Friday, 31 May 2013

Co-Cain - Roll Dat Shit

Co-Cain - Roll Dat Shit (Runninz Records, 1996)

Marvellous Cain's RIQ Yardrock continues to roll out updates of his classic tracks alongside new material from the likes of J Bostron. The latest refix comes from CabinFeverUK who remix 'Roll Dat Shit', a track that originally came out on Runninz Records in 1996 under the name Co-Cain. Marvellous Cain had started Runninz the year before and 'Roll Dat Shit' was the third release. The label amalgamated with IQ Records a few years ago to form the present day RIQ Yardrock label.

It opens with some bluesy guitar taken from the introduction to a live version of Jimi Hendrix's 'Red House', possibly this performance of the track at San Francisco's Winterland venue in October 1968. Over this Cain brings in the 'Sandy' break (which he also used at the beginning of 'Hitman') along with a sample of Method Man's "Roll dat shit, light dat shit" line, taken from the same skit at the end of 'Can It All Be So Simple' that Ed Rush, Trace & Nico sampled on 'Mad Different Methods'. The drop brings in an overmodulated bassline with drums that use the 'Sweet Pea' and 'Sandy' breaks while Method Man's vocal appears frequently throughout. Marvellous Cain had previously been known for his ragga heavy approach and this track illustrates the move towards a more hip-hop influenced sound that took place across the scene in 1995/96.

If you like the combination of Wu-Tang and Hendrix check out the excellent Black Gold mixtape, a mash-up of the two from Tom Caruana of Tea Sea Records. It even features a couple of tracks with exclusive vocals from Wu affiliates Gab Gotcha and Young Dirty Bastard (ODB's son). Funnily enough, Gab Gotcha appeared on a Beatnuts track from 1997 that samples the same bit of guitar as 'Roll Dat Shit'. You can download the mixtape here.

The recent remixes of 'Hitman' and 'Dubplate Style' are going to be released on limited coloured vinyl editions on June 10th - check the RIQ Yardrock Facebook page for details. Listen below to a snippet of the CabinFeverUK remix of 'Roll Dat Shit' which is available now at Beatport, Trackitdown and all good download stores. I've also included a snippet of the HavocNdeeD ft. DJ Five Remix which along with the CabinFeverUK mix should be getting a vinyl test pressing soon - keep an eye on the RIQ Yardrock Bandcamp page for these:

Discogs link

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Usual Suspects - Killa Bees

Usual Suspects - Killa Bees (Renegade Hardware, 1999)

This track appeared on Usual Suspects' debut 12" and it's an absolute classic that still gets a great response today. It features a thumping beat which incorporates the Hot Pants break alongside a sick insectoid bassline that perfectly suits the track's theme.

It opens with the buzzing of a swarm of bees, the same sample that was used on 'Wings' by Krust, Die & Roni Size. As I previously suggested, this may be from The Swarm, a seventies horror movie starring Michael Caine. The original vinyl version of 'Killa Bees' features two pieces of dialogue from that film which were subsequently cut from the digital release and the Hardware XV album. Before the main drop you hear Caine stating: "The fact is we've been invaded by a mutant species of the African Killer Bee". Then during the breakdown a second bit of dialogue is used:

"Are you trying to tell me that bees killed a man here? I don't know what happened but I do know that thousands of people are stung by bees every year".

There's a Wu-Tang connection here as both these dialogue extracts appeared on the intro to the Wu-Tang Killa Bees' The Swarm LP (1998) which may have where Usual Suspects sourced them (have a listen here on Grooveshark). That album featured several members of the Wu-Tang alongside affiliated acts such as Sunz Of Man and Black Knights Of The North Star while Killa Bees is also a general term for acts associated with the Wu and is a phrase that often crops up in their lyrics.

'Killa Bees' has been remixed several times over the years with versions from Optical & Fierce, Konflict and Dillinja. It has recently been remixed again by InsideInfo for the forthcoming Reanimation EP on Hardware. Check it out below:

Discogs link

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The 45 Roller - Killer Bee

The 45 Roller - Killer Bee (Ebony Recordings, 1996)

The 45 Roller was an alias of Shy FX which he first used on this 12" for his own Ebony Recordings imprint. He'd started the label the previous year after leaving SOUR and this track was just one of a barrage of cuts he put out on Ebony in '96, culminating in The Formula LP, a label showcase that also featured T.Power and Potential Bad Boy.

'Killer Bee' is another track that took inspiration from the Wu-Tang Clan, sampling Ol' Dirty Bastard's classic 'Shimmy Shimmy Ya'. While most Drum & Bass tracks just sample vocals from the Wu, 'Killer Bee' also makes use of the tune's insistent piano riff during its beatless intro, overlaying the sound of a swarm of bees. ODB's 'Killer Bee' vocal then brings in a eighties boogie style bassline with drums using the Apache and Amen breaks. It was a style of bassline that he used on a lot of his tracks around this time with other examples being 'Wolf' and 'Gangsta Boogie' (another addition to his Gangsta Kid series), both from The Formula LP. That album also contained a more chilled remix of 'Killer Bee' from T.Power which really makes the boogie influence clear, although it possibly reminds me of the Seinfeld theme tune a bit too much. Check it out below:

Discogs link

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Nasty Habits - Shadow Boxing 'The Remix'

Nasty Habits - Shadow Boxing 'The Remix' (31 Records, 1997)

Nico's Soundcloud page cites Doc Scott as being particularly influential on the No U-Turn sound. Scott McIlroy's early records on Reinforced and Absolute 2 such as 'Surgery', 'Here Comes The Drumz' and 'Dark Angel' were in the darkcore style that inspired a young Ed Rush to produce 'Bludclot Artattack' alongside Nico, the track that really kickstarted the No U-Turn label. Things would come full circle three years down the line when Doc Scott revived his Nasty Habits alias for 'Shadow Boxing', a track in the techstep style that No U-Turn had birthed.

I covered the original mix of the track last month as part of my Exit Records 10th Birthday series. I forgot to mention at the time that when I bought the 12" on its release back in 1996, I'd got it home to discover that a second centre label had gone astray and had been pressed into the grooves, making the record unplayable. When I took it back to the shop (Boxer Records in St Albans) they had already sold out and I faced an anxious wait to see if they would get it back in stock, which fortunately a couple of weeks later they did.

While 'Mad Different Methods' featured vocals from Wu-Tang skits, 'Shadow Boxing' samples Shaolin & Wu Tang, a kung fu movie that was also extensively sampled on Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The original mix of the track only uses fight sounds from the film but the remix also features the "shadow boxing" vocal that the Wu sampled on 'Bring Da Ruckus', with the whole "Shaolin shadow boxing and the Wu Tang sword style" line also appearing right at the end. These samples are particularly appropriate for techstep, as the music journalist Simon Reynolds explains: "Like Wu-Tang-style horror-core rap, techstep seemed based on the active pursuit of phobia and psychosis as entertainment".

Doc Scott replaces the two-step drums of the original with a more militant stomp that features a crashing amen at the end of each eight bar section, leading Reynolds to comment at the time that "the groove had stiffened even further - to the point of rigor mortis". The hypnotic bassline is only slightly altered although rather than fading in gradually it appears suddenly following the "shadow boxing" sample. The remix is famed for the skipping vinyl effect used during the breakdown which is followed by the sound of the needle then being scrapped across the record. After the previous pressing error I would probably have thought that I'd been cursed for a moment if I hadn't already heard it on the radio, but I'm sure it caught a few people off guard.

A great remix, although I don't think it quite matches the original version. You can hear it on Ed Rush & Trace's The No U-Turn Experience which was broadcast on Radio 1's One In The Jungle in 1997:

Discogs link

Monday, 27 May 2013

Ed Rush, Trace & Nico - Mad Different Methods

Ed Rush, Trace & Nico - Mad Different Methods (Nu Black, 1996)

It wasn't just jump-up and jungle tunes like yesterday's 'Tiger Style' that sampled the Wu-Tang Clan, as their vocals also appeared on several techstep tracks. Ed Rush and company had a history of sampling hip-hop with tracks such as 'Guncheck' and 'Gangsta Hardstep' already in the No U-Turn catalogue. While Wu-Tang vocals in most jungle records were there to add an extra level of energy, on 'Mad Different Methods' they are pitched down to add to the sludge of the blunted production.

Vocals from two skits that appear on the Wu-Tang Clan's debut Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) LP are used throughout the track, the first being Ghostface Killah in the intro to 'Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber' saying something along the lines of "Word is bond, I'm waitin to fuckin late, I'm ready to get busy, what's up...". This is immediately followed by a sample of Method Man from the skit at the end of 'Can It Be All So Simple': "It's like mad different methods to the way I do my shit". The trio back the vocals with distorted Reese bass and beat switching between 'The Flow' and 'Life Could' breaks, while an ominous sci-fi style drone runs for most of the track's length. I particularly like the brief section around the four minute mark when the drums are made to sound as if they coming from another room. One thing that made No U-Turn records so unique was the final mix down which involved a track being recorded while Nico added live 'dubbing' from the desk, a process that resulted in changes to the sound occurring throughout the track. Truly "mad different methods".

Listen to these snippets of the unreleased Distortion Mix of the track below and check out the rest of Nico's Soundcloud page which features a wealth of unheard material.

Discogs link

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Ganja Kru - Tiger Style

The Ganja Kru - Tiger Style (Ganja Records, 1994)

Yesterday I asked if anyone knew which sound clash the vocals in Krome & Time's 'Ganja Man' came from and thanks to Dave.S and DJ Hype himself I now know that it's from a Youthman Promotions sound clash from 1985. Hype gave Krome & Time the sound clash cassette and they originally created the track as a special for him to play at Jungle Fever. It's a particularly appropriate track for Hype as from 1994 to 1996 he ran Ganja Records, a label that put out many classic jungle tracks before going into hibernation, not returning until 2003.

'Tiger Style' was released on Ganja Records Volume 4 under The Ganja Kru name, the first use of an alias that would later be adopted for Hype's collective with Pascal and Zinc. It's a great track that starts off with a sample from the beginning of the Wu-Tang Clan's 'Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F' Wit', which itself uses a "Tiger Style" vocal taken from the English dub of Executioners from Shaolin, a classic Shaw Brothers Kung Fu movie (hear it in it's original context here). Over this Hype brings in the Soul Pride break before the track moves on to some heavyweight bass action with sung vocals, computer game sound effects and a reversed sound that resembles the swishing of a sword. It also uses another Wu-Tang sample, this time a vocal from GZA on 'Clan In Da Front': "Hoods on the right / Wild for the night / Punks in the back", although it was probably taken from the beginning of 'Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber Part II' where the vocal is reused but appears clean.

Hype drafted in Krome & Time to remix 'Tiger Style' for Remixes Volume 2 and they bring their trademark sound to the tune with some heavy Amen and additional sound clash vocals, packing what sounds like several tracks into one. Check it out below:

Discogs link

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Krome & Time - Ganja Man

Krome & Time - Ganja Man (Tearin Vinyl, 1994)

DJ Krome & Mr Time are Bernard Simon and Terry Holt and they first appeared on the scene in 1988 on Fantasy FM - check out this show from 1989. Their first productions were released in 1991 with 'The Rush' (as Kromozone) on Suburban Base and 'Unity / Fireball' (as Timebase feat. Kromozone) on Boogie Times. They followed these with the massive rave anthems 'This Sound Is For The Underground' (1992) and 'The Slammer' (1993) and also became sought after for their remixing skills. In 1994 they made the jump to jungle, setting up their own Tearin Vinyl label and releasing tunes such as 'Ganja Man'.

Last week I looked at 'The Slammer' and a comparison of these two tracks makes the differences between hardcore and jungle clear - while both tunes use the Amen break and feature "Ganja Man" vocals, the later track is devoid of the piano, chipmunk vocals and synth stabs that had previously been front and centre. In their place is a focus on the rumble of the sub bass and the chopping and timestretching of the Amen, something Krome & Time prove themselves to be masters at. Ragga was also a bigger influence on jungle and 'Ganja Man' puts a greater emphasis on the sound clash vocals which appear frequently throughout: "Yuh now say nuff ganja man inna de place, you know. Ah ganja every one innah deh hand and I know dat. Hold up yuh hand if you a ganja man... Yeah!" (if anyone knows where these are from please get in contact). A jungle classic that was remixed to great effect by DJ Hype the following year.

You can purchase the digital of 'Ganja Man' over at Bandcamp, while the Hype mix is available at Krome & Time still DJ and the set below from May last year starts off with hardcore before moving on to jungle, finishing with a 2011 remix of 'Ganja Man' from Jaydan:

Krome & Time @ Bristol Dub Club - 4th May 2012 by Neverlution Soundsystem on Mixcloud

Discogs link

Friday, 24 May 2013

Facs, Scythe & B Key - Mindsplinter

Facs, Scythe & B Key - Mindsplinter (XXXX, 2003)

The work of William Gibson, who I discussed in yesterday's post about 'The Trick of Technology', was a huge influence on The Matrix, the 1999 film written and directed by the Wachowskis and starring Keanu Reeves (who also had the leading role in Johnny Mnemonic). Gibson's Sprawl trilogy provided The Matrix with its title, several story elements and the basis for the characters of Neo and Trinity (see this article for further details of the comparisons).

Facs, Scythe & B Key's 'Mindsplinter' samples dialogue from the film, with the following lines from Laurence Fishburne's character Morpheus appearing during the intro and throughout:

"I can see it in your eyes; you feel it. You've felt it your entire life. You don't know what it is, but it's there, driving you mad, like a splinter in your mind. Do you know what I'm talking about? Do you want to know what it is? It is all around us. It is for your mind."

Funnily enough the logo of the Prisoners of Technology's Fresh Kutt label was designed by Facs, who also did the artwork for several other labels including Smokers Inc, 24 Karat and Based On Bass. 'Mindsplinter' is a typically dark and corroded track from the Biotic stable featuring wind-swept synths and metallic stabs of bass over lively breakbeats before introducing an acidic riff midway through. The track continues to develop as blasts of Reese bass come in at the breakdown, making for a particularly sick track.

Check out my breakdown of 'The Truth' by Kryptic Minds for more Matrix related Drum & Bass.

Discogs link

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Prisoners of Technology - The Trick of Technology (Remix)

The Prisoners of Technology - The Trick of Technology (Time To Work Mix) (Fresh Kutt, 1997)

An article in today's Guardian about how the bright screens of laptops, tablets and smartphones can cause sleep deprivation reminded me of this wicked jump-up tune from The Prisoners of Technology. It features a sample of Henry Rollins' character Spider in Johnny Mnemonic ranting about humanity's addiction to technology:

"Information overload! All the electronics around you poisoning the airwaves. Technological fucking civilization. But we still have all this shit, because we can't live without it. Let me do my work..." (check it in its original context here)

The film is based on a short story by William Gibson, who also wrote the screenplay. It's set in 2021 when the entire world is connected to a gigantic internet. The quote above is referring to Nerve Attenuation Syndrome, a fictional disease also known as "the black shakes" which is caused by overexposure to the electromagnetic radiation given off by technology. Gibson's work has proved particularly prescient (he coined the term "cyperspace" in 1982) and the findings in the Guardian article reflect the negative effects of technology on our health that Gibson covered in this film.

This track was released on The Prisoners of Technology's own Fresh Kutt label and was the first 12" I bought by the trio of TMS-1, DJ Magic and K.Dub. It's an incredibly energetic track that rattles along at a fearsome pace with an electro style bassline that regularly changes pattern. The "I'm engaged in experimental work" vocal in the intro is from another movie entitled The Devil Commands which was sampled more extensively in the original mix of the track which you can listen to here. The central "Trick of Technology" line is taken from a verse by Hakim of Channel Live on 'Free Mumia' by KRS-One, who discovered the duo. Along with their remix of 'Intergalactic' this is one of The Prisoners of Technology's finest moments.

You can hear 'The Trick of Technology (Time To Work Mix)' as well as many others by the trio in the awesome mix below from DJ Jamie of Section 23:

All Prisoners of Technology by Dj Jamie on Mixcloud

Discogs link

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Bad Company - Ladies Of Spain

Bad Company - Ladies Of Spain (BC Recordings, 2001)

This week brought the news that Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek had died at the age of seventy four following a long battle with cancer. He formed The Doors with Jim Morrison in 1965 and was responsible for the band's signature organ based sound. Following Morrison's death in 1971 Manzarek played in various groups, including work with Philip Glass and former Door Robby Krieger, and remained an active musician into his final years - RIP.

While I'm not aware of any drum'n'bass records that sample Manzarek's playing there are a few that feature Jim Morrison's vocals, such as Bad Company's 'Ladies Of Spain' which appeared on the second volume of their Book of the Bad series of EPs. This format allowed them to experiment a bit and this strange and haunting track begins with an atmospheric intro featuring the following lines:

"Angels and sailors
Rich girls
Backyard fences

Dreams watching each other narrowly
Soft luxuriant cars
Girls in garages, stripped
Out to get liquor and clothes
Half gallons of wine and six-packs of beer
Jumped, humped, born to suffer
Made to undress in the wilderness.

I will never treat you mean..."

These lines are from the beginning of 'Angels and Sailors' which appeared on An American Prayer, an album of Morrison's poetry that was released in 1978 after Manzarek and the other remaining members of The Doors reunited to record backing tracks. Around these vocals Bad Company (in this case Fresh & Maldini) craft a suitably rock-influenced track which features a psychedelic guitar riff over a dark, insistent bassline. This guitar riff also featured on John B's 'Let Rip' and he revealed in a thread on Dogs On Acid that this is actually from a royalty free sample CD.

Fresh would go on to sample An American Prayer again on 'Cactus Funk '02' from 2005 which uses Morrison's vocals from 'Roadhouse Blues' and 'Bird of Prey'.

Discogs link

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

2 Bad Mice - Bombscare

2 Bad Mice - Bombscare (Moving Shadow, 1992)

If you listened to DJ DB and DJ Dara's History of Drum & Bass mix which I featured yesterday you'd have noticed 2 Bad Mice's classic 'Bombscare' towards the beginning. Originally put out on Moving Shadow in 1992 this was one of the first releases for Sm:)e Communications, the label DB helped establish in 1994. They would go on to release 2 Bad Mice's Kaotic Chemistry compilation as well as Omni Trio's Music For The Next Millennium (the US version of The Deepest Cut Vol. 1) in 1995.

2 Bad Mice were actually a trio consisting of Sean O'Keeffe (Deep Blue), Simon Colebrooke and Moving Shadow boss Rob Playford and they also went by the name Kaotic Chemistry. They were among the first acts to bring breakbeats to the hardcore scene, a development that would lead to jungle. The main breakbeat on 'Bombscare' is a second generation one sampled from Kariya's 'Let Me Love You (Rebuilt)', a bootleg mix of the track by Evil Eddie Richards (check this interview with Colebrooke where he confirms this). This breakbeat is made up of the break from Graham Central Station's 'The Jam' along with the drum fill from the beginning of James Brown's 'Funky President'. 2 Bad Mice also later bring in the Hot Pants break from Bobby Bird's 'Hot Pants (Bonus Beats)' that would go on to be heard on thousands of jungle tunes. Over this they cheekily sample the catchy synth riff from Neon's 'Don't Mess With This Beat' along with the sound of a bomb detonating and a rumbling bassline. Simple but (if you'll excuse the pun) explosive, with the tremors still being felt to this day.

O'Keeffe and Colebrooke continue to DJ under the 2 Bad Mice name along with partner in crime Rhodesey. Check their website to see if they're playing near you and have a listen to the mix below which they did for FACT Magazine in 2011 and includes 'Bombscare':

Discogs link

Monday, 20 May 2013

Orgy - Blue Monday (Optical Mix)

Orgy - Blue Monday (Optical Mix) (F-111, 1998)

Writing about Bad Company's Green Velvet sampling 'Spider' the other day got me thinking about this little known Optical remix that shared a side of a 12" with a mix by the Chicago legend. F-111 was a short lived division of Warner Bros run by DJ DB and Andrew Goldstone which focused on electronic music and put out a compilation of Green Velvet's previous singles, including 'Flash', in 2000. F-111 also had a drum & bass sublabel called Higher Education.

DJ DB played a massive role in bringing drum & bass to the United States, initially as a DJ and then helping establish Sm:)e Communications, the first label to release jungle in America. He went on to co-found the Breakbeat Science label and Brooklyn record store with DJ Dara, while also releasing numerous mix albums including The Higher Education Drum & Bass Session on F-111.

Orgy were/are an alternative rock band and they released this rather dodgy cover of New Order's classic Blue Monday in 1998. The 12" I have only includes Optical's instrumental mix but there was also a vocal mix which you can listen to on Spotify here. Although Optical limits the vocals to the intro and breakdown they're pretty terrible so the instrumental mix is definitely the one to go for. Optical crafts a clinical neurofunk style tune that fortunately bears little relation to the original track while sounding very similar to the unreleased 'Bleep Bleep' with the same drums and synth sounds.

Check out this live two hour history of drum & bass mix from 2004 by DJ DB and DJ Dara. You can download it here courtesy of Stress Factor who are also hosting a number of other DJ DB mixes.

Discogs link

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Glamour Gold - The Only One

Glamour Gold - The Only One (Rap Records/Philly Blunt, 1997)

I'm not normally a fan of R'n'B flavoured Drum & Bass but when Krust turns his hand to the style the results are hard to ignore. Remarc played 'The Only One' on Kool FM last Sunday and it's been stuck in my head ever since so I just had to take a look at it today. The story behind this one is that it should have been the tenth release on Philly Blunt but was pulled due to sample clearance issues. It later appeared anonymously as Rap Records' only release with the PB part of the runout etching scratched out and replaced with a faint RAP one. It used to fetch insane prices on eBay (over £100) but these days is a bit more affordable.

Glamour Gold was Krust's alias for releases on Philly Blunt and on 'The Only One' he takes a hefty chunk of Case's 'Touch Me, Tease Me' which features Foxy Brown and Mary J. Blige and appeared on the soundtrack to The Nutty Professor. Krust samples the keys, guitar and those distinctive crashing drum hits from the track along with Case's vocals: "You're the only one for me / You're the only one I need / Can't nobody make me feel / The way you're making me feel, feel, feel, feel...". He places these over drums that gradually build up, starting off with the Sesame Street break and then adding the Scorpio and Hot Pants breaks. The main body of the track has a fat jump-up bassline while various sounds such as horn stabs pop up throughout. One for the ladies.

Hear it below in this Bristol Drum & Bass mix from True Thoughts' Hint:

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Baron - Hell Billy

Baron - Hell Billy (C.I.A., 2002)

Today brought a welcome development with the opening of a new record shop, Empire Records, in my home town of St. Albans. Following the closure of HMV earlier in the year the city had been without somewhere to buy music and it has been years since there was an independent record store. I headed down to check it out and it was great to find a shop that had a relaxed feel and friendly staff with a focus on vinyl. While the stock is primarily rock based at the moment they promise to cater to all tastes and the place looks to have a bright future judging by the number of enthusiastic music lovers it was attracting.

The visit reminded me of the last time I purchased a 12" in St. Albans at the long gone Boxer Records, in fact the last new drum & bass record I bought. It was a promo copy of 'Meet The Creeper / Hell Billy' by Baron, an early release from the Oxford based Pierre Bailey who went on to record for a number of labels before forming his own Baron Inc. and putting out several releases on Adam F & DJ Fresh's Breakbeat Kaos imprint. He left the drum & bass scene in around 2008 to do soundtrack work and now lives in Los Angeles.

'Hell Billy' was the definite pick of the two cuts and has a acidic "poing" riff that sounds like a cartoon or computer game sound effect and recalls the 1992 Dutch gabba hit 'Poing' by Rotterdam Termination Source. Over drums that use the 'It's a New Day' break with some Amen underneath the track features a number of other elements including bleeps, dub sirens and what appears to be a Native American war cry. An old skool flavoured dancefloor smasher that always reminds me of Total Science's 'Squash'.

You can purchase the digital of 'Hell Billy' over at Drum&BassArena.

Discogs link

Friday, 17 May 2013

Krome & Time - The Slammer

Krome & Time - The Slammer (Suburban Base, 1993)

Back in February it was reported that Tim Dog had died of a seizure following complications from diabetes. However in the last few days it has been suggested that the rapper faked his own death to avoid repaying money he had swindled from several women in an internet dating scam. He had claimed he needed investors to record a new album and persuaded one woman, Esther Pilgrim, to build up $32,000 of credit card debt. He pleaded guilty to grand larceny in September 2011 and was paying Pilgrim $100 a month in compensation. These payments stopped following his supposed death but she believes he is still alive and investigations have yet to turn up a death certificate.

In the wake of his death I featured a couple of tracks that sampled the rapper and in light of these recent reports I thought I'd take a look at another. 'The Slammer' was a '93 anthem from DJ Krome & Mr Time which loops a short vocal segment from his KRS-One collaboration 'I Get Wrecked' (going something like "stop, stop... listen to the hip-hop"). The female vocal ("this dance that we're dancing now who's in control") is from Nona Hendryx's 'Why Should I Cry?' which was the biggest solo hit for a singer who had formerly been a member of Labelle. Although 'The Slammer' is very much a hardcore tune with hands-in-the-air piano, helium vocals and ravey synth stabs it saw the duo move towards jungle with its use of the Amen break and the "we dedicate to all ganja man... and all sensimilla man" vocal that sounds like it's from a sound clash. It would be their last feel good rave track under the Krome & Time name as they went on to fully embrace jungle with 1994's massive 'The Licence'.

You can hear 'The Slammer' in this anthem filled 90-93 studio set by Billy Daniel Bunter which was used to promote Raindance's NYE 2011 event:

DJ Billy Daniel Bunter - Raindance NYE 2011 Mix by Dj_Billydanielbunter on Mixcloud

Discogs link

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Bad Company - Spider

Bad Company - Spider (BC Recordings, 2001)

I've recently featured a lot of hip-hop influenced drum & bass so thought I'd change the pace a bit with a look at the more techno inspired Bad Company. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to find a second hand copy of their Book of the Bad CD for the reasonable price of a tenner. Although I vastly prefer vinyl and already own the three double 12" EPs in the series I like having CD/digital copies of stuff as well and this two disc collection is normally rather expensive so I was especially pleased to get hold of it. As a bonus you also get four additional tracks including their remix of Moving Fusion's 'Atlantis' and the massive 'Planet Dust'.

One of my favourites from the first volume of the series is 'Spider'. It makes their techno influence clear with a vocal sample from 'Flash' by Green Velvet, an alias of the Chicago based house and techno producer Curtis Jones who also went by the name Cajmere. As Green Velvet he is known for tracks that feature his own spoken word vocals such as 'Flash', 'Preacher Man' and 'Answering Machine' as well as his flamboyant neon green mohawk. Bad Company sample the "Camera's ready, prepare the flash" line from 'Flash' several times in a track that starts off with light scratching and bongos before streamlined drums and a catchy but nasty Reese bassline come in to wreck havoc.

You can purchase the digital of 'Spider' over at Beatport. Bad Company have recently been playing sets full of their classic material and you can hear 'Spider' in this performance by Maldini from a Renegade Hardware night at the now sadly closed Cable from September last year (comes in at around 21:23):

Discogs link

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Swift & Zinc - Rockin' With The Best

Swift & Zinc - Rockin' With The Best (Brain Progression, 1994)

Before DJ Zinc linked up with Hype and Pascal he was part of this duo with Swift AKA Trevor Burns (not to be confused with Mampi Swift). The pair put out eight 12"s for Bizzy B's Brain Progression label from 1993 to 1995 with a few more releases on other labels such as Sophisticated Undergrounds Sounds and Suburban Base (as Pure). They also had shows on a number of London pirate stations including Eruption 101.3, Impact 88.2 and Format 93.2. Swift seems to have disappeared from the scene after this except for a one-off appearance as Frequency for a 12" with Zinc on Frontline in 1999.

I'm coming full circle here as this series of posts began with Zinc's 'Feel' with its brief 'La-Di-Da-Di' sample and this track samples The Real Roxanne's 'Bang Zoom (Let's Go-Go)', both of which featured on yesterday's track, 'Orange' by DJ SS. The track opens with a loop of the "Yes, you are now rocking with the best" vocal with a stretched out "Hit me!" also appearing. The drop brings in a heavy Amen break treated to plenty of timestretching with a speaker rattling modulated bassline and female "Yeah, Yeah" vocals. Slamming.

Another track worth mentioning with an identical title comes from The JB on Back 2 Basics in 1996 (who also sampled 'La-Di-Da-Di' on 'As We Go'). It opens with almost the entirety of The Real Roxanne's introductory vocals from 'Bang Zoom' before bringing in a fast paced bassline with drums using the Think, Hot Pants and Sesame Street breaks. Check it out below:

Discogs link

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

DJ SS - Orange

DJ SS - Orange (Mix 2) (Formation Colours Series, 1996)

As promised, here's another track that samples Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick's 'La-Di-Da-Di'. This one came somewhere in the middle of Formation's twelve part Colours Series, released between 1995 and 1997 and culminating in the Unified Colours of Drum & Bass LP. Like the majority of the releases in this undercover series it is a sample heavy jump-up tune with SS providing two mixes of the track.

It's the second mix that includes Slick Rick's vocals, opening with his "Okay party people in the house, you're about to witness something you've never witnessed before" line in a beatless intro that alternates between this vocal and The Real Roxanne's "Yes, you are now rocking with the best. Can I get a hit?" from 'Bang Zoom (Let's Go-Go)', another much sampled hip-hop track thanks to its intro. In fact SS had already sampled it on 'The Pulse' from 1992's Breakbeat Pressure EP Part 2. A drum roll accompanied by Slick Rick's "La-di-da-di, we like to party, we don't cause trouble, we don't bother nobody we're..." brings in an squelchy ascending bassline with drums using the Apache and Hot Pants breaks while the second drop brings in some Amen as well. The other mix only uses the Real Roxanne vocals and has a jazzy intro using bits of trumpet, keys and flute before delivering a fat distorted bassline with the same drums as Mix 2. Of the two versions I slightly prefer the bassline of the first but I miss those 'La-Di-Da-Di' vocals so the second mix gets the nod.

Both mixes feature in this excellent Colours Series mix from DJ Stevo:

Discogs link

Monday, 13 May 2013

DJ Ascend & J B - As We Go

Asend & JB - As We Go (Back 2 Basics, 1998)

When I wrote about Asend's techsteppin' 'New Style' the other week I mentioned that this wasn't his usual sort of track and here on 'As We Go' he produces a more regular hip-hop heavy jump-up tune in collaboration with label boss Jason Ball. Like DJ Zinc's 'Feel' it samples the intro to 'La-Di-Da-Di' by Doug E. Fresh & MC Ricky D AKA Slick Rick, one of the most heavily sampled hip-hop records ever made, and also uses portions of two classic funk tracks.

Over a two-step beat it opens with the melancholy piano melody (and the accompanying drums) from Isaac Hayes' 'Ike's Mood', another track that has been sampled on hundreds of records including Massive Attack's 'One Love' and Foxy Brown's '(Holy Matrimony) Letter To The Firm'. On top of this Slick Rick's "Okay, party people in the house" and "As we go a little something like this... Hit it!" vocals come in while the drums are built up with the Hot Pants break. The drop brings in a Reese bassline vaguely reminiscent of Shimon & Andy C's 'Quest' with a low in the mix Amen being added to the drums. The horn stabs from the beginning of 'Cross The Track (We Better Go Back)' by Maceo & The Macks, a group that appropriately consisted of members of James Brown's backing band The J.B.'s, introduce a robotic square wave bassline which works in combination with the Reese for the rest of the track, while the piano, vocals and horn stabs all feature prominently throughout. Sampletastic!

Come back tomomorrow when I'll be looking at a track that also uses the 'La-Di-Da-Di' vocals as well as those from another well sampled eighties hip-hop track.

Discogs link

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Freestyles - Attack

Freestyles - Attack (True Playaz, 1997)

After looking at DJ Zinc's side of this 12" the other day I thought it only fair to also write about DJ Hype's track on the flip. As well as sharing the Freestyles name the two tracks are linked by their sampling of the intro to Run DMC's 'Here We Go', albeit different parts - 'Feel' uses "And it goes a little something..." whereas 'Attack' features the "How y'all feel out there?" line during the intro and throughout. Like 'Feel' the track takes it title from another sample though, this time The One Armed Swordsmen, a 1976 martial arts film directed by and starring David Chiang and Yu Wang:

"To attack without knowing the enemy's strength is foolish. After being warned, to still attack is stupid. Strangely though, one does find people who are that stupid." (Hear it in it's original context here).

Hype pitches the vocal down and crafts a dark and sinister track around it, with an intro featuring haunting synths before the drop brings in a bassline that sounds like laser gun sound effects paired with drums that use a few hits from the Amen break alongside the Hot Pants break and electronic hand claps. Hype of course wasn't a stranger to martial arts samples with tracks such as the Wu-Tang influenced 'You Must Think First' and 'Tiger Style' already in his catalogue but I've always rather liked this sample as it's more original and makes the track particularly memorable.

You can purchase the digital of 'Attack' over at Beatport, Drum&BassArena and Juno Download.

Discogs link

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Total Science - Extra Curricular

Total Science - Extra Curricular (Advance//d, 2001)

As I mentioned yesterday, Mikey Dread got his big break hosting the Dread At The Controls radio show on JBC in 1976. While an engineer for the station he noticed that they didn't broadcast from midnight till 4:30 AM and persuaded his bosses to let him fill this space, as he revealed in this interview: "I asked Ossie and Mr Linton why the Radio signed off at midnight. They said nobody listened to the radio after midnight - but after some brief pleading on my part - they said ‘ye’." The show, playing strictly reggae, went on to be a great success, with Mikey collecting the Radio Personality of the Year award in 1977-78, but despite this he was marginalised by the station's conservative owners and left in 1979.

However in this time he pioneered a style of DJing that became the template for many others. He didn't actually speak on the show, instead using a number of jingles and this is where vocals such as "You make me feel so good" and "Brand new... good for you" first appeared. Initially the jingles came from sci-fi effects albums and comedy LPs but he later produced them himself, bringing in people to record them. The jingles were subsequently used on some of his tracks, such as the two above which appear during the intro to 'Comic Book'.

"Brand new... good for you" is sampled on Total Science's 'Extra Curricular', the flipside of 'Jet Set' which I looked at a while back. This 12" was the first release on their Advance//d imprint, established in 2001 as a sublabel of C.I.A., it's name stemming from the previous year's Advance LP. It's another impeccably produced old skool revival track with an intro featuring vintage sci-fi style bleeps and tightly edited drums that are treated to some nice pitchshifting before a 'Funky Mule' based break is deployed. The vocal sample brings in ravey synth stabs and a booming bassline making for a great track from the duo who, much like DJ Zinc, always keep the quality control level high.

'Extra Curricular' was included on their Audio Works 06 compilation and you can hear it below in Nolige's All Digital, Spirit & Total Science Mix Part 3:

Nolige - All Digital, Spirit & Total Science Mix [Part 3] [01.09.12] by Noligeuk on Mixcloud

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Friday, 10 May 2013

Freestyles - Feel

Freestyles - Feel (True Playaz, 1997)

The intro to Mikey Dread's 'Comic Book' features two vocals that have been heavily sampled in hip-hop and electronic music. Mikey Dread AKA Michael Campbell is a legend of Jamaican music, starting out as an engineer for the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation in 1976 before persuading them to give him his own show, Dread At The Controls, on which he exclusively played reggae music, a style that had been previously ignored by the station. It quickly became JBC's most popular program and he also gained a reputation as a singer and producer, releasing a number of classic albums and working with the likes of King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry as well as producing for The Clash and UB40 amongst others. He sadly passed away on the 15th March 2008 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Freestyles was an alias used by DJ Zinc and DJ Hype although not actually as a duo - they took one side of the record each, which resulted in good value for the record buyer as you always ended up with two strong tracks. This was their second time out using the name and for those who remember the True Playaz record sleeves, this was the first release that used the cityscape image. 'Feel' was DJ Zinc's side and is based around the "You make me feel so good" vocal from the beginning of 'Comic Book', although this originated as a jingle on his Dread At The Controls show as you can hear from this radio ad. It's quite a dark track from Zinc with a sci-fi feel to the intro before it introduces an acidic bassline. Two other heavily sampled vocals also appear just before the drop, taking the "And it goes a little something" from 'Here We Go' by Run DMC and then finishing the phrase with the "Like This" from Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh's 'La-Di-Da-Di'. The drums are based around the Hot Pants break with a crashing Amen coming in at the second drop. Another fine track from Zinc who was always one of the most consistent producers in Drum & Bass.

You can purchase the digital of 'Feel' over at Beatport, Drum&BassArena and Juno Download. Tomorrow I'll be looking at another track which samples the intro to 'Comic Book' so stay tuned.

Discogs link

Thursday, 9 May 2013

DJ Sappo - Ding Dong Bass (Remix)

DJ Sappo - Ding Dong Bass (Remix) (Rinse Out, 1996)

Yesterday was DJ Sappo's birthday so to celebrate I thought I'd have a look at one of his classic tracks: 'Ding Dong Bass'. Andrew Sappleton started out DJing aged just fifteen and by 1993 was also producing, leading to releases on labels such as Flex and Intalex. In 1998 he set up his own Advisory Records and from 2004-2007 presented The Drum & Bass Mixshow on BBC Radio 1Xtra. Over the years he has put out releases on a number of labels including Frontline and V Recordings and more recently has established Maverick Records where he will be putting out material from well known producers under secret aliases. Check out his website for the latest news as well as videos and downloads.

'Ding Dong Bass' was released on Rinse Out, a sublabel of L Double's Flex Records. It has been remixed a number of times including a '99 mix on Advisory and an L Double VIP but this first remix is my favourite version. Sappo's known for including vocals from Drum & Bass MCs on his tracks and here Bassman features with his "Listen Up... The Ding Dong Bass" line appearing throughout, bringing an extra level of energy to the tune. The intro features warm synth pads and punchy bass stabs along with a second generation break that includes a little snatch of what sounds like a trumpet, originally from 'Dett' by Demon Boyz. The drop brings in a hyperkinetic Reese bassline which I just absolutely love and always puts a smile on my face. A heavily filtered Amen is used in places and for the final third of the track a new bassline comes in to keeps things moving. A personal favourite which is never too far away from my record decks.

The '99 mix of 'Ding Dong Bass' is included on Sappo Classics Vol. 1 which is available to download over at Beatport. A remix of 'Ding Dong Bass' by J Rolla recently won the second 'Remix A Classic' competition over at the Drum&BassArena Forum and you can check it out below:

Discogs link

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Nuyorican Soul - It's Alright, I Feel It! (Roni Size Remix)

Nuyorican Soul - It's Alright, I Feel It! (Roni Size Remix) (Talkin' Loud, 1997)

Nuyorican is a term which combines "New York" and "Puerto Rican" and refers to both the Puerto Rican community in New York and an arts movement which began in the 1960s. Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez and "Little" Louie Vega's Nuyorican Soul project saw the house producers go back to their roots with an album that featured several musicians from the movement's heyday including Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri.

Yesterday I looked at DJ Krust's sampling of 'Nautilus (Mawtilus)' but this wasn't the first time the Full Cycle collective had crossed paths with Nuyorican Soul as Roni Size had already provided a sprawling 13 minute remix of 'It's Alright, I Feel It!', which features the powerful vocals of Jocelyn Brown.

The remix is very much in the vein of Reprazent's New Forms album that was released a few months later. The extended intro opens with the original's joyous piano melody with drums that gradually build up using the 'Cold Sweat', 'Hot Pants' and 'Apache' breaks. Over this the "It's alright, I feel it" vocals are looped and joined by double bass and strings. At close to the four minute mark the bass and drums drop out for Jocelyn Brown's vocals to take centre stage:

"The music in my life has kept me through / All of the changes the world has put me through / But it's alright, I feel it / But it's alright, I feel it! / This feeling that you get can change things / The power of the groove will always see you through / But it's alright, I feel it / But it's alright, I feel it!"

This brings in a stomping double bass led section with a descending five note riff alongside those incredible rolling drums. The looped vocals and piano slowly come back in until a second breakdown around the eight minute mark after which the track becomes more fragmented as the focus returns to Brown's vocals. A stunning remix that manages to surpass an already great track, one with a message about the power of music that has helped me get through a few tough times. As the closing line of this remix says: "The music's got a magic to it / If it feels real good, let the feeling change you".

Nuyorican Soul returned the favour with an even more sprawling remix of Reprazent's 'Watching Windows' which also incorporates elements from 'Brown Paper Bag'. Check it out below:

Discogs link

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

DJ Krust - Soul In Motion

DJ Krust - Soul In Motion (Full Cycle, 1997)

With the weather remaining hot today I've been listening to Masters At Work's classic Nuyorican Soul LP for some summery vibes. It reminded me that this album is the source for the brief effects-laden vocal on DJ Krust's epic 'Soul In Motion', which is taken from the beginning of 'Nautilus (Mawtilus)', a cover version of the much sampled Bob James track. This vocal also appears on the album's intro and I think says "Nuyorican Soul Motion". I don't imagine Full Cycle would have had too many problems clearing it as Nuyorican Soul came out on Gilles Peterson's Talkin' Loud label who had just released the Reprazent album and would later put out Krust's Coded Language LP.

'Soul In Motion' would have fit right in on that album and continued Krust's move away from producing jump-up material to a deeper sound that he'd started with releases such as the Genetic Manipulation EP and 'Maintain' on the V Classic LP. In an interview with DJ Mag in April '96 Krust said:

"Me personally, I don't give a shit about sounds. Making a record for me, the sounds are there just to catch your attention and give it character but the main background is definitely the drum and the bass, anything I put around that is a bonus."

His approach to production couldn't be more obvious than on this track which over its near ten minute length features drums, bass, some strange effects and little else. The oppressive atmosphere of the intro gives way to a rigid two-step break and buzzing bassline which form the backbone of the track, around which metallic bass and bleeps zip around. It sounds cold and alien but with a human edge to it and is a demonstration in how much you can do with just a few elements. A track that is amongst Krust's finest moments and one that still packs a punch today as you can hear on Doc Scott's recent podcast for Narratives Music:

Discogs link

Monday, 6 May 2013

Beastie Boys - Intergalactic (Prisoners Of Technology Remix)

Beastie Boys - Intergalactic (Prisoners Of Technology/TMS 1 Remix) (Grand Royal, 1998)

Beastie Boys have always been known for their broad palate and on 1998's Hello Nasty LP even appeared to be influenced by Drum & Bass (check 'And Me'). They also sought out DnB remixes for some of the album's singles of which this one was the first. 'Intergalactic' was inescapable back in 1998 with the MCA directed video all over MTV and that infectious Rachmaninov by way of Les Baxter beat impossible to ignore.

Prisoners of Technology's TMS 1 turned in a brilliant remix, opening with the robotic "Intergalactic Planetary" vocal with a half speed beat before a sample of the vocodered "Fresh!" from the end of Beside & Fab 5 Freddy's 'Change The Beat' brings things up to speed. The "Well, Now" vocal from the original introduces an insanely catchy bassline that sounds like an elasticated didgeridoo. The track regularly changes pace with some hip-hop/electro style sections and makes sparing use of Beastie Boys' rapped vocals, which only feature during a couple of drop outs (including the "Mmmm... Drop" line that originally appeared on 'The New Style'). In a final burst of energy there's some nice scratching from TMS 1 himself preceded by a live sounding "I want y'all to make some noise for the DJ cos you know he’s bustin' some serious stuff" vocal that's actually a friend of his by the name of MC Prism. The Beasties liked the remix enough to include it on their Video Anthology DVD.

I'd always wondered about the lack of vocals in this remix and in this fascinating interview with TMS 1 from 2003 (including the revelation that Grand Royal offered him a record deal only for it to fall through due to PoT's split) he reveals that there was a full vocal version but Beastie Boys preferred the dub mix he'd made with DJs in mind. According to Norman Cook they were sensitive to the speed of their vocals being played with so this was why they released this mix instead. Fortunately, TMS 1 has uploaded the full vocal version to youtube which you can listen to below:

Discogs link

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Asend - New Style

Asend - New Style (Promo Recordings, 1997)

Yesterday, as well as being Star Wars Day, was MCA Day in honour of Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys who passed away from salivary gland cancer on May 4th last year. An inspirational and multi-talented figure, Yauch was the spiritual centre of the Beastie Boys, becoming a Buddhist and setting up the Milarepa Fund in support of Tibetan independence as well as organising the Tibetan Freedom Concerts. He also directed music videos and films, often under the alias Nathanial Hörnblowér, and ran an independent film production and distribution company called Oscilloscope Laboratories. To mark the occasion of his passing a park near his childhood home in Brooklyn has been renamed Adam Yauch Park. I'll be paying tribute with two posts, the second of which is coming tomorrow.

Promo Recordings was an undercover sublabel of Back 2 Basics and put out material that often featured samples they may not have been able to get away with otherwise. This appeared on the AA side of Promo 12 and samples the "It's the new style" line from the Beastie's 'The New Style' which appeared on their debut album Licensed To Ill. It's an uncharacteristically heavy techstep track from Asend who normally made jump-up (such as the DJ Kool sampling track on the flipside) and has two features common to the subgenre - a distorted Reese bassline and the 'Tighten Up' break. I suspect that the vocal sample is a reference to this "new style" of drum & bass that was dominating the scene back in 96/97. After a brief respite during the breakdown the second drop brings a more typical jump-up bassline before the track reverts to the Reese to close things out. 'New Style' also got a remix on Second Movement, another Back 2 Basics sublabel, which you can listen to here.

Check out this quickfire 23 minute mix from Z-Trip which covers the Beastie Boys career from 1986's Licensed To Ill through to Hot Sauce Committee Part 2, their final album in 2011:

Z-Trip Presents All-Access_ A Beastie Boys Megamix (Clean Version) by Guigochocolate on Mixcloud

Discogs link

Saturday, 4 May 2013

T.Power - Chasin' A Dream

T.Power - Chasin' A Dream (Blue Narcissus Mix)(SOUR, 1994)

With today being Star Wars Day (May the fourth be with you...) I thought I'd take a look at a track that samples a line from the original film. T.Power is the main drum and bass alias for Marc Royal, a prolific and eclectic producer who has made everything from poppy drum and bass with Shy FX ('Shake Ur Body' being the most obvious example) to abstract breaks as part of Chocolate Weasel on Ninja Tune.

Here he crafts a chilled track that for long sections is at half tempo, with chopped synths, bleeps and dubby bass while timestretched drums zip around until eventually forming into a DnB tempo Think break. At around the half way point the track samples one of my favourite Hans Solo lines in which he explains his lack of belief in "the Force" to Luke:

"I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field controls my destiny."

I actually heard this track before I saw Star Wars, so when I finally did see the film I experienced a deja-vu like moment until I worked out where I knew the line from. A deep track that is perfect for staring up at the night sky and imagining what might be out there.

Discogs link

Friday, 3 May 2013

DJ Kane - Konga

DJ Kane - Konga (Undiluted Recordings, 2000)

If you caught yesterday's post about Splash's 'Babylon' and listened to one of its sample sources, 'Can't Stop' by Plez, you may have noticed that this track has been sampled in quite a few Drum & Bass tunes. One of these is DJ Kane's 'Konga', released on the Undiluted Recordings label run by Brockie, who along with Ed Solo provides some additional production on the track.

DJ Kane has always shown great versatility, being equally capable of making jump-up tunes for labels such as Trouble On Vinyl and Joker as he is producing material that has a darker edge for the likes of No U-Turn and Renegade Hardware. Here he mixes the two styles for a track that is ominous but with a swing to it that will get your hips moving. It samples a later part of the intro to 'Can't Stop' than 'Babylon' does, opening with its foreboding horn-like synths and insistent knocking drums, the latter of which provide the track's backbone. A sick acidic riff emerges out of the gloom and is accompanied by distorted stabs of bass after the drop, with the drums from 'Can't Stop' still beating you into submission.

After a breakdown with a cool vocal sample ("the memory has value because the memory is part of our imagination, our capacity to confront what really exists") those drums are given an echoed effect and the tune continues to pummel you as nasty splurges of bass becoming more prominent. A superb track that was absolutely hammered around the turn of the century.

Check out this excellent 98-02 set by DJ Kane from NYE 2008 which he recently uploaded to Mixcloud. Also don't forget to tune in to his Kool FM show on Sunday evenings.

Dj Kane Mc's 5 Alive, Joker D & Bassline at EOC/Moondance NYE 31 Dec 2008 98 to 02 set by Dj Kane on Mixcloud

Discogs link

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Splash - Babylon

Splash - Babylon (Dee Jay Recordings, 1995)

Writing about Darren Hickey yesterday reminded me that I had yet to feature anything by Daz Ellis, who ran Juice's sister label Splash Recordings and produced hardstepping drum & bass, primarily as Undercover Agent, with tunes such as 'Rougher Part 3' and 'Oh Gosh!'. He really made his name though with 'Babylon', released on Dee Jay Recordings under the name Splash. It's one of the quintessential jungle tunes and has been remixed umpteen times including versions by DJ Trace (two in fact) and Dillinja, although none quite match the original.

The track starts off literally in the jungle with the sounds of rain and exotic wildlife sampled from the beginning of 'Can't Stop (Acid Rainforest Mix)' by Plez. Over this Ellis brings in goosebump-inducing synth pads, initially with just the Sesame Street break and then adding some heavy Amen choppage. Just before the drop he samples a line from the classic Jamaican movie Rockers, spoken by the central character Horsemouth: "For I & I know that all of the youth shall witness the day that Babylon shall fall". This is the cue for some 808 kick bass to come in alongside dub sirens and those iconic dog barks (possibly sampled from The Orb's 'Towers of Dub'), although my favourite part of the tune is the second drop when the bassline is nicely switched up. A few other vocal samples appear throughout the track including what sounds like "Babylon lovers" at 3:15 which is actually sampled from the beginning of 'Love and Romance' by British punk band The Slits. One of those tracks that just has everything you'd want in a jungle tune from the atmospheric intro to the classic vocal samples and chopped and timestretched Amens - in one word, immense.

You can purchase the digital of 'Babylon' over at Drum&BassArena. Check Randall dropping it at AWOL's The Last Night of Paradise night from December 1994 with MC GQ on the mic where it quickly gets the obligatory rewind:

Randall & Kenny Ken w/ MC GQ AWOL - Last Night at Paradise Club - December 1994 by Rave Archive Uk © on Mixcloud

Discogs link

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Fellowship - Muthafunker

Fellowship - Muthafunker (Audio Couture, 1999)

With today being the first of May and the sun shining again I'm going to take a look at this funky number that always gives me that spring has sprung feeling. Fellowship was Darren Hickey, a producer whose earliest material dates back to the early nineties when he ran the hardcore label Hilltop Records with brother Jeff, who he also recorded with as Rise Productions, as well as being one of Mega City 2. He then went on to set up Juice Records in 1995 and produce hardstepping tunes such as 'Baad Boy Sound' and 'Hard Disk' with Daz Ellis as M.T.S. (Menaces To Society). It was on the Juice sublabel Xpressive that Hickey first introduced his jazzier Fellowship alias in 1996, going on to put out releases on Creative Source, Moving Shadow and Defunked amongst others.

'Muthafunker' came out on Moving Shadow sublabel Audio Couture, who put out a varied selection of releases between 1997 and 2000 with everything from techstep to jazzstep making an appearance - check El Hornet's Audio Couture Mix for a summary. It's a musically advanced track with several layers that gradually build up, opening with fender rhodes and then adding horn stabs, wah wah guitar, live bass, and strings before eventually dropping a dirty organ riff for a bassline. While it's perfect for chilling to on a summer's day it works on the dancefloor as well and at the second drop Hickey beefs up the drums with the Cold Sweat break to really get things going. A stunning tune that never fails to put a smile on my face and make life seem that much better.

Check it out below in the summery Sounds Of Drum'n'Bass mix by DJ Patife from 1999:

DJ Patife - Sounds of Drum'n'Bass by John_Omally on Mixcloud

Discogs link