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Mixed in London, August 2008
(51:51, 61:38 MB, V0 VBR MP3)
Style: intelligent drum n’ bass
direct link to the mix:
01. Funky Technicians – Airtight (Original Mix) (Legend)
02. Oblivion – Lush (Street Beats)
03. Adam F – Aromatherapy (Section 5)
04. Source Direct – Artificial Barriers (Source Direct)
05. Doc Scott – Blue Skies (Metalheadz)
06. DJ Zinc – Innate (Ganja)
07. Shogun – Nautilus (Renegade)
08. Marcus Intalex & S.T. Files – How You Make Me Feel (31 Records)
09. Omni Trio – Soul Of Darkness (Promenade ’96 Rollout) (Moving Shadow)
10. Axis – Solutions (Looking Good)
11. Sci-Clone – Everywhere I Go (Remix) (Metalheadz)
12. LTJ Bukem – Music (Peshay Remix) (Nexus)
13. Danny Breaks – Astrology (Droppin’ Science)
14. Ed Rush – August (Remix) (No U-Turn)
15. Photek – Rings Around Saturn (Photek)
Cover image taken by myself in Sweden, August 2008
This mix was actually recorded a month ago to take with me on a trip to Sweden, where a friend of mine was getting married. It actually turned out really nicely and so I am very happy to present it to you now.
This is a relatively short mix covering the style of drum n’ bass once known, rather absurdly, as ‘intelligent drum n’ bass’. A potted history: once upon a time there was the UK rave scene, which involved many many many boggle-eyed people in ludicrous clothing dancing all night in warehouses, fields, aircraft hangars and assorted dingy locales to UK breakbeat rave, Belgian hoover tunes, hard acid, Italian piano screamers and assorted other manic jaw-grinding tunage. Out of this primordial soup arose hardcore (aka ‘ardkore), which smooshed it all together into one hands-in-the-air sonic goulash – the cheesy stabs, the Essex ravebird vocals, the children’s tv show samples, the hoover stabs, all layered over mental breakbeatery. As the drugs got shit the music split in two directions, one part of the scene moving into ever more ludicrous heliumized rave mayhem (happy hardcore, in short), the other abandoning most of the rave motifs and in order to concentrate on forging entirely new sounds from the sonic raw materials, the drums and bass.
Thus was jungle born. Of course, jungle, being the street music of the day, attracted a lot of trouble, and so the raves were quite dodgy. So there was a need for club spaces less affected by trouble-makers (see pretty much every other London ‘urban’ music scene of the last 15 years for the continuation of this theme!). Jungle was of course afflicted with its own surfeit of cliches (incomprehensible hyperspeed ragga-babble over rippling Amens being a particular speciality), and so many people felt there was the need for a more deeper and more mature take on the sound (whether or not this was necessary is of course a matter of opinion). Thus the emergence of LTJ Bukem, a longtime ardkore dj who was interested in pursuing a deeper course than the pure dancefloor thrills that had been driving the rave scene for so many years. Alongside rave legend Fabio their Thursday night club Speed set the agenda for a more melodic take on jungle that would integrate influences from musics as diverse as jazz and ambient into the pummeling breakbeat matrix.
Although this was never my absolute favourite sound (the Metalheadz darkside stuff was always more my taste), there is no denying that many of the best tracks made in this style were deeply compelling, propulsive and melodic where so many of the weaker tracks were merely wishy-washy.
With this mix I have tried to showcase some of my favourite tracks in this style of drum n’ bass, and I hope that you enjoy it.
Update: September 19, 2008
My friend Eric (the guy whose wedding it was in fact) has got in touch via e-mail with some pertinent thoughts:
Who can forget the heady days of intelligent drum-n’bass, or ‘artcore’ as one of the compilations used to put it! I remember popping in to the d&b bassment at Black Market Records one day and hearing ‘Rings Around Saturn’ for the first time. Sweet tune and then just when we thought that was it Nicky Blackmarket turned it over and put on ‘U.F.O.’ to a room full of dropped jaws! Photek was absolutely killing it at that time.
It’s times like these when I’m gutted for selling my record collection. Even though you can find a lot of the tracks on mp3 when you fancy it, it’s still nice to be able to just dig through the crate instead. Once in a while though songs come to mind that can’t be found on mp3. Like this Leon Mar EP I got at the end of my d&b phase, ‘Silent Runnings/Release the Love’, or a Flytronix track on Moving Shadow, Hidden Agenda and other random things that pop up in the memory, even though I can no longer even remember how they went in many cases. Never did DJ myself though so always ended up selling things to buy newer stuff and eventually ended up moving over to CDs for good.
The thing I would most like to have though is some recordings of all the pirate radio shows I used to pick up on the walkman and some of the good Kiss FM and Radio 1 d&B shows they used to play around ’93-’96. They were brilliant. You’d get all kinds of people popping in to the studio to play dubplates or their own sets. And all of the budget adverts for the latest rave or d&b night in bumblef*ck London were top entertainment. There isn’t a website for that is there?
This is a good question, actually! I know that Partyvibe has some old pirate radio sets for download, but does anyone know of any other sites that have mid-90’s jungle/drum n’ bass pirate radio and/or rave sets?
Update 2: November 7, 2008
Check out what other people are saying about this mix!
Awesome mate, been listening to this heaps whilst studying for exams. Been ages since I heard a few of the tracks too… quality!
Just listening to this mix again – absolutely awesome stuff! If you’ve not already got this you need to download it ASAP!