Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Shy FX - Mad Apache

Shy FX - Mad Apache (Ivory Records, 1997)

Today I'm going to take a look at the Apache break, taken from the track of the same name by the Incredible Bongo Band. The group was set up by Michael Viner, an A&R man for MGM in the early seventies, to record music for the soundtrack to the B-Movie The Thing With Two Heads. They went on to record two albums of funky brass and percussion led cover versions with an ever changing line-up which included various session men alongside a few uncredited appearances from well known musicians such as Ringo Starr.

Their version of 'Apache', an instrumental previously made famous by The Shadows, became a staple of hip-hop due to its extended bongo filled breakdown which was used by DJs such as Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash in the late seventies. After being sampled on a countless number of hip-hop records the break became a favourite of drum & bass producers and featured on several Metalheadz classics including 'Inner City Life', 'A Made Up Sound' and 'The Spectrum'.

It was also a break that was favoured by Shy FX in the mid-nineties. 'Mad Apache' was the first release on his Ivory Records imprint, the sister label of Ebony Recordings. He had already used the Apache break several times on tracks such as 'This Style' and 'Killer Bee' but here he also samples the track's guitar and horn led hook during the intro. Then over drums using the bongos from Apache alongside the Hot Pants break he crafts a 'gangster boogie' style tune full of slick synths and organ riffs which sounds like it could be on the soundtrack to a blaxploitation film.

Check Nicky Blackmarket dropping the track (and getting two rewinds) at One Nation's Back 2 Back Payback in 1996 with MC Stevie Hyper D ripping it up on the mic:

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