Pearsall presents The United Colours of One Nation Revisited
right-click, save as to download this free mp3 mix
Mixed in Berlin, October 2020
(69:57, 160 MB, 320 kbps mp3)
Direct link to the mix:
- Roni Size – Only A Dream [V Recordings]
- Scorpio – Trouble [V Recordings]
- Capone – Friday [Hardleaders]
- Special K – Pressure Roll [Proper Talent]
- Scorpio – Li Li [V Recordings]
- Realtime – Desert Storm [Collusion]
- 187 Lockdown – Gunman (Natural Born Chillers Remix) [eastWest]
- Prisoners Of Technology – Trick Of Technology [Fresh Kutt]
- TNT – 2 Degrees [Kartoons]
- Lion Of Judah – Exodus [Congo Natty]
- Undercover Agent – Oh Gosh! (Mampi Swift Remix) [Juice]
- Dillinja – Unexplored Terrain [V Recordings]
- Red One – Hard Edge [Ram]
- DJ Die – Special Treat [V Recordings]
- Roni Size & Reprazent – Heroes (Origin Unknown Remix) [Talkin’ Loud]
- Shimon & Andy C – Climate Control [Ram]
- Outta Dynamics – Bass Control [Trouble On Vinyl]
- Concept 2 – No Mistake [Ram]
- DJ Zinc – Bring the Danger feat. MC GQ [True Playaz]
- Gang Related & Mask – Dictation [Dope Dragon]
- Renegade – Dark Soldier Part 2 [Dread]
- Mampi Swift – The One [Charge]
- DJ Krust – Cold War [Talkin’ Loud]
- DJ Krust – Warhead [V Recordings]
- Shimon & Andy C – Night Flight [Ram]
On September 27, 1997 the One Nation crew held a big rave called The United Colours of One Nation at The Island in Ilford, East London, featuring a stellar lineup of some of the biggest dj’s in drum n’ bass:
- Andy C
- Darren Jay
- Jumping Jack Frost
- Kenny Ken
- Marvellous Cain
- Micky Finn
- Nicky Blackmarket
I wasn’t there, though.
I was only 16 and for us West/North-West London boys Ilford might as well have been on the other side of the moon. We’d only recently started going to clubs and raves and we weren’t even going regularly, maybe once every few months, and going to a big jump-up rave so far from home was just not happening, especially since most of my friends were into hard trance and not drum n’ bass.
However, I did buy the tape pack of that rave.
And I listened to it. And listened to it. And listened to it some more.
Those tapes, along with other tapes from various raves, were on constant rotation in my Walkman and on my home stereo. Walking to and from school. Doing my homework. Taking the bus. Going to meet up with friends. Basically, whatever I was doing, if possible, I was listening to music (nothing has changed in that regard since then!)
1997 was probably the last year where drum n’ bass was the undisputed main street sound in London, so listening to these tapes again is something of an interesting historical document, of that last moment where drum n’ bass enjoyed total supremacy in London, right before UK Garage started to take over.
What were the dj’s playing that night? Well, firstly, you can listen for yourself:
Or, alternatively, you can check out the tracklistings, which I found on the Roll Da Beats forum and then added to a Google Sheet:
As you can see from the tracklistings, the sets played at this rave give a really good indication of where drum n’ bass was in late 1997 – a mix of hip-hop influenced jump-up anthems, Bristol rollers, and darker, techier stuff. Also, since it was a time when the big name dj’s were traveling all over the country, playing multiple sets per night, it’s not too surprising that many of the same big tunes were played over and over – some even four times in the night! That was pretty typical at big raves in the 90’s, no matter what the genre – I remember going to a Slammin Vinyl night at Bagley’s in King’s Cross in February ’98 and hearing ‘Shooting Star‘ by Bang ever time I walked through the happy hardcore room, probably every dj played it that night!
Just a parenthetical, but that night at Bagley’s provides a nice example of how ubiquitous smartphones have changed our lives. At around 4am I lost my friends and after a bit of fruitless searching I decided to spend the end of the night in the fourth room, a tiny, out-of-the-way space with hard trance and techno dj’s. Anyways, when they threw us out at six I spent a while milling around, hoping to find them, but eventually I gave up hope, sighed, and made my way by myself back to West London to my friend Anno Birkin’s place, since we were all spending the night there. (RIP Anno). By the time I got there it was already 7:30 and I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t really want to wake up his parents, and I didn’t really want to go home, since I’d left some of my stuff there. Fortunately they lived on the ground floor, so I could hop the fence and then climb onto the ledge outside Anno’s bedroom window and knock on it until someone stirred and let me in. As it turned out, they had gotten tired at around 4:30 and had decided to take a mini-cab back after being unable to find me (they hadn’t checked the fourth room). Today, obviously, we would have just messaged or called and there would have been no issue.
So that’s a very long intro – what’s going on with this mix? Basically, as I mentioned at the beginning of the year when I dropped Super Rhythmic Facts my concept for 2020 was to focus on themed and tribute mixes, so when I was thinking of something to follow Fake Berghain in My Spare Room, I wanted to do something that would be as easy as that was complex (and mixing these mid-90’s jump-up tunes is super easy for me). I remembered how much I loved this tape pack back in the day, which led to the idea that it would be fun to use it as the inspiration for a mix, in a similar fashion to how I mined Carl Cox’s 1993/1994 sets for my 2018 mix 94 Hardcore (Big) Carl Cox.
Therefore what I decided to do with this mix was to go through all the tracklistings and pull together a 25 track mix that would (1) include at least three tracks from each dj, (2) capture the essence of a dj set at a big drum n’ bass rave in the mid-late 90’s, and (3) be simply, unabashedly fun to play and listen to.
And that’s the result!
Let’s be honest, this is not the world’s most creative tracklisting – this is a pretty shameless big tune fest. Most of the time I try to mix things up, intersperse obscurities with more obvious stuff, but this is pretty much wall-to-wall anthems, exactly like you would get at a big rave back in the day. Lots of Bristol rollers, lots of party bass, plenty of stepper’s delights, and even the odd Amen tearout feature.
With another lockdown looming here in Berlin, I thought it would be fun to put together a mix of tunes I love, and that I can guarantee will put a smile on my face when I listen to it.
Hopefully it will have the same effect on you!