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Friday, Jun 27 2014 | 12:39 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

Optiv & BTKOver the years, drum & bass has seen literally thousands of record labels come and go. But amid the seemingly infinite imprints that have provided an outlet for the music, very few can claim to have had anywhere near the influence of the mighty Virus Recordings.

Ed Rush & Optical, alongside fellow ‘tech step’ luminaries Matrix, Trace, RymeTyme and later Bad Company and Cause 4 Concern, layed down the Virus template on timeless tracks such as ‘Gasmask’, ‘Watermelon’ and ‘Medicine’, as well as LPs ‘Wormhole’ and ‘Sleepwalk’, and within just a couple of years had a seismic influence on the sound of drum & bass.

Optiv & BTK join forces and invite you into their Blackjack album. Representing the next step in both their journeys, the album sets the stage for Virus Recordings for both this year and the future. With dynamism, funk and an overarching sense of groove, the record plays to the strengths of both producers, creating something which is more than the sum of its parts. Take a trip into the darkside, with the experience and talent of Optiv & BTK as your guides.

The album begins with tracks like the stalking, shimmering title cut, which features vocals from MC Rymetyme. The pace is picked up with choices such as Telepathy and Subterranean, which show that BTK and Optiv, both with years in the game, are still repositories of new, fresh and invigorating ideas. The latter, especially, see the producers go deep, working the elements of their tracks into different directions, but holding things together like only they can do. The sawing, cutting Shredder is an absolutely huge track, taking influence from both electro and dark techno, to create a menacing underworld where the stuff of nightmares comes alive.

Complete dancefloor devastation has always been Optiv and BTK’s aim, and if that is your bag, go no further than the phenomenal Dirt Box, with its riffing, riding bassline and pure in-your-face feel. Nothing will feel the same after you hear it, but there’s no rest, as Ground Shaker (with Nuklear MC) and Snake Bite (once again with Rymetyme) keep up the pace. The album is fresh, exciting, and shows two masters of the music taking it far and wide. The beats smash anything they have done to date, and the basslines are always hard and tight throughout. Touches of the old skool on Nemesis (with Mindscape), and the sheer power of Weapon Of Choice show the variety at the heart of Blackjack, and the passion and delivery of cuts like Heart Shape (which benefits from the inclusion of Black Sun Empire) shows that the years have taken nothing from Optiv & BTK’s creative flow, and desire to rock the crowd.

Blackjack is next level, and will be many people’s choice for album of the year.


01. Optiv & BTK – Blackjack feat. Ryme Tyme
02. Optiv & BTK – Telepathy
03. Optiv & BTK – Subterranean
04. Optiv & BTK – Shredder
05. Optiv, BTK & Mindscape – Intruder
06. Optiv & BTK – That Sound
07. Optiv & BTK – Dirt Box
08. Optiv & BTK – Ground Shaker feat. Nuklear MC
09. Optiv & BTK – Snake Bite feat. Ryme Tyme
10. BTK & Mindscape – Nemesis
11. Optiv & BTK – Weapon Of Choice
12. Optiv, BTK & Black Sun Empire – Heartshaped
13. Optiv, BTK & Mindscape – Goin’ In

The album Optiv & BTKBlackjack” (Virus) is going to be released July 4, 2014.

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