London’s Ivy Lab has been on a hot streak for a minute. In case you’re unfamiliar, the North London pair are spawns of the UK bass music scene. Their hip-hop-inspired abstractions lie within the framework of their 20/20 LDN project, and they’ve continued to gain recognition across the globe.
The trio-turned-duo lies on the apex of the halftime/future beats movement–a gnarly assortment of acts from the outskirts of the bass music landscape applying their sonic heritage to experiments with hip-hop and drum machine electronica. Halftime flexes around the 80-90 BPM range and stems from its double-time progenitor, drum and bass. Acts like SHADES, Eprom, Alix Perez, Noisia and Ivy Lab, along with their respective labels, are at the forefront of the internationally flourishing genre. Regarded across the pond as the LA beat scene, the semi-niche culmination of cultures is the pinnacle of modern electronic music.
Future beats powerhouse Ivy Lab, who was crowned in NEST HQ’s 2017 Mid Year Report, follows up their Cake and Jet Lag B-sides with a full album release: the highly anticipated Death Don’t Always Taste Good. The thunderous 12-track EP secures the pioneering label bosses’ reputation and stands as their most thorough work to date.
Death Don’t Always Taste Good opens with droning minimalism in “Fortune Teller,” acting a precursor to the onslaught of sonic pleasure they’re about to deliver. “Ugly Bubble” turns it up a notch with jungle-inspired elements and tortured basslines. Previously released singles, like “Jet Lag,” “Astral Pirate Theme” and the wildly popular “Cake” fit right at home on DDATG; almost as if they’re even better than hearing them the first time.
Also previously unveilved is the visual feature of “Jet Lag,” a powerful dance video directed by Alex Allaux and choreographed by Justin Conte. LVDF, who has designed for FKA Twigs, lended his talents to costume and makeup.
Title track “Death Don’t Always Taste Good” is a high-key slapper. It has the same magic as their more-defining works like “Magikess” or “Amber.” This one is a surefire dance floor weapon. Finally, highlights like “Snack Time,” “Calculate” and “Ozbo” (my personal favorite) seem like bonus content for an already satisfying assortment. Once “Cadillac” hits, you can’t help but to feel divinely fulfilled.
There’s something about DDATG that feels like a story; one that transports you into the bewitching environment they created. Ivy Lab experiments with their productions, rather than their identity, and I think that’s where they flourish.
Death might not always taste good, but if it tastes anything like the frequencies Ivy Lab is putting out, then I’m fucking game. If you need me, I’ll be here listening on repeat until their next release.
Stream/download Death Don’t Always Taste Good here and catch Ivy Lab on their ongoing 20/20 LDN showcase tour, which includes a stop at EDC Las Vegas. Oh, and um, stay tuned for an absolutely insane album mix by the mega-talented Craze.
Ivy Lab Tour Dates: