Genotype GenotypeRitual Dance LP
EXIT RECORDS Genotype appeared on the drum’n’bass scene in 1997, a crucial year because it’s the origin of the genre’s darkest, most sensationalistic period. It’s not only the moment when the label No U Turn was consolidated as the most violent factory, with the release of the compilation “Torque”, but it was also the real take-off for the producers of the cold, impassive wave, like Optical, Dom + Roland, DJ Teebee and Ed Rush. Some already had an extensive publishing baggage behind them (Genotype too, although until then he had used his real name or other aliases, like Mastermind), but that was when a new generation started to pull the strings—to the point that in the following years, after the decline of the jungle arty of Roni Size or Goldie, it came to belong almost entirely to them. Justin Richardson was already around by then—his 12” debut as Genotype, “Extra Terrestrial / Angry Business”, was released by Renegade Hardware, one of the crucial techstep labels until well into the decade of 2000– and the virus of cerebral, hard-as-ice drum’n’bass had been running through his veins for some time. Henceforth, Genotype would start to widen his register and his scope within the scene, releasing assiduously until 2003, mainly on Reinforced, the label of Mark and Dego from 4 Hero, until he turned off the tap by surprise and shifted his production to the nickname Just Jungle. And he remained silent from then until now, a silence broken, also without advance notice, by this “Ritual Dance LP”. Needless to say, this is his first album in the more than fifteen years of his career.
There is a dangerous inertia that leads the majority of the media to overlook current events in jungle. I have also been guilty of this, so I won’t be the one to throw the first stone, and so we have to admit that we haven’t paid enough attention along the way to albums that were truly worthy – “Live for Never” by Consequence, or “Call to Mind” by Commix– and which should have received the recognition they deserved at the time, not this tardy recognition accompanied by excuses. The same might happen with “Ritual Dance LP”, although deep down it doesn’t have the same level of precision and the complexity of a jigsaw puzzle that Consequence’s discreet masterpiece offers. But these are only nuances: Consequence had given birth again to the surgical sound of the early Photek, and Genotype does the same with the neurofunk of Optical or Matrix; that is to say, it’s a production that is more robust, bloody and muscular, but it is still that type of drum’n’bass that takes refuge in the darkness and waits for that moment when its prey is distracted to launch a lightning attack. It isn’t a good idea to listen to this album with the lights out if you are at home alone, but if you are crowded into a little club, with strobe lights flickering ceaselessly over the dance floor, the tracks become hypnotic. There is something of Genotype’s early (black) magic that hasn’t been lost over the course of this seven-year absence. He’s still got the spark in his hands.
At first contact with the eleven tracks of the CD (you can also find it on vinyl and in a pack of three 10” albums), “Ritual Dance LP” seems to be an updated treatise on experimental drum’n’bass like the ones that have brought dBridge, Instra:mental, Consequence and, a few years ago, Breakage, Equinox or ASC to the forefront of the scene. Listening a second time, and in comparison with the younger perspectives provided by producers with a less onerous weight of tradition (for example, “Nothing Is Certain” (Nonplus, 2010), from ASC, is surprising because it disintegrates drum’n’bass and transforms it into a liquid downtempo), you can tell that Genotype is still very dependent on the old practices and strategies of those years when people were still talking about sub-genres like “neurofunk.” He has changed the compression of the sound, the subtlety with which he filters atmospheres and echoes—there is a cleaner digital touch that decreases the feeling of danger and toxic contamination—but there isn’t a real renovation. If today were 2001 instead of 2011, this album would have been released by Virus Recordings instead of Exit Records. And nevertheless, he uncovers an important feeling by reminding us of albums like “The Creeps” or “Wormhole” by Ed Rush & Optical: in their day, they were undervalued, but today they show themselves to be works with a great amount of futurism that were ahead of their time. This album, except for the dubby price to be paid of “Sun Time” or “Version”, and emphasising the Zen contention and martial art of breaks like those of “Stoned Zone” and “The Ital Lion” (with help from Loxy at the controls), places us in that forgotten past and that possible future, which turns out to be our present. And it sounds good. A revival is urgently requested. Javier Blánquez
Genotype - The Ital Lion (Feat. Loxy)