Santoku Records Go Nen LP is Drum & Bass at it’s finest
2017 marks the five year anniversary for Santoku, a definitive label for not just the US drum & bass scene but also globally. They pride themselves on being a platform for both European and American talent, which is exactly what their Go Nen album sampler presents with each of the unique sonic cuts displayed on its track listing. With records from Diode, dLo, Mean Teeth, Kodin, Horde and Hajimari, you’re pulled into a colour-wheel of musicality from start to finish. And lead by label-head honcho Logam, who appears alongside M.Justa, it’s no surprise that Santoku has already manifested a stellar reputation in under a decade.
Diode’s ‘Heinous’ begins the album, with a foreboding intro which suddenly chops and changes whilst catapulting you down a chasm of spitting beats. Each rumbling bass note pulls you in further, leaving you gasping for breath beneath its weight. Veteran producer dLo from Austin [Texas] adds his track ‘Clapback’, with the same passion, technical skills and keen ear which has pushed Santoku into the forefront recently, alongside snapping percussion and a guttural bassline. Then comes Mean Teeth’s ‘Time Shift’, presenting why they’re such hotly tipped newcomers and pushing forward on segments of crushing LFO. Logam and M.Justa delivers their collaboration ‘Dream Catcher’, a more ethereal liquid offering with a steppy melody which weaves itself throughout the mix. Kodin’s ‘Pillow Puncher’ steps up next, crashing forward on old-school breakdowns and snapping drum patterns which become more and more incessant with every beat loop. Horde’s ‘Concession’ is just as ominous, with a ticking intro that gradually winds further and further into minimalistic, snapping layers of sound. And lastly, Hajimari draws for ‘Get Lost’, featuring the vocal overtones of Cluda, throwing up an ingenuity which ruminates throughout the entirety of Santoku’s back catalogue.
As a collection, the Go Nen album is the perfect way to immortalise Santoku’s legacy. With every release they’ve unleashed this year, they’ve made more and more of an impact and the Go Nen LP is their final word for this year. Into their sixth year, they’ll continue to be an independent who pushes the boundaries whilst still catering to a huge array of tastes.