The Best of Exit Records with dBridge and Friends

Two decades old and now with 100 releases under its belt, Exit Records label head dBridge — along with fellow artists Addison Groove, Fixate, SertOne and Dub Phizix — reflect on the imprint’s majestic drum & bass / leftfield club discography.

8 min
Exit Records d Bridge Friends 1536x715
Nov 28, 2023
·
By
Cameron Holbrook

It’s been 20 years since drum & bass pioneer Darren White (aka dBridge) launched his storied Exit Records label. A member of the iconic D&B outfit Bad Company alongside DJ Fresh, Vegas, and Subphonics, White kicked off Exit Records with the purpose of forging his own path forward after the group disbanded. What started as an individual vehicle to express his own musical leanings quickly evolved into one of the UK underground’s most intrepid imprints, churning out boundary-breaking bangers that would venture far beyond the realm of drum & bass and accelerating the rise of illustrious acts like Skeptical, Commix, Instra:mental, Synkro, the late Marcus Intalex, and more.

In addition to honoring two decades of this all-important label, Exit Records recently began celebrating another milestone — its 100th release. Titled Exit 100, this four-part album series features tracks from emerging talents that showcase the future of Exit while paying homage to the pioneers who have defined the imprint’s sound over the years.

Beatport linked up with dBridge and four acts appearing on the centennial release — Dub Phizix, Addison Groove, Fixate, and SertOne — to pay homage by offering up their two favorite Exit Records releases.

The V/A compilation Exit 100 Pt. One 1 is out now. Buy it on Beatport.

D Bridge 1

dBridge

The year 2003 seems like a lifetime ago, and I guess it is. I vividly remember wanting to start Exit and the reasons I had for doing so. Fresh had formed Breakbeat Chaos and was forging a new path for himself, and I felt that I also needed to express myself more as an individual after feeling like I had lost my sense of self within Bad Company. I originally wanted to release my solo music on BC Recordings, but that idea didn’t work for the others, so I decided to go my own way. The two releases I chose stand out for me because they set me on my path and are a statement of intent.

dBridge, Resolution No. 1 – Libra [Exit Records]

Libra” I wrote with my partner at the time, Amy (Resolution No. 1). It was kind of an ode to LTJ Bukem’s “Music.” I always liked how long the melody was at the beginning and the sense of anticipation it created for the drop.

Blackpocket – Field [Exit Records]

The Blackpocket LP was the first album on Exit, and it wasn’t drum & bass. Throughout my career, I looked up to labels like Warp and XL, which started underground and then evolved into strong independents, releasing all forms and genres of music. That’s something I always wanted for Exit, and I felt like this album set that tone for me.

Dub Phizix Beatport

Dub Phizix

Workforce – Your Moves [Exit Records]

dBridge has always said that Exit is about finding the soul and just the right amount of bite for the dancefloor and bringing them together. This tune does that perfectly

Genotype – Dubwiser [Exit Records]

This tune captures what we were all trying to do at the time, but Justin maintained that raw edge with the B line that, for me, is the essence of drum & bass.

Addison Groove Beatport

Addison Groove

Alix Perez – Gully Halves [Exit Records]

Although this is eight years old now, this sound and style of slowfast/halftime, whatever-you-call it, is still fresh to my ears. And I definitely draw for this one often.

Sun People – Tell Me Something [Exit Records]

Class minimal bass and beats from sun people who continue to bring fresh takes on what 160 can be while staying groovy.

Fixate Beatport

Fixate

Amit – Manic Minor [Exit Records]

An Incredibly fun tune to mix. The bassline is menacing. Proper eyes down business that I’ll never get bored of it.

Stray – Matchsticks [Exit Records]

Soulful and catchy with an incredible groove. For me, this tune captures a time when there was a lot of experimentation around 170 and went on to inspire me to give it a go.

Sert One Beatport

SertOne

Itoa – Leather & Lace [Exit Records]

I have been a fan of Itoa for a very long time. His Exit Record releases really capture what has become his signature sound of crisp percussion, fluid and polyphonic rhythms and deep basses. It’s hard to pick up only one track from his 2020 Melb EP but I’ve gone with “Leather & Lace” because the dancehall drums and the eerie dubstep-like bass line are perfectly recontextualized from their original genres into something forward-thinking, new and exciting. From my experience if you want to start getting people’s feet moving and pick up the pace during a set, Itoa is the perfect choice for the party ravers.

Dolenz – Evesdrop [Exit Records]

I came into the UK rave music continuum through a very unusual path via Flying Lotus and Samiyam releasing on labels like Tectonic and Hyperdub, whose sounds at the time where closer stylistically to hip hop producers like J Dilla and Madlib, but their grooves and overwhelming basses perfectly fit on those early dubstep labels. I love Dolenz productions because they sound like my journey through music, from my early youth listening to hip hop and rap, to my student days being introduced to dubstep, grime, and all things orbiting sound system culture. I don’t think there are many artists around at the moment who still carry the torch of that LA Beat Scene/early Dubstep in the same way that Dolenz does.

Cameron Holbrook is Beatportal’s North American Editor. Find him on X or Instagram.

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