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:

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