Icicle: Entropy (CD, Shogun Audio, November 2014)

Bit of a mixed bag this one. There are some up-tempo drum’n’bass jobs which range from good fun (Neutralize) to irksomely overblown (Hypervelocity, whose pretentious pseudoscience gets my goat). There are a couple of down-tempo almost trip-hop jobs which do nothing for me (Superimposed). There are some mid-tempo atmospheric filler jobs which are nicely produced but aren’t exactly the sort of thing I’d make a point of listening to (Entropy 1 through 4).

And then there are four absolute bangers. Problem is a grimy business with an ace anti-austerity rap by Skittles which is the best protest song I’ve heard in ages — the lyrics aren’t subtle, and neither’s the production (check the moment where everything gets pitch-shifted through the floor just before the bass drum kicks in), but it’s bloody refreshing. Isolation is ridiculously jaunty techstep complete with pleasingly old-school Alien sample and its timing is perfect. Amp is a classic slice of breakbeat rave, all hands-in-the-air and filter sweeps and a voice counting 3–2–1–0 before, yes, the bass drum kicks in: a friend remarked that it’s the sort of thing you’d hear at Bang Face ten years ago, and he’s not far wrong. And Acidic does exactly what it says on the tin: it was a big hit at an impromptu 3 a.m. kitchen rave-up recently and caused another friend to tweet “303 problemz in SE16″… she wasn’t wrong either.

I think it’s fair to say that Icicle hasn’t mastered the long-playing format yet. But he has a tonne of talent and with highlights like this we can’t really be picky.

I bought this from Juno. They call it Drum and Bass.

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