Friction’s first-ever full-length has been hotly anticipated for quite a while now, but it’s been an even longer time coming for the man himself. With his two labels, a successful six-year run at hosting his BBC1 and 1Xtra radio show, and near godlike status on the decks—not to mention some of the best known dancefloor collabs and remixes in D&B history—Friction decided it was time to take on another challenge. Turning inward, the UK staple has spent the last four years in the studio, crafting this epic debut LP.
Connections is indeed a journey, with a wide range of styles and sounds—including emotive liquid tracks, like the album’s lead single “Dancing,” featuring JP Cooper. Friction also jaunts over to deep, ragga-inspired club tunes, such as “Forever Dub” alongside Kiko Bun. Every track on this album is as good as the last, which is all to say Connections was definitely worth the wait.
For our Track of the Day, we had to give it to the absolute dancefloor banger that is “Ultrafunk,” which sees him tapping Metrik on the collab tip. The track is an ultra-fun reimagining of the iconic “funkula” vocal sample that was used on B-Easy’s “Ultrafunkula” track from 1995—and in about a million other places elsewhere in rave and dance music. However, it’s never been done like this; even the classic “ultrafunkula” vox call has been redone with extra samples added. Musically, it starts out melodic and then drops into a beat and synth combo that’s steppy, ravey, and definitely ready for the dancefloor. A great combination piece, it’s a nod to Friction’s old-school roots and, furthermore, the roots of rave culture.
With an album so long in the making, it’s amazing to see Friction come into his own, production-wise, and prove once again that he has more than earned his place in the annals of drum & bass.
Available September 7 via Elevate Records.
Buy Friction’s Connections LP here.