Thursday, 25 July 2013
LTJ Bukem - Demon's Theme
LTJ Bukem - Demon's Theme (Good Looking Records, 1992)
LTJ Bukem is another artist I've yet to cover on this blog so today I'm taking a look at the seminal 'Demon's Theme'. While it wasn't Bukem's first release (that honour goes to 'Logical Progression'), it was the first release for his Good Looking Records label which of course went on to become a mini-empire with several sub-labels. According to Phil Wells of Basement Records and Vinyl Distribution, 'Demon's Theme' was on a mixtape Bukem did for him in 1991 and was originally going to come out on Basement before Bukem realised he had something special on his hands and decided to start his own label to release it.
It's a tune that mixes the rough with the smooth and was the genesis of the whole atmospheric/ambient/intelligent drum'n'bass style. It opens with calming pads, deep stabs of bass and rainforest-like bird song including the chirp found on dozens of rave tunes (such as 808 State's 'Pacific State') as it was a stock sound on many Roland synths including the JV-1080 that Bukem used. The peace is shattered though by the arrival of the 'Chucks Beats' Amen that was also used on yesterday's 'Merder Style'.
The track goes through a few distinct movements with the mid-section of the track developing a greater urgency with high pitched "Woo" vocals and a sample of what sounds like a Native American war cry from the beginning of 'Buffalo Gals' by Malcolm McLaren & The World's Famous Supreme Team. There is also the sound of a synthesised shakuhachi (a sort of Japanese flute) from 'Yellowstone Park' by Tangerine Dream. This was a common synth preset in the 1980s and has appeared on records by everyone from Peter Gabriel to Future Sound Of London. At the breakdown a sample of the bleeps and gentle synths from the start of 'Frequency' by Rhythmatic leads the track to a more chilled conclusion. An incredible tune that was years ahead of its time.
You can download 'Demon's Theme' directly from Good Looking on Bukem's Producer 01 compilation. It was also included on the essential first volume of the Logical Progression series in 1996. You can hear it lead off Law's Biography of LTJ Bukem mix below, head over to his Drumtrip site for full details and the download.