Hip-hop may have collided with electronic music many times, but few artists fuse them like Ivy Lab. The London production unit, comprising established beat makers Sabre (a.k.a Gove Kidao) and Stray (a.k.a Jonathan Fogel), has assembled an original compound between the two disparate styles, drawing partly from their past as drum & bass producers, and partly from their love of film soundtracks, synths, and the psychedelic beats of producers such as Flying Lotus or Samiyam.
Originally a trio (former member Halogenix went solo), brought together out of a shared enthusiasm for experimentations on the fringes of the UK bass music scene, Ivy Lab first pooled its individual strengths in 2013 with the single “Afterthought/Brat,” and subsequently released a run of singles and EPs for respected drum & bass label Critical. To start with, their beats conformed to a drum & bass structure, with soulful vocals, techno textures, and crisp sound design their signature. But 2014’s “Sunday Crunk” and 2015’s “Two By Two” hinted at their future direction: electronic hip-hop with subtly swung beats, weird riffs, heavy bass, and rowdy samples.
Later that year saw the creation of the Twenty Twenty London venture. Often abbreviated to simply TW/TW, the project was minted as an events series and record label, and features the majority of Ivy Lab’s catalogue including their pseudo-mixtape/LP 20/20 Volume One (2015), and their follow up, 2018’s Death Don’t Always Taste Good. In the wake of the pandemic, the duo has responded with an increasingly experimental and subdued catalogue, doubling down on the under-produced minimalism that has always been a lingering theme of the outfit’s work. Last month, they released Infinite Falling Ground, a clear shift towards this spacier, more emotional side of Ivy Lab.
To mark the album, we’re sharing a much-anticipated Ivy Lab podcast, which is jam-packed with Ivy Lab originals, several of which are unreleased. What you can expect is an expanded version of the more sultry sections of the pair’s live sets, “which frankly are our favorite passages when we perform,” Ivy Lab told EDMjunkies. “If the mood is right, this is more or less exactly what we hope to be playing.” Press play for just over an hour of contemplative downtempo electronica.
01. What have you been up to recently?
Mostly relentless video editing to get this live show ready, capped off with an American roadtrip with my young son. Jay is flexing his intellect right now, having just kicked off a part-time masters degree in psychotherapy.
02. What have you been listening to?
James Ruskin Hate Music mix series 2022; Skee Mask with Flowdan, Trim, Chunky, and SP:MC, Live from HVYWGHT LDN; Black Zone myth Chant Embryo Issue #2; Flohio Highest LP; plus lots of Wowflower, which is just beautiful enveloped-in-a-blanket music.
03. Where and when did you record this mix?
Jay’s studio in east London, at the start of November 2022.
04. How did you go about choosing the tracks you’ve included?
Just trying to reflect as greatly as possible our current wave of alt-R&B-inspired music, while hoping to showcase our favorite cuts from our latest album!
05. Where do you imagine it being listened to?
Parked up in neutral at the side of the road, all alone after the late shift.
06. What’s up next on your horizon?
Time to reflect and consider which direction our irritable sense of inspiration takes us. This whole project is an ode to a troubled era in our lives, so continuing its aesthetic with new material without the now-partially-transcended background melancholy will be a fresh process.
EDMjunkies Subscribers can download the podcast below. If you’re not an EDMjunkies subscriber, you can read more about it and subscribe here.
01. Kelela “Washed Away” (Warp Records)
02. Ivy Lab “Balaclava” (TW/TW LDN)
03. Alphafox “Family Style” (TW/TW LDN)
04. Oakk “WHO R U” (TW/TW LDN)
05. Joe Armon-Jones & Mala “All Ways” (Aquarii Records)
06. Ivy Lab “Celeste” (TW/TW LDN)
07. Antwon “Rain Song” feat. Lil Ugly Mane (Nature World)
08. Rochelle Jordan “Shotgun” (Protostar Records)
09. Ivy Lab “Merlot” (TW/TW LDN)
10. Ivy Lab “Our Time” (TW/TW LDN)
11. Ivy Lab “Touch & Go” (TW/TW LDN)
12. Cousin Stizz “Look Both Ways” (Stizz Music Inc.)
13. Ivy Lab “Late Night Fit” (TW/TW LDN)
14. S-Type & Martyn Bootyspoon “Drip” (LuckyMe)
15. Alphafox “Calling Me” (TW/TW LDN)
16. Hudson Mohawke “Bow” (Warp Records)
17. Ivy Lab “Fidget” (TW/TW LDN)
18. Ivy Lab “Untitled” (Unreleased)
19. Ivy Lab “Untitled” (Unreleased)
20. Double Cup Kase “Mushrooms” (Self-released)
21. Jimmy Edgar “SLIP N SLIDE” (Innovative Leisure)
22. 645AR “Bag” feat. Beam (SOS)
23. Andre Palace “No Stopping Me” (TW/TW LDN)
24. Nah Eeto & Black Josh “From Nout” (TW/TW LDN)
25. Ivy Lab “NOVV” (TW/TW LDN)
26. Deft “Humble” (TW/TW LDN)
27. Knucks “Lucious” feat. Kwengface (Unreleased)
28. Andre Palace “Untitled” (Unreleased)
29. Ivy Lab “Untitled” (Unreleased)
30. Deft “Hotpot” (TW/TW LDN)
31. Ivy Lab “Untitled” (Unreleased)
32. COUCOU CHLOE “Zero Five Stars” (Kelvin Crash Remix) (Self-Released)
33. Ivy Lab “Untitled” (Unreleased)
34. Deft “Look Back Forward” (TW/TW LDN)