Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Hidden Agenda - Dispatches #2

Hidden Agenda - Dispatches #2 (Metalheadz, 1996)

Last night saw the world premiere of 'Radio Rewrite', a new work by Steve Reich based on two Radiohead tracks, 'Everything In Its Right Place' and 'Jigsaw Falling Into Place'. Reich is one of the pioneers of minimal music and this piece came about after he heard Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood perform 'Electric Counterpoint' in 2011. This Reich composition was originally recorded by Pat Metheny in 1987 and involves twelve pre-recorded guitar parts with a thirteenth performed live. It is a stunningly beautiful piece of music which has been sampled by The Orb and RJD2 amongst others.

What does this have to do with drum & bass? Well, Hidden Agenda sampled 'Electric Counterpoint' on 'Dispatches #2' which appeared on their third 12" for Metalheadz. A short guitar loop from the piece fades in at around the five minute mark and provides a brief moment of light on an otherwise dark track. It opens with a thin-sounding 'Think' break before adding a sturdier beat and ghostly atmospherics with a low growling bassline and small snippets of the 'Life Could' and 'Apache' breaks. A 'yelping' sound appears throughout the track and this might be from the intro to Herbie Hancock's 'Watermelon Man' although I can't be sure (see my post about Foul Play's 'Cuttin' Loose' for further discussion of this track). There are also two samples of dialogue from 'The Night of the Hunter', a strange and disconcerting film starring Robert Mitchum from 1955: "It's a hard world for little things" appears at 1:12 while "I come not with peace but with a sword" appears after the Reich sample at 5:52. An excellent, sinister track from the often underrated duo.

You can purchase the digital of 'Dispatches #2' directly from the label here. It is also available on the excellent Platinum Breakz II compilation. If you are in the UK you can listen to the 'Radio Rewrite' premiere, which includes a performance of 'Electric Counterpoint' by Mats Bergström, here and here until Tuesday 12th March 2013 courtesy of BBC Radio 3.

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