Review: House of Black Lanterns – London…We Back

House of Black Lanterns heralds a very welcome return to production with his new release, London…We Back. The Waveform Transmitter‘s Ste Knight listens to two tracks that draw heavily on the tropes of London’s bass music scene.

House of Black Lanterns is one of several permutations under which Dylan Richards has produced. This, his most recent project, follows on from work under the King Cannibal guise, when he was signed to Ninja Tune, and also as Zilla, when he was signed to Warp. 2015 saw Richards dropping his fantastic You Were Telling Me of Mountains long player, which contained two tracks, each around 23 minutes long.

Both were exercises in low-slung atmospherics, incorporating multiple genres, from techno, through instrumental hip-hop, dub, and electro. In typical HoBL style, Richards pulled themes together into a cohesive whole, a skill he has nurtured for many a year – you only need to listen to his Way of the Ninja mix, which features a ridiculous number of tracks, to witness this skill demonstrated.

Following his 2015 album, Dylan took a break from music to concentrate on himself. Not knowing whether or not he would see a return to music production, we are delighted to report that we have some fresh output from the producer, in the form of his brand-new single, London…We Back. The title of the release is most pertinent. Not only is the single showcasing HoBL‘s return to form, but also his return to London, which he celebrates by drawing influence from the many sounds that emanate from the capital.

Check out our review archive for more musical opinion, here.

Pirate radio, Garage, dubstep, grime; all of these and more are repped on the release, while staying faithful to Dylan‘s own production techniques. The opening track, Out to the Private Number, opens with a beat that sits firmly in garage territory, before a sub-shattering dubstep bassline kicks in, creating a juxtaposition between the lighter, more playful elements of garage and the murkier depths espoused by the grime genre. Samples from what is, presumably, a pirate radio show, play out over the top, giving the track a particularly London feel.

The second track on the EP is London Respond. Drawing on a real dub vibe as the track kicks in, with more garage-style percussion entering the mix, Richards offers more than a nod to the darker, more cinematic takes on garage peddled by the likes of Groove Chronicles, and the paradoxically soaring melancholy of dubstep’s Burial. Snippets of junglist vocals permeate through the mix, echoing in and out of the track to give it a distinct dub feel.

With this latest release in the bag, we have high hopes of more output from Dylan. His productions are always of a particularly high standard, well deserving of your attention. You can listen to the latest release, below. We strongly recommend that you head over to the House of Black Lanterns BandCamp page and grab yourself a copy. Now.


Author: Ste Knight

Editor at The Waveform Transmitter. Lover of acid basslines, cavernous kick drums, and dark rooms. Cut his teeth to Surgeon's blistering techno assault at T-Funkshun in Liverpool and hasn't stopped for breath since.

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