Document One had, to put it mildly, a pretty good 2016. Their unique blend of tech, hip-hop, jazz and funk influences have cemented their place among the elite of drum’n’bass producers. Their tunes are consistently at the business end of the DnB download charts and they’ve garnered support from some of the biggest DJs in the scene. So, this EP, their first release of 2017, bears the weight of a huge amount of expectation.
The title track, “7th Dimension” takes all the elements of an archetypal DocumentOne tune and presents them crisper and sharper than we’ve ever heard them before. There’s an almost liquid intro, peppered with shimmering brass and an atmospherically FXed vocal clip. But then there’s the eponymous MC sample, which cuts through the soundscape and prepares us for a switch up. The tune becomes a weighty, dark roller, with Doc One’s trademark funk in the seething and warping bassline supported by diamond-tipped drums.
Then “The Rhythm” switches things up. The intro gives no clue as to where we’re going with this one, as subtle percussion and one-hit sounds reverberate around a dialogue clip. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Where we’re going is into a land of indisputable filth. The driving, pulsing bassline has a serrated edge of distortion, and those neck-snapping, uppercut beats are going to do some serious damage whenever you drop this.
“Hypnotic” has something different to say again. This is where it becomes painfully blatant that Document One are never going to be easy to categorise. The fluid pressure of the intro builds into a stomping, grinding bass and beats assault to get the ravers moving. Amidst the percussive mayhem, however, there’s still that atmospheric melodic and harmonic subtlety. This could find a home in your set whatever your sub-genre.
In “It’s Alright”, yet more worlds collide. There’s genuine emotion in the intro and the beautiful breakdown in the middle of the tune, but that kick drum build signals something different entirely. The morphing bassline travels from low-end to mid-range and back again, while the restrained violence of the drums and classic-break fills provide the scaffolding. From one angle, it could look like a Document One twist on the jump-up formula, which is something we’ve never heard from them before.
Finally, “I Tried” gives us pure, dark, junglist soul music. Elegant pads, keys and sax back up that gorgeous vocal sample, which turns this tune into a guaranteed hands-in-the-air moment. Document One refuse to let this dissolve into sentiment, though. The drop is lethal, as precision-tooled drums drive the dance onwards, and we all know by now how these guys do basslines. This tune has that smoky jazz club moodiness while still being able to bring hype to a rave. It’s got instant classic written all over it.
So, it’s clear that Document One have lived up to their billing once again as forward-thinking dancefloor destroyers with soul and funk to spare. Many people bemoan the divisions between different sides of DnB, but in this EP, it all comes together. If the future of the music is going to take in the full spectrum, then these producers might just be laying out the blueprint.