Saturday, 30 November 2013
Photek - Ni-Ten-Ichi-Ryu (Science, 1997)
Photek was in the initial wave of artists to sign a major label deal in the wake of Goldie's Timeless and jungle's transformation into the more "respectable" genre of drum and bass. He was the first signing to Science, a sub label of Virgin created purely to release drum and bass, where he was shortly joined by kindred spirits Source Direct. 'Ni-Ten-Ichi-Ryu' translates as "Two heavens/swords in one technique" but is commonly shortened to "Two Swords Technique". The track was a stand alone single preceding the Modus Operandi LP because, as Photek put it during an interview in 1998:
"(It's) an individual track really set apart from the other things that I do; it's the only track I ever planned and had a true concept around."
Rupert Parkes grew up a martial arts fanatic and 'Ni-Ten-Ichi-Ryu' is the pinnacle of Photek's Far East influenced material that began with tracks such as 'The Water Margin' and 'The Seven Samurai'. The "two swords technique" was created by a legendary Japanese samurai by the name of Miyamoto Musashi and as Photek told Barcode in 2008, the track is "literally a musical representation of the technique of fighting with a long sword and a short sword". The intricate, razor sharp beats are accompanied by a hollow percussive bassline and sword fighting sound effects while a brief interlude features shakuhachi and some Japanese speech. The video - a luxury afforded by major label backing - is the perfect visual representation of the track, featuring a samurai meditating and imagining defeating his enemies in combat. Sparse and metallic but with the human touch of a master craftsman.
Photek gave practising martial arts devotee TeeBee the honour of remixing the track for Form & Function Vol. 2 in 2007. You can also download this free remix by Buraka Som Sistema courtesy of FACT Mag:
Friday, 29 November 2013
Lemon D - Two Techniques (R&S Records, 2000)
Back in 1997 Dillinja and Lemon D both signed album deals with London and R&S Records respectively. Unfortunately Dillinja's didn't arrive until 2001 while Lemon D's never came out. However a couple of singles did get released in early '00s, 'Two Techniques' and 'B Boyz Revenge', while other tracks intended for the album such as 'Fallin' saw the light of day on other labels. 'Two Techniques' opens with an extended intro featuring dialogue from a martial arts film:
"I have an idea that I think will work. We will trade our sons. I will give you my son and you will give me custody of yours, so that when they are grown up they will have learned to combine the two strongest techniques. When their time comes, our sons will be unbeatable"
Lemon D places the dialogue sample over tension building strings and jazzy flute before a nasty chainsaw bassline rises up from the depths. This is joined by live drumming from renowned British jazz drummer Gary Husband recorded by Dillinja & Lemon D and used on a number of their tracks. The track comes to a lush conclusion as jazzy keys arrive during the final minute before some sax brings it to a close. Perhaps because it wasn't on a traditional drum and bass label this track was somewhat underappreciated but ranks among Lemon D's best work.
'Two Techniques' is available to purchase from most digital retailers. The 12" lists the Dillinja remix on the flipside as being over thirteen minutes long because the CD single included a hidden track with drum loops and bass sounds. This is included in the digital version, making it a nice resource for producers. Check it out below via Spotify:
Thursday, 28 November 2013
Dillinja - Vicious (Test Recordings, 1998)
The title of this one is a perfect description of not just the track itself but Dillinja's music in general. It was released on the first volume of Dillinja & Lemon D's Test Recordings, a label which featured a logo that with its yellow and black colour scheme resembled the radiation warning symbol. The imprint was a sub label of Valve Recordings and didn't feature any artist names, possibly due to the frequent use of sampling. There's no doubt who was behind this production though.
'Vicious' is vintage Dillinja with an incredibly atmospheric intro featuring fading synth pads, trumpet and a "Vicious" vocal from Black Mamba's 'Vicious' along with numerous other sounds. The drums recall his earlier 'Threshold' with the Life Could break complemented by a bit of Apache and although the sub bass doesn't quite approach that tune's excessive levels it's still one to test any system. The track also uses the same "Allow me to demonstrate the skill of shaolin, the special technique" dialogue sample from Shaolin Vs. Lama (via Raekwon's 'Guillotine (Swordz)') as Ray Keith's 'Special Technique' and Dillinja shows off his unique style at the second drop when more distorted bass arrives. As the label artwork suggests, caution is definitely advised.
Although not released until 1998 the tune was around on dubplate for two years before it came out. You can hear it in Kemistry & Storm's set on One In The Jungle from 28th June 1996 (with none other than 'The Unofficial Ghost' following it):
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Ray Keith - Special Technique (Chronic, 1996)
Here's another tune that samples the Wu-Tang Clan, although in this case the source is Only Built For Cuban Linx, Raekwon's classic solo debut. The track features dialogue and fight sounds from Shaolin Vs. Lama as sampled on 'Guillotine (Swordz)':
"Allow me to demonstrate the skill of shaolin, the special technique of shadow boxing"
While this line was also sampled on GZA's 'Shadowboxin' off Liquid Swords, the Raekwon track is definitely the source as 'Special Technique' also uses the twangy guitar from the RZA produced beat. The Wu-Tang samples are nicely complemented by some haunting synths that were later used by Aphrodite on 'Dub Moods' and Ray Keith keeps thing moving with constantly shifting drums: the Sandy, Cold Sweat and Think breaks all appearing during the intro and throughout while some stuttered Amen comes in later. What really makes the track though is the immense Reese bassline which is liable to cause earthquakes when played on a decent system, making this a great track to annoy the neighbours with.
Check out this mix of 1996-1998 jungle and drum & bass from Serum which includes 'Special Technique':
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
Uncle 22 - Wu Tang Sword (Eastside Records, 1997)
Desmond Fearon AKA Uncle 22's music career dates back to the early nineties when he released records on the De Underground group of labels and recorded with Cool Hand Flex as Flex & Uncle, The Impact Crew, Sudden Impact and Dub Wise II. He also put out material on Strictly Underground and RAM and is best known for '6 Million Ways To Die'. In the late nineties he then released a string of jump-up records for A-Sides' Eastside Records with this Wu-influenced track coming out in 1997.
Like Dopestyle's 'You Must Think First' it features sword swishes throughout along with dialogue from Shaolin & Wu Tang, although most likely sourced from the Wu-Tang Clan's 'Bring Da Ruckus': "Wu Tang sword style... could be dangerous". Around the samples Uncle 22 creates a sparse, moody jump-up tune which features the Think break, ominous horns and a simple reversed bassline complemented by distorted stabs. While Wu-Tang samples in drum and bass are two a penny this tune completely submerses itself in the martial arts vibe and could soundtrack a modern day kung-fu movie.
'Wu Tang Sword' is available to purchase digitally from Drum&BassArena and Beatport. Randall remixed it for the Eastside Jamz Volume 1 LP and you can check that version out below:
Monday, 25 November 2013
Dopestyle - You Must Think First (Ganja Records, 1994)
Like yesterday's tune, this one from DJ Hype under his Dopestyle alias samples both First Choice and the Wu-Tang Clan. It was released on Ganja Records Volume 3 in 1994 and is a proper jungle classic. Hype has sampled the Wu-Tang Clan a number of times and 'You Must Think First' opens with two vocal samples from the beginning of the Wu's 'Da Mystery Of Chessboxin':
"A game of chess is like a sword fight, you must think first before you move... Toad style is immensely strong and immune to nearly any weapon. When it’s properly used (it's almost invincible)"
Of course the Wu-Tang Clan sampled these themselves from classic kung-fu flicks, the first coming from Shaolin & Wu Tang while the second is taken from The Five Deadly Venoms. Sword fighting sound effects feature throughout while the Soul Pride break is cleverly reversed so that is resembles a swishing noise. The Think break accompanies it along with computer game bleeps and a bruising reversed bassline that pummels you with rapid stabs. A couple of other vocal samples appear with a "Hey, hey" vocal coming from First Choice's 'Let No Man Put Asunder' (but pitched down so it sounds like a male voice) along with a "Jah oh Jah got the power" reggae vocal. A trademark Hype production with a diverse range of samples which is a great example of the exciting, chaotic sound of '94 jungle.
'You Must Think First' appeared on Breakdown's Drum & Bass Selection 2 and you can hear it in DJ Hype's mixed version of the compilation from the cassette edition below - you can also download it over at Hardscore:
Sunday, 24 November 2013
Doc Scott - The Unofficial Ghost (Metalheadz, 1996)
The highlight of the new material on Platinum Breakz was 'The Unofficial Ghost', Doc Scott's remix of Rufige Kru's 'Ghosts Of My Life'. While Goldie's 'VIP Riders Ghost' version of the track was a lesson in restraint this one is an all-out assault.
It opens with the "(Every)day of my life" vocal from First Choice's 'Let No Man Put Asunder' which through the reverb sounds like "Damn my life" before some haunting synths from the original come in with pitchshifting two-step drums. Doc Scott then adds another vocal sample of Method Man saying "Ghostface Killah" from the skit at the end of 'Can It Be All So Simple' along with reversed strings. The drop is incredible as the most evil of basslines arrives and the drums beat switch between the rigid two-step of the intro and the Amen break. To top it all off mentasm stabs swirl around like demented poltergeists while the bassline is somehow even sicker after the second drop. Incendiary stuff which is worth buying Platinum Breakz on vinyl for alone.
Check out Sam XL's unofficial X-Rated VIP from 2001 below which was heavily played by Jumping Jack Frost. You can also hear the original in Ant TC1's Metalheadz History Mix from earlier this year.
Saturday, 23 November 2013
Rufige Kru - VIP Riders Ghost (Metalheadz, 1994)
This track started out as 'Ghosts Of My Life' from Rufige Kru's Ghosts EP on Reinforced (which also included the similarly constructed 'Fabio's Ghost' and 'High Rollers 'Ghostin' Out'). In 1994 Goldie gave it the VIP treatment for Unreleased Metal - a monumental moment in the history of drum and bass as it was the first release on his Metalheadz imprint (with Doc Scott's VIP Drumz on the other side). It is one of a series of Goldie tracks that refer to important people in his life with the title being a reference to Grooverider.
The track opens with suspenseful synthetic strings and a repeated "Everyday of my life" vocal taken from First Choice's 'Let No Man Put Asunder'. The track is anchored by a menacing bassline full of restrained aggression and the Life Could break which is joined at points by some stop-start Think. Reversed strings heighten the track's haunted feel while the warped "Ghosts of my life" sample is the voice of David Sylvian from Japan's 'Ghosts'. At the breakdown the track is given bolt of energy by the introduction of a hardcore style break with a little vocal hiccup before the Life Could drums and that awesome bassline bring the track to a close. A seminal tune from Goldie and a fitting tribute to the great Grooverider.
'VIP Riders Ghost' is available to purchase digitally directly from the Metalheadz store and was also included on the essential Platinum Breakz compilation. You can hear the track lead off this Dark 90's Metalheadz Mix by Law:
Friday, 22 November 2013
DJ Swift - Soul (True Playaz, 1997)
This track from Swift - Mampi not the Swift & Zinc one - appeared on his debut 12" for the True Playaz imprint in 1997, a big year for the DJ and producer which also saw him set up his own Charge label and release classics such as 'The 1' and 'Hi Tek'. I haven't written about Swift nearly enough on this blog but this is the ideal time as this track samples the same section of First Choice's 'Let No Man Put Asunder' as yesterday's selection.
While 'Load' was the A Side on the 12" I always preferred the dirty funk of 'Soul' on the flipside. The intro features what sounds like the same moog synth from Fred Wesley & The JB's' 'Blow Your Head' as Zinc sampled on 'Super Sharp Shooter' along with typically gritty drums that use the Think break. Great slabs of muscular bass bash you around before the drop brings in a nasty bassline and the whole First Choice sample: "I got something for your mind... your body... your soul". A personal favourite from the both the True Playaz and Mampi Swift catalogues.
'Soul' was included on Hype's True Playaz In The Mix Volume 1. The track is available to purchase digitally from Drum&BassArena, Juno Download and Beatport and you can hear it in a Clarky set on Eruption FM 101.3 from May 1997 which is available to download over at Hardscore.
Thursday, 21 November 2013
Omni Trio - Soul Promenade (Moving Shadow, 1994)
'Torn' wasn't the first time Rob Haigh had sampled the acapella of First Choice's 'Let No Man Put Asunder'. 'Soul Promenade' appeared on Volume 5 in 1994 and features a "I got something for your soul" vocal cleverly stitched together from the disco classic.
The track opens with some tearing timestretched Amens and 808 kick bass before beautiful layers of synthetic strings and piano create a rich melodic tapestry for an emotional tune. As well as the First Choice sample it features sensual "Yes... Oooh baby" vocals from Siedah Garrett's 'K.I.S.S.I.N.G', a well sampled garage house tune from 1988. A further element from 'K.I.S.S.I.G.' appeared in Nookie's remix of 'Soul Promenade' which adds an "Woah ahhh a ahhhh a ahh ahh ahhh" (???) adlib while also extending the First Choice sample. That adlib then also cropped up in Omni Trio's own remix of the track entitled 'Soul Of Darkness (Promenade 96 Rollout)', which as the title suggests is a darker, more rolling take on the tune which features the Think break. One track, three superb versions.
The original, Nookie Remix and 'Soul Of Darkness' are all available to purchase over at Beatport. You can hear the original in Grooverider's set at Quest: The Untouchables from 11th June 1994:
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Omni Trio - Torn (Moving Shadow, 1995)
Rob Haigh introduced a new more streamlined sound in 1995 with the Miles Davis referencing 'Nu Birth Of Cool'. On the flipside of that tune though is 'Torn', a cut that manages to feature clattering breaks and a 'Dred Bass' style bassline without sacrificing his gift for melody. Like Jumping Jack Frost's 'Pornography' it samples both Loleatta Holloway's 'Love Sensation' and First Choice's 'Let No Man Put Asunder', the latter of which I've also covered a few times before and is almost as well sampled as the former.
'Torn' opens with hits of 808 kick bass and the Think break before introducing a twinkling melody and deep synth pads along with an "Aah-a-wah-a-wah" vocal sampled from Mad Professor's 'Fast Forward Into Dub' (the dub version of Aisha's 'The Creator' which was also sampled by The Orb on 'Blue Room'). The drop brings in a crashing Amen break punctuated by heavy timestretching and a big reversed bassline along with a "Yeeeaaahhhhh" vocal from 'Love Sensation'. The second breakdown then briefly features a "Woooh baby" vocal from 'Let No Man Put Asunder' before some more stuttered and timestretched Amen brings the tune to a close. An underrated tune from Hertford's finest.
The digital of 'Torn' is available to purchase over at Beatport. You can hear the track in this 93-96 Jungle Mix from Mike Paradinas AKA µ-Ziq:
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
DJ Trace & LTJ Bukem - Teach Me To Fly (Out Of Orbit, 1992)
"You are about to enter a new dimension in sound": so begins 'Teach Me To Fly', a proto-jungle tune from 1992 that credits just DJ Trace as the main artist on the label but was actually written and produced by Trace in collaboration with LTJ Bukem. It was released on Out Of Orbit, a sub-label of Orbital Records, and lives up to those opening words with a deeper sound than your average hardcore tune.
Meditative synths drift in accompanied by a four to the floor beat and the Think break along with a brief dialogue sample - "There's an awful lot of moisture in here" - from Stars Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. To this Trace & Bukem add a repeated "Wanna say yeah" vocal from Loleatta Holloway's 'Love Sensation' and the 'Put Your Love In My Tender Care' break. A soulful male "Teach me to fly" vocal from a US deep house tune called 'The Voyage' by Hayden Andre Presents Subculture then introduces a Plastic Jam break before the track is lifted by the introduction of anthemic piano midway through, making for a tune that was big with the likes of Grooverider, Fabio and Kenny Ken.
You can hear 'Teach Me To Fly' in this set by Grooverider from AWOL: Live In London '93 Vol. 4 - the download is available over at Hardscore.
Monday, 18 November 2013
Loxy & Dylan - Death March (Renegade Hardware, 2001)
Dylan has a history of reinterpreting classics with unofficial remixes of Joey Beltram's 'Energy Flash', Moby's 'Go!' and Second Phase's 'Mentasm' (as 'Spasm'). While this one from the Nightmare EP with Loxy isn't a remix of Jumping Jack Frost's 'Pornography' it takes inspiration from that tune with its pitchshifted use of the "Feel/Fill me" vocal from Loleatta Holloway's 'Love Sensation'.
It opens with bongos accompanied by atmospherics from the depths of hell before drums using the Assembly Line and Sesame Street breaks come in. Like the vocal the drums get pitchshifted up and down, alternating bar by bar, while the drop brings in a pounding bassline. The Holloway vocal is regularly repeated and is later joined by a familiar "Dubplate" vocal. This tune's all about the frantic second half though when warped mentasm stabs arrive as it attempts to live up to its doom-laden title.
'Death March' is available to download directly from Renegade Hardware. Check the track out in this set from Loxy & Ink recorded in October 2000:
Sunday, 17 November 2013
System X - Feel It (3rd Eye Records, 1994)
System X was an alias used by a certain Rupert Parkes AKA Photek for releases on 3rd Eye, an imprint that put out just a handful of 12"s in 1994 and from what I can gather had some kind of connection to Entity Records. 'Feel It' is another tune to add to the list of those that sample Loleatta Holloway's 'Love Sensation' acapella and also shows Photek's early mastery of the Amen break.
During the deep intro with its sumptuous synthetic strings Holloway's pitched up "Fill me with my every desire, yeah" vocal (taken from just after the part used on Jumping Jack Frost's 'Pornography') is repeated before a stunningly edited Amen break with some underlying Think is dropped alongside an 808 kick bassline. Sci-fi sound effects including a whooshing noise crop up regularly while a dark industrial synth comes in later. A big tune with the likes of Grooverider and Peshay back in the day.
You can hear the track lead off Law's Truper Vs System X mix below (The Truper being another early Photek alias, check the article accompanying the mix over at Drumtrip):
Saturday, 16 November 2013
Jumping Jack Frost - Pornography '94 (Drum & Bass Remix) (Formation Records, 1994)
Jumping Jack Frost is best known as a DJ and as the co-founder of V Recordings but back in 1993-94 he also produced a few drum and bass classics. There was of course 'Burial' under the Leviticus name but first came 'Pornography' on F Project, a sub label of Formation run by Marc Yorath who was the label's engineer at the time. The original is an excellent dark edged hardcore tune but it was given a drum and bass makeover in 1994 for the Underworld EP on Formation. However I favour the version that appeared on the subsequent Underworld Remixes 12".
The Drum & Bass in the title isn't a description but the imaginative name used by the duo of Lee Johnson AKA L Double and Lee Davenport AKA Mo2vation AKA ST Files. Their remix keeps the two vocal samples from the original, opening with the "Come on and get ya some more" line from First Choice's 'Let No Man Put Asunder' (along with a "Wooh Baby" vocal from the same tune). The vocals are joined by haunting synths before a pounding bassline comes in accompanied by a "Feel me" vocal from Loleatta Holloway's 'Love Sensation' that gets pitchshifted all over the place. Some subtle mentasm stabs occasionally appear while the drums retain the 94 Remix's Soul Pride and add the Cold Sweat break for a remix that doesn't stray too far but is a bit more refined.
The track was also remixed by DJ Krust for the Highly Recommended LP. You can hear the Drum & Bass Remix in Kenny Ken's set at Dance Paradise from 12th November 1994:
Friday, 15 November 2013
Peshay feat. Co-Ordinate - You Got Me Burning (Cubik Music Productions, 2002)
The influence of house and disco on drum and bass was particularly apparent during the early 2000s when sped up filter house loops were all over the place following the success of J. Majik's 'Spaced Invader'. Peshay, who had long exhibited house influences in his productions, got in on the act by establishing the Cubik label which put out his Fuzion LP in 2002 with 'You Got Me Burning' as the opening track and lead single. It features Co-Ordinate, the Norwich duo of Rob Currie and Gareth Cavill who worked with the producer frequently during this period.
The track uses the same "You got me burning" vocal from Loleatta Holloways's 'Love Sensation' as Cloud 9's 'You Got Me Burnin'. It fuses it with a filtered loop of Chic's 'My Forbidden Lover' taken from the Olav Basoski Mix of Big Time Charlie feat. Soozy Q's 'Mr Devil' along with an "Oooohhhhhh yeah" vocal from the same track. Peshay and co. add a solid two-step beat and funky bassline as well as a few other vocal samples including what sounds like the Native American warcry from the beginning of Malcolm McLaren's 'Buffalo Gals'. A peak time tune which was massive back in 2001/02.
Cubik released the 'Ruffed Up Mix' of the tune in 2004. You can hear the original in the mix of house influenced drum and bass from 2000 - 2010 below:
Thursday, 14 November 2013
Total Science - Make Me Feel (C.I.A., 2000)
Loleatta Holloway's 'Love Sensation' is probably the most sampled acapella of all time. Produced by Dan Hartman in 1980, her powerful vocals on the track were apparently aided by a popular cold relief product, with the singer later revealing "it was the hardest song I ever sang, I had to do it so many times, I lost my voice. I couldn't even talk the second day, so I told him to get me some Vicks vapour rub. I swallowed it with some coffee and that's how I was able to hold the notes so long". Black Box notoriously used large portions of the vocal on their 'Ride On Time' hit in 1989 without permission, resulting in legal action and an out of court settlement, and parts of 'Love Sensation' have subsequently appeared on hundreds of other tracks.
Between 2000 and 2002 Total Science were repeat offenders, first sampling her vocal on 'Make Me Feel' and then 'Juicy Fruit', 'Zanzibar' and 'Rated X'. 'Make Me Feel' is a blistering old skool flavoured cut that was the title track of an EP on their own C.I.A. label in 2000. It repeats Holloway's "Make me feel" line, turning it into a desperate plea to fill an emotional void over a synth riff that sounds an off-key siren. Other strange, disorientating sounds lurk in the background while the pristine drums use the Fools Gold break along with some underlying Amen. The killer bassline tops everything off for a tune that shows Total Science at the top of their game.
'Make Me Feel' was included on the first of their Audio Works compilations and is also available to download over at Drum&BassArena. Total Science's 'The Feel Good Remix' from 2002 has a tasty second drop and you can hear that version in this all vinyl/acetate studio mix by Ant TC1, recorded on the 25th August 2001:
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Cloud 9 - You Got Me Burnin' (Ray Keith & Nookie Remix) (Moving Shadow, 1993)
In addition to parts of his introductory speech (see yesterday's post) there's another Rev. Jesse Jackson line from Wattstax that has been sampled in dozens of electronic and hip-hop tunes, taken from his intro to a track by The Soul Children: "Brothers and sisters, I don't know what this world is coming to". Most people sample it from Public Enemy's 'Rebel Without A Pause' where it appears clean at the beginning and it has turned up on tracks such as 'Pump Up The Volume' by M/A/R/R/S, 'Sisters, I Don't Know What This World Is Coming To' by DJ Sprinkles (from his excellent Midtown 120 Blues album) and the original version of this classic by Cloud 9 AKA Nookie.
On the Cloud 9 Remix EP Ray Keith and Nookie gave the track a deeper remix and although it doesn't feature the Rev. Jesse Jackson line it retains the numerous other samples from the original. It opens with a repeated "You see house is a feeling" vocal which is the voice of Chuck Roberts from Rhythm Controll's 'My House', the accapella of which has been sampled by numerous house records and is best known in the UK as the vocal from 'Can You Feel It' by Fingers Inc. This is joined by a four to the floor beat and Loleatta Holloway's "You got me burnin up" vocal from her also heavily sampled disco classic 'Love Sensation' before an Amen break punctuated by some extreme timestretching comes in along with a tough bassline. The remix drops the ravier synth stabs of the original but keeps the darker main riff along with the awesome siren-like sound from Quincy Jones' 'Ironside', perhaps better known these days from its appearance in Tarantino's Kill Bill. What really makes this remix though is the gorgeous piano/synth section that starts just after the four minute mark, the layers of sound gradually built up to spine tingling effect and accompanied by the Think break. A stunning remix that surpasses the original.
The digital is available to purchase over at Beatport. You can hear the track a few minutes into this back 2 back set from Fabio and Grooverider at Dreamscape 8 on NYE 1993:
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Mask - One People (Dope Dragon, 1996)
Wattstax was a music festival put on by the Stax label on August 20th 1972 to mark the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots and was the subject of a documentary by Mel Stuart released the following year. It was seen as an Afro-American Woodstock with artists who performed including Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas and Kim Weston. Civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson's powerful introductory speech has been sampled by several artists including Primal Scream on 'Come Together' and Roni Size on this tune under his Mask guise which opens with the following line:
"All of us are one people, singin' our music, poppin' our finger and doin' our thing, let's give ourselves a great round of applause"
The full speech was included on The Living Word: Wattstax 2 LP (Spotify link) but Roni may have sampled this segment from MC Duke's 'I'm Riffin' where it appears clean at the beginning, which is probably where The Prodigy got it from for their remix of Art Of Noise's 'Instruments Of Darkness'. 'One People' features a few different breaks, with the intro using drums from Dennis Coffey's 'Ride Sally Ride' before adding the Sandy break and some jazzy keys. The drop brings in the Amen along with a bright ascending bassline while the Action break comes in later on for a typically tearing Dope Dragon tune.
You can hear the track in this Dope Dragon heavy set from Bryan Gee at Pure X's Pre-Christmas Bash on 16th December 1995:
Monday, 11 November 2013
Higher Sense - People Of The Universe (Moving Shadow, 1994)
Higher Sense was an alias used by RAM Records' Ant Miles for releases on Moving Shadow, often alongside David Thomas AKA DJ Rhythm. Although 'People Of The Universe' appeared on the B Side of 'Cold Fresh Air (Remix)', their debut for the label in 1994, it is not a tune to be passed over for the better known A Side. Like yesterday's tune from Roni Size it features the female laugh from Yazoo's 1982 hit 'Situation'.
That sample is repeated several times to open the tune before some bright, airy synths are brought in along with a jazzy rhodes lick. A wicked reverse bassline and Think break combination is then dropped, while several other vocal samples also appear throughout the track. The "Aaaahh yeah" vocal is from the much sampled disco classic 'Let No Man Put Asunder' by First Choice, while the female moan is taken from the beginning of 'Yes It's You' by Sweet Charles. The title lending "We are people of the universe" line meanwhile is actually Richard Pryor being interviewed for the Wattstax film. Excellent stuff from Ant Miles which shows a different side to his sound.
'People Of The Universe' is available to purchase digitally over at Beatport. You can hear the track in Randall's set at Desire on the 29th April 1995 below:
Sunday, 10 November 2013
Roni Size - Strictly Social (V Recordings, 1999)
Derrick May's 'Nude Photo', released under his Rhythim Is Rhythim guise in 1987, made use of an echoed female laugh which originates in Yazoo's 'Situation' from 1982. The track popularised the sample and the laugh has subsequently appeared on dozens of other records, including S'Express's 'Theme From S'Express' and Nexus 21's 'Can You Feel The Beat'.
Drum and Bass is no exception with the sample featured on tunes such as this one from Roni Size. 'Strictly Social' was released on V Recordings' mammoth Planet V compilation and has a world music flavour thanks to the plucked guitar-like instrument that appears throughout the intro and much of the track. A "Strictly social" vocal is accompanied by the 'Situation' laugh as the track builds with a stomping beat and synthetic strings before dropping a bouncy bassline for a tune that really stands out from the crowd.
'Strictly Social' is available to purchase digitally directly from the V Recordings store. It was remixed in 2004 by Nu:Tone. You can hear the original open the 90s drum and bass mix from Bairdo below:
Saturday, 9 November 2013
Metalheads - Sinister (Synthetic, 1992)
Doc Scott wasn't the only drum and bass artist to sample the Mayday Mix of De-Lite's 'Wild Times' in '92 as later that year Goldie's Metalheads crew also used that grimey bassline on 'Sinister'. The track appeared on the same EP as 'Terminator' along with 'Kemistry' and 'Knowledge', a pivotal release alongside the As Nasty As I Wanna Be EP in the development of what would become drum and bass. Like 'Mayday, Mayday', the title may also be a reference to Derrick May, who had made a track of the same name in 1989 under his Rhythim Is Rhythim guise.
'Sinister' opens with synths influenced by those on a 1992 Belgian techno tune called 'Planet Mystery' by Jessie Deep!, pairing them with a rumbling bassline, thumping drums and a processed "So sinister" vocal sample. A rough Amen break is then deployed along with the 'Wild Times' bassline, while a few other warped vocal samples are dropped in. A second bassline (which reminds me of Roni Size's later 'Snapshot') arrives just before the breakdown which features some of the iconic guitar from the beginning of Pink Floyd's 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond'. Mentasm stabs then arrive before a "Rufige" vocal brings the track to a close. Apparently a few years after this Goldie played Timeless to Derrick May in a car and May was absolutely gobsmacked, later referring to the album as "a perfect, beautiful record".
The track received an awesome remix from Grooverider on Enforcers Vol. 5 the following year. You can hear the original in Doc Scott's Tape For Sarah studio mix from late 1992:
Friday, 8 November 2013
Nasty Habits - Mayday, Mayday (Reinforced Records, 1992)
Derrick May is one of the originators of Detroit techno, a member of the Belleville Three alongside Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson. He has recorded under a number of aliases including Rhythim Is Rhythim and R-Tyme (with Darryl Wynn) and is reponsible for classics such as 'Nude Photo' and 'Strings Of Life'. His productions were a massive influence on a certain Scott McIlroy and you hear him playing Rhythim Is Rhythim's 'Drama' in this set at Coventry's Connexions night in 1989. There are parallels between Detroit and Coventry, Doc Scott's home town, as both experienced a motor industry boom in the fifties and sixties only to fall on hard times by the eighties, something that really impacted May's music, who commented:
"It's the emptiness in the city that puts the wholeness in the music."
It's not hard to see the appeal the sounds of Detroit must have had for a young Doc Scott and this comes through in his productions, with 'Mayday, Mayday' being a prime example. It was released on the As Nasty As I Wanna Be EP, his seminal debut for Reinforced which also included 'Here Comes The Drumz', 'Dark Angel' and Let's Go (Cold Remix)', and is named after one of Derrick May's noms de plume. It also takes its grimey bassline from the Mayday Mix of De-Lite's 'Wild Times', placing it over an expertly produced breakbeat and adding rumbling bass, bell-like synth and a vinyl spinback effect borrowed from Original Concept's 'Pump That Bass'. May once said Kraftwerk "sounded like somebody making music with hammers and nails" (it was a compliment) and the same could be said of 'Mayday, Mayday', a bare bones tune that pushed the UK hardcore sound towards darker territory back in '92.
The track is available on the essential Doc Scott: The Early Plates compilation which is available from Beatport, Juno Download and most other digital retailers and also includes the remix. You can hear the track below in Manix's Reinforced mix for the EPM Podcast:
Thursday, 7 November 2013
E-Z Rollers - Retro (Guardians Of Dalliance Remix) (Audio Couture, 1997)
Essence Of Aura signed to Moving Shadow in 1994 and developed a more musical style with tracks such as 'Northern Lights' and 'So This Is Love'. However they split in 1996 following disagreements among the trio, with the final straw being James Mitton-Wade and Ian Scott remixing 'So This Is Love' for the Trans-Central Connection compilation without informing Tim Grantham. Ian and Tim subsequently quit the music industry but James, who had already established a solo career under the Carlito name, continued and formed Guardians Of Dalliance with Mike Banks and later vocalist Sophie Perks.
Although the E-Z Rollers original on parent label Moving Shadow is the better known version of 'Retro', the Guardians Of Dalliance Remix is the one I heard first thanks to the Moving Shadow Past>Future cassette that came free with DJ Magazine No. 184 in March 1997. It was a tape that I played repeatedly at the time and this tune in particular really resonated with me, mostly due to the evocative vocal sample of Derrick May. It's edited together from this segment of Dancing In The Streets, a 1995 BBC documentary about the history of popular music:
"It's sad... In the 20th century, in the 1990s we have to still go the same bullshit route that other artists have to go to get acceptance. If it wasn't for the independents, if it wasn't for the small little cities, and the few little ghetto guys trying to make music it would have never happened. Some of these guys will never make a dime. Some of these guys will be poor and die alone. But in the process, they've been the true renegades. And the true rebels always walk alone anyway."
May is talking specifically about Detroit techno, but it's a sentiment that is true for all forms of underground music, including drum and bass (it also reminds me of this quote by DJ Shadow from the Scratch documentary about turntablism). Guardians Of Dalliance don't deviate massively from the original but really make you wait for the vocal and that gorgeous rhodes lick, which don't appear until mid-track. The remix gradually builds with swirling synths based on the original's live flute along with bass, saxophone and lush synthetic strings. When the rhodes and Cold Sweat break finally arrive following the May sample it's with an incredible emotional punch and makes for a remix that betters the original in my opinion.
While I've loved this tune for sixteen years, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I finally picked up a copy of it on 12" for the bargain price of £2 at the Record and Video Exchange on Berwick Street in London. The digital of the track is available at Beatport and you hear it below on Side A of that Past>Future tape (the darker Side B is here):
Wednesday, 6 November 2013
Essence Of Aura - Can I Dream (Outstanding Productions, 1993)
Formed in Kenilworth in 1990 before moving to Coventry in 1992, Essence Of Aura were the production trio of Tim Grantham, James Mitton-Wade and Ian Scott. They also performed live PAs with the addition of MC Hifi (of the Edge Club) and dancer Jessica, appearing at events such as Eclipse, Amnesia House, Quest and Club Kinetic. They started their own Outstanding Productions (later Outstanding Records) label in 1992 and 'Can I Dream' appeared on the second release, The Pure Essence EP, in 1993.
It's a dark edged track which features a dialogue sample from Aliens, taking Newt's "Can I Dream?" line from the end of the film. It opens with a strange choppy sound which is joined by drums that start with some Think and then add a four to the floor kick and finally the Amen break. Bassy synths come in before the Aliens sample brings in a warped riff that sounds like multiple laser guns going off at once. A superb tune from the period when hardcore was transitioning into jungle and an excellent example of Essence Of Aura's early breakbeat driven sound.
The track received a remix from Doc Scott on The Never Trust Your Fantasies EP but my favourite version of the track is the 'Uncut Dub' by Essence Of Aura themselves under their Original Substitute guise which appeared on the Jungle Tekno 5 compilation. The Loftgroover set below from Quest & Fibre Optics's End of Summer Spectacular on the 28th August 1993 opens with Essence Of Aura performing a live PA of the original version:
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
Dom & Roland - Trauma (Renegade Hardware, 1998)
Dom Angas is an artist who has sampled films extensively in his music, from dialogue samples to the music and atmospherics. Back in March 1997 Dom told DJ Magazine:
"I'm very into the soundscapes used in films, very into the way moods are created with music and the way it takes you... I'm fascinated by that and like to think that I translate that into the drum and bass format"
This influence couldn't be more clear than on 'Trauma' which came out on Renegade Hardware the following year. It samples some sweeping, portentous strings from Alien: Resurrection, placing them over thumping, mechanical beats and sci-fi sound effects during the intro before an incredibly dirty, muscular bassline is dropped, occasionally accompanied by what sounds like a car alarm going off and other strange noises. This is cinematic music that conjures up images of a dystopian future where machines have taken over and encapsulates what Dom was trying to achieve with his productions at this time.
'Trauma' is available to purchase digitally directly from the Renegade Hardware store. It's included in Pearsall's Renegades mix, a selection of his favourites from the first twenty or so releases from the label:
Monday, 4 November 2013
Steve C & DJ Monita - The Razors Edge (Skeleton Recordings, 1994)
I couldn't write about tracks that sample the Predator films without covering this awesome tune from Steve Conroy and Brian Fenner AKA Steve C and DJ Monita. The Skeleton Recordings label was started by Monita in 1992 and ran for thirteen releases before shutting down in 1994. Monita went on to have a few releases on Moving Shadow as one half of Current Affairs with Dom Angas.
Recorded at No U-Turn's studio, 'The Razors Edge' features a choice sample from Predator 2, re-editing Gary Busey's "This is his jungle" line so that it says "This, this is jungle". It's the perfect quote for this incredibly dark jungle tune that opens with the sound of rainforest atmospherics before cut-up drums using the NT break enter. A noise that sounds like a plane flying overhead brings in a murky bassline while some underlying 'Chorus Line' drums (via Addis Posse's 'Warriors Dance') are added to the mix. The breakdown brings some brief respite as the black clouds clear for some gorgeous synths but the darkness soon returns to close the track out. This, this is jungle.
To find out more about Monita and Skeleton Recordings check out this great interview he did with Drumtrip to accompany a stonking mix. The remastered Skeleton back catalogue will be available digitally soon via hardcorejunglism.com. 'The Razors Edge' was a favourite of LTJ Bukem and you can hear the track in his set at Dreamscape 11 below:
Sunday, 3 November 2013
Ed Rush, Optical & Fierce - Cutslo (Lokuste Mix) (Prototype Recordings, 1998)
'Locust', the more simply titled original version of this tune was released on The Prototype Years compilation in 1997. Ed Rush, Optical and Fierce then remixed the tune as 'Cutslo' (an anagram of Locust) for a classic 12" that had the equally immense 'Alien Girl' on the flip. The remix features an "Otherworld life" dialogue sample from Predator 2, a film that appears to have been a favourite of Ed Rush who first sampled it on 'Technology' and again on Fortran's 'Sardines'.
'Cutslo' sticks pretty close to the original but is a much better version of the tune. It has an elongated intro that features a two step break, a sci-fi style drone and ominous echoed synth stabs which are then transformed into a sick bassline. At almost four minutes into the track everything else drops out for one one of the most nasty, blow your face off Reese basslines ever put to wax and when the Amen break arrives it's all over - total carnage and a rewind everytime. One of those tunes that just has to be heard on a big system to truly appreciate its incredible power.
You can hear the track in Eazyflow's 1998 Techstep Mix below:
Saturday, 2 November 2013
Hyper On Experience - Lords Of The Null-Lines (Foul Play Remix) (Moving Shadow, 1993)
The small town of Beccles in Suffolk may seem an odd place to be an epicentre of drum and bass but it from here that Alex Banks, Danny Demierre, Jay Hurren and Andrew Riches all hailed. The four friends were regular ravers who started DJing and producing in the early nineties. Banks and Demierre were together known as Hyper On Experience and got signed to Moving Shadow where they released tracks such as 'Assention (To The 9th Level)' that were sample packed and full of energy. Hurren and Riches followed them to Rob Playford's label as JMJ & Richie before Hurren and Banks formed EZ Rollers and Demierre became better known as Flytronix.
The original of 'Lords Of The Null-Lines' was released on Deaf In The Family (A Sad Title For An Otherwise Splendid EP) but became a much better known tune in the hands of remixers extraordinaire Foul Play. The trio overhauled the track and turned out a much darker, stripped down interpretation which opens with hits of deep bass along with a bleeping riff and the break from the original. To this they add the much used Simon Harris created break from MC Duke's 'I'm Riffin' (or to be more precise, the 'Smokin Beats' mix) and the brilliant "Fucking voodoo magic man" line from this scene in Predator 2. It really gets going though from around a minute a half in when a bassline and spine tingling, mind bending synth riff are introduced. The "Huh!"s that appear throughout are taken from Jellybean's 'The Mexican', a electro cover version of Babe Ruth's much sampled Ennio Morricone referencing tune that features vocals from original singer Jenny Haan. An all-time classic remix which was so popular a second Foul Play mix featuring Randall was released the following year.
The digital is available to purchase from Beatport. John Morrow of Foul Play now goes by the name Skeleton Army and the remix is included in this Foul Play Mini Mix he put together earlier this year:
Friday, 1 November 2013
Intense - Journey To The Unknown (Rugged Vinyl Records, 1993)
Intense were the trio of Beau Thomas, Dan Duncan and Simon Vispi and back in the early nineties they put out some first class darkcore on labels such as Underground Level and Rugged Vinyl. They also made the early jungle anthem 'Durban Poison' as Babylon Timewarp and later went on to record more serene material for Good Looking and Creative Source. Thomas is also a mastering engineer currently working for Ten Eight Seven and you can find "Beau" scratched into the run out of many a record.
'Journey To The Unknown' was a b side on the incredible Paradox 12", the seventh release on Rugged Vinyl. It has a dark cinematic feel to it thanks to the use of multiple string samples along with warped atmospherics and a dialogue sample from the scene in Predator where Mac lays into Dillon after he makes a misstep: "You're ghostin' us, motherfucker. I don't care who you are back in the world, you give away our position one more time, I'll bleed ya, real quiet. Leave ya here. Got that?" Clattering cut-up drums that include the Amen break and rumbling sub bass complete things to make this a journey that will give you nightmares.
The track's included on Law & Blick's excellent All Intense Mix: