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


  1. I had heard a very long time ago that this record was recorded live (rather than sequenced) and the filters were all done by hand in one take and then pressed to wax like that. Could be just a rumor?

    1. I hadn't heard this before but will investigate...