This 12-inch sees them at the top of their game, delivering a dark and brooding halfstep number and an electro tinged roller with swirling retro sounding synths. "Rogue" starts with tension-building pads that are unleashed with a fierce—almost tribal—backing beat. The percussion is intricately twirled around the drums and hints of the bass to come are teased before the tune drops with a pounding bass line. The flipside, "Sakura," is based on the same ingredients, but is in another vein altogether. Multiple pads and synths are layered around a tribal rhythm that feels slower than it really is. The bright synths and stabs contrast with the brooding bass, offering new elements for the listener to discover each time.
The Darkestral label has emblazoned its releases with a motto: "170 BPM, respect the speed limit." It's a barrier that most drum & bass crashed through over a decade ago, but Instra:mental looks back with a rose-tinted glasses, employing a warm and rich sound that still somehow feels unique. "Rogue" and "Sakura" are a treat to drum & bass heads, but also to dance music fans in general. Don't miss out.