From the shady town of Oswestry, Shropshire, Pixel is an acclaimed Drum & Bass specialist. It took me a long, enjoyable weekend to listen and review the 35+ tracks on offer, but alas it was made worthwhile by adding music to my many playlists…
Going back a year from now Pixel began making an early impression on the scene with his impressive repertoire of Liquid Drum and Bass, featuring on Rush Records and Phuzion’s Digital Atmosphere album alongside MSdof and H2Flo to name a few. Namely chill-out tracks for dreary days, songs such as ‘Breathless’ and ‘I Like Too’ are calm and collected with a feeling of a subliminal Trance influence in slight inklings… They’ll leave you relaxed, but firmly in your seat and it probably won’t extend any further then that. At this stage it seemed that there was nothing really to set himself apart from other emerging DJ’s of a similar genre, ‘Discarnate’ proving to be the only song that really stood out from the rest.
‘Belly Of The Beast’ is the turning point. Featuring MC Slimify D the dark Drum & Bass had me hooked instantly. The vocal sample suggests the beginning of a Junglist influence, something very different to what I’d been hearing and it instantly became a favourite, whether that says more about me then him is your decision. But it’s the first example of Pixel’s multi-talents for approaching different genre forms. The contrast is obvious when held in comparison with ‘Soul Soup’ featuring MsDos. The steady drum rhythm suddenly made me feel the need to lull my head and smile peacefully to the intimately soulful flow. His ‘Forthcoming Music’ teaser preview only reinforced my impressions as ‘Bad Habits’ w/H2Flo became another favourite of mine as his dark Drum & Bass prowess thumped through my speakers.
From here songs like ‘Momentary Lapse’ were giving an interesting insight into his older music from new, and how undoubtedly be betters with experience. The track ‘Feelin’ It’ on Textures Music demonstrates how he was effectively grasping how to create awesome “dreamy atmospheres” with his improved Liquid Drum & Bass. ‘Here Again’ under Celsius Recordings is an exceptional song given the right scenario and is probably the best example of his abilities under this genre. The thing that always needs to be considered is how well it plays off live, which emphasizes the necessity of catching him perform personally to make your best judgements.
The harsh Winter months were made easier with his releases on Fokuz Recordings: ‘Doubt’ and ‘Sequential’ are joyful, catchy and are definitely deserved of a place in your collections of chill-out playlists. Pixel’s music was becoming more in depth, uplifting and steadily was becoming more recognised for his blissful tunes. ‘Nebula’ acts to serve as a reminder to his dark Drum & Bass talents however. Unnerving, it’s recorded with great composition and a hefty bassline that when stuck on repeat wouldn’t let me sit still for a second.
‘Mankind’ is a tantalising Drum & Bass preview, leaving me with a need to hear more as I happily relaxed on my sofa monging out to the calming vibes followed by the soulful and revitalising clip of ‘No More’.
But if you want to hear more about his darker stuff, the intense track ‘Shredda’ is quick, exciting and heavy, and a very generous FREE DOWNLOAD. Another all nighter for sure, and another good demonstration of his darker elements.
The last few tracks up for analyis are his most recent, and end this review on a feel-good high. If you get the chance be sure to try ‘Feel Good’ and ‘Jungle on Broadway’ outside on a sunny day and enjoy the bouncy Jungle to emphasize a certain euphoric feeling… Or if you’re having a lazy day, then try the progressive track ‘Relief’. It’ll swim around your head as a pleasantly played piano sample follows the classic Drum & Bass traits; really calm and peaceful listening. The remix of Sam Sparrow’s ‘Black and Gold’ is, I’m almost ashamed to admit, a must have. A great adaptation with Pixel’s familiar flow, enjoyable for mainstream audiences as well as underground listeners, and as another FREE DOWNLOAD it’s definitely worth your time checking out.
But as I said before the best way to judge a DJ is by his live performances… On the 27th of July make the effort to catch him play a Drum & Bass and Jungle special gig at The Ironworks, Oswestry, Shropshire for only £3 entry from 8pm onwards alongside veterans Link, DJay, Gremlin, Cubed, Colak and Kalum this Summer. I’ll go out on a limb and assure 100% that you won’t be disappointed.