René LaVice photography by Regal Dee.

o·pin·ion /əˈpinyən/ noun : a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

Do artists change after they’ve gotten their proverbial “big break”? Perhaps more importantly, does the musical output of a recording artist become adversely and unnaturally affected by the influence of signing with a major label? Are certain artists more susceptible to bend to the will of the wishes of an established recording entity in order to appease their unquenchable thirst for record sales and maximized profits? Or are other artists merely evolving artistically in such a way that may alienate a fickle fan base that longs for a certain audio aesthetic?

Even the forever underground — at times insular — Drum & Bass online brainstrust, cannot claim to be mutually exclusive from this decades old music industry debate.  Many will opine that money and fame can corrupt what was once purely in the name of creative expression, while others will be quick to defend an artists’ choice to survive by any means necessary in what is very much a cutthroat and hyper-competitive industry.  Circumstances which define a musician’s career arc — much like the opinions of those who closely follow their body of work, can vastly differ.

Arguably the most significant exclusive recording pact inked by a producer whose talents were fostered by the Toronto Drum & Bass scene, René LaVice signed on with BMG backed D&B goliath Ram Records following the reception and critical acclaim garnered from the publication of 2012 dancefloor anthem “Headlock“.  His signature reese inspired basslines and punchy 2-step drumbreaks honed and perfected, the hogtown native would diversify his production palette incorporating cinematic themes, drawing inspiration from the gritty garage sound of early 1990’s Seattle, and experimenting with various BPMs.

Far too often the term “sellout” gets thrown around with an unfair degree of ease.  Has your man sold out? Perhaps even René LaVice‘s staunchest critics may have to reconsider their own predispositions following the release of his ‘Insufficient Funds‘ remix of oft-collaborators DigitalOutrage‘s drummy excursion “Red Letter“.  Tapping into a sonic repertoire seldom seen since joining the Ram stable, René LaVice unleashes a bevy of menacing basslines, a plethora of complexly constructed drum breaks, and a series of pulsating synth sections in his heavy-as-fuck reinterpretation of the LP title track of the same name.

Purhcase NS004 on 12″ vinyl from the Nomine Sound Bandcamp page: https://nomine.bandcamp.com/track/ns004-a3-red-letter-rene-la-vice-insufficient-funds-remix

– Joe Crilla