Since its inception in 2002, Critical Music has been one of the premier labels in drum & bass music. They’ve made an indisputable imprint on the genre’s history throughout its run, helping launch the careers of veterans such as Icicle, Rockwell, and Ivy Lab, as well as rising newcomers like IMANU (then going by Signal) and Buunshin.
Label founder Kasra made his production debut on Critical in 2007 on the All Sounds Electric compilation and has been steadily releasing singles and EPs on a regular basis ever since. His newest offering, the double-single “Guilty / Kanjiru,” illustrates why he, and by extension Critical, is well-renowned for his versatility and high level of production.
“Guilty” is hands-down one of the strongest drum & bass tunes of 2021 – it has been a stellar year for the more soulful variety of the genre but still “Guilty” stacks up with the best. The vocals of rising R&B singer Catching Cairo perfectly complement Kasra’s percussive production – even listeners who aren’t as into drum & bass can get easily hooked on this one.
On the flip is “Kanjiru,” an absolute belter that is best meant to be heard at a sweaty rave at 3 AM. A bit of a jarring shift in tone from the A-side, most certainly, but it’s bold decisions like this that solidify Kasra as one of the greats in drum & bass and make this release essential listening.