Tuesday, 30 April 2013

DJ Trend - Anthem

DJ Trend - Anthem (Miditraks, 1997)

Having recently written about Kemistry I thought it was about time to pay tribute to another fallen soldier: Gifford Noel AKA Trend. I was shocked and saddened to hear of his death from natural causes in Tenerife on the 17th September 2010, his 32nd birthday. He made a number of jump-up classics in the late nineties on labels such as Kartoons and his own Live Recordings before going on to produce Grime and UK Garage material and work with Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and the Sugababes. As Dizzee said at the time of his passing: "Rest in peace, DJ Trend. Never forgotten, drum and bass specialist legend".

I seem to recall that 'Anthem' was the first release he put out and I couldn't think of a better tune to write about as that is what he made - anthems. It was the third and final release for the Miditraks label which I don't know much about - according to discogs the other two releases were by Marvellous Cain and Potential Bad Boy, so Trend was in good company. It immediately establishes his unique production style with a particular bass sound that he made his own and shuffling drums based on the Hot Pants break. The track gets its name from the sample of the brass and drums from the opening of 'All You Need Is Love' by The Beatles which is actually the first few bars of La Marseillaise, the national anthem of France. It appears before the second and third drops, bookending a section of the track using the Amen break. Anthem by name, anthem by nature.

Check out the All DJ Trend mix below by DJ Jamie of Section 23 which includes this track along with other classics such as 2 Degrees and Tune Your Bass. Also make sure you read Jamie's special dedication to Trend on the 2nd anniversary of his death last year.

All DJ Trend by Dj Jamie on Mixcloud

Discogs link

Monday, 29 April 2013

MA4 - Step Into Our World

MA4 - Step Into Our World (Formation Records, 1997)

I've covered Formation Records a few times recently but couldn't resist writing about this tune as, like yesterday's track, it samples KRS-One's 'Step Into A World (Rapture's Delight)'. It appeared on the fourth and final part of DJ SS' series of records under the MA moniker which date back to 1993 and presumably began as a reference to the MA-1 and MA-2 bomber jackets that were essential fashion items for any discerning raver in the early nineties. Other tunes in the series include classics such as 'Ruffige' and 'Hearing Is Believing'.

'Step Into Our World' starts off with a wind swept intro featuring drums that include what sounds like a washboard of all things. It just samples the "Step into a world" line from the KRS-One track and only uses it once, just before the drop. The main body of the tune features 'It's A New Day' based drums, which always remind me of DJ Die's 'Autumn', and a big wobbly bassline. A minimal stepper of a tune that's great to mix with and is available to buy over at Drum&BassArena.

Discogs link

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Twisted Minds - Step To My World

Twisted Minds - Step To My World (Kartoons, 1998)

To follow on from my last couple of posts, KRS-One is also sampled in many Drum & Bass records with both his solo and Boogie Down Productions material regularly cropping up. One of the most blatant uses of one of his tracks is 'Step To My World' by Twisted Minds on Kartoons, the jump-up label run by Nicky Blackmarket. The imprint frequently featured cheeky sampling by artists under aliases with other releases coming from the likes of DJ Trend and Ray Keith.

Twisted Minds were DJ Magic and TMS-1 of jump-up maestros Prisoners of Technology. The track samples the female vocals from the beginning of KRS-One's 'Step Into A World (Rapture's Delight)' along with KRS One's interjections:

"Step into a world (Klaka klaka, klaka klaka)
Where there's no one left (Buku, buku! Alla de massive)
But the very best (Klaka, bo bo, BDP crew, bo bo bo bo)
No MC can test..."

These lyrics are sung to the tune of Blondie's 'Rapture' (hence the title which also references the Sugarhill Gang's 'Rapper's Delight'), the first song featuring a rap to reach number one in the US. Twisted Minds loop this vocal on top of a hip-hop tempo beat, before timestretching the "Step into a world" line over a big drum roll which brings in an electro style bassline with two-step drums. The track also has a horn sample which I think is from 'Sing A Simple Song' by Sly and the Family Stone and a rapped "So listen to the beat and take a ride" vocal from the Marley Marl produced 'Come Take A Ride' by World Renown. A simple but effective jump-up tune with an appropriate old skool hip-hop feel to it.

Discogs link

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Foul Play - Being With You

Foul Play - Being With You (Moving Shadow, 1994)

After looking at 'P-Funk Era' yesterday it got me thinking about the number of Jungle/Drum & Bass tracks that sample Mary J. Blige, particularly her vocals. The reason is obvious: she was one of the biggest R'n'B stars of the nineties and released a lot of singles which featured acapella versions of her songs. Foul Play are probably best known for crafting what are considered to be the ultimate versions of tracks such as 'Renegade Snares' and 'Lord Of The Null Lines' but they also produced many great tracks of their own such as this one, which samples Blige's 'Changes I've Been Going Through'.

'Being With You' is a melancholy cut that makes sparing use of the line "Why can't you see that I wanna be with you", not introducing it until the gorgeous breakdown around the four minute mark. They didn't actually need an acapella to sample it as it appears clean on the Blige original. The track is full of mournful synth washes with a deep and deadly bassline and timestretched drums that use the Hot Pants break. It also uses a sample of Fat Joe saying "To hell with them" which is from 'View From The Underground', an interlude on Diamond And The Psychotic Neurotics classic 'Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hip'. A quality track that Foul Play remixed themselves using more of the two vocal samples. It would be the last release by the original trio as Steve Gurley left to record solo as Rogue Unit not long afterwards.

You can purchase the digital of 'Being With You' from Beatport and Drum&BassArena.

Discogs link

Friday, 26 April 2013

P-Funk - P-Funk Era

P-Funk - P-Funk Era (dis1iz4yasoul) (Frontline, 1995)

With the sun finally shining recently I've been pulling out a few more laid back tunes and this one is perfect for both chilling to on a lazy afternoon and moving your feet in a sweaty club. P-Funk was an alias for Pascal Redpath, the owner of Frontline and future Ganja Kru member, and a clear reference to the G-Funk style of hip-hop prevalent at the time. Pascal had originally been a hip-hop head with little interest in rave music but, as he says in an interview with Knowledge Magazine from 1995, "began to relate to hardcore when breakbeat came into it in '91 and '92. Tunes with 'nuff hip hop flavour, like Rufige Kru's 'Krisp Biscuit', converted me."

'P-Funk Era' makes Pascal's hip-hop influences clear with samples from Mary J. Blige and KRS-One. The central G-Funk style synth, piano and female vocal are all from Blige's 'Be With You', using two 8 bar segments from the track's intro. Not being the biggest R'n'B fan I didn't hear 'Be With You' until years later and have to say I was stunned to hear such familiar sounds in their original context. Over this Pascal brings in the Think break and a basic two note bassline along with KRS-One's "So gimme the funk, gimme the funk, not the junk, while the trunk pumps" line from G. Simone's 'Music For The 90s'. A simple but superb tune that absolutely demands you raise your lighter in the air. As the closing KRS-One sample says 'B-Boys in the house, turn it up, turn it up".

You can purchase the digital of 'P-Funk Era' from Beatport, Juno Download and Drum&BassArena. It appeared in special VIP form on the AWOL Live album which you can hear below:

Darren Jay, Randall, Kenny Ken, Dr. S Gachet, Micky Finn GQ & Fearless - AWOL LIVE 95 by Rave Archive © on Mixcloud

Discogs link

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Goldie - Kemistry (Doc Scott Mix)

Goldie - Kemistry (Doc Scott Mix) (FFRR, 1995)

Fourteen years ago today Kemi Olusanya AKA Kemistry passed away in a tragic car accident. She played a crucial role in the development of drum & bass and her spirit lives on in the forward thinking music she championed. Originally a make-up artist, she was inspired by the emerging hardcore sound at nights such as Rage and started DJing alongside friend and flatmate Jayne Conneely AKA Storm, who she'd met at college in Northampton a few years earlier. They were to become the top female DJs on the scene.

In the early nineties she was going out with Goldie and was responsible for introducing him to the music - he created the track 'Kemistry' in her honour back in 1992. Kemistry & Storm began managing the Metalheadz label in 1995 and were involved in putting out classics such as 'The Angels Fell' and 'Your Sound' before leaving to concentrate on their burgeoning DJing careers. They also established the Metalheadz Sunday Sessions at Blue Note, one of the most important nights in the history of drum & bass, and released mixes for Reinforced, Artcore and DJ-Kicks.

Goldie remixed 'Kemistry' for his Timeless LP and it also received a Grooverider VIP mix on Razors Edge a couple of years later, but I'm going to write about the Doc Scott mix from 1995 - as Storm says, "the best version of Kemistry ever". It is a deep take on the track, opening with shiver inducing synth pads, bleeps and Diane Charlemagne's "Coming down, Come to me" vocals before introducing a wide, spacious bassline alongside the Hot Pants break. Littered throughout the track are Doc Scott's trademark vinyl spinbacks with "Knowledge" and "The Terminator is out there" vocal snippets that reference other tracks from the Metalheads EP that 'Kemistry' originally appeared on. The mid-section of the track brings in some beat switching between the Life Could and Apache breaks before returning to those lush synth pads with Charlemagne's "I'm in Ecstasy" vocals. An emotional remix and a fitting tribute to such an inspirational figure - RIP Kemi.

Check out Storm's recent tribute to Kemistry on Ministry of Sound Radio in which she plays some of Kemi's favourite tunes and finishes with this remix. The track was also included on 'The Alchemist', the Goldie retrospective that was released earlier this year. Metalheadz have just put up a set by Kemistry & Storm with Goldie from 1996 which you can listen to and download below:

Discogs link

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Studio Pressure - The Water Margin

Studio Pressure - The Water Margin (Photek, 1995)

Buying the Record Store Day reissue of 'Pacman (Ram Trilogy Remix)' at the weekend meant I had two versions of this 12" and got me thinking about other releases that I have doubles of. I ended up with two copies of this Photek classic after being given a pile of vinyl by a friend and it's about time I cover the work of Rupert Parkes on this blog. Like Source Direct he grew up in my hometown of St. Albans (before moving to Ipswich) so I have always paid particular attention to his releases, which include some of the finest moments in drum'n'bass history.

'The Water Margin' appeared on his own Photek imprint, the name of which came before he used it as an artist. The title references Shi Nai'an's Water Margin, one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature, which was made into a television series in Japan during the seventies and shown in the UK. Photek would continue this Far Eastern trend with tracks such as 'The Seven Samurai' and 'Ni-Ten-Ichi-Ryu'. It starts off with atmospheric chords before introducing a sound that resembles dripping water along with the 'Plastic Jam' break, sampled from the Plastic Jam Break Beats Volume 1 LP on Labello Blanco. He then brings in his trademark oriental gong sound playing a descending melody over a deconstruction of the Think break although the track really takes off in its final third when the Amen is finally deployed. A classic track that typifies Photek's cold and precise approach.

'The Water Margin' was a big track at Speed and you can hear an unreleased VIP mix of the track in this LTJ Bukem set from a Speed night at the Crime Club in 1995. Download couresty of DJ Extreme of Hardscore.com: Part A and Part B. Check the rest of the tracklist over at Rolldabeats.

Discogs link

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Ed Rush & Optical - Pacman (Ram Trilogy Remix)

Ed Rush & Optical - Pacman (Ram Trilogy Remix) (Virus Recordings, 2002)

Of all the independent record shops I used to go to in Leicester during my student days just Rockaboom remains. They always had a good selection of drum & bass as well as a wide range of other music on CD and vinyl and it was great going back there on Record Store Day. In a sign of the times though Rockaboom will be downsizing to a smaller store in the nearby Malcolm Arcade in June, but at least they won't be closing down. I managed to pick up a few limited edition releases including a picture disc reissue of the Ram Trilogy remix of Ed Rush & Optical's 'Pacman', backed with Universal Project's 'Vessel':

The original mix of this track was released on Ed Rush & Optical's The Creeps LP and has a bassline that recalls the classic arcade game of the title along with punchy drums using the Skull Snaps 'It's A New Day' break and a whispered vocal that is impossible to make out. The Ram Trilogy remix keeps these elements in place but adds a sick reese bassline during the intro which then comes back in again for the second drop. They also use some of the original sound effects from the game with the 'Pac Man Dies' sound appearing in the intro and the 'Start Game' music by Toshio Kai finishing the track off. Andy C and company once again show their expert remixing skills as they manage to improve on an already great track.

The picture disc reissue is still available at the time of writing from Redeye Records. You can purchase the digital from most download stores including Beatport, Juno and Drum&BassArena.

Discogs link

Monday, 22 April 2013

Mental Power - Deep Soul

Mental Power - Deep Soul (Formation Records, 1995)

While 5HQ Records in Leicester is long gone there remains a remnant of it within the shop that replaced it. Leicester HQ is a graffiti supplies store, gallery and recording studio and I popped in during my trip to the city to have a look around for old times sake. I was surprised to discover that they still had a couple of crates of records leftover from the 5HQ days as well as loads of cassettes from old rave tape packs. The helpful guy behind the counter told me that when they took over in 2007 there were still thousands of records upstairs with multiple copies of some releases.

Going through the records was like unearthing a time capsule. I bought five 12"s, all on Formation or its sub-labels, of which Mental Power's 'In Ya Soul EP' was the oldest and most interesting (all £1 each as well - bargain!). Inside the sleeve I was amazed to discover a flyer for an event that took place on the 17th November 1995, somewhat ironically called 'The Future', which was the Highly Recommended LP Launch Party. I scanned the front and back of the flyer which you can see below.

Mental Power were a DJ/MC combo from Sheffield made up of Richard Williams and Patrick James who went under the names DJ Mental and MC Power, although judging by the credits on their records James was the main force behind their productions. The lead track on the EP is 'Deep Soul' which, as the title suggests, is a soulful cut that starts with a laid back intro of piano, synths and a vocal sampled from 'Caroline' by Misty Oldland (actually cleared as it is credited on the release) before developing into a hardstepping tune with Amen/Think drums treated to plenty of timestretching along with a big reversed bassline. A great track that also appeared on the Highly Recommended LP in remixed form and one I was very happy to get "new" eighteen years after it was released!

Check it out below as the first track in a DJ SS set from the Dreamscape 17 vs 18 tape pack, although the intro is cut off unfortunately.

Discogs link

Sunday, 21 April 2013

DJ SS - Keep On Moving

DJ SS - Keep On Moving (SS Roll Out Mix) (Formation Records, 1997)

Yesterday I went up to Leicester for a night out with friends. I hadn't visited the city for a long time after having spent three great years at university there and it was strange going back and seeing how the place has changed. One thing that was particularly poignant for me, especially as it was Record Store Day, was the absence of 5HQ Records, the shop that used to be owned by Formation head DJ SS which sadly closed down in 2007. I spent many a happy hour in 5HQ listening to the latest releases and browsing the racks and it is there that I purchased some of my most treasured 12"s including 'The Lighter', 'Cookin Up Yah Brain (Sonz Of A Loop Da Loop Era Remix)' and this one.

I'm particularly lucky to have this record as it was never officially released and only test pressings and promos exist - the catalogue number FORM12070 was later assigned to Mental Power's 'Twister / This Song'. This was probably due to sample clearance issues as it uses a significant portion of Caron Wheeler's vocals from Soul II Soul's 'Keep On Movin'. I believe it was originally produced in 1995 but these test pressings weren't made until 1997. As I didn't start university until a few years later they must have had some leftover stock upstairs at 5HQ as I seem to remember there being a few copies of it for sale and I don't think it was particularly expensive. There are two mixes of the track on the 12" and the SS Roll Out Mix is by far my favourite (you can check the other mix here).

In a beatless intro with slightly woozy synthetic strings and piano SS samples the following lines:

"It's our time, time today / The right time is here to stay / Stay in my life, my life always / Yellow is the colour of sunrays / I hide myself from no one / I know the time will surely come / When you'll be in my life, my life always / Yellow is the colour of sunrays / Keep on..."

As the vocals reach their conclusion a drum roll brings in a typically fat, waddling SS bassline over Cold Sweat drums. Small segments of vocals are sprinkled throughout including "This way" and "Keep on" as the track gradually builds, adding the Hot Pants break and later a low in the mix Amen. It is a tastefully done remix that treats the original with respect while still sounding like a signature DJ SS production and it's a shame it never got a full release. It seemed especially appropriate to write about today considering how my trip had reminded me of the way things change and that there will always be places you'll never be able to return to - as the opening line of the Soul II Soul original goes: "Keep on moving, don't stop like the hands of time...".

You can hear DJ SS play this version as well as another mix of the track in his set from the One In The Jungle show on the 26th April 1996 below. Head over to the One In The Jungle website where it is available to download until 20th May 2013. Stay tuned for more on 5HQ tomorrow.

Discogs link

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Shy FX & Gunsmoke - Gangsta Kid II

Shy FX & Gunsmoke - Gangsta Kid II (SOUR, 1994)

Here's part two of my post on Shy FX's 'Gangsta Kid' series - check part one here if you missed it.

While some people thought that tracks like 'Gangsta Kid' glorified violence, this was not Shy FX & Gunsmoke's intention - as Koushik Banerjea, a Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Goldsmith's College says in the video below: "If it's a reflection on the reality which an individual seeks to portray through his or her music than I cannot see how it can be a negative thing".

Like the first track, 'Gangsta Kid II' opens with a movie-like sequence. This time we hear Gunsmoke and a friend discussing his need to have protection as he expects revenge for the murder we previously heard him carry out - "if any of Kane's people come to me they gonna come constructive". However while they are talking someone approaches and after confirming Gunsmoke's identity tells him "I've got a message for you" before gunning them both down. It is clear that the moral of the story is the pointlessness of violence and the tragedy of lost lives.

'Gangsta Kid II' retains the "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster" line from Goodfellas along with the Cypress Hill sample. It adds a nice horn riff from The Heptone's 'Gonna Fight' while the original's bassline is rearranged and there are also more lyrics from Gunsmoke - the sung refrain of "always wanted to be a gangster" is given an air of tragedy by the events of the intro. The track mostly uses the Think break rather than the Amen although this is also brought in during the track's mid-section. In the Gangsta Kid series this one is my favourite as it's more developed and differentiates itself from 'Original Nuttah' further than the first.

Although the release this came out on is labelled 'The Final Chapter' Shy would go on to remake it again as 'Gangsta Kid III' which sees Gunsmoke seemingly resurrected and back to his murdering ways. There are also a couple of remixes with T Power tackling part one and L Double taking on part two. Have a look at this great video shown on BBC 2 in 1994 about the developing jungle scene. From around 5:47 onwards we see Shy FX in his home studio with Gunsmoke creating this very track and talking about the idea behind the original. Essential viewing for any discerning junglist.

Discogs link

Friday, 19 April 2013

Shy FX & Gunsmoke - Gangsta Kid

Shy FX & Gunsmoke - Gangsta Kid (SOUR, 1994)

To finish off this series of posts on a gangster theme I'm going to look at Shy FX & Gunsmoke's 'Gangsta Kid', with a follow up on its sequel, 'Gangsta Kid II', tomorrow. Gunsmoke was an MC otherwise known as Rodney Dixon who was a friend of Shy FX and apparently a student at the time these tunes were made.

The track starts off with a violent movie-like sequence in which Gunsmoke finds out from a companion that someone's been dissing him. When he spots the person in question he gets out of the car and confronts him ("Pussy'ole, come here!"), then shoots him several times before making his getaway, explaining he did it because he's "the original gangster". In an interview, Shy FX he says this was based on a real life incident and was put on the record because while everyone else just sampled gangster movies they wanted to "do something more original than that... get some London talk so that everybody can relate to it still". They were trying to draw attention to the violence that was happening on their doorsteps.

It goes on to sample a line from Ray Liotta's character Henry Hill in Goodfellas: "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster", repeating "gangster" several times while changing the pitch. The track is essentially an earlier version of 'Original Nuttah', with the same Amen cut-up, 'Love Is Not A Gamble' bassline and horn sample from Cypress Hill's 'I Wanna Get High', only with vocals from Gunsmoke rather than UK Apachi: "Too outta orda, man ah gwan like a dem ah big time gangsta". It goes on to sample another couple of lines from Goodfellas: "Every once in a while I'd have to take a beating... everybody takes a beating sometime" and then finishing with the quote that opens 'Original Nuttah': "One day, one day some of the kids from the neighbourhood carried my mother's groceries all the way home. You know why? It was outta respect".

Hear DJ Ron dropping 'Gangsta Kid' towards the end of his set at Quest - The Untouchables from June '94 below. Stay tuned for part two tomorrow.

Discogs link

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Roni Size & DJ Die - 11:55 (Gangsta Mix)

Roni Size & DJ Die - 11:55 (Gangsta Mix) (Full Cycle, 1995)

The Hustlers Convention LP by Lightnin' Rod from 1973 is a seminal work that sounds like a Blaxploitation film put to wax, telling the story of two friends on a night out that ends in a shootout with the police and subsequently prison. It is a treatise about life in the ghetto that touches on issues such as drugs, violence, hustling and gambling, all put to an incredibly funky soundtrack. The man behind it was Jalal Mansur Nuriddin of The Last Poets, a group who pioneered a form of rhythmic spoken word that was a precursor to hip-hop. The backing came from an all-star cast of musicians including Kool & The Gang, Tina Turner, Bernard Purdie and Billy Preston.

Roni Size & DJ Die's '11:55' opens with a sample from the album's 'Hammock's Hall Was Big': "You could feel all the tension building up at the convention, as the hustlers began to arrive. Must have been nine thousand or more that came through the door, the time was 11:55". This is accompanied by the Sport break which is sampled from the opening track on the album. Size & Die then introduce an ascending rhodes sample along with 808 kick bass, the Scorpio break and a "Come On" vocal that also appears on 'Club Lonely' by Lil' Louis. They later add the Sesame Street break making for a rhythmically complex track with the three breaks expertly cut-up and intertwined. Lots of different samples come and go, including the sound from the intro of Remarc's 'R.I.P.' and what I think is a high guitar twang from 'In The Rain' by The Dramatics (a track sampled more extensively by Danny Breaks on 'Easy') along with snippets of rhodes, horns and guitar. One of my favourites in the Full Cycle catalogue and an absolutely timeless track.

'11:55' appears on the Music Box LP, an essential Full Cycle compilation from 1996 that you can pick up second hand pretty cheaply. Check it out in this excellent Full Cycle tribute mix by D'Zine:

Discogs link

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Trinity - Gangsta

Trinity - Gangsta (O J Mix) (Philly Blunt, 1995)

Staying on the gangster theme here's a big track from 1995 by Dillinja in his Trinity alias. This is a guise he saved for the V Recordings family of labels, with Chapter 19/20 appearing on V and this one on Philly Blunt before he revived the name in 2000 for a series of releases on Chronic. Philly Blunt was the most jungle orientated of Jumping Jack Frost and Bryan G's imprints, with other massive tracks including 'Burial' and 'Warning'.

Dillinja drops a ragga jungle style tune in keeping with the label's sound, sampling the horns and vocals from 'Gangsters Anthem' by Terror Fabulous, adding some timestretching to the "Gangster" refrain as the track develops. It starts off with the Hot Pants break before adding a filtered Amen fairly low in the mix with some heavy 808 sub-bass. At the breakdown he brings in some nice synth pads which come in and out of the track for rest of its duration. The 'O J' in the title presumably refers to O.J. Simpson who was accused of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman in June 1994 which was around the time this tune first appeared.

The 12" of this will cost you a fair whack but it's available on Jungle Mania 3 which is more affordable for a CD copy. You can also hear it in dBridge's recent Dubs On Doves mix for Trap Magazine which I featured last week but as it's so good I'll mention it again - get on the download:

Discogs link

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

L Double & Shy FX - The Shit

L Double & Shy FX - The Shit (Flex Records, 1996)

Yesterday's track sampled the Ice Cube dissing 'Real Niggaz' by N.W.A. and here L Double & Shy FX use a much larger chunk of the track, starting off with the majority of the expletive-ridden spoken word intro (leaving out the reference to N.W.A.):

"Yo man, there's a gang of motherfuckers out there on the dick, man, in every motherfuckin' state
Wanna be like, wanna look like, wanna act like, wanna dress like, wanna sound like muthafuckin' style-stealin' clone ass (N.W.A.) bitin' ass motherfuckin' everywhere man
Non-reality seein', non-reality feeling, non-reality livin' ass motherfuckers, man
Hey, I don't know. Reality, it's important to me, man
So fellas, man, tell these niggas what it's like in the minds of real niggas"

Over echoed horn stabs they go on to sample the same "We're going to have some more of that good shit... the shit you just can't fuck with" vocals and piano as the Blast Master track. This wasn't the first time the two had collaborated on a track heavy with gangster imagery as the previous year L Double had remixed Shy FX's 'Gangsta II' and this tune kind of feels like a follow up to that one. It's a jump-up style track that features a dirty but bouncy bassline that changes pitch a few times along with timestretched drums, occasionally bringing in the Think break. One of the few single sided 12"s that I own and another one to add to my list of great set openers.

Hear Micky Finn drop it as his first track at the Quest 'We Are The Law' event from 1995:

Discogs link

Monday, 15 April 2013

Blast Master - X-Rated (Mix 1)

Blast Master - X-Rated (Mix 1) (Strictly Underground, 1996)

I looked at the other side of this record last month but the flip is almost its equal so well worth a look as well. Again, I assume Blast Master was an alias for Mark "Ruff" Ryder - it seems to be the only time the name was used - but I don't know for sure. Like 'It's A Demo', this one appears on the Strictly Hardcore compilation The Ruffest Drum & Bass Ever.

It opens with a short loop of the moog synth originally from 'Funky Worm' by the Ohio Players with a "vinyl stop" effect every four bars. This synth was also sampled by Ray Keith on 'Original Wootang'. However 'X-Rated' is sampling the beginning of a hip-hop track that uses the riff, 'Dopeman (Remix)' by N.W.A., as you can hear the same "vinyl stop" effect in that tune. The track also uses a vocal and piano sample from the intro of the 100 Miles and Runnin' EP version of N.W.A.'s 'Real Niggaz': "We're going to have some more of that good shit... the shit you just can't fuck with". The track starts off with the Think break with some 808 kick bass before switching to the Life Could break at the drop with a reversed bassline, eventually bringing in some heavy Amen. A nice little jump-up tune that isn't all that well known so the 12" can be picked up for just a few pounds. You get two mixes of each track as well so it's a bit of a bargain!

Discogs link

Sunday, 14 April 2013

J Majik - Your Sound

J Majik - Your Sound (Metalheadz, 1995)

I had a great time at the Exit Records bash on Friday. I stayed in Room 2 all night with the highlight being Doc Scott's set which featured classics such as Threshold, Piper and the Boymerang remix of Technology alongside plenty of exclusive material including some unreleased Optical, Unofficial Ghost VIP and to finish, an apparently unheard mix of Terminator - carnage ensued.

Amit warmed things up nicely with lots of classic Digital & Spirit material and was followed by Breakage who played an Amen heavy set with my favourites being his mixes of 'Here Comes The Drumz' and 'Acid Rain'. Krust & Die's set was energetic with Die skanking behind the decks, dropping tunes such as Set Speed, Trouble and Special Treat. Fierce was proper heavy with The Force Is Electric, Locust and Mutant all getting rinsed and then Fabio rounded the night off in style with plenty of classics to keep my tired legs moving.

It was especially good seeing how enthusiastic all the DJs were spinning the old tunes, I think even Doc Scott smiled for a brief moment! Negatives were how packed the place was and missing Bad Company as they were scheduled at the same time as Doc Scott but judging by how rammed it was I'm glad I stayed in Room 2 all night.

J Majik's 'Your Sound' cropped up a few times on Friday, with Doc Scott dropping an unreleased mix and Fabio playing it as one of the final tunes of the night. It's not hard to see the enduring appeal of this classic, which was a young Jamie Spratling's first release. I first heard it on a free Metalheadz cassette that came with the May 1996 edition of Muzik magazine and promptly went out and bought every Metalheadz 12" I could get my hands on. From those opening chords to the unique treatment of the Amen break the track just oozes quality. It also utilizes some Apache and Soul Pride for an incredible breakbeat feast with a bassline that mostly follows the pattern of the drums. Majik also gave the track an excellent remix a couple of years later on the Razor's Edge sub-label. Your sound, our sound, Drum'n'Bass forever!

Discogs link

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Marcus Intalex & ST Files - Love & Hapiness

Marcus Intalex & ST Files - Love & Hapiness (31 Records, 2001)

Here's a post about a track that I prepared before the Exit Records 10th Birthday bash which is co-produced by Marcus Intalex and released on Doc Scott's impeccable 31 Records imprint, both of whom played last night. I'll have an update on the night soon though. Marcus Kaye and Lee Davenport have been on the scene since the early nineties and over the years they have put out a number of great records, both solo and as a duo, and word is they're back in the studio together after a lengthy lay off.

As the misspelt title of the track rather gives away, it samples 'Love & Happiness' by First Choice, the Philly based female group who had a number of soul and disco hits in the seventies and eighties who I've already mentioned three times in the past few months. It samples the rhodes and vocal from the intro of the tune: "Love and Happiness, make you want to do right, do wrong...", placing them over warm chords and 808 kick bass with a two-step break that incorporates some of the vocal tics from the Think break. A lush liquid funk tune from the duo who were absolutely on fire at this point with too many incredible tracks to mention - check my breakdown of the flipside to this one here.

Discogs link

Friday, 12 April 2013

Bad Company & Trace - Flashback (Tumpa)

Bad Company & Trace - Flashback (Tumpa) (BC Recordings, 2000)

This whole week at DnB 365 has been a flashback to some pivotal points in Drum & Bass history in the lead up to one of the biggest nights of the year, the Exit Records 10th Birthday bash at Fire tonight. As dBridge himself said in an interview with FACT Magazine this week: "with this lineup especially I wanted it to represent everything that had influenced me over the years - the Blue Note, Bristol, Speed, No U-Turn". I've covered all of these over the past four days and today I'm looking at this evening's headliners - Bad Company. This should have been the first time they had reunited since splitting ten years ago but unfortunately Fresh has had to pull out due to studio commitments but as he said: "I'll be there in the music".

'Flashback (Tumpa)' appeared on the sampler for their Digital Nation LP and was the second time they had collaborated with Trace following 'Nitrous' from their first album, Inside The Machine. I thought this the perfect track to write about given the occasion as aside from the title it is a homage to the past, with two well known Frankie Knuckles samples used in rave classics making an appearance. It opens with the nostalgia inducing synth melody from 'Let The Music (Use You)' by Night Writers which was used on SL2's 'DJs Take Control'. It pairs this with an "I'm a Real" vocal which is the voice of Robert Owens from 'Tears' by Frankie Knuckles Presents Satoshi Tomiie, as sampled by Nookie on 'Give A Little Love'. There is also a "started again" vocal sample from 'Aftermath' by Nightmares On Wax which is itself sampling Cuba Gooding Sr's 'Happiness Is Just Around The Bend'. This being a Trace collaboration the track uses the Tramen break along with some extra percussion and at the drop deploys a rapid fire four note Reese bassline that is expertly twisted out of shape with some nice staccato sections. Absolutely slamming.

Bad Company remixed the track as 'Miami Flashback' for the Book Of The Bad series which is available to download over at Beatport. The original mix opens this Bad Company set at Innovation - The Easter Showcase from 2000 which should get anyone off to Fire tonight in the mood.

Bad Company - Live @ Innovation - The Easter Showcase Mass - 2000-04 by Drum & Bass Classics on Mixcloud

Discogs link

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Carlito - Heaven

Carlito - Heaven (Creative Source, 1995)

As well as Doc Scott's Blue Note set at the Exit Records 10th Birthday party there will be a Speed set from Fabio. He started up Speed in '94 along with LTJ Bukem, Sarah Sandy and Leo Roche at Nicky Holloway's Mars (formally the Milk Bar) in Charing Cross. It was the first night to concentrate on the more soulful side of Drum & Bass, establishing the careers of Alex Reece and Wax Doctor amongst others and becoming the place to be on Thursdays, attended by serious heads and celebrities alike. Running until summer '97, it is up there with Rage and Blue Note in terms of influence with Rob Haigh of Omni Trio saying it "represented a pinnacle for drum & bass because it signified anything was possible. Musically, anything could go on...".

Essence of Aura were a Coventry based trio who had been DJing and producing since the early nineties. The group's James Mitton-Wade has said that attending Speed led to them being picked up by Moving Shadow with their first release for the label being 'Northern Lights'. When they split up in 1995 Mitton-Wade went solo as Carlito (after Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way) and his productions "absolutely blew Fabio's mind" leading to Fabio setting up the Creative Source imprint with 'Heaven' as the first release. It has a jazzy but driving sound that would be the label's modus operandi as it went on to pioneer the liquid funk style. Opening with light, rolling beats, warm 808 kick bass and bursts of synthetic strings, the track is as lush as the "Heaven" vocals suggest as gentle synths, keys and flutes swirl around each other to lift you up while keeping you moving.

'Heaven' appears as the opening track on the CD edition of Creative Source's Liquid Funk compilation and also received a splendid remix from Peshay in 1999. Unfortunately recordings from Speed are scarce but you can find a Fabio set from a Speed night at the Crime Club in 1995 here. Head over to Rolldabeats for the tracklist.

Discogs link

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Nasty Habits - Shadow Boxing

Nasty Habits - Shadow Boxing (31 Records, 1996)

Probably what I'm most looking forward to at the Exit Records 10th Birthday night is Doc Scott's Blue Note set. I never had the opportunity to attend the Metalheadz Sunday Sessions at Blue Note in Hoxton but was aware of the impact they had on the scene, both in terms of the sound and in spreading the music across the world. Check this fascinating article by Todd Burns at RBMA which tells the history of the night by piecing together interviews with the DJs, MCs and artists involved.

I couldn't think of a more appropriate track to represent Doc Scott's set (and my 100th post) than his own 'Shadow Boxing' as Nasty Habits. As the man himself says in the RBMA piece regarding the rivalry between DJs to have the freshest dubplates:

"I was inspired to go back to the studio and work on stuff after going to Blue Note. I figured people could maybe get a tune from Photek, but if I made something only I would have it. That was part of the inspiration behind 'Shadow Boxing'."

It is a dark, brooding masterpiece and a lesson in restraint. The title is derived from the Kung Fu movies that are sampled for its fight sounds, which of course were also a huge influence on the Wu-Tang Clan. In fact I would hazard a guess that these are from Shaolin & Wu Tang, the same source as the beginning of the Wu's 'Shame On A Nigga' although with added horse in the intro, much like a Tesco frozen lasagne. The track is anchored by an unchanging two-step break with its central feature being a gargantuan four note bassline that slowly fades in and then subtly morphs and twists over the course of the track before fading out, leaving just the break to play on. The bassline's hypnotic potency leaves an indelible impression on you though and it remains in your mind long after it's gone. As I imagine a Shaolin master might say, when you have great power you must use it wisely...

You can purchase the digital of 'Shadow Boxing' over at Drum&BassArena where it appears on their Anthology compilation. Doc Scott has just put together this Blue Note History Session mix for the Narratives Music podcast which should give you a taste of what he'll be playing on Friday:

Discogs link

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Wings - Wings

Wings - Wings (Reinforced, 1997)

Here's part two in a series of posts themed around the Exit Records 10th Birthday night at Fire this Friday - check part one here if you missed it. If you haven't got a ticket for this one yet you'd better move fast as they're nearly sold out. Due to the massive demand for the event Exit Records announced yesterday that there will be an after party from six till midday at Lightbox with dBridge, Marcus Intalex, Skeptical, CMX, Stray and System - head to RA for tickets.

Krust and Die will be playing a Bristol Dubplates set at the event so I thought I'd take a look at this track which thankfully doesn't involve Paul & Linda. Wings was a one-off collaboration between Krust, Die and Roni Size which appeared on the excellent Enforcers: The Beginning Of The End LP on Reinforced. Of course these three weren't strangers to working with each other but outside of Reprazent they rarely all appeared on the same track together so this is a bit special.

They craft an epic track full of suspense which has a movie soundtrack quality to it thanks to the use of dramatic strings and strange effects. In a disorientating and lengthy intro with a sound resembling a helicopter's blades rotating they bring in a sample of a swarm of bees that also appeared in 'Killa Bees' by the Usual Suspects a couple of years later. As that track sampled some dialogue from the The Swarm (which looks like one of the worst movies ever by the way) I'm guessing this may be sampled from that film. Eventually they bring in heavily phased drums and it's past the three minute mark when a slice of deep Bristolian bass is finally dropped, punctuated by occasional guitar licks. At the breakdown a stabbing bassline comes in to cause maximum devastation. Check it out below in this '97 dubplates set by Krust from last year (via breaksblog):

Discogs link

Monday, 8 April 2013

Fierce & Nico - Input

Fierce & Nico - Input (Nu Black, 1996)

This Friday dBridge's innovative Exit Records imprint will be celebrating their 10th birthday by holding a huge party at London's Fire venue with an incredible line up of DJs who have influenced and appeared on the label over the years. I'll be attending and am really looking forward to it as many of the DJs will be paying tribute to particular periods in drum & bass history - for instance Doc Scott will be playing a Blue Note set. So this week each of my posts will be based around one of these sets, starting off today with Fierce & Ryme Tyme's No U-Turn set.

Before we get going though I'd just like to mention two recent mixes by dBridge that are well worth your time, one looking to the past and one to the future. Firstly his Dubs On Doves mix for Trap Magazine sees him spinning classic jungle and hardcore from the nineties in rapid fire fashion, top selection on this one!

Just released today is his podcast for Resident Advisor which features plenty of forthcoming Exit Records material, including several tracks which will be appearing on the Mosaic Volume 2 compilation due out later this year. Sign up to RA to download it if you haven't already.

Back to the matter in hand: Nico's No U-Turn label pioneered the dystopian techstep style, putting out crucial releases by the likes of Ed Rush, Trace, Dom & Roland, Fierce and Ryme Tyme, with Nico's engineering giving the label that trademark grungy sound. 'Input' appeared on the Nu Black sub-label and was Fierce's debut release at the age of just sixteen. He would go on to put out records for Prototype, Virus and Renegade Hardware amongst others before forming his own Quarantine imprint in 2002. It opens with skittish drums, foreboding synths and live sounding bass before introducing heavy drums that use the cymbals from the 'Tighten Up' break along with what I think is the 'Life Could' break. It then drops an awesome growling bassline that sounds like it's been put through a guitar distortion pedal, eventually adding sparingly used blasts of Reese. Despite being at a regular drum & bass tempo the track creates the effect of trying to move through treacle and is incredibly disorientating. The effect is increased in this brutal podcast for Self-Titled magazine by extreme metal/industrial pioneer Justin Broadrick, who plays it at 33 RPM to open the mix:

Hopefully 'Input' gets played on Friday, although preferably at the right speed!

Discogs link

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Busta Rhymes - Woo Hah!! (Origin Unknown Mix)

Busta Rhymes - Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check (Origin Unknown Mix) (Elektra, 1996)

After writing about an unofficial 'remix' of a hip-hop track yesterday I thought I'd have a look at an official one today. Back in 1996 drum & bass was increasingly turning to hip-hop for inspiration, moving away from the ragga sound that had dominated the scene for the previous couple of years. Combined with an increased media profile thanks to Goldie this led to major labels seeing the commercial potential of the music and commissioning drum & bass remixes for their singles, particularly in the UK.

Busta Rhymes originally came to prominence as a member of Leaders Of The New School, a Long Island hip-hop group who got their big break supporting Public Enemy - it was in fact Chuck D who gave Busta his stage name after NFL wide receiver George "Buster" Rhymes. After becoming members of the Native Tongues collective Busta stole the show on A Tribe Called Quest's 'Scenario' ("Rah Rah, Like a Dungeon Dragon!") and following the break up of LONS he started out on a solo career. 'Woo Hah!!' was the first single from his debut album The Coming and was a top ten hit in both the US and UK. Today he is considered one of the most original voices in hip-hop.

The Origin Unknown mix only appeared on European versions of the single. They give it a sparse remix with a dark edge thanks to an underlying sci-fi hum that runs throughout much of the track. The intro uses the 'Sing A Simple Song' break (sampled from the Sly & The Family Stone track) with Busta's filtered "Yah Yah Yah" vocals until eventually bringing in the original's distinctive bassline and keys riff, sampled from Galt MacDermot's 'Space', along with the Hot Pants break. MacDermot is a Canadian composer best known for the musical Hair and has been extensively sampled by hip-hop artists such as MF DOOM and Oh No, whose Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms LP was based entirely around his work. Origin Unknown add a simple bassline replicating the original's with occasional use of the MacDermot samples and it isn't until the breakdown around two thirds of the way through that Busta's vocals are used more extensively - the "Woo Hah! Got you all in check" hook is a reference to Big Bank Hanks's line from the Sugarhill Gang's '8th Wonder'.

I'm not sure this remix was quite what the record label were expecting as they were probably hoping for something more commercial but Andy C and Ant Miles stay true to their sound, crafting a dark roller of a tune that's right in line with classics such as 'Quest' and 'Truly One'.

Discogs link

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Special K - Danger

Special K - Danger (Trouble On Vinyl, 1996)

I love following a sample trail, when you find a track that samples a record which is itself sampling something else. Naturally as drum & bass producers frequently sample hip-hop records this happens quite a lot but 'Danger' by Special K is probably one of the ultimate examples. It is effectively a remix of Blahzay Blahzay's 'Danger', a track that as well as having a sample based beat also uses portions of vocals from several other hip-hop tracks.

Special K's track opens with the beat from 'Danger' which is based around an "Oooohhhh" vocal and guitar part from Gwen McCrae's 'Rockin' Chair' (check at around 2:13), eventually adding a live bass part and Hot Pants based drums. Blahzay Blahzay's own vocals appear along with the 'chorus' of their track which uses Jeru The Damaja's "When the east is in the house" from 'Come Clean', Q-Tip's "Oh My God" off of the Beastie Boys' 'Get It Together' and Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Danger" from 'Show and Prove' by Big Daddy Kane. Just before the drop, Special K acknowledges that the track is virtually a remix of the Blahzay Blahzay original by using the "You heard it first, now here's the remix" line that appeared at the beginning of DJ Premier's remix of 'Danger'. The track has a lively Reese/Square Wave bassline aimed straight at the dancefloor and features the sampled vocals frequently throughout. While not the most original of tracks it is a particularly effective and catchy jump-up tune.

'Danger' appears in the mainly jump-up mix below by Pearsall - check out his excellent Sonicrampage blog. You can download it and check the rest of the tracklist on his site here.

Don't Panic by Pearsall on Mixcloud

Discogs link

Friday, 5 April 2013

Danny Breaks - For The Thinking Positive Crew

Danny Breaks - For The Thinking Positive Crew (Droppin' Science, 1993)

Today sees my first guest post over at the excellent Drumtrip site, breaking down the Sonz of a Loop Da Loop Era remix of 4 Hero's 'Cooking Up Yah Brain' - check it out here. Writing the piece reminded me that I'd yet to cover anything on this blog by Danny Breaks, a versatile producer who's made everything from Hardcore to Hip-Hop over the years, so I'm going to quickly remedy that with a look at this track that appeared on Volume 1 of his Droppin' Science imprint.

"Droppin' Science" is a term that originated in Hip-Hop and means to do something original or unique and that definitely applies to this tune which sounds way ahead of its time. The track is actually untitled and is often referred to simply as 'Volume 1' but to distinguish it from the flipside people began using the runout etching which read "For the Thinking Positive Crew". It opens with an oriental sounding ascending melody with synthetic strings and an "Ooh Baby" vocal sampled from 'Hazme SoƱar' by Morenas (which was also used in Bizarre Inc's 'Raise Me (Maximum Height Mix)'). What is really incredible about this track though is the use of timestretching on the Amen break to create a cascading effect which contrasts nicely with the ascending melody. A track has a blissful middle section with a synth sampled from the beginning of 'Right Before My Eyes' by Patti Day along with synthetic strings. 100% Droppin' Science.

Have a look at this great video from 1995 shown on the Germany's Viva's Freestyle show featuring Danny Breaks talking about the origin of the Droppin' Science name, his musical influences and showing off his studio (via Hardscore.com).

Discogs link

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Konflict - Roadblock

Konflict - Roadblock (Renegade Hardware, 1999)

I thought I'd continue the Detroit Techno theme that's developed on the blog recently with a look at 'Roadblock'. Konflict were Kemal Okan and Rob Rodgers and they brought their love of Detroit Techno to their futuristic sounding productions, which have been cited as an early influence by the likes of Pendulum. This was their debut for Renegade Hardware and first proper release following a remix of Paragliders' 'Shades Of Bitterness' the previous year.

It's a subtle, neurofunk style roller which opens with spacious echoed synths before bringing in a sturdy, precise beat along with a haunting flute-like sound while the main body of the track has an underlying pulsating bassline topped with a dirty filtered riff. As with all Kemal & Rob Data's tracks it is extremely well produced with clinical drum programming and clear, defined sounds with everything fitting together perfectly.

They would go on to put out several releases for Hardware before leaving the label acrimoniously in 2000 and releasing material as Kemal & Rob Data for a number of labels including DSCI4, Architecture and Audio Blueprint as well as their own shortlived Negative imprint. Rob Data left the scene in 2002 and although Kemal continued solo for a few more years he too disappeared from view around 2004. However their influence on the sound of drum & bass lives on to this day.

'Roadblock' would get a Matrix remix on Hardware's massive Armageddon LP later the same year and that opens this Konflict studio mix from October '99. You can check the rest of the tracklist and download the mix here.

Konflict - Studio Mix October 1999 by Drum & Bass Classics on Mixcloud

Discogs link

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

DJ Hype - We Must Unite

DJ Hype - We Must Unite (G-Line Records, 1996)

During the past year or so I've been buying quite a few old compilations and mixes on CD, such as Kenny Ken's The History of Hardcore that I mentioned yesterday. Another one I recently purchased is World Dance - The Drum + Bass Experience from 1996, a double CD mixed by DJ Hype and Ellis Dee. Both discs are full of classic tracks such as 'Pulp Fiction' and 'The Licence' and it's well worth seeking out. Hype starts off his mix with one of his own tracks, 'We Must Unite', which came out on the Still Smokin LP co-released by Ganja and Frontline that same year.

Hype often likes to give his tracks a positive message with later examples including 'Peace, Love & Unity' and 'Learn From The Mistakes Of The Past'. This track samples Malcolm X's famous Message to the Grassroots speech from November 1963, opening with the lines "What you and I need to do is learn to forget our differences" and "We unite on the basis of what we have in common". This wasn't the first time he had sampled this speech having used the line "send him to the cemetery" on The Scientist's 'The Exorcist' and it also wouldn't be the last. Hype also adds a soulful "Find a way, find a way" vocal in an intro that features what sounds like a reversed flute or pan pipe melody before bringing in some Amen. Eventually the tracks drops one of those big fat basslines Hype's known for, mostly accompanied by the Amen break but also including passages using the Life Could and Think breaks as well, while the Malcolm X lines appear frequently throughout. A pleasant contrast to the gangster heavy hip-hop lyrics featured in the majority of jump-up tunes at this point.

Have a listen below to this set from Bryan Gee at Pure X 'Back With A Vengeance' from September 1995 which includes 'We Must Unite', as well as finishing with Rude Bwoy Monty's 'Warp 10' that also appeared on the Still Smokin LP:

Discogs link

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Foul Play - Finest Illusion

Foul Play - Finest Illusion (Section 5, 1993)

After writing about Alex Reece remixing a track by a Detroit legend the other day I was reminded of this tune's use of a sample from a classic Detroit record. Foul Play at this point were the trio of Steve Bradshaw, John Morrow and Steve Gurley and after releasing the Volume 1 and 2 EPs on their own Oblivion label they attracted the attention of Moving Shadow, who first put out 'Finest Illusion' on their Section 5 subsidiary.

The title of the track is actually a composite of its two main sample sources - 'The Finest' by the S.O.S. Band (also the source for MF DOOM's 'The Finest') and 'Illusion (M. I. Mix)' by R-Tyme (AKA Derrick May with Darryl Wynn). Opening with scratching and reverbed stop-start drums the track then introduces a synth melody that samples the stabs from the beginning of 'Illusion' alongside a rough Amen break. After some joyous fast paced synth stabs it then brings in a substantial section of chipmunked vocals from 'The Finest' including the chorus: "After all that we've been through / Time won't change the way I feel about you / Out of all the loves before / You're the finest I'll ever know (Finest I ever)". A euphoric track at a time when the music was generally getting darker, it was the cheesy vocals that led to the track being swiftly withdrawn from sale. It reappeared later that year on Moving Shadow in 'Legal Mix' form, stripped of the vocals except for a few brief snippets. While still a great track it's not a patch on the anthemic original.

Sadly the 'Legal Mix' is the only one I have on vinyl (again thanks to Moving Shadow's 10th anniversary reissue series) and the original will set you back a small fortune. Interestingly though, I recently acquired the Kenny Ken mixed The History Of Hardcore album, a joint release between Moving Shadow and Suburban Base chronicling both label's output from '91 to '95, and it actually uses the "illegal" mix. That put a smile on my face!

Check the track out below in this mix by DJ Rap at a 1993 Helter Skelter event:

DJ Rap - Helter Skelter, 3rd December 1993 by Michael Davies on Mixcloud

Discogs link

Monday, 1 April 2013

DJ Trace & Pete Parsons - Sniper

DJ Trace & Pete Parsons - Sniper (DSCI4, 1999)

Writing about 'The Flow' break yesterday reminded me of the 'Tramen' (which combines 'The Flow' with the 'Tighten Up' and 'Amen' breaks) and the similar situation that occurred with this break. Although it was first used on 'Mutant Revisited' it was actually sampled by most producers from 'Sniper' where it is left clean for sixteen bars in the intro. Although it was created by Dom Angas it became known as the Sniper or Tramen (a combination of Trace and Amen) break, something that clearly irked him as this interview from Future Music in 2004 reveals:

"Trace came around a few days later and really liked the sound of it. He literally wrote two tunes there and then using the break - one of them, Mutant Jazz Revisited, was huge. It was also the tune that made me stop engineering for other people. My name never made it onto that piece of vinyl. Not even as an engineer... But the most annoying thing was that people started crediting Trace with inventing that break. C'mon... he didn't even know how to use a computer."

A quick glance at the label for 'Mutant Revisited' reveals that Dom was actually credited (as D. Angus) and Trace himself has since set the record straight, stating Dom created the break and claiming the Tramen tag was coined by Fresh after the two created Bad Company's mighty 'Nitrous'.

'Sniper' was the first release on Trace's DSCI4 imprint and was co-produced by Pete Parsons who had worked with Trace previously on tracks such as 'Final Chapta' and 'Miles High'. Parsons had been on the scene since the early nineties with productions on Lucky Spin, Dee Jay and Proper Talent amongst others but by the late nineties was better known as Voyager, releasing 'intelligent' drum & bass for labels such as Good Looking, R & S and Creative Source. This shows in 'Sniper' which employs atmospheric synths in the intro and breakdown in contrast to the raging Tramen/Reese combination used throughout most of the track, which also uses the 'Hot Pants' break, although the final third drops the Reese for a more metallic-sounding bassline. Another track that provided one of the building blocks for many future productions.

Discogs link