When I emailed Zoltan Gal (aka ICR) with a few questions for this feature, I expected to receive the standard three line answers. I was wrong. The detail and thought put into his replies made Zoltan look more like a novelist than a DnB producer, but when listening to his new album 'Something about Nothing', it's clear why he chose the latter profession.
Growing up in the Hungarian countryside, ICR was not your typical inner city junglist, but with a passion for electronic music it was only a matter of time before he caught the drum and bass bug.
"I remember getting up at 3am to tape Fabio on Radio 1," says Zoltan. "It was just fascinating how different it was compared to the usual techno stuff I listened to at the time. After that I began digging a little deeper into the scene and created my own website in 1999, drumandbass.hu, which quickly became the leading DnB site in Hungary."
Fast-forward to the present day and the Hungarian born leftfield specialist, whose precision and musical talent has caught the eye of labels such as Fokuz and Good Looking, is now releasing his third EP on Misspent Music, the brain child of Zoltan himself.
"When we launched Misspent Music in 2007 I thought it would be strictly for my own production," says ICR. "I produced a lot around that time and although I had releases on various labels, I still had tons of unreleased tunes – which was quite frustrating. Now not only is it an outlet for my own work, but also for other great artists from all around the world."
With a sound that has been praised by the likes of London Elektricity and Lynx, ICR's new album 'Something About Nothing' takes his production to new levels.
"I wrote this LP back in 2006, so it pretty much reflects my feelings and emotions at that time," explains Zoltan. "It's more accomplished than anything I've ever done really. I started my "career" with more techy / trancey atmospheric d&b which can be seen on my first album 'Daytrip', on ASC's Covert Operations label, but 'Something About Nothing' really gave me the opportunity to show my deeper side."
The approval of other artists in the industry is something ICR is evidently grateful for and with such success to his name so far, Zoltan is keen to keep producing DnB of the highest level.
"It's always a great feeling when these artists that you look up to acknowledge your piece of work," explains Zoltan. "It does make your time and effort feel worthwhile when you listen to your track played out by Fabio and Grooverider or on the Hospital podcasts. It makes you realise that you're almost there. I suppose it's just hard to keep that level."
With artists such as Spectrasoul, Bop, Instra: mental and Survival helping to keep that level consistently high, one could foresee leftfield becoming the future of the DnB scene, but ICR hopes this is not the case.
"Maybe it's strange to hear it from me, but I definitely hope it is not. As it literally suggests, leftfield is off the centre. If the minimal or leftfield, or should I say more experimental sound, emerges too much – it'd become the new "mainstream," says Zoltan. "What's more important to the future of the genre is balance, giving jump-up, liquid, tech and leftfield all a place in the scene, like it is today. It's all about variety, and DnB has plenty of that!"
So what do the coming months hold for ICR?
"I'm currently busy with the CD version of the album, my younger brother has done the artwork by the way, then I'm preparing for the next Misspent releases, including some crazy tunes from Fushara, Salmz and Cycom. I've also completed the follow up to 'Something About Nothing'. 'Between Nowhere & Goodbye' has been ready for a while so I decided to put this out early 2010. I've just completed a new album for Counter Intelligence as well – but it's too early to give details on this. I may put together some new tracks inside and outside d&b again. Until that, check out my new remix on the finest Hungarian house / breaks label, Glack Audio, out soon."
WORDS James Bass
ICR has given us an exclusive track to give away called 'Ars Poetica (Good Little Monsters)'. You won't find it available anywhere else. Download it here.