Wednesday, 31 July 2013
The Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up (DJ Hype Remix) (XL Recordings, 1997)
Kool Keith is an eccentric rapper with many monikers but he started out as a member of the Ultramagnetic MCs. They released the classic Critical Beatdown LP in '88 and were a favourite of The Prodigy's Liam Howlett who sampled them on 'Out Of Space' (the "I'll take your brain to another dimension... Hold it, pay close attention" vocals come from Critical Beatdown's title track). However his sampling of the group led to controversy in 1997 when 'Smack My Bitch Up' used Kool Keith's "Change my pitch up / Smack my bitch up" vocal from 'Give The Drummer Some', with further outcry following the release of the song's x-rated video.
The single included a great jump-up drum & bass remix from DJ Hype who keeps several elements from the original version including the infamous vocal hook. He also retains the acidic synth sound which was created on a Korg Prophecy with the 303 Growler patch while the breakdown features the mesmerising Indian vocals of Shahin Badar which are based on Sheila Chandra's 'Nana (The Dream)'. Hype gives the track his own flavour though with rattling drums that use the Scorpio break and a wicked bassline. Howlett apparently chose Hype's remix for the single over a darker one from Jonny L which bears little resemblance to the original version. It was later released on 1997: The Tunes, a CD given away with the January 1998 edition of Muzik Magazine, and you can listen to it below:
Tuesday, 30 July 2013
London's Most Wanted - Bear Witness (Chronic, 1996)
Art Of Noise's first major hit was 'Close (To The Edit)' which reached number eight on the UK singles chart. The track actually started life as the 'Diversion 2' remix of 'Beat Box' before being slightly edited and released under its new title as a single in May 1984. It is the source of the much sampled "Hey" which has been used on tracks such as 'Firestarter' by The Prodigy and 'Pump That Bass' by Original Concept. I've read a few theories regarding its origin including the popular belief that it's the voice of Paula Yates but in 2010 Gary Langan of AON revealed in this interview that it's Camilla Pilkington-Smyth of the Pilkington glass family. Obviously.
That "Hey" also appears throughout 'Bear Witness' by London's Most Wanted (AKA Ray Keith) which was released on the V Recordings sub-label Chronic in 1996. The track also prominently features a slowed down loop of the beat from House Of Pain's 'Jump Around' which is itself made up of the piano from 'Popeye (The Hitchhiker)' by Chubby Checker and the scream at the beginning of 'Shoot Your Shot' by Jr Walker & The All Stars. This regularly alternates with stabs of bass over the Sandy break and a "Bear Witness" vocal from the track of the same name by Dr. Octagon (AKA Kool Keith). Ray Keith later introduces a wobbly bassline which combined with a similar cut-up of the Sandy break makes the track very reminiscent of his 'Dark Soldier' tune. He also adds the Hot Pants and Amen breaks at points while the horror movie-esque keyboard melody from Dr. Octagon's 'Waiting List' (originally from 'Call To Awareness' by Hubert Eaves III) is dropped in a couple of times. A sample heavy stop-start tune that has an excellent remix on the flip - check that out here.
'Bear Witness' appears on the Vintage Dread II album which is available digitally from Beatport and Drum&BassArena amongst others. You can hear the track in Nicky Blackmarket's One In The Jungle mix from 5th July 1996 with Stevie Hyper D on the mic:
Monday, 29 July 2013
Roni Size & DJ Die - The Calling (V Recordings, 1994)
The Art Of Noise were well known for their use of sampling but have also been sampled extensively themselves. The best example in the drum & bass world is 'The Calling' by Roni Size & DJ Die which appeared on the fifth V Recordings release, the flipside of 'It's A Jazz Thing' on a 12" that was entitled Size Of Things To Come.
The duo craft a haunting track around a sample from the beginning of Art Of Noise's 'Galleons Of Stone' which is in complete contrast to the other side of the 12". What sounds like a reverbed flute or panpipe is actually a recording of an Inter City 125 train's horn put through a sampler and played around with. Size and Die pair it with a cut-up female vocal over drums that use the Ruffy 1 and Think breaks. The Ruffy 1 break is played by pop drummer Dave Ruffy and appeared on Now That's What I Call Sampling, a sample CD given away for free in 1991. The mid-section of the track brings in some nice synths that give the track a bit of warmth before it comes to a percussive conclusion.
Goldie gave 'The Calling' a dark remix for the V Classic LP which is available digitally directly from the label. You can hear the original mix in Ratty's portion of this set with Nexus from Quest Presents M.A.S.H.E.D. on the 5th March 1994:
Sunday, 28 July 2013
Art Of Noise - Something Always Happens (Doc Scott Remix) (Indochina, 1996)
So far my coverage of Doc Scott has been limited to his darker tracks such as 'Shadow Boxing' but he's a versatile producer who is equally capable of making mellow, ambient drum'n'bass and this remix of 'Something Always Happens' is an excellent example. Formed in 1983, Art Of Noise were an experimental electronic pop group who made innovative use of sampling in their music. The original of 'Something Always Happens' was the b side of the top 10 hit 'Peter Gunn' and was created following the Challenger disaster in January 1986 as band member J. J. Jeczalik revealed to Melody Maker:
"On the B-side of the 7-inch we were just kicking ideas around and we heard that the Space Shuttle had blown up and it became a very sad, laconic piece. That was chance, the intervention of fate, it wasn’t meant to be like that, but we were very happy with it in the end because it summed up what we felt at the time"
Doc Scott extends the short two and a half minute piece into seven plus minutes of gorgeous, melancholy drum'n'bass. The remix opens with a two-step beat before introducing the lush pads and snippet of guitar from the second half of the track along with the child saying "the art of noise" from the first half. Over this a twinkling melody and warm bass come in and the track just rolls serenely to its conclusion. Blissful drum'n'bass for lazy Sunday afternoons.
The track appeared on an Art Of Noise drum'n'bass remix album that also included updates from J. Majik, Dom & Roland and Lemon D amongst others but it's worth seeking out the promo 12" of 'Something Always Happens' to get it over an entire side of vinyl. It led off Fabio's Kiss 100 show on 28th February 1997 which you can download in two parts here and here (via subvertcentral.com)
Saturday, 27 July 2013
Ayman - Get Ruff (Juice Records, 1995)
I picked this one up today during a local charity shop expedition and I'm rather pleased with the find. I've no idea who Ayman is but they had two 12"s on Juice in 1995/1996 of which this was the first. Juice Records was the label run by Daz Ellis (Undercover Agent), Darren Hickey (Fellowship) and his brother Jeff and they were known for putting out hardstepping tunes such as this one.
'Get Ruff' opens with some hazy jazz samples of horns, keys and guitar over Soul Pride/Think drums before a vocal from MC Navigator proclaiming "Get Ruufffff" brings in an immense, pulsating sub bassline to devastating effect while the Cold Sweat break is also added to the mix. The jazz samples keep on cropping up throughout the track making for a nice contrast to the heavy bassline. You can hear it below in this superb two hour mix from DJ Vetoe of jump-up drum'n'bass with the odd bit of instrumental hip-hop:
Friday, 26 July 2013
Authorised Riddim - Split Personality (Certificate 18, 1994)
Authorised Riddim was a one-off collaboration between Danny Curtis (AKA Danny C) and Steve Carr (AKA Digital). The pair had met back in 1991 and this was one of the earliest releases either of them was involved in. Danny C went on to form a duo with Mike Pears who I covered earlier this week in their Primary Motive guise for Creative Source but they recorded first for Certificate 18 under the similar Motive One name.
Certificate 18 were Ipswich based which is where Digital also hails from so its only natural that the two crossed paths. The label was formed by Paul Arnold in 1992 and also released early material by Photek and Source Direct. This quote from Arnold sums up the label's early sound: "I'd been listening to Electronically led, Techno style music - artists like Carl Craig - and when the Breakbeat was fused with those warm sounds I was in my element". 'Split Personality' fits right in with this ethos, opening with Detroit-inspired synths before bringing in deep hits of bass accompanied by the Amen break for an immersive and satisfying ride that also recalls LTJ Bukem's productions of the time.
'Split Personality' appeared on the second disc of Donovan 'Badboy' Smith's Essential Old Skool Hardcore mix CD from 1998 and you can listen to that below:
Thursday, 25 July 2013
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.
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
Bizzy B & Peshay - Merder Style (Brain Records, 1993)
While Paul Pesce AKA Peshay is better known for ambient drum'n'bass and his later jazz and disco inflected material some of his earliest productions were proper darkcore jungle. 'Merder Style' was co-produced by Bizzy B and appeared on the 2 Dope EP on Bizzy's Brain Records imprint back in 1993.
It opens in deceptive fashion with spine tingling pads, a repeated "get together" vocal and a four to the floor beat before "Merder Style" and "Get Raw" vocals, the latter coming from Big Daddy Kane's 'Raw', bring in some frantic Amen-based drums. This break is taken from a track called Chucks Beats on a 1989 beat loops album by The Sample Kings and uses the Amen alongside the break from Isaac Hayes' 'Breakthrough'. Things really get going though when a sample of Darth Vader saying "the power of the darkside" over sinister strings introduces some warped mentasm stabs. The track doesn't sit still for a second as it cycles through a few distinct sections which include the use of timestretched drums and a short loop of descending strings before coming to an abrupt stop. Absolutely essential '93 darkcore.
'Merder Style' was included on Planet Mu's Bizzy B retrospective which is available directly from the label. Bizzy B also gave the track a mental 2004 rerub alongside Equinox on the Science EP Vol. IV which is available here. You can hear the original mix in LTJ Bukem's Yaman Studio Mix 9 below - the rest of the tracklist and a download is available over at Hardscore.
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Primary Motive - Who Has The Jazz (Creative Source, 2000)
I was going to write about Source Direct's 'The Cult' today as it samples the line "It is defeat that you must learn to prepare for" from Enter The Dragon, spoken by the film's villain Han. However I realised I'd looked at the track back in March (check the post here if you missed it) so instead I thought it'd be appropriate to look at this track from Primary Motive which samples the words in bold from Williams' super cool reply:
"I don't waste my time with it. When it comes I won't even notice... I'll be too busy looking good." (watch the scene here)
Williams was played by Jim Kelly, the first black martial arts film star who passed away just last month at the age of sixty seven. After Enter The Dragon he went on to appear in a series of blaxploitation-style martial arts movies so it's rather fitting that his voice appears on 'Who Has The Jazz' as it's a cool, funky number that wouldn't have sounded out of place on his films' soundtracks.
Primary Motive were Danny Curtis and Mike Pears, a duo who also recorded under several other names. While this one was reserved for their jazzy material on Fabio's Creative Source label they were also well known for their darker, heavier productions as Twisted Anger on Dread/Penny Black. 'Who Has The Jazz' is centred around a funky guitar loop over the Hot Pants break and what sounds like the drums from Peshay's 'Miles From Home'. It gradually builds up with smooth horns and soothing synths until the guitar drops out for some organ during the track's more chilled mid-section before returning to drive the track forward to its conclusion. Nice.
A version of 'Who Has The Jazz' using the Apache break appeared in the drum & bass mix on Fabio & Grooverider's Masterpiece collection for Ministry Of Sound. You can also hear it in a "summercast" mix by DJ Patife from 2008 which is available to download at DnB Share (via Breakz Blog)
Monday, 22 July 2013
Prisoners Of Technology - Feeeeeeeeeelllllll (Bruce's Bonus Mix) (Fresh Kutt Records, 1997)
Another '97 jump-up tune that samples Enter The Dragon is this track from Prisoners Of Technology, the AA side of the massive 'Trick Of Technology' remix. The elongated title reflects how Bruce Lee says the word in this scene from the beginning of the film in which he is teaching a young student:
Student: "Let me think."
Lee: "Don't think. Feel. It is like a finger pointing away to the moon... Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory."
Around this sample PoT craft a minimal, rolling tune which opens with a simple two-step beat, sinister synths and evil laughter before the drop brings in some hefty sub bass along with drums that use the Action break - Stevie Hyper D used to tear it up on the mic over this one. You can hear the track on TMS 1's Anthemology mix of Prisoners Of Technology material, check it out:
Sunday, 21 July 2013
DJ Red - Enta Da Dragon (Trouble On Vinyl, 1997)
Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the passing of Bruce Lee who died at the age of just 32 after having an allergic reaction to a painkiller. Although he only made a handful of films during his adult life he is considered the greatest martial arts star of the twentieth century. His biggest film was Enter The Dragon, released only a few weeks after he died, and the movie has been sampled on several drum & bass tracks including this one from DJ Red AKA Mark O'Neill.
'Enta Da Dragon' is a classic dark edged jump-up tune and is probably the track DJ Red is best known for. Dialogue from the movie appears throughout, starting with snippets such as "Don't waste yourself" during the intro before a longer segment appears just before the drop:
Parsons: What's your style?
Lee: My style? You can call it the art of fighting without fighting.
Parsons: The art of fighting without fighting? Show me some of it.
You can watch the scene this dialogue comes from here. The drop brings in an immense distorted bassline which alternates with some meaty sub bass over a simple streamlined beat. The track then shifts through a few different basslines with some acidic stabs coming in after the breakdown ("Now you know the truth. When you get to the city, pay your respects..."). It's that initial bassline that is the most memorable though and DJ Red uses an updated version of it more frequently on the even better Tekken 3 Mix which came out the following year. The remix adds more dialogue as well with the following segment appearing just before the drop:
"You fought well yesterday. Your style is unorthodox, but effective. It is not the art but the combat that you enjoy. It is defeat that you must learn to prepare for"
It also uses dialogue from Shaolin Temple ("Shaolin Kung-Fu to survive must now be taught to more young men...) although DJ Red may have sourced it from Wu-Tang Clan's 'Wu-Revolution', the intro to their Wu-Tang Forever LP which was released in 1997.
The digital of the original mix is available from Drum&BassArena who included it on their Anthology 2 compilation. You should also check out this remix of 'Enta Da Dragon' by Jamie of Section 23 which is available to download for free:
Saturday, 20 July 2013
Jungle Warrior - No Surrender (Strictly Underground, 1994)
Staying on a ragga jungle tip here's another tune that features Terror Fabulous' 'No Retreat, No Surrender' hook, although this one actually samples it from 'Surrender' - you can hear the beat M-Beat added underneath. Jungle Warrior appears to be another alias of Mark "Ruff" Ryder who is credited on the release although I'm not sure if anyone else was involved or not.
'No Surrender' opens with an insistent metallic rhythm and a child-like voice repeating "jungle" along with the much used "Hey Hey Hey Hey Hey" vocal from the beginning of Capleton's 'Everybody'. A reggae rhythm enters followed by Amen/Think drums before a deep throbbing bassline comes in accompanied by dub sirens. The introduction of the Terror Fabulous vocal leads into a nice half-speed section while the second half of the tune brings back the metallic rhythm from the beginning. Rough and rugged material.
An Exclusive VIP Mix of 'No Surrender' appeared on Strictly Hardcore's Jungle Soundclash Volume 1 compilation. The track features on this '94 Ragga Jungle mix from Eazyflow which accompanies an interesting piece over at DnB Blog on the ragga jungle sound with a focus on the fallout from M-Beat and General Levy's 'Incredible'.
Friday, 19 July 2013
M-Beat - Surrender (Renk Records, 1993)
I've covered 199 tracks so far on this blog but somehow I've failed to write about anything from M-Beat so to mark my 200th post I'm going to take a look at 'Surrender'. Marlon Hart produced some of the finest early jungle tunes before finding chart success alongside General Levy with 'Incredible' in 1994. Unfortunately the backlash from that record led to him being shunned by the top DJs and he'd disappeared from the scene within a couple of years.
'Surrender' is a typically sample heavy number that shows the breadth of influences jungle took in. It begins with the opening horns from Laurie Johnson's theme music to The Avengers before bringing in Terror Fabulous' "No retreat, no surrender / We nah lotion, pet or powder, we tell dem" vocal from 'No Retreat, No Surrender'. As this vocal repeats, the beat from 'Watch How The People Dancing' by Kenny Knots comes in (also sampled on 'Lion Heart') with the "Now crowd of people rock with me, innah the dance we smokin' sensi" line from that tune eventually replacing it.
The main body of the tune has a booming bassline and Think/Amen drums while the ravey synth stabs and scratching remind you that this track was produced in '93. The first breakdown drops into a sweet rare groove sample from Side Effect's 'I Can't Play' while the second features a "Gotta release yourself" vocal from a Roger Sanchez produced house track called 'I Need You' by Nu-Solution. Packing a huge amount into its three and a half minute run time, this is a tune bursting with energy and enthusiasm.
Head over to Juno Download to purchase the digital. You can also hear the track in this DJ Hype set at Jungle Fever: Kings Of The Jungle from December 1993:
Thursday, 18 July 2013
Berty B & Dillinja - Lion Heart (Lionheart, 1994)
Writing about a Lemon D track yesterday reminded me it has been a while since I covered anything from his Valve partner, the almighty Dillinja. This 1994 collaboration with Berty B sees him in full on jungle mode with a dub heavy Amen track. Berty B disappeared not long after this release, only to briefly reappear in 2001 with the Dillinja-esque The Debut EP on Valve.
It opens with a "Ready, get set, music" female vocal before launching into a sample of the beat from 'Watch How The People Dancing' by Kenny Knots and vocals including "Look yout man" from Barrington Levy's 'Look Youthman'. The drop then a heavy bassline inspired by 'Watch How The People Dancing' accompanied by some rough Amen action. The mid-track breakdown features some chilled synths with a "Mama mama mama" vocal from the beginning of Dr. Alimantado's 'Mama Dub' before the second drop brings in a reversed bassline and increased Amen choppage. Classic jungle to blast on a hot summer's day.
'Lion Heart' appeared on Breakdown's Drum & Bass Selection 3. You can also hear it midway through this Cool Hand Flex set at AWOL in 1994 with GQ on the mic:
Wednesday, 17 July 2013
Lemon D - Urban Style Music (Metalheadz, 1995)
Today would have been the 52nd birthday of the rapper Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal), real name Keith Elan. One of my favourite MCs thanks to his effortless, monotone delivery and socially conscious lyrics, he is best known for his work with DJ Premier as Gang Starr. He passed away on April 19th 2010 after a battle with cancer followed by a heart attack, his final weeks spent in a coma - RIP.
The most celebrated of his solo projects was the Jazzmatazz series which saw him working with jazz legends such as Lonnie Liston Smith and Donald Byrd. The latter appeared on 'Loungin' which is the source of the main vocal sample on Lemon D's evocative 'Urban Style Music':
"What they did was, which was so ingenious was, to create a whole form of urban style music from just two turntables and two records and a microphone."
Guru is referring of course to the origins of hip-hop and the sample perfectly suits the jazzy instrumentation of the track. The horns, keys, flute and vibraphone create an air of hazy nostalgia while the live-sounding drums and tough bassline give the track a hard edge. There is also a "Fresh!" vocal taken from the beginning of Run DMC's 'Rock Box', further enhancing the track's hip-hop feel. It appeared on a 12" entitled Urban Flava Pt 1 with the Amen-led 'This Is L.A.' on the flip and it's a shame Lemon D never delivered a second volume because these are two of his finest works.
You can hear 'Urban Style Music' in Bailey's 'Intelligence' Studio Mix from Autumn 1995 which is available to download courtesy of Hardscore.com. Lemon D produced a laid back 90 BPM version of the track for the Metalheadz Tin Box, check that out below:
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
Aphrodite - Rinsing Quince (Aphrodite Recordings, 1998)
Gavin King has a few tracks in his catalogue to soundtrack the summer including this one from '98 which was the b-side of 'Listen To The Rhythm (Remix)'. The title of the track is a clue to the origin of its organ riff which comes from Quincy Jones' 'Summer In The City'.
This cool seventies jazz funk tune has has been sampled a number of times over the years, most notably by The Pharcyde on 'Passin' Me By' and Nightmares On Wax on 'Nights Interlude', and the organ/bass combination gives the track a lazy summer vibe. A big drum roll then brings in two-step drums and an electro style bassline to raise the energy levels, with the Hot Pants break also appearing at points. A remixed version of the track appeared on his Aphrodite LP, adding a bell-like sound that recalls Jay Dee's 'Plastic Dreams' and rejigging the bassline a bit.
The original version appears on Aphrodite's The Takeover Bid mix which was released as part of the Mixmag Live series in 1998 and is full of jump-up goodness:
Monday, 15 July 2013
Bebel Gilberto - So Nice (DJ Marky & XRS Remix)(Ziriguiboom, 2002)
With the British heatwave showing no signs of abating I'm taking a look at another Brazilian Drum & Bass track, this time a remix of 'So Nice' by Bebel Gilberto, the daughter of Bossa Nova pioneer João Gilberto and singer Miúcha. In 2000 she found success with Tanto Tempo, an album that fused traditional Bossa Nova with subtle electronic influences - for instance 'Samba da Benção' uses Amon Tobin's 'Nova' as its backing. 'So Nice' is a bossa nova standard which is also known by the name Summer Samba (Samba de Verão) and has been covered by over 180 artists with other well known interpretations coming from the Walter Wanderley Trio and Sergio Mendes & Wanda De Sah.
In 2002 DJ Marky & XRS remixed 'So Nice' with the initial release being a single-sided "promo only" 12", although with full artwork and plenty of copies available that was really just a bit of marketing and it was later included on a special remix edition of Tanto Tempo. It's a smooth and summery track that opens with some reverbed tabla-like percussion before introducing the 'Sing A Simple Song' break. Bossa Nova style guitar and warm bass then come in to accompany Gilberto's vocals, the lyrics expressing the desire to meet that special someone:
"So nice, life would be so nice
If one day I'd find
Someone who would take my hand
And samba through life with me"
'So Nice' features in this live mix from Fabio with Cleveland Watkiss on the mic, recorded at Cargo, London on the 27th April 2003, which you can download here: http://www.mediafire.com/?m4k43x3c4eq69ho. Check the whole tracklist below:
1. Marky & XRS - Breeze
2. Total Science - Expand
3. D.Kay & Epsilon - Barcelona
4. Calibre - Got to have you
5. Jaheim - Put that woman first (Calibre Remix)
6. Marky & XRS - Rotation
7. Danny C- Ace Face
9. Raf & Ill Logic - Could it be
10. High Contrast - Basement track
11. Artificial Intelligence - Won’t give up
12. Unknown brazilian tune
13. Bebel Gilberto – So Nice (Marky & XRS Remix)
14. A Sides feat. Mc Fats- What u don’t know
Sunday, 14 July 2013
Mask - Mad Professor (Dope Dragon, 1998)
Roni Size's 'Mad Professor' is the tune that inspired Krust to make 'Warhead' but wasn't released until around six months later, arriving on the Combustion EP that preceded the Wayz Of The Dragon album. A pressing error meant that it actually appeared on the double 12" set twice, with Mask & Swabe's 'Blow Da Fuse' being the casualty. By way of apology Dope Dragon put out a second double 12" EP entitled Gridlocked for the price of single 12" with 'Blow Da Fuse' included.
While there are similarities between 'Warhead' and 'Mad Professor' the two tracks are really quite different. They both use the 'It's A New Day' break and feature droning intros but the latter takes a less minimal approach with lots of big build-ups and drops. It's closer in sound to the 'Dictation Remix' that it shares the EP with, both tracks having intros with an orchestral feel and similar square wave basslines that swoop and swirl around.
'Mad Professor' also uses the Hot Pants break and really bursts out sixty four bars after the initial drop when some explosive Amen comes in, while the second half switches things up with the introduction of deeper bass. Absolutely caned by most of the top DJs at the time, you can hear it below in this excellent set from Jumping Jack Frost at One Nation: The Valentine Experience Part 5 in 1998 with Stevie Hyper D, Moose, Skibadee and Det on the mic.
Saturday, 13 July 2013
Dylan - Spasm (Renegade Hardware, 2000)
The 'It's A New Day' break also features on Dylan's 'Spasm' although the track is better known for its heavy use of the Mentasm synth. It appeared on Renegade Hardware's Aftermath (Essential Rewindz) LP and while a couple of other tracks on the album use the synth sound, 'Spasm' is effectively a remix of the Second Phase (AKA Joey Beltram and Mundo Muzique) track.
It's a brutal track that treats the Mentasm riff in the same way as Second Phase did, only at a much more rapid tempo and placing it over a pounding beat and booming bassline. It also uses a high pitched whooping vocal that recalls 'Injected With A Poison' by Praga Khan. Dylan did quite a few remakes of classic rave tracks with versions of 'Energy Flash' and 'Go!' among others also in his catalogue but this is by far my favourite and is just an awesome tune all round.
The digital of 'Spasm' is available directly from the label. You can hear it in this live set from Bad Company at Innovation: The Easter Showcase from April 2000:
Friday, 12 July 2013
DJ Krust - Warhead (Steppa Mix) (V Recordings, 1997)
George "Buzzy" Bragg's punchy drum break from the beginning of Skull Snaps' 'It's A New Day' (1973) became one of the most well used breakbeats in hip-hop, beginning with Stezo's 'It's My Turn' in 1989. The break is also regularly used in electronic music (see The Prodigy's 'Poison') and particularly drum & bass on tracks such as Ed Rush & Optical's 'Pac Man', DJ Die's 'Autumn' and this almighty tune from DJ Krust.
'Warhead' is one of the most well known drum & bass tunes of all-time and was a game changer back in 1997, ushering in an era of more minimal, stripped-back production. The intro features a low bass drone coupled with higher pitched sounds that resemble a radio being tuned over Krust's take on the 'It's A New Day' break before a simple but devastating descending bassline is deployed. The real genius of the tune though lies in the little additions and subtractions that Krust makes along the way, with small changes having the ability to lift the energy levels to new heights.
In this interview Krust recalls the competition between himself and the rest of the Full Cycle crew and how hearing Roni Size and Die making 'Mad Professor' spurred him on to make 'Warhead' - he calls it "a pure revenge tune" as he wanted to make something even better. He also talks about taking himself out of his comfort zone in order to create something unique - for instance the bass sound on 'Warhead' was created by holding a live studio jack in front of a speaker and recording the feedback. As Krust himself admits, nobody liked the tune when they first heard it but it became the tune of 1997 and only suffers today from being played so much over the years.
You can download the digital of 'Warhead' directly from the label. It also appears on the essential Retrospect Volume 1 compilation. In 2011 Krust held a 'Warhead' remix competition and the winner was Voltergeist's dubby techno take on the tune which you can listen to below or download for free on Bandcamp.
Thursday, 11 July 2013
Calibre - Feeder (Creative Source, 2001)
The debut album by Calibre AKA Dominick Martin was entitled Musique Concrete after the experimental technique developed in the 1940s by Pierre Schaeffer which used recorded sounds to create a piece of music. It's an appropriate title as Calibre is renowned for using samples to make his elegant, stripped-back form of drum & bass.
'Feeder' only appeared on the CD edition of Musique Concrete but fortunately for us vinyl lovers was issued on a 12" along with 'Our Love Part 1'. It takes a small portion from a live performance of 'Summer Madness' by Kool & The Gang that was released on their Love & Understanding LP as its foundation, manipulating the "Summer Madness" vocal along with a loop of the Fender Rhodes for an understated but groovy tune that also uses the 'It's A New Day' break. Gorgeous liquid funk for a hot summer's day.
You can purchase the digital of 'Feeder' as part of the Musique Concrete album from most digital outlets including Drum&BassArena, Beatport and Juno
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Rude Bwoy Monty - Summer Sumting (Frontline Records, 1995)
Rude Bwoy Monty normally made big tracks with muscular basslines such as 'Warp 9 Mr Zulu' on the flip but with 'Summer Sumting' he produced a mellow cut that is one of the all-time great summer jungle tunes. It liberally uses parts of Kool & The Gang's 'Summer Madness', a 1974 instrumental that was famously sampled by Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince on 'Summertime'.
It opens with that track's shimmering Fender Rhodes lick before adding some of the high pitched synth and gentle guitar parts over the Think break. Monty adds a deep, warm bassline and wistful female vocals ("I will always be the one"), later adding more of the gliding ARP 2600 synth from 'Summer Madness' that sounds like it is soaring towards the heavens. Absolute bliss.
The digital of 'Summer Sumting' is available from Beatport and Drum&BassArena. You can also hear it in J Rolla's Summertime Jungle Mix which is available to stream and download from Mixcrate.
Tuesday, 9 July 2013
John B - Salsa (Remix) (Formation Records, 1999)
The original mix of 'Salsa' appeared on the Brazil 12", one of John B's two entries in Formation's Countries Series, the follow up to their Colours Series. While it's an okay track, the remix which appeared on the subsequent World of Drum & Bass LP improves on it dramatically with the addition of an incredibly fat bassline.
John B mixes up his cultures here as Salsa is a Cuban rather than Brazilian form of music and dance, but then it's not a particularly serious tune as the cartoonish vocal samples such as "I am the King of the Sombrero" demonstrate. A carnival atmosphere pervades the intro with Latin percussion, whistles, horn stabs and piano all featuring but it's the bassline that really makes it go off. The drums consist of a solid two-step stomp along with occasional use of the 'Do The Do' break while the Salsa elements appear regularly throughout. A fun tune, although it'd be better without the cheesy vocals.
If you don't fancy shelling out for the whole 8 piece vinyl boxset the track was reissued in 2001 on a 12" with 'Sight Beyond' on the other side. You can hear it on Rolldabeats Presents "A Decade In The Mix" (Part 4) which was put together by The Manipulator and is available to download here.
Monday, 8 July 2013
Ray Keith - Something Out There (Ray Keith Samba Remix) (U.F.O., 2000)
Even before Patife, Marky and co. became well known faces on this side of the Atlantic the influence of Brazilian drum & bass on UK producers was evident, enhancing even darker cuts such as this one. It features the vocals of Lea who worked on several tracks with Ray Keith around this time:
"Can you feel the rhythm I'm saying
There's something out there, I'm saying
Oh baby baby baby oooh"
The original mix featured on his Contact LP the year before and Keith doesn't stray too far from it, adding a samba rhythm during an extended intro with vibrato keys before the drop brings in an evil Reese bassline over the Tramen break to bring dancefloor carnage. It was one of four remixes on a double 12" package with the other mixes coming from Dillinja, Bad Company and Twisted Anger but despite the strong competition this one is my favourite.
The original, Bad Company and Twisted Anger remixes are available on Vintage Dread II while more recently the track has been tackled by Bladerunner. DJ Patife closed his Sounds of Drum'n'Bass mix album from 1999 with the Samba Remix which you can listen to below:
Sunday, 7 July 2013
Fernanda Porto - Sambassim (DJ Patife Remix) (V Recordings, 2001)
Although its origins are in the UK, Drum & Bass has spread across the world. One of the best examples of this is the Brazilian scene where it is infused with Latin American influences in a style known as Sambass or Drum 'n' Bossa. This exciting sound came to the attention of Bryan Gee and Jumping Jack Frost in the late nineties and they were inspired to put out the Brasil EP on V Recordings in 2001 with tracks and remixes from some of the scene's leading exponents.
Patife's take on Fernanda Porto's 'Sambassim' opens with Brazilian style percussion and whistles before introducing acoustic guitar and Porto's Portuguese vocals which are roughly translated below, taken from this thread on DOA:
I started a samba like this
with no pandeiro (a percussion instrument) or tamborine
Like someone who doesn't know anything about samba,
But have always heard a bamba (?)
I've never been to a samba "circle" (A get together)
Those partido alto ones that take the whole balcony
But my samba has repique and percussion
Samples, reco-reco e agogo (three other percussion instruments)
This samba is my groove's turn (It doesn't sound right cause it comes from slang)
With guitar and Drum and Bass
Just to listen how it sounds:
Electronic and Cuíca (It's the high instrument played right after this part)
Samba like this and like that speeded up
Is it Samba? Yes,
Samba like this and like that speeded up is Sambassim!
It's a beautiful tune which Patife beefs up with some deep sub bass and what sounds like a Hot Pants based break for a summery track to move the dancefloor. Both DJ Marky and DJ Die have remixed the track but neither version has been released although Marky's VIP was included on his superb The Brazilian Job mix CD. You can hear DJ Die's remix at around 93 minutes into this Marky and Patife live set from Budapest in 2002 with Stamina MC on the mic. A download of the mix is available here.
Saturday, 6 July 2013
DJ Dextrous & H Pee - Hot Flame (Subversive Recordings, 1995)
Jungle is just perfect for hot summer days, custom made for blasting from your car stereo or as an accompaniment to a barbecue with family and friends. This cut from DJ Dextrous and H Pee is particularly appropriate thanks to its ragga vocal from Dirtsman's 'Hot Dis Year':
"Unno get me hot this year, weh dem a do fi hold me (yah hear me)
Unno get me wicked this year, not even water can cold me (lord a mercy)
Unno a get me hot, get me hot, get me wicked, wicked..."
The track starts with a lush synth chord progression before adding the Think break and a breathy, sensual vocal sampled from Janet Jackson's 'That's The Way Love Goes': "Like a moth to the flame, burned by the fire. My love is blind, can't you see my desire?". The drop brings in Dirtsman along with a "Lighter Crew" vocal over an 808 kick bassline and Think/Sesame Street drums, later adding the synth stabs from the beginning of 'Hot Dis Year'. A bonafide jungle classic, simple but oh so good.
Dextrous & H Pee remixed the track in 1996 with two mixes named after Desnoes & Geddes, the Jamaican brewers of Red Stripe. The Desnoes Remix increases the summery vibes with a sample of Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's BBQ classic 'Summertime' during the intro. As the UK bathes in the sunshine, open a beer and check it out below or head over to Summertime.fm to grab Jazzy Jeff & Mick Boogie's recently released Summertime Vol. 4 mixtape:
Friday, 5 July 2013
Asend - Can't Hold Back (Second Movement, 1994)
Second Movement was a sub-label of Back 2 Basics and Asend's 'Can't Hold Back' was the imprint's first release. It takes its title from a sample of Big Daddy Kane on 'Set It Off' which is repeated during the track's mid-section. However the more prominent vocal in the track comes from the Smith & Mighty produced 'Do You Dream' by Carlton, a soulful Bristol singer who also worked with Massive Attack and Bomb The Bass:
Maybe we could leave the crowd
Bodies talk, without sound
The track mixes hard and soft elements, beginning with a beatless intro with gorgeous synths and Carlton's vocals before bringing in a booming bassline and a superb cut-up of the Funky Mule break. There's also a repeated "I need someone" vocal that I can't find the source of. An excellent hardstepping tune from Lee Smith which you can hear in Mickey Finn's set at Club Pure X on the 5th August 1994 courtesy of Deep Inside The Oldskool. You can also check out the Back 2 Basics Re-Touch of the track below:
Thursday, 4 July 2013
Natural Born Chillers - Rock The Funky Beat (Urban Takeover, 1996)
Arguably the best known drum & bass track with a Public Enemy sample is this one from Natural Born Chillers, a duo made up of Arif Salih and Lee Parker. It originally came out on Urban Takeover in 1996 but due to popular demand it got a wider release through EastWest in November 1997. Featuring remixes from 187 Lockdown and Aphrodite & Micky Finn, the single reached number thirty on the UK charts, a rare achievement for a drum & bass tune at the time.
It is based around Chuck D's "If y'all really like the rock the funky beat... Check this out" vocal from the live segment at the beginning of 'Caught, Can We Get A Witness', cutting and looping the words to make an incredibly infectious hook. It couples this with a equally memorable bassline based on the Rougher Yet/Love Bump riddim and drums using the Life Could, Hot Pants and Apache breaks. There is also a cut-up "Get down to the funky beat" vocal taken from Funky Four's 'Feel It (The Mexican)', an early hip-hop/electro track that interpolates Babe Ruth's Morricone inspired 'The Mexican' (a great track by the way, also sampled by Jungle Brothers and Organized Konfusion amongst others).
An undeniably catchy tune that was something of a one hit wonder, although it did earn Natural Born Chillers remix work for the likes of Busta Rhymes, Jungle Brothers and Gravediggaz. You can hear the Urban Takeover remix in this All Aphrodite & Micky Finn mix from DJ Jamie of Section 23:
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
The Scarecrow - Garbage (Joker Records, 1998)
It should come as little surprise that Bizzy B and Pugwash AKA The Dream Team have sampled Public Enemy on several occasions, with an earlier Joker release even being named 'Public Enemy'. On 'Garbage', the flipside of 'Tuttifrutti', they use vocals from a couple of Public Enemy tracks alongside several other well known hip-hop samples.
The track starts with the Hot Pants break and a three note guitar riff from James Brown's 'Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved' (along with his exclamations) that was made famous by Big Daddy Kane's 'Set It Off'. Over this they sample Chuck D's "Somebody in the house say yeah" line from the live excerpt that begins 'Caught, Can We Get A Witness'. The track takes it title from a second PE sample, this time from Flavor Flav on 'She Watch Channel Zero!': "You're blind baby, you're blind from the facts of who you are cause you're watching that garbage", now somewhat ironic given his numerous appearances on reality TV shows. It's a particularly frantic tune which uses the Amen break along with plenty of sirens and a multitude of other familiar vocal samples including the "Hold it now" line from Kurtis Blow's 'Christmas Rappin'. My favourite bit of the tune comes in around the three minute mark when a squelchier bassline drops for maximum devastation.
You can hear 'Garbage' in this excellent 97-99 Jump Up mix from Serum. Asbo Records recently released The Joker Project Vol. 1: The Return Of The Joker with updates of classic Joker tracks from the likes of Bladerunner, Billy Daniel Bunter & Slipmatt and Cabin Fever UK. The digital is available from Drum&BassArena and Beatport amongst others and you can listen to snippets below:
Tuesday, 2 July 2013
DJ Sebel - When I Rock (Rude & Deadly Records, 1997)
Here's another jump-up tune which samples Public Enemy, this time from German drum & bass producer DJ Sebel AKA Sebastian Feige. After a few 12"s such as this one on Rude & Deadly/Smokers Inc. he went on to release material on Smokin' Drum and was half of De.Glasklaren alongside label boss Sascha Dürk AKA Bassface Sascha.
'When I Rock' appeared on the first 12" in Rude & Deadly's Dogs 4 Life series which culminated in a CD compilation. It starts off with the orchestral drone and Flavor Flav's "Run a power move on 'em" line from the beginning of Public Enemy's 'Miuzi Weighs A Ton' before dropping into the same Slayer riff (RIP Jeff Hanneman) from 'Angel Of Death' that PE used on 'She Watch Channel Zero!' (and was also sampled on Amon Tobin's 'Angel Of Theft'). It makes further use of 'Miuzi Weighs A Ton' with the track's 'Synthetic Substitution' beat and "When I... Rock... Get Up... Get Down" vocals from the chorus appearing extensively in the intro and throughout. The drops brings in bassline that alternates between a sort of electronic wail and a robotic square wave sound with drums using the Hot Pants break and a stuttered Amen that eventually bursts out for short sections. A nice little hip hop/metal influenced jump-up tune that deserves to be better known.
Monday, 1 July 2013
Crazy Loops - Lost Our Minds (Dope Dragon, 1995)
This weekend saw the Glastonbury Festival take place and among the highlights was a performance from Public Enemy, despite the absence of Flavor Flav due to immigration issues. If you are in the UK you can still watch their set on iPlayer until Saturday. As well as making extensive use of sampling in their music Public Enemy have been heavily sampled themselves and despite there being many examples in the drum & bass world I've picked this one after mentioning Dope Dragon in yesterday's post and realising I hadn't written about anything on the label for a while.
It's a bit of a mystery as to the identity of Crazy Loops although I'd put money on Krust being involved as he's the most hip hop orientated of the Full Cycle crew. The track opens with some guitar and a sample of a Khalid Abdul Muhammad speech that also led off Public Enemy's 'Night Of The Living Baseheads', which is where Crazy Loops probably sourced it:
"Have you forgotten, that once we were brought here, we were robbed of our name, robbed of our language? We lost our religion, our culture, our god. And many of us, by the way we act, we even lost our minds."
Khalid Muhammad was an African American activist and prominent member of the Nation Of Islam until his expulsion in 1993 following a speech at Kean College, New Jersey which resulted in him being censured by the United States Senate. He subsequently became national chairman of the New Black Panther Party until his sudden death in 2001 from a brain aneurysm. The track is a typical Dope Dragon number with a lolloping beat and bouncy bassline aimed straight at the dancefloor. You can hear it in this mammoth all Dope Dragon mix which you can download here.
Khalid Muhammad appeared in an episode of Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends on the subject of Black Nationalists sometime in the late nineties. His comments right at the beginning were sampled by Chase & Status on 'Hocus Pocus':