Redbull Studios Presents Soft Rockets Review

Red Bull Studios brought yet another round of brilliant music to Bristol, with five venues across Stoke’s Croft opening their doors for a free evening of music. As a brilliant addition to this, many of the acts playing on the night recently collaborated on five tracks for a free EP.

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When the event was first announced there was a small degree of complaint about a big corporation putting on an event in Stoke’s Croft. However, when you look at the sort of thing Red Bull have been doing recently (man jumping from space, Red Bull Music Academy events around the world, air racing, etc) it’s hard to fit them under that big, evil corporation umbrella. I, for one, definitely have no complaints about them providing high quality studio time to some great talent from the Bristol scene and it’s pretty hard to complain about a free night.

My evening started off in The Bank just as CEDRIC MAISON, JOE 90 and EL HARVO were finishing up and James Welsh was about to get started. I managed to arrive just in time to beat the queues as the venue was packed, though I feel they did a good job of deciding when to stop allowing people in as there was still plenty of room for a dance, the people dancing on the tables also helped this situation. All of these great djs provided brilliant house beats to start the night and the room was rocking from when I got there to when I left.

Next stop, The Croft! Probably my favourite venue in Bristol, partially due to the nights I’ve been to there but also just love the lay-out and how crazy the main room always seems to get when full. I caught the second half of Crump’s set which was great, not often you see an even mixture of the genders for a techno set so props are obviously due for that.

My Nu Leng provided the craziness previously mentioned as the duo’s massive Bristol following came out in force and you could not have fit another person in the room for most of their set. They brought a set that was filled with the same energy and mix of influences from so many genres as their great catalogue of releases.

This is where my night gets a little fuzzy from a few too many drinks but the fuzzy memories of Arkist’s set are all good ones as the man produced a brilliant set of bass music that had a crowd, finally with some room to breathe after the crush of My Nu Leng, enthralled.

At this point I definitely need to mention the Apex djs in room 2, every time I went in there it was a different genre but with the room just as busy and the crowd just as hyped. Whether it was grime, house, jump up DnB or anything in between they provided tunes all night that constantly kept the bustling room energised.

Finally we come to the EP. The week before the event, over two days in the Red Bull Studio in London, five tracks were produced by 10 acts that played on the night. The concept being to pair an established name with an up and coming one and give them some time in a high quality studio and see what they can create.

East Street Riddim by Kowton & The Kelly Twins is pure dark grime filled with suspense and dread. Gram rcy teamed up with Behling & Simpson to create Dragline, a slab of dark and heavy tech house whilst Crump and Symmetry Recordings boss Break produced Scarlett, a pumping techno banger with some brilliantly on point percussion.

On a garage tip, My Nu Leng worked with OH91 to make Lost which is given a euphoric, hands in the air feel by the synths and brilliantly utilised vocal snippets. My personal favourite is Sly One & Buggsy – Beat Go. At the moment I definitely think there’s a huge overuse of the 808 but this tune uses it brilliantly and anything with Buggsy vocals is going to hit the spot for me.

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I caught up with Crump afterwards for a quick chat about the production process and here’s what he had to say:

Spectrum: How was working with Break?

Crump: Working with Break was great, we basically had 3 days to get a final product which we would then mix down and master in Redbull Studios London, so I ended up sending him a track I was working on and he put his twist on it. I didn’t actually hear what he had done with it until we got to London, he had definitely beefed it up in a typical Break way.

Spectrum: What did you think of the studio itself?

Crump: The studio was insane, more hardware and equipment than you could dream of, it’s such a shame we only had 3 hours because there was so much we could have played with!

Spectrum: What do you think you gained from the experience?

Crump: It’s always good to collaborate, you pick up new ways of doing things and obviously to do it in a studio of that calibre doesn’t come around very often.

Download the Soft Rockets EP here:

http://www.redbull.co.uk/cs/Satellite/en_UK/Music/Soft-Rockets-Download/001243325348041

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