Pearsall presents 75 Shadows 003: 1995
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Mixed in Berlin, June 2022
(54:01 130 MB, 320 KBPS MP3)
Cover art by Michal Idziak
Direct link to the mix:
- Dead Calm – Urban Style [Moving Shadow]
- DJ Pulse – Voyager [Moving Shadow]
- DJ Harmony – Let Me In (Adam F Remix) [Moving Shadow]
- Aquasky – Dezires (DJ Krust Remix) [Moving Shadow]
- Flytronix – Return to Intelligence [Moving Shadow]
- Omni Trio – Nu Birth of Cool [Moving Shadow]
- Foul Play – The Stepper [Moving Shadow]
- Higher Sense – People of the Universe (Remix) [Moving Shadow]
- Flytronix – Shine a Rewind (DJ Harmony Remix) [Moving Shadow]
- Higher Sense – Bizarre (Remix) [Moving Shadow]
- JMJ & Richie – Free La Funk (PFM Remix) [Moving Shadow]
- Cloud 9 – Snow [Moving Shadow]
- Essence of Aura – So This Is Love [Moving Shadow]
- Blame – Dreamfinder [Moving Shadow]
- Omni Trio – Renegade Snares (Foul Play VIP Mix) [Moving Shadow]
Another week, another exciting entry in my 75 Shadows mix series, devoted to the sounds of the mighty Moving Shadow between 1993 and 1997.
If you missed the previous entries, here’s how I described the project in the blog post to accompany my 1993 mix:
Over the next five weeks, starting today, I will be releasing five mixes of fifteen tracks each, with each one covering one year between 1993 and 1997.
75 (Moving) Shadows!
Established in 1990, Moving Shadow was one of the key players in UK rave music, tracing it’s evolution from the earliest rumblings of breakbeat house through the explosion of hardcore rave in 1992, to the darkside era in 1993 and onwards to jungle and then drum n’ bass in it’s many forms, from the smooth and mellow sounds of what was often termed ‘intelligent drum n’ bass’ to the clanking mechanical sounds of techstep.
This project is something I’ve had in mind for a while, to really put together a proper tribute to the label, something that could properly convey the sheer quality of their output in the 1990’s. Obviously, as you know, I love tribute mixes, and I have always enjoyed creating mixes with themes, so for this one I decided that instead of doing one single mix that mashed together tracks from different years, I would instead do five different mixes, one for each year from 1993 to 1997, each covering 15 tracks that were released that year. Now, I realize that due to the dubplate culture of the time the release year doesn’t necessarily match the actual year of production, so some (many?) of the tracks I’ve featured in these mixes will have been produced in the previous year. That’s just reality – and I’ve used Discogs as the guide for what was released when, which seems the most sensible / realistic approach.
This week’s mix is devoted to Moving Shadow’s 1995 output. 1995 is, for me, a really interesting and fascinating year in the history of UK breakbeat rave music, as so many different things were happening, with various styles and ideas emerging and receding, as you can hear quite clearly in this mix.
On the one hand, 1995 was perhaps when jungle reached its highest point in its brief and bright history; as the great Irish dj Droid termed it in an essential Dissensus thread: ‘Thrive in ’95 – Jungle’s Zenith’.
1995 was when electronic music production techniques and technology started to catch up with the scene’s creativity (‘scenius’, as Simon Reynolds termed it), and the ideas in peoples’ heads could finally be expressed fully. So even compared to the previous year by 1995 the major jungle anthems had sharper drums, crispier percussion, boomier bass, lusher atmospherics. Everything was bigger, louder, cranked to the max. Even today, if you play one of the big ’95 anthems on a huge soundsystem, there’s a physical feel to it, a sternum-punching immediacy … I remember the first time I played The Angels Fell by Dillinja on a really big system, I was blown away by how insanely intense it was, how totally physical the experience was. This was the year that the ‘hardstep’ sound came to the fore – jungle music precision engineered to sound as brutal as possible, to pound you into submission as it echoed from cavernous speakers in dark rooms.
However if you’ve reached the top, there’s nowhere to go but down, so if jungle had hit it’s zenith then what came to be known as drum n’ bass had begun to wax larger. By 1996 drum n’ bass had fully emerged (more on that next week), but 1995 was the crossover point, where more and more producers started stepping away from tearing Amen drums and hyperspeed ragga chat and exploring other ways to manipulate drums and bass and keep a dancefloor rocking. This could be in mellower, funkier, jazzier ways, and it could also be in colder, darker, harder ways, but the common denominator was more streamlined productions, a step away from jungle’s rhythmic psychedelia to focus more on tracks that rolllllled and rollllled.
Moving Shadow was, of course, at the very center of things in the scene in 1995, covering all the angles. My goal with the selection for this mix was to illustrate this very clearly – to take you from the smoothest grooves to minimalistic rollers to sweetly atmospheric jungle to the most punishing hardstep tearouts you can imagine.
I hope you enjoy the mix!
5 key tracks from this mix:
Urban Style: Dead Calm were a Bristol-based duo who released a series of solid singles on Moving Shadow from 1995 onwards. They weren’t responsible for any major anthems, but I think they are a great example of the creativity of the scene at the time, and the sheer depth of the Moving Shadow roster; even though they weren’t particularly famous at the time, and their stuff isn’t fought over on the second-hand market today, they consistently put out quality tracks, of which this is a great example. Using the same Guru sample that Lemon D used more famously on ‘Urban Style Music’ on Metalheadz, this is a jazzy roller that beautifully sets the scene for the rest of the mix.
Dezires (DJ Krust Remix): I love a Bristol roller! And few Bristolians have made better rollers than DJ Krust, known to his family as Kirk Thompson, son of Caribbean immigrants to Bristol. This remix of his was a relatively early contribution to the pantheon of Bristol rollers, but IMO it’s a quite lovely example, even if it’s relatively obscure. Taking the original from Bournemouth’s Aquasky, he flips it into a driving drum n’ bass roller, marrying chunky breaks with a heavy bassline, offset by sweet, jazzy keys. Simple but oh so effective.
People of the Universe (Remix): One of the great unsung heroes of drum n’ bass is Ant Miles, who has always been overshadowed by his production partner Andy C, who from an early age became one of the biggest dj’s on the scene. Ant was one of the co-founders of Ram Records as well as co-producer with Andy C on a whole range of huge tracks released under aliases like Desired State, Concept 2, Ram Trilogy, and, most famously, Origin Unknown. Higher Sense was his collaboration with David Thomas (also known as DJ Release), and was used for a series of releases in the mid-90’s, mostly on Moving Shadow. Their most famous release was ‘Cold Fresh Air‘ on Ant’s own Liftin’ Spirits label, but the quality of their output together was really high, as you can hear by the two tracks I’ve used on this mix. This remix of ‘People of the Universe’ is a great example of what I meant above about 1995 jungle being so big: gigantic drums, powerful percussion, a huge (and hugely obvious) sample, and, below it all, a monster bassline.
So This Is Love: An all-time favorite of mine – this is maybe the pinnacle of atmospheric jungle for me. An Amen tearout wrapped around sweet ambient washes, cascading synths and a breathy female vocal sample? Count me in! I don’t really have much more to say about this one, just that it’s really really awesome, and I’ve loved it since I was a teenager, and I still love it. Amazing.
Renegade Snares (Foul Play VIP Mix): So there was no better way for me to finish this mix than to include this track … for my money, the single greatest tune ever released on Moving Shadow. Renegade Snares was originally a 1993 anthem from Omni Trio, and it was progressively remixed into more and more fantastical forms, culminating in this incredible effort from the Foul Play team.
I think this review from Discogs sums up well what makes it such a spectacular tune (edited for grammar and spelling):
These won’t be around forever & are getting harder to come by in good condition as time goes on, like much of the early Shadow releases. The Foul Play VIP mix is an exclusive, and while the whole LP is TOP notch (Living For The Future VIP needs no mention) it’s this tune that gives anyone who was around at the time goosebumps, and no doubt any newcomers appreciating it with fresh ears.
I remember exactly where I was when I first heard this – Lady Diana had literally just died & the Paris tunnel scene was all over the news. In shock, we headed out & a friend dropped ‘Renegade Snares’ VIP & with all the life affirming thoughts going around, it just melted hearts everywhere…
There was emotive ambience in D&B back when, and this captures that vibe perfectly. A classic in every sense of the word, deadly, haunting & uplifting in one take.
Back next week with 1996 and the proper heyday of drum n’ bass.