Fred V & Grafix – Oxygen
Release Date: 24/06/2016
Producers: Fred V & Grafix
Singles: Ignite, Together We’re Lost, Ultraviolet
Albums aren’t necessarily high on the list of priorities when it comes to drum and bass artists, singles and remixes are more their thing generally speaking. That being said there are of course the exceptions, Chase & Status, High Contrast and more recently Wilkinson, have all achieved notable success with the release of full-length LPs. Looking to follow that success are Fred V & Grafix, long-term signees to one of the drum and bass scene’s most influential labels- Hospital Records.
I’ve always called Fred V & Grafix one of the most ‘likeable’ dnb acts out there, often using big vocal hooks, acoustic riffs and dips into EDM. With that in mind, Fred V & Grafix have continued to follow the trend of ‘nice’ drum and bass, with influences of liquid, ambient, and pop-dnb, heavy across the album. Trademark Fred V & Grafix traits cement the album together, with soft beeps and chimes crossed with atmospheric synths.
As hinted at with the outstanding promotional single Constellations, Fred V & Grafix’s second full-length LP is much more chilled than heavy. Liquid dnb is the focus, and the dreamy textures and floaty production feel airy and light. Oxygen is an effortless listen. Prior to its release, and much of the reason why the LP took over two years to perfect, Fred V & Grafix cite the more progressed songwriting as the key driving point behind Oxygen. And to be fair to them, there is noticed focus on the album as a grouping of songs that have been written, as apposed to beats and drops being crafted.
Oxygen is a tidy little album, and a well executed one at that. The structure, songwriting, and the ambient unfolding of it are all more than enough to reflect the album title, and cleverly devised flourishes such as the spoken word-esque verse from Franko Frazie, do give the album notable substance, in a genre dominated by drops.
Verdict – WWWV