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: