Originally due for release in 2017 to celebrate 20 years of The Green Man‘s (TGM) beloved Basswerk imprint, ‘The Collab Sessions’ became such a vast project that two years later it’s finally ready to celebrate 22 Years in the game.
Germany’s longest running drum & bass label Basswerk has always encapsulated soul and experimentation, often pushing against the grain and indeed ‘The Collab Sessions’ does just that in places, pushing D&B into live operatic choral territories at times but then dropping us back into rolling roots with the likes of Digital and the legendary Aquasky. Tangerine Dream lends an incredible retro synth lead on ‘Tangent Moment’ whilst a plethora of other contributions combine to make ‘The Collab Sessions’ one of the stand out compilation albums of recent times.
The first colab that really jumps out on this compliation is the TGM Klute collaboration called “Alone at the table.” Classic washed out chords sweep throughout the tune while a humming and filtered reece waits in the background, only to come up for air at just the right moments of tension in the tune. The emotion in this tune is second to none. This same vibe is carried heavily into the Aquasky colab titled “Rhodesya” while slowing down and using a classic breakbeat jungle approach. The delayed vocal stabs add to the chords and carry you off into space while the driving drum break keeps your feet shuffling across the floor. Both of the Digital colabs, “Guitar” and “Juice” bring us back to a time when Digital was the go to pull in the record bag. Not sacrificing one ounce of his signature sound, Digital helps to bring the rough and tough energy through the immersive landscapes that engulf both of these tunes.
Each tune, while bringing its own unique sound to the table seems to carry on the overall vibe of the release. Easy listening chords and beautiful progressions backed with aggressive breaks and drum stabs, haunting basslines and filtered leads all contribute to an overwhelmingly positive experience for the listener. After finishing the release I feel like I just went to school.