The artist known to the drum & bass world as Moleman has always done things his own way. Releasing mostly on the grassroots label Fat Tape records since he began with this moniker in 2011, Moleman has lived up to his name as he’s generally shirked the limelight and big labels, preferring to do his own A&R and work with people who support his vision. Hiw music speaks for itself, however, and he’s still managed to become a household name in liquid D&B and is a favorite on Liquicity radio, BBC Radio and 1Extra, DJ Mag, et al.
The upcoming release of Moleman’s new project, a full-length LP called Duality due out this week on July 30, is no exception to his track record of doing things his own way. He’s self-releasing this 13-track album, which studies the two different sides of his work, hence the name. The first part of Duality is more energetic and pop-driven, while the second half is introspective and ambient. Let’s not cast aspersions based on that description, however: all the tracks on Duality are still up to Moleman’s high standards of production, sound design and flowy, melodic liquid.
The opening track on Duality, entitled “This Feeling” opens with quite an existential sample about perception, so even though Moleman considers the second half of the album to be the more contemplative side, fans might find themselves in a deep think even while they dance to the fast snares, celestial melodies and insane ameny breakdowns. The next track, “Beautiful Dreamer” has a similar, semi-trippy spoken word opener that may remind some dreampop fans of M83’s earlier work but it’s got that 174 pitch that is the heartbeat of any D&B head.
174 is certainly not the only tempo on Duality. Moleman draws from his work in other genres to bring dubstep, future bass and even trip hop bits into tracks like “Take On the World” and “Solar Flare.” Every track is distinctively his, however, with that instantly recognizable, lighter-than-air sound design and those crisp drumlines. By the end of the album, listeners will have bee taken on a journey through the best of liquid D&B and through the mind of Moleman.
YEDM managed to get a hold of “Starlight,” a celestially-inspired track from the second part of Duality which contains some of the fastest secondary snares ever heard juxtaposed with a vintage sample used in hip hop and rave music for nearly four decades, taken from an audio recording of an audience member during a performance of Lyn Collins’s “Think (About It) in 1972. It somehow blends seamlessly into this 2023 liquid track and gives it that ravey edge for which Moleman is known.
Duality is really a study on the many way liquid is still a very big part of the beating heart of drum & bass, pulling melody and influence from so many bygone eras and turning it into something beautiful for the modern ear. As one of the masters of the subgenre, Moleman is not only showing the many facets of his own career but of liquid and drum & bass on the whole. Expect to hear something from this album at every festival and sunrise set this season and into the future; it’s an instant classic.