Saturday, 9 March 2013

Optical - To Shape The Future (Remix)

Optical - To Shape The Future (Remix) (Metalheadz, 1997)

The American philosopher Eric Hoffer once said "The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future". One producer with that power in the drum & bass world is Matt Quinn AKA Optical who in 1997 had a series of seminal releases on labels such as Prototype, Moving Shadow, Metro and Metalheadz that played a pivotal role in the development of Drum & Bass and continue to influence the sound of the music today, truly "shaping the future".

The original of 'To Shape The Future' is a dark, sludgy tune at an unusually slow speed full of modem bleeps with a sick, droning bassline and a fractured, snare-heavy break. Optical then gave the track a major overhaul for the Metalheadz Boxset, a release in packaging influenced by Public Image Limited's Metal Box. The intro repeats the "To Shape The Future" line over modem bleeps until a didgeridoo-style bassline comes in. Over this Optical brings in the 'Action' break while the bassline gradually morphs in sound throughout the track until it more closely resembles the original's. It is at a much faster tempo, with a simpler beat, and while it retains the dark vibe it is clearly designed more with the 'floor in mind and makes for a great set opener. It's hard to choose a favourite between the two but I tend to lean towards the remix for its ability to move a crowd.

Optical celebrated the 15th Birthday of his and Ed Rush's Virus Recordings last night with a massive event at London's Cable venue, the lineup also including his brother Matrix, Black Sun Empire, Cause 4 Concern and The Upbeats. Wish I could have been there as it sounds like things really went off, a testament to the endurance of the movement these two started. No audio of that event available yet unfortunately, but you can download an Optical set from Renegade Hardware's History Sessions here which appropriately opens with 'To Shape The Future (Remix)'.

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