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“I’m pretty honoured. Kasra knows what he’s doing so to be at the start of his idea for something new is really exciting to me.” With his reputation as a producer continuing to bubble nicely, both as a solo artist and as one third of Ivy Lab, it’s little wonder the Critical Music boss called on Laurence Reading’s talents to help spearhead his labels latest series of releases, Critical Systems. Picking up the baton from where Critical Modulations left off, Systems opens its account with Her Waves, the brand new four track EP from Halogenix. “I think the whole series thing is an interesting idea. It varies what he can put out, which is good because I like to do stuff that isn’t necessarily the typical Critical sound so it’s an opportunity to fit in where I’m going musically with what Kasra is doing. It’s exciting.”

The EP effortlessly blends melodic drum & bass (Her Waves & Too Good plus the scatty digital only cut Ambia) with electronic hip hop style tracks (Baby & Porcupine). There’s been a noticeable surge in popularity of late for hybrid beats that lend themselves to hip hop whilst also fitting within a D&B framework. Although utilising half speed tempo rhythms in drum & bass is nothing new, it’s a sound Halogenix and his cohorts are helping to lead the charge for with its current direction. “I’m a massive hip hop head but I was never that good at making old school Dilla or DJ Premier style beats. Then Stray made Matchsticks and we were like ‘what the fuck?!’. It was just this amazing fusion that we thought was really cool.” he says. “Also the grooves are directly translatable to the speed of drum & bass. Automatically there’s an appeal to making it because you can play it in your sets.” Having got behind tracks such as Sam Binga & Redders‘ massive anthem’s AYO! and Lef Dem, its clear Critical have a firm belief in this club-ready mish mash of genres.


Kicking off Critical Systems as well as being signed to Critical Music as a member of Ivy Lab, it’s obvious Halogenix has found a happy home under the watchful eye of its label owner Kasra. “He’s got his head screwed on properly. He’s very frank and direct but he also loves the music. I think it’s what sets him apart. A lot of people have loads of passion but no business acumen or vice versa. Kasra is a winning combo: he’s passionate about the music, he DJ’s it, he listens to and he got a real business brain. He motivates you to up your game because you know he just doesn’t sign bullshit.” Early releases on other labels favoured by fans of the underground, including Dispatch Recordings and Horizons Music, have helped Halogenix amass a small but credible catalogue of music in his career so far. Most exciting though is the revelation he’s soon to have solo material on Metalheadz. “Ant [Metalheadz label manager] is someone I always send beats to. I sent him a couple of tunes then he hit me up straight away to say they were wicked, that Goldie had heard them and wanted to work with me. I was like ‘where do I sign?’”

Not that Halogenix is a stranger to Metalheadz now anyway. A recent dalliance with them came in the form of Make It Clear, Ivy Lab’s scene stealing submission to their Platinum Breakz 4 compilation. Despite still being in their relative infancy as a group, tracks like Live On In Your Smile, Brat and the sheer undoubted brilliance of Oblique (made when they were still going under Sabre, Stray & Halogenix) have certainly captured people’s attention. Has their success as a crew been a surprise? “You can never plan these things. We all just came together to make beats after working with each other in various different ways so it was all very natural,” he states. “Oblique inspired and helped lay the foundation for us to formalise what we were doing. Kasra was pretty instrumental in our decision as well. He was very supportive of us from the get go and wanted to take us under his wing. It’s definitely been a shock to the system, but moving forward we’re using the momentum we’ve got and putting it all back into making sure the beats are fucking dope and, hopefully, not putting out half arsed shit.” And for anyone wondering about where the name comes from: “Originally it was gonna be Syprus Ivy. I thought that sounded a little too much like Cypress Hill but one thing we were sure about was that we loved the word Ivy. It’s a very evocative word. We wondered what else could go with it to describe us as a trio and came up with loads of different variations: Ivy Mob, Ivy Unit. Then we stumbled onto Ivy Lab. We let it sit for a couple of days and then realised that was the one.”

Halogenix’s opening edition of Critical Music’s new new series ‘Critical Systems’ is out now. Check it out below.

Words: Wayne Mackenzie


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