‘Keep it Real’ is DJ Hybrid‘s debut release on the Born On Road imprint and it does not disappoint. Bringing his unique and signature sound for a label that is known for delivering the goods when it comes to Jungle music.
From his rise to prominence back in 2013 to his breakthrough production and DJ awards in 2015, DJ Hybrid has been on the forefront of Jungle and one of the most prolific producers around. Always innovating and pushing the sound further, yet maintaining a signature style to his sound that is unmistakably his own. His first effort for Born On Road ‘Keep it Real’ is no exception.
The EP’s namesake track ‘Just Keep it Real’ doesn’t waste a second and right out of the gates gives us some funked up hip hop grooves, scratches and siren samples. Gimme a beat, some scratches and a siren and I’m good. The ‘just keep it real’ sample at the drop and a bouncing echo effected bass line that carries the groove. At the break down he pitches down the bass in that way that only DJ Hybrid can do and give us those signature snares and effects. And the break down really is a breakdown; to the point where you almost forget the groove and feel of the first section. Right about the time you start to get lost in the scratches, cuts, sirens and beat juggling then it comes right back. Brilliantly constructed.
‘Directions’ eases in at first. But that doesn’t last long with heavy MC vocals and a vibrating buzzing sub line you can feel in your feet. This one is more atmospheric and dark. Like you’re lost trying to navigate a city at night for the first time. Not sure where you are or where your going. But, you do move with the groove no doubt. A minimal Jungle affair and it’s composed in a way where the silences and spaces are just as much a part of the music as the sound. You really notice them. A very moody vibe that would make great soundtrack material.
‘Last One’ starts out with those classic Jungle elements. Quick rolling effected snares….we all know the sound right? The drop is a pretty straight forward 3 note bass line and really driven by the snare; but it keeps surprising you bringing those effected snare fills to mix it up. Every note matters and it’s all about placement. The one criticism I could make is that it could use more cow bell though. Just kidding, it has a perfectly place cowbell in there that is an ideal accent. This one is a percussive master work and really well arranged.
With ‘Big Request’ we have the haunting echoed vocals and twist turns, fills, breaks, drums pitching up and down. Busy and minimal all at once, it keeps mixing it up without jerking your attention around. It jumps around and flows at the same time. DJ Hybrid does an amazing job here of blending a minimal mood type of vibe with a fast paced kinetic Jungle showcase of style. And a really great deep sub line for the knockout punch.
Wrapping things up ‘Send for Dem’ leaves it all out on the dance floor. Heavy MC vocals calling you out. It’s a bring it kinda track and DJ Hybrid does just that. A champion sound for sure: snares driving the feat and filthy bass effects. At the breakdown it almost seems like he’s gonna go a completely different direction; but then takes what feels like a left turn right back into the original drive. DJ Hybrid always keeps you guessing and but never confuses. Only pleasant surprises.