Friday, 14 June 2013

Fortran - Place To Be

Fortran - Place To Be (Metro Recordings, 1998)

Matrix's Metro Recordings put out some of the finest neurofunk of the late nineties with contributions from Ed Rush, Optical, Dom, Fierce, Fresh & Vegas and Matrix himself making up the label's first five 12"s. The highlights from these releases along with some fresh remixes were compiled and mixed by Matrix for the Level_01 album in 1999, making this disc an essential primer for anyone not familiar with the imprint's early output.

One of my favourites from this period is 'Place To Be' by Fortran AKA Ed Rush, Optical and Fierce. Like Matrix's 'Apache' there is an old skool hip-hop connection to this one as the heavily mangled "We gon' get a little something straight here in the place to be" line that appears throughout the track is the voice of Kool Moe Dee. It's taken from a classic rap battle against Busy Bee at Harlem World in 1981 and the vocal is cut-up and processed by the trio to such an extent it's difficult to make out exactly what's being said - listen to it in its original context here. They set it to a thumping beat and haunting guitar loop before introducing a cavernous distorted bassline that really has to be heard on a big system to appreciate its dark depths. A tune up there with the best from the era.

The track lent its name to the Place To Be website which was established in the late nineties and dedicated to Optical, Matrix and all neurofunk/techstep related material. It was a great place to hear clips of the latest dubplates, many of which remain unreleased to this day, and played a huge role in introducing a world wide audience to the sound. Sadly it is no longer around following the untimely passing of its founder Eric Landry at the age of just 24 in late 2006. However you can still view some pages from the original site over at the Internet Archive here, here and here - RIP.

You can purchase the digital of 'Place To Be' over at Drum&BassArena and Beatport. Check it out below in this Virus Vs. Metro - The Early Years mix from D'Zine:

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