Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Kosheen - (Slip & Slide) Suicide

Kosheen - (Slip & Slide) Suicide (Moksha Recordings, 2001)

Kosheen, like Breakbeat Era, are a trio consisting of two Bristol based producers (Decoder & Substance) and a singer (Sian Evans) who took drum and bass into more song-based territory around the turn of the millennium. After a couple of singles in the late nineties they put out their Resist LP in 2001 which blended drum & bass with pop and trip-hop and included the top 10 hit 'Hide U'. While much of the album is a bit too smooth for my liking it does include a few darker tracks including 'Pride' and my personal favourite, '(Slip & Slide) Suicide'.

The track was put out as a single in the run-up to the album's release and gets the balance between pop and drum & bass just right. Despite the subject matter the tune is remarkably catchy with Evans providing a memorable hook:

"Drop that rhythm and you unwind
Keep that feeling and you step in time
All too pretty for a real life
Suicide, suicide"

Decoder & Substance back the vocals up with production that is more typical of their underground releases than the rest of the album. The melodic elements are fairly sparse but the synth during the chorus complements the vocals well while the gritty bassline is dark yet funky. While the majority of the track is at a regular 170 BPM it drops into a half-speed beat in the middle, something they expanded on with a hip hop mix on the 12". As with the rest of the singles from Resist they also provide a tougher remix aimed at the 'floor which reduces the vocals while emphasising the bassline and drums - check out their versions of 'Empty Skies', 'Catch' and 'Demonstrate'. Unfortunately the group's subsequent albums moved away from drum and bass with an increasingly rock-based sound and 'Suicide' remains their finest moment.

I actually saw Kosheen perform live at my graduation ball in 2002 which was the highlight of the night (not hard though when the main act was the Sugababes). You can watch them perform '(Slip & Slide) Suicide' at Exit 2001 below:

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