Thursday, 28 March 2013
Northern Connexion - Reel Funk
Northern Connexion - Reel Funk (Back 2 Basic, 1995)
The legendary AWOL recently announced a return to London at the O2 Arena on June 8th with DJ Hazard, Doc Scott and Uncle Dugs alongside original residents Micky Finn, Kenny Ken, Dr S Gachet, Darren Jay and Randall with MCs GQ and Fearless. Starting out in early 1992, AWOL (A Way Of Life) was one of original jungle clubs in London and played a huge role in converting people to the new sound that was quickly taking shape at the time. Although I was too young to actually go to an event I did buy the AWOL Live album that was released through Ministry Of Sound which really captured the vibe of the place thanks to the mix being heavy on crowd noise. It featured all five residents, each one playing three tracks, with several 'A.W.O.L. V.I.P.' mixes of some of the biggest tunes of the era.
One of these tracks was 'Reel Funk' (Darren Jay's third selection) which quickly became a personal favourite of mine, although I only picked up the original on vinyl a few years ago. Northern Connexion was one of the aliases used by Jason Ball who ran the West Midlands based Back 2 Basics label and was responsible for many fine tunes back in the day. 'Reel Funk' keeps things simple with atmospheric chords, the Amen break and female "Yeah" vocals before unleashing a monster bassline which really gets going at the second drop (around 1:53 in the youtube video above). Ball adds a few old school hip-hop style stabs and funk guitar loops but this one is really all about the drums and the bass. As GQ says towards the beginning of the AWOL Live CD: "Hang tight all the crew from Back 2 Basics, maximum respect".
Check out the original AWOL Live album which you can stream below.