Friday, 14 December 2018

DnB Advent Calendar: Day 14

Doc Scott - Far Away (Fourteen Flavours Of Funk) (Metalheadz, 1994)

A fortnight in to the DnB Advent Calendar and we have fourteen flavours of funk from the fourth release on Goldie's iconic label. It's a stone cold classic from Scott McIlroy and his second appearance on Metalheadz, having already had 'VIP Drumz' on their very first 12". These two tunes show the versatility of Doc Scott as a producer as they sit at opposite ends of the Drum & Bass spectrum.

While 'VIP Drumz' is paranoid and frantic, 'Far Away' is as chilled as they come. There are few producers who are so adept at both the light and the dark. The fact that he has always considered himself "a DJ who makes music, always a DJ first" is vital as he knows how tracks will work when played out. Two club nights in particular played a crucial role for Doc Scott in the mid-nineties, Bukem and Fabio's Speed and Goldie's Bluenote Sessions:
"It was through these 2 club nights that I wrote the tracks I did, 'Drumz 95' for the Blue Note, 'Far Away' for Speed, that's how it was, it was a lucky position to be in for sure"
'Far Away' was without doubt a Speed anthem and as Om Unit put it when speaking to Fabric's blog in 2014, "the epitome of the cool-out vibe... just a classic mellow roller". Wah wah guitar and repeated "Far away..." vocals open the track before you're are enveloped by some soft pillowy synth. The Think break gets things going before warm hits of bass and the Sesame Street break enter and a chord change sends shivers down your spine. Absolute bliss.

You can check Doc Scott's studio setup back in the mid-nineties over at FACT, while 'Far Away' appears in Eazyflow's 1994 Mellow DnB Mix which is available to download from A Bass Chronicle.

Discogs link

Thursday, 13 December 2018

DnB Advent Calendar: Day 13

Sonar's Ghost - Exit 13 (Rupture LDN, 2017)

In 2009, Dominic Stanton AKA Domu and myriad other aliases announced his retirement from the music industry. After many years of producing, DJing, remixing and managing labels he was tired of the whole thing. As he put it at the time "my creative light has dimmed". A few years later though and the upsurge in new music influenced by vintage Drum & Bass and Jungle reignited the flame, with the Two Hungry Ghosts blog being of particular importance.

Back in the nineties he had made Drum & Bass as Sonar Circle alongside Jaimie Norman on the pivotal Reinforced Records. His new project reflected his previous incarnation and his more recent inspiration, taking the name Sonar's Ghost. Stanton initially stayed in the shadows, not explicitly stating he was behind it or promoting anything himself. Although he still avoids the limelight now, he has at least come out from behind the curtain and a 12" on the crucial Rupture LDN imprint last year was his most prominent release since his retirement.

'Exit 13' is a tribute to the mighty Source Direct, re-imagining their vicious 'Exit 9', a '95 release on their own imprint (presumably taking its renumbered title from being the 13th release on Rupture). Unsettling synths glimmer while unidentifiable sounds scurry behind the Sesame Street break before Stanton shows off his incredible razor sharp Amen edits. He even throws in an appropriate sample of dialogue from Back To The Future III:
"I can assure you sir, is that you never know what the future might bring
The future? Oh I can tell you about the future"
In a similar fashion 'Praise 'Em' on the other side is a homage to Dillinja. You can hear both sides of the 12", plus VIP versions and Source Direct's original 'Exit 9' in this Sonar's Ghost In Session Mix for Rupture LDN from August 2017:

Discogs link

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

DnB Advent Calendar: Day 12

Swift & Zinc - 12 O'Clock Drop (Sophisticated Underground Sounds, 1995)

After posting about a track yesterday where the time was 11:55 it's only right that today we take a look at this tune in which we've reached the midnight hour. Swift & Zinc put out most of their material on Bizzy B's Brain Progression imprint but this tune appeared on a 12" that was both one of their final releases together and the first on a new label, Sophisticated Underground Sounds (SUS), founded by promoters Phil Hickin & Mick from Desire/2000AD Productions.

The intro features some chilled keys, drums using the hot pants break and sensual vocals, including "You are the only one who makes me feel this way" sampled from the swingapella version of 'Forever' by Key To Life feat. Sabrina Johnston. Preceding the drop the duo introduce two new vocal samples. The first "We lead double lives. We deal in sex and beautiful women" is taken from an episode of the American detective series Burke's Law entitled Who Killed Alex Debbs? Co-incidentally this sample also appeared in 'Kelly's Heroes' by British rock group Black Grape, released the same year.

The second gives the track its title and appropriately brings in a change of pace as Amen drums smash up the place accompanied by a kinetic Reese bassline for a stomping tune that certainly has a proper drop. Swift & Zinc set up a Bandcamp page recently and '12 O'Clock Drop' is one of the tracks available to download, newly remastered. Zinc comments "made in '94 released in '95 as far as i remember. big up phil and mick and all the desire massive... written produced engineered and mixed by swift and zinc. but i think it was just swift actually."

You can hear '12 O'Clock Drop' in this Fabriclive promo mix by Nanny Banton Vs Danny Drive Thru from 2014:

Discogs link