20/20 LDN Volume Two continues to explore bass music, hip hop, and everything in between.
North London collective Ivy Lab have been blazing a new path since the launch of their 20/20 LDN project in 2015. Through their club nights and releases as a record label, they’ve been exploring the intersection of UK bass music and hip hop, touching on everything from footwork to jungle and future beats, without ever settling entirely on one.
Having now developed a clear identity and sound, Ivy Lab have just released the 20/20 LDN Volume Two compilation, which highlights the fertile half-time scene with tracks from Deft, Shield, Fracture and more.
Speaking on the the growth of their project, Ivy Lab said of the record:
“Cover all corners of the 20/20 genre-pool and drop a killer various artists LP once a year – that was always the plan. We’ve taken the bounciest cuts from the Ivy Lab vaults and paired them with the choicest picks from our in-house acts, some untapped talent, and guest appearances from artists that boast a lineage ranging from Teklife to Exit to Soulection to Project Mooncircle. These guest features are some of the most exciting we’ve had the pleasure to commission. The V/A LP format is the ideal (and perhaps the only) canvas to bring such a broad church together.”
We tracked down Ivy Lab to find out what lead to the inclusion of each track – stream it in full via Spotify, and read on for their commentary.
The 20/20 Volume Two LP is out now. Buy it here.
01. Deft - Holon
A core member of the 20/20 crew, Deft has been with us since day one. Holon channels that classic ‘Rufige / Metalheadz’ pallete of sci-fi meets dancehall meets Belgian nose-bleed.
02. Ivy Lab - Ghee
This one represents the rowdiest end of our repertoire; mixing neuro elements with MPC beat-work & spiky 303 motifs .It’s an exercise in massaging hip hop grooves into sound design more common to neurofunk drum n bass.
03. Fixate – Rickety Cricket
The Exit Records inductee makes a guest appearance for us with this jingle/jangle off-kilter banger. It’s essentially 100% percussion with incidentals thrown in for interest and punctuation, but is as pure a piece of drum work as you’ll ever hear.
04. Sinistarr - #accidentaldeathing
The very first track we signed for the project. Detroit refugee Sinistarr has been crafting all kinds of sick beats from his new found locale in Canada, and this was the stand out track from that recent batch. Trappy enough to be infectious, not so trappy that it becomes a 2013 cliche.
05. Ivy Lab - Shamrock VIP
Shades of Ludacris’ ‘Southern hospitality’ in this reworking of the flagship beat from the Volume.1 LP. Still got that menacing feel with a chop’n’screwed overture, but way more frantic and less sleazy than the original.
06. Havelock - Badbwoysound Ft. Ivy Lab
Havelock is about to blow and we’re gonna be there to help him in any way we can. Dude is dropping 3 or 4 fire-level beats per week at the moment. ‘Badbwoysound’ is perhaps a little more familiar in its template than much of his newer material. Triplet-bass hypnotically flowing over a frantic footwork-grooved beat, with the only aspect of melodic supplementation coming from the dancehall hook, looped to the edge of annoyance then reigned back in again.
07. Balatron - Poseidon
Rowdy viking music from hairy Icelandic dark-beats merchant Balatron. His heritage is easily witnessed through his bootleg flips of Busta Ryhmes & LL Cool J, but that heritage is always paired with sinister elements and moodiness as best demonstrated in this beat.
08. Ivy Lab - Socket
Classic ‘3 elements at a time’ Ivy Lab music. Beats, bass, hook and not a lot else. Less is more with this one. What might be less easily picked out is the crackling fire and scrunched paper reinforcing the bassline to make it weightier.
09. Phazz - Caution
Although mainly known for very grand melodies in r’n’b tinged / Soulection-esque / post-trap club tracks, Phazz spent a portion of his formative years occupying rowdier corners of the electronic music spectrum as shown in last year’s killer freebie ‘Insomnia’ and once again here for the compilation.
10. Shield - Slang Ft. Ivy Lab
Lot of swagger and laziness to this track; pairing Shields’ attention to groove and mutant bass with the Ivy Lab preference for a crunchy hip hop drum kit. Super OTT sound design and a bucket load of incidentals make this possibly the most complex track on the compilation.
11. Fracture - Give It To Me
Fracture is a verified breaks-work / drum programming legend expanding on what he currently does best; channelling the spirit of jungle into a millennium-production template whilst treading the very edge of “unofficial bootleg/remix” territory. Formation Records might well be sending their lawyers our way.
12. Havelock - Untitled Brock
The virtue of ‘Untitled Brock’ is as much about aesthetic as it is a composition. Capturing a flawed-cum-analog mix is essential to its charm making it groove along with an independence denied to most modern music as a consequence of clinical over-production. Few tracks translate warmth on such a broad range of listening environments.
13. Mr Frenkie - Attrakt
Frankie is a bit of an enigma, we were recently told by a fellow Russian (Greg from Teddy Killers) this guy is about to blow in the techno circuit after a co-sign to Dirtybird under a different alias?! Either way, statue or not / trajectory or not…. we just wanted to sign captivating music and this beat is both current yet futuristic; also familiar yet distinct.
14. Ivy Lab - Kalimba (Shorty Bend it Over)
We haven’t released so much stuff down here around 150bpm, but its proving to be a fertile territory for us and a lot of our peers at the moment. Slow enough to have the skank of 140, fast enough to capture the impatience of 160 but nestled nicely in the hinterlands. The slower pace and lushness of the melodic accent sections provide the perfect relief to an otherwise quite energetic and moody compilation.