Saturday, 30 November 2013

Photek - Ni-Ten-Ichi-Ryu


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:



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