Ed Rush & Optical - Watermelon (Virus Recordings, 1999)
Ed Rush & Optical won the Best Tech DJ at the Drum & Bass Awards 2013 on Saturday so I thought I'd take a look at 'Watermelon', one of the highlights from the early days of their Virus Recordings label which is celebrating its fifteenth birthday this year. I've read that this was named due to its use of samples from 'Watermelon Man' by Herbie Hancock but I can't tell what exactly is sampled or from which version although given Ed Rush & Optical's penchant for funk elements I would hazard a guess at the Head Hunters recording.
The chilled opening features shimmering synths and gentle keys before introducing the tracks crisp drums in a unique pattern with nice fills. After a brief section with some jazzy stabs the immense, hypnotising bassline is unleashed, bringing to mind a submarine deep in the ocean gradually closing in on its target. In typical Ed Rush & Optical fashion this is accompanied by a particularly queasy riff that comes and goes throughout the track. A subtle yet stunning track which is amongst their greatest productions.
You can hear 'Watermelon' in Ed Rush & Optical's Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1 from 1999 below or check out DJ Craze's incredible beat juggling routine using the track (at the wrong speed), which helped him win his third straight DMC World Championship.