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We here at Mixmag like to think that the Scene Selection is a vehicle for high quality dance music that exists in the far reaches and dark corners of the scene. You can read stories about Paris Hilton and The Swedes elsewhere, because right here is where the good stuff resides. And what better label than Critical Music to carry on the baton?
Kasra (above) started Critical a decade ago in his parents' front room. Now the label is known for finely tuned underground drum 'n' bass of the highest order. Need proof? Check the exclusive mix of label tunes and upfront d'n'b put together by Critical main-man Foreign Concept (below). Also check the Q+A with Kasra himself. Enjoy!
If you didn't know, Kasra has a residency at Fabric and has just mixed the latest FabricLive.
FOREIGN CONCEPT'S INTRODUCTION TO CRITICAL
Sabre , Stray & Halogenix ft. Frank Carter III - Oblique VIP (Critical)
Mortem - Revolta (Demand)
Stray - Pursuit ( Warm Communications)
Skeptical & Dub Phizix feat T Man - President ( Samurai)
Kasra & SPY - Surface VIP (Critical)
Enei - Machines ( Critical)
Enei feat DRS - Obsession ( Foreign Concept remix ) ( Critical )
Foreign Concept & Riya - Affliction ( Critical )
Rockwell & Zero T - Bone Structure (Critical)
Dub Phizix - Handmade (Critical)
Spectrasoul - In for a Penny ( Shogun Audio)
Vicious Circle - Emma's Dilemma (Siren)
Major Look - Bass Generation ( Jubei Remix ) (Universal)
Bazil - The Hive (dub)
Script & Zero T - Level 43 ( Dispatch)
Enei - One Chance ( Emperor Remix ) ( Critical )
Kasra - Expo (Critical)
Xtrah - Soundclash ( Critical )
Spectrasoul - Organiser ( Foreign Concept Remix) ( Critical)
Foreign Concept & Xtrah - Harsh Reality VIP (Critical)
Kasra & Foreign Concept - Cold ( Critical )
How, when and where did Critical Music begin?
I started the label 10 years ago, it was something I just began work on in my parents' front room in London. I had run a small experimental label in my teens and over time, as I fell in love with d'n'b, I wanted to involve myself in the label side of things. The whole process of working with artists, signing music and the packaging excites me and with the internet becoming one of the main channels for people to hear upfront music I was exposed to whole new breed of producers.
What's the ethos of the label and how do you pick tunes?
Honestly, it's down to what I like. I don't particularly care if a tune "goes off" or which producer is flavour of the month. I like working with good music and good people. So there's a pool of artists I work with closely - Enei, Foreign Concept, Emperor and Xtrah - and there's some other producers outside of the core camp but I am open to all. If it's exciting and it grabs me I will sign it. Regardless of sub genre.
What's the perfect setting in which to listen to Critical Music releases?
I like to think the music has the quality and depth to be enjoyed anywhere, obviously the music really comes to life in a club environment but I do hope the sounds can be appreciated as much on the home system as much as Funktion One.
What's exciting you about drum 'n' bass right now?
I'm excited about the blurring of tempos and the music just becoming more about what you're enjoying playing and listening to rather than worrying about it fitting into a predetermined box. It seems like with the recent developments across electronic music it's more about experimenting and for me that's where excitement breeds.
What's next for the label?
Coming up we have singles and EPs from Emperor, Foreign Concept, Xtrah, a very exciting new project from Sabre, Stray & Halogenix and the debut album by Enei.