Taking influence from the early Moving Shadow, Metalheadz and Good Looking sound, Feijai’s new EP for The Dreamers took us straight back to the 90s sound when it landed in the Dojo inbox. Naturally we had to pick the man’s brains on his influences, so here are the top five classic tunes from the Midlands-based producer…
When it comes to genre-defining albums, it doesn’t get much more legendary than New Forms. Propelling underground D&B into the mainstream musical limelight and snatching the Mercury Music Prize for good measure, the album delighted heads and newcomers alike, blending rapid drum programming with influences from jazz and hip-hop to form the perfect fusion of organic and electronic. Despite not setting out to make a crossover, Roni and the Reprazent gang certainly ended up with one.
Twenty years on, the album is getting a four disc deluxe reissue this month with the full original LP remastered, the full set of “Re Forms” remixes and most tantalisingly of all, a fresh disc featuring a live hardware mix of unreleased edits of the best tracks on the album. So how does it stand up after two decades? Pretty damn well it turns out.
The two discs of the original album have been given a fresh lick of mastering paint and are sounding just as exciting as they did in 1997, full of funky drum programming, enticing synths and classic hooks. Anyone who doesn’t get a shiver from hearing the guitar line on Brown Paper Bag just has no soul! The remixes don’t hold up as well to my ears (with a handful of exceptions) but they always felt like messing with perfection given the sheer quality of the original album.
The live hardware mix meanwhile is an absolute joy from start to finish; all of the album’s iconic tracks are there including some of the lower tempo beats and a number have been re-engineered to mash up originals and remixes, often to great effect. The new edit of Share The Fall featuring elements of Grooverider’s Jeep Style Mix proved a personal highlight amongst a thoroughly enjoyable bonus disc.
If you’re looking for the definitive version of an absolutely essential album then this is unquestionably it. Check out the first disc via Youtube below and hit up your favourite store to grab the deluxe package right now.
Unknown Error are chiefly remembered for their hefty neurofunk outings for the likes of Lifted Music and Renegade Hardware but the duo also had a knack for the deeper side of D&B as evidenced by their 2006 single for Horizons Music, The Yearning.
Combining rough breaks with soft pads, the track explores the “liquid with teeth” style that other producers like Chris.Su have since taken up, and the track walks the line between deep euphoria and darker dancefloor sensibilities with finesse. Tasty stuff, and a record we’ve got a lot of time for here at Dojo HQ. Best of all it’s been remastered and reissued for 2017! Check out the new audio below and hit up the Horizons Store to grab the limited clear 12″ release now…
In 2015, the legendary DnB label Metalheadz embarked on a project to re-master and re-release all of its classic tunes from the 90s and beyond. This was presumably done for DJs, to give high-quality downloads of early-era songs to those who have updated their equipment but not their tastes.
What it has effectively done on top of that, however, is to expose younger generations of ravers to the wonders of the Metalheadz archives, as well as to producers and sub-genres which, if not forgotten, were buried in the record crates of first-and-second-generation junglists and D&B heads. Now even the grumpiest vinyl-loving old school heads can listen to a crisp, clean WAV of Marcus Intalex’s My Soul on their computers if they so choose.
The most recent release from the “Re-Mastered” project is of 2002’s MDZ.02. Just released on Friday, this 11-track retrospective contains classics from the likes of Klute, Teebee, Loxy & Ink and a special Usual Suspects track called Tribute, an homage to the influential D&B MC Kendo, who’d recently passed at the time the track was released.
2002 was an interesting transitional time for drum and bass. Beats became much faster, samples started to be influenced by hip hop, R&B and rave, and jungle and drum and bass structures started to merge in ways that many felt were unthinkable. Metalheadz was right on the forefront of this change and its surrounding controversy, riding the crest to emerge as the well-established and cutting-edge label it is today.
MDZ.02 2017 isn’t up on Discogs yet, but it can be purchased in a number of formats on the Metalheadz website and clips can be streamed on Soundcloud.
It’s been a while since we found time for a Thursday classic track but it’s definitely long overdue, so with the sun shining here at Dojo HQ we’re digging in the DJ Zinc vaults for a look back at 2001 classic Casino Royale.
Featuring that signature Zinc rolling break and simple but effective garage-style bassline, this is just a big warm joyous slice of golden era D&B that might lack the complexity of newer tunes but nails the vibe perfectly. It’s a really recognisable number too and still a great choice for a feel-good set closer. We miss you Zinc…come back to D&B please!
Soul Intent’s latest sublabel for Lossless Music, Dope Plates, keeps things retro with three new slices of old school-tinged breakbeat jungle goodness. To celebrate the label’s launch, we asked Alex to give us his Top 5 90s Jungle classics. Serious selections! Read on for Alex’s thoughts on each track…
John Rolodex returns to the scene after a few years pursuing other projects and he’s bringing fresh remasters of his back catalogue to the table, starting with a six track EP of beats from 2002-2004. Originally released by Metalheadz, Tech Itch and Dread Recordings, the tracks feature all the classic hallmarks of golden era dark D&B, namely big badass reese basslines and frantic break chopping.
With fresh masters from T.Power these tracks are sounding as fresh as they did a decade ago, with the likes of Can’t See Me and Dark Obsession still more than capable of smashing up a rave or three. Check out the EP below and look for it via the Machinist Music bandcamp from Monday.
Raiden’s artistic contributions to the harder end of Drum & Bass over the years yielded plenty of iconic tracks, and his absence from the scene is felt keenly now that his output is more focussed on his Kamikaze Space Program and Dot Product projects in lower tempo arenas.
For today’s classic selection we’re winding back to 2002 and possibly his most anthemic track, the epic Fallin. Released on Renegade Hardware as part of the Four Elements EP series, the combination of hypnotic lead melody, haunting vocal echoes and rugged bass and beats make for a track that still does the damage nearly 15 years on. Whether it’s the original or the more recent “Revisited” mix (which you can grab for free here), this one always smashes up the dance. Pure vibes.
This week’s classic comes straight outta the ‘headz archives as we wind back to 2005 and the threatening vibes of Hive’s Krush. Exemplifying the harder D&B style of that period, the chopped up breaks, reese bass and rave stabs on this one are still more than capable of sending a few shivers up the spine. Hectic business! Check it out below and hit up discogs if you’re keen to grab a copy…
This one shouldn’t need any introduction; today’s classic selection takes us back two decades to 1995 and the golden years of the jungle sound. Keeping those crispy breaks but swapping the darker vibe of many jungle tunes for a lighter tone based around floaty synth melodies, there’s no doubt that this served as the inspiration for many artists in the development of the intelligent and liquid D&B scenes in later years.
Interest in the track clearly hasn’t waned with the likes of LTJ Bukem dropping a new bootleg from dRamatic & dbAudio so maybe we’ll see a fresh mix hitting the stores soon, but meantime the original still does the business; check it out below and lose yourself in those synths…