January has been a big month for drum & bass. With the release of Hospital’s annual Sick Music compilation, new music from Fred V and Grafix after their breakup, singles from 1991, Monrroe, Anile, and some seriously killer bootlegs and remixes for the likes of Mura Masa and Twenty One Pilots, there’s no shortage of tunes this month. Check out our selection below of the 15 best tracks of January 2019 – it’s going to be such a sick year for drum & bass if this month is to be any indication of what’s to come!
1. Fred V – “Burning Me” (Hospital Records) – January was a hard month as it not only marked the official end of the holiday season, but also the end of one of our all time favorite duos, Fred V & Grafix. However, despite the heartbreak, with their split comes two new opportunities for new music, as they’ve both gone their separate ways and gone back to their old solo projects. Kicking Fred V’s off is “Burning Me,” the future-bass infused, vibrantly melancholic tune that is the only thing that makes their break-up even semi-bearable. Excited to see more from Fred V!
2. Grafix – “Frozen” (Hospital Records) – Of course, we couldn’t mention new Fred V without also talking about the new tune from Grafix. Going back to his roots of gritty, ice cold productions, Grafix unleashes his darker side for this sinister stomper. Technically brilliant and with an underground funk that is one of a kind, “Frozen” definitely has us stoked about Grafix’s return to the dark side of drum & bass.
3. 1991 – “Guiding Light” (1991) – 1991 has consistently impressed with a plethora of out-of-the-box, genre-bending tunes, from the future bass infused “Mayk Yu Mine?” to the dark and dirty “Witchdoctor” and so much more, made more impressive by the fact he has been releasing independently without the support of a label. His latest release delivers alluring vocals and dancefloor vibes; the first track off his upcoming EP later this year has us yearning for more 1991!
4. Monrroe – “You Got Me” feat. Alexa Harley (Shogun) – Monrroe has long been a favorite of ours – between incredibly emotive productions and some of the best DJ sets in the game by a mile, he’s definitely consistently proven he is one to watch. Now, with his first independent single release on the might Shogun, Monrroe has delivered yet another stunning piece of liquid gold.
5. Zeds Dead and Delta Heavy – “Lift You Up” (RAM Records x Deadbeats) – About as huge as they come in terms of collaborations, drum & bass and dubstep champions Delta Heavy have teamed up with Zeds Dead for a euphoric, upbeat, and incredibly catchy soon-to-be-anthem.
6. Murdock – “Different Way (Jungle Mix)” feat. Errol Dunkley (Viper Recordings) – This has definitely been one of the biggest releases of the year so far – not only because it’s Murdock making incredible jungle music, but because he somehow managed to get Errol Dunkley involved. Errol Dunkley is the man responsible for the 1972 classic “A Little Way Different” which was sampled massively in the early days of drum & bass, and his work on this track with Murdock is the perfect homage to the genre’s roots with a fresh new twist that is absolutely flawless.
7. Mura Masa – “Lovesick” (WATEVA Remix) – We can’t begin to tell you how long we have been waiting for a drum & bass remix of this track, and no WATEVA have finally delivered! Maintaining the jubilant, whimsical, playful qualities of the original and infusing the tropical vibes with DnB flavor, the end result just keeps getting better and better with every listen; here’s to hoping this one gets picked up on the DJ circuit as well because you know crowds are going to go wild for this one!
8. Tantrum Desire – “Unleashed” (Technique Recordings) - Tantrum Desire is a name that needs no introduction, and his latest single made for the perfect end to a killer month of releases. An ominous intro builds suspense as Tantrum Desire teases something absolutely evil; crisp drums add to the energy while an alien melody steals the spotlight – funky, weird, and dirty as hell, this slimy stinker goes hard!
9. Flava D – “Return To Me” (Hospital Records) – Flava D is returning to her drum & bass roots after a successful career producing bassline bangers with this gem. Part of Hospital’s Sick Music 2019 (which is home to many of this month’s biggest tracks), Flava D takes it back to the old school with a classic liquid vibe infused with just the perfect amount of her signature basslines sprinkled throughout. Flava D is crushing it right now and we hope to see more drum & bass flavor from her this year!
10. Anile – “Earth & Mars” (North Quarter) – Anile has been responsible for his fair share of dark, minimal, intelligent tunes over the years, so we always get excited to see something new from him. Showcasing his slightly more experimental side, “Earth & Mars” is throwback sci-fi vibes for days, reminding us of The X-Files or Forbidden Planet with its cinematic sound effects and Anile’s signature, simple bass, and the result is absolutely wicked.
11. Twenty One Pilots – “Heathens” (Magnetude Bootleg) – As an absolute sucker for the original version of the track (and just about anything by Twenty One Pilots), we were beyond stoked to see this bootleg emerge out of seemingly nowhere. We love how Magnetude have kept the original vocals, yet somehow managed to kick the raw energy levels up a notch. Reminding us of the similarities between drum & bass and our alt-rock roots, I can’t get enough of this one!
12. Mountain – “Funk Bomb” (NCT Remix) (Soulvent) – So this one came out as part of the Five Years of Soulvent Compilation which has a lot of amazing stuff on it, but we found ourselves falling absolutely head over heels for this one! As the name might suggest, the track packs a whole lot of old school funk vibes, mixed with raw guitar riffs, plenty of horns, a definite future bass influence, as well as vocal chops that caused NCT to learn the definition of “weeb” thanks to many keyboard warriors. The track is ridiculously fun and upbeat and will deliver all the sunshine we could possibly need during these winter months.
13. Mefjus – “Ringshifter” (Culprate Remix) (Vision Recordings) – When you see Culprate and Mefjus involved, you know it’s going to be good, and Culprate’s take on “Ringshifter” certainly does not disappoint. Two of the best sound engineers in the game, Culprate is able to put his signature twist onto Mefjus’ already weird and wonky sounds for what will definitely be a strong contender for best remix of 2019. Wet, chaotic, heavy, creative, and just so strange, there is so much to appreciate about this remix and just Culprate in general really.
14. Rido – “Stranger” (Eatbrain) – Released early on in January, Rido’s “Stranger” was an awesome kickstart to the year. An instantly eerie intro begins to paint a rather ominous picture, breaking down into a heavy neuro drop with Rido’s dark take on chiptune, before evolving into something totally different. This one really took us by surprise! It’s rare to find such a strong, distinct melody in neuro, but Rido really broke out of the box with this one.
15. Exept & Missin – “Something You Are” (Methlab) – Last, but certainly not least, this month is the new one from Exept and Missin. Premiered on Noisia Radio at the end of last year, we have been eagerly awaiting this release, and it was the perfect way to end the month. Part of Methlab’s Nemesi EP which features collaborations between Exept and Sinic, Sulex, and Visages, “Something You Are” is gritty, crisp, and so clean. Each sound is distinct from the other, all playing off each other for a really impactful result that is chaotic but never messy.
That's all for this month, but be sure to check out our Top 15 Tracks of 2018 for more of our favorites!