The Art Of The Album: Loadstar
Albums: Music would be a much harsher, unforgiving place without them, suffering from even more instant gratification than it already does. Without well-crafted long players we’d only know our favourite artists for isolated EPs or singles: All big moments and little longevity, without albums we’d never get a full feel or flavour of an artist’s true creative depths or capabilities.
An argument arose when the download dawn crept over us nearly a decade ago that albums would eventually become defunct. Everything about music consumption changed (including, sadly, the whole idea of payment for music). For a while there were some scary signs: knowing fans didn’t have to buy every track, and that to get people to even think about parting with their hard-earned you could only offer heavy hitters, some artists did feel obliged to make every track an absolute banger.
Luckily this trend hasn’t stuck. And in the last 18 months drum & bass has experienced some of its best long players ever. From Calyx & TeeBee to S.P.Y to Calibre to Alix Perez… the list of essential (and we mean essential) D&B LPs is seemingly added to on a weekly basis.
Case in point: Loadstar – Future Perfect. 15 tracks of solid bass gold, it’s the Bristol duo’s deepest, most diverse and daring showcase yet. Ranging from absolute speaker-blazers like this:
To block-rocking, industrial strength breakbeat hip-hop bust-ups like this:
To anthemic, lighter-thrusting end-of-nighters like this:
If you’ve not already picked it up, now’s the time. We gave Nick and Gavin a call to see how the album came together, and to get their own influential albums that helped shape their musical paths…
“It was always in the back of our mind that we wanted to do an album,” says Gavin. “We spoke about it when we signed with Ram. But these things take a long time, and it’s been a long discovery period finding the sound and direction we wanted to go in. Some of the ideas have been floating around for a long time. Tracks such as Eat My Tears; we had a sketch down for that ages ago.”
While some albums are written over the space of several months studio lockdown, the duo have had the luxury of time. Working on idea seeds that were planted over three years ago, they’ve had time to refine, retune and ensure Future Perfect lives up to its namesake. Nick reckons if they collected every idea since they started throwing the album concept around they’d have over 100 tunes!
“We’ve had time to really go deep into our ideas and fine tune how we wanted to present the album,” Nick explains. “It’s about finding the balance between the dancefloor D&B that people know us for and trying to show a different side to us like our deeper material, the dubstep stuff, even hip-hop influences. That’s why it’s taken so long to get it right.”
“Loadstar has been a journey of discovery for us,” he continues. “We were getting associated with our old sound for a long time, Loadstar, and notably this album, is a new beginning. That’s why it couldn’t be ‘D&B bangers album with nothing in between’ album. There’s more to albums than that, and there’s more to us than that, too…”
Future Perfect is out now on Ram Records. Listen and download.
The Art Of The Album: Loadstar
Chemical Brothers – Exit Planet Dust
Nick: “This changed everything for me! It’s such an influential piece of work. It still sounds timeless but back when it was released it sounded like nothing else. There’s so many clever ideas and ways of using the breakbeats. There really was nothing like this at the time. And still today. I think sometimes people today think albums aren’t quite so important or have as much impact, but I think they’re still essential in the way we get to know an artist. They define the artists and this certainly ensured everyone knew how important the Chemical Brothers would be.”
Dillinja – Cybotron
Gavin: “This was a huge album! It stood out from everyone else at the time. There was nothing in drum & bass that had the same presentation or sound. It still sounds amazing today and had a huge effect on most artists within D&B.”
Nick: “This album is really interesting in terms of where Gavin and I meet musically. I was into the more melodic, musical stuff like Logical Progression while Gav was more into the harder, techier side of things and we both loved this. You can find Cybertron’s influences in our work from the start. It’s a pivotal album for our inspirations; my melodic touches and Gav’s technical skills.”
Leftfield – Leftism
Nick: “We were both in school when this came out. The first track that really hooked me was Open Up with John Lydon. It was on the radio a lot and I thought it was such a refreshing idea; really driving dance music but with punk rock vocals, it blew me away the first time I heard it and I got the album straight away. It was such an interesting, cool record. This was a major part of me getting into dance music and switched me on to Orbital and other major electronic acts.”