Breakbeat Kaos was huge in 2003. Not only a label, DJ Fresh and Adam F’s brainchild BBK also was a DnB forum and blog before blogs were even a thing, and really just a pillar of all things drum and bass. In terms of where to find news online about DnB releases, tours and happenings, there was only BBK, Drum&BassArena, Breakbeat Science and Dogs on Acid and that was it.
If you’re not aware of who Adam F or DJ Fresh are, now’s the time to learn. Go watch Ali G In Da House, or for DJ Fresh literally just turn on the TV. They’ve created some of the most iconic and popular tracks ever between the two of them. As a label, as well, BBK is also responsible for some more of the most iconic acts in DnB: Chase and Status, Pendulum, The Brookes Brothers and Sigma, just to name a few. BBK is a label to be reckoned with, and the reckoning is coming back.
Now not so much in the blog and distribution game, BBK has been quiet in terms of releases for about six years, but rumors were being heard early last year that a comeback might be in the works. UKF confirmed it just last month, and shortly thereafter BBK’s first release in six years, also coinciding with the label’s 15-year anniversary, was suddenly on YouTube. It’s about bloody time.
DJ Fresh decided to put his own track out as the first new release from BBK, but not without help from two other DnB household names. DJ Phantasy and Macky Gee are big names on their own and with their DnB supergroup SASASAS, so the collab of “Civilization” was destined to drop like an a-bomb. It did not disappoint.
The first thing that’s obvious on “Civilization” as a really different element is the synths. They’re almost recognizable as a style of synth that’s popular in jump up right now and that Macky and Phantasy use quite a lot, but then again not really. The reason this synth is fun, impactful and a technical head-scratcher all at once, seemingly, is that this particular synth pack sounds like it’s been written then run through a mod to flip it backwards, then chopped up and screwed back together.
The composition and time it must have taken to screw that synth together is baffling, and it would be interesting to know which of the three producers thought of that. By way of this composition technique, the synths also provide an alternate syncopation to the heavy, steppy beat, so it creates a great dissonance and interest to the ears of the listener while still being highly danceable. Said beat, by the way, could only be laid down by Fresh, and that heavy bass resonance was sorely missed. Hearing it again is going to be refreshing for a lot of old school BBK fans (pardon the pun).
If the heart-stopping beat and crazy synth weren’t enough, by the way, “Civilization” also features a great theatrical ambient track that comprises the intro and a twisted-sounding movie sample which gives the track its name. It’s all there: classic beats, technically cutting-edge synths and the theatrical, entertaining elements that all three producers are known for. It’s a striking track and one that heralds the return of BBK in a way that will snap the DnB commuity awake for said BBK return.
When he spoke to UKF last month, DJ Fresh said he wasn’t going to give anything away in terms of who else would be releasing on BBK in the near future other than to say that “some old friends would be dropping by.” However with both Chase & Status and Pendulum reportedly returning to DnB, those may be some safe and very exciting bets. Keep a close eye here and with BBK over the summer. It’s going to be a hot one in the world of quality drum and bass.