Monday, 28 January 2013

E-Z Rollers - Tough At The Top (Origin Unknown Remix)

E-Z Rollers - Tough At The Top (Origin Unknown Remix) (Moving Shadow, 1998)

It would be remiss of me to let a whole month go by without featuring anything from Moving Shadow, one of the greatest labels in the history of the genre. Established way back in 1990 by Rob Playford, they released several tracks that played a pivotal role in the transition from hardcore to drum'n'bass from acts such as Omni Trio and Foul Play. Known for diversity, the label released everything from jump-up to techstep and was in business for eighteen years before sadly folding in 2008.

E-Z Rollers were a production duo formed in 1994 consisting of Alex Banks, who was one half of Hyper On Experience, and Jay Hurren AKA JMJ. Best known for 'Walk This Land', their contribution to the soundtrack of 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels', they made jazz influenced drum'n'bass and often used live instrumentation. By the time of their 1998 album 'Weekend World' they had added singer Kelly Richards, whose vocals feature on the original version of 'Tough At The Top'.

Origin Unknown's remix begins fairly subtly, making heavy use of the original's live flute and segments of the "You know ladies and gentlemen, it's time for us to present something to you that we feel strongly about" vocal sample taken from the introduction to The Cannonball Adderley Quintet's 'Why Am I Treated So Bad'. For the first half of the track the original's live bass is rearranged and filtered over a two-step beat occasionally using the 'Hot Pants' break but this remix is really all about the second drop. After the vocal is cut-up to say "It's time... for us to present to you something strong" a huge bassline is introduced which twists and morphs around the flutes and really lifts the track to another level. Origin Unknown were always expert remixers but this is one of their finest.

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