear, quite quintessentially Halogenix.
Velvet’s opening track is called “Blej”, which has already been featured on the Noisia radio show as well as premiered by Mixmag. With a light, jump up-style beat which is very consistent, “Blej” is still the most recognizable-to-Ivy Lab-fans track on the EP, due to its hard synths and jaw-clenching bass arcs. Next the title track is smooth as its namesake. A vocal-heavy liquid track, “Velvet” is a well-composed look back to the beginning of liquid. “Cliché” is another soul-inspired liquid track, while “Old Town”, a collaboration with Monty, goes back to harder jump up.
Velvet is a diverse, interesting offering from Halogenix which, when audiences consider the R&B-heavy style which goes into much of Ivy Lab’s work, might not be so surprising. Either way, Halogenix has crafted a well-produced EP which re-establishes him as a producer in his own right and re-connects him to drum and bass despite his mad, beat-bending tendencies with his friends Stray and Sabre.
Velvet is out now on Critical Recordings.