Mesmerising, moody-as-f**k new production from Pessimist, owning the dark blue space where icy drum’n’bass minimalism and sub-aquatic dub-techno meet. Perfect alignment of stripped, shadow-boxer drums, swooping drones and earth-shaking subs, with a thin layer of crackle and masterful use of silence…..you can hear the influence of Chain Reaction outliers, Source Direct, even early dark garage in there….but this is pure futurist blend. On the flip, the dense, dungeon rollage of ‘Orphic’, an effortless bridging of torques and tempos that builds on the radical groundwork of Regis, Felix K and Pessimist’s own Ruffhouse crew. Following a run of fine solo work for Ingredients and Samurai Music among others, the Bristol-based producer and UVB-76 co-founder has truly excelled himself here, demonstrating both a subtlety and a ruthlessness that sets him apart from his peers. If you come across a deadlier record this year, let us know.