The sounds of Drum N Bass have been locked in some process of metallurgy over the last decade as rollicking percussion and harsh soundscapes dominated the genre. An unhealthy obsession with sound design has dictated the production processes of Drum N Bass in recent times as a metallic sheen has glossed over the deeper aspects of the genre, where a clinical digital precision has lost touch with the original soul pf the genre. For the better part of the last twenty years the Drum N Bass sound has been bastardised into some pseudo-futurist glitch pop where elements of Dubstep and Breakcore have transported it into some hackneyed post-modernist version of itself, that has been loudly criticised by many of the genre’s veterans and staunchest supporters.
Over the last few years however, a new appreciation of the core philosophies for the genre, and some of the genre’s most dedicated stalwarts have brought the genre back from the brink with releases, DJ sets and events tapping into that indelible ingenuity and soul that charmed a whole movement to the genre. It’s been spearheaded in some part by the legends of Drum N Bass, people like Ed Rush and institutions like Metalheadz, but its carried on the wings on the music of the some of the more obscure artists working in the field, artists who have diligently pursuing the genre for some time in its purest form, quietly operating in the underground regions of the genre, completely independent of the more crass popularised versions of Drum N Bass and getting back to the soul of the genre.
Lenzman is one of these artists. Since 2007 he has participated in perpetuating the liquid aspects of Drum N Bass alongside artists like Calibre and LSB. Regulating the natural energy of broken beats with layers of soothing keys, charming vocals and an entrancing atmosphere, Lenzman’s music, and for that matter his DJ sets, have a beguiling quality that draws you deep into the core of the tracks. Even though the production process retains that clinical precision that most of the genre participate in, Lenzman manages to retain a sense of warmth that is often lost during those kinds of acute processes. Even as a-tonal samples and noisy synths have been shelved for the gleaming production processes of our digital age, Lenzman somehow manages to evoke those elements in his productions, which is the crucial crux to his appeal as an artist, especially on his latest LP, “Bobby.”
“Bobby” is the Dutch artist and DJ’s third studio LP and the second for his long time affiliation with Metalheadz. It comes at a time where Drum N Bass is enjoying a very healthy resurgence, but yet makes its own, unique statement, with Lenzman’s unique liquid take on the genre. Wether he’s bordering on the more RnB and pop fringes of the DnB like on “Rain” and “Pictures of You” or whether he’s purposefully looking back to the roots of the genre with some nostalgic glint in his eye like on “Old School,” he manages to retain that defining characteristic charm in his work which sets him apart from anybody else. “Bobby” is an expansive journey through Drum n Bass, with touchstones on Jazz, Soul and Hip Hop informing the nature of the LP, but all coalescing around his distinctive sonic flourish as a producer.
Inspired in part by the birth of his daughter and named after her toy teddybear, “Bobby” finds Lenzman reflecting back on his own past, and especially the music that informed his youth. Lenzman updates these sounds and elements, where subtle production touches, legato keys and warming atmospheres create an inviting allure over the record. Any reference to Drum n Bass’ past is done in a referential way that negates any sense of nostalgia for something that lives beyond any time, through Lenzman empathetic musical touches. “Bobby” represents the past, present and future of the genre to make one of the most poignant and exciting contributions to genre’s legacy today.