The Neurofunk scene was really developing into its potential when Phace’s 2007 debut album dropped. The delightful delirium that is Psycho evokes the neuro trappings of Phace’s contemporaries such as Noisia (who make an appearance on The Feed) and Misanthrop. The expertly realized theme of this album makes for an intense rush through menacing vibes and low end sounds.
From the raucous Reservoir, the titular Psycho, to the titanic Tranquilizer, every track is a belter of artistically techy proportions. This album doesn’t miss a beat. Psycho is a wild ride not for the faint of heart; yet if you dare to listen, you’ll find an outstanding album full of seriously enjoyable songs.
The colossal RAM Trilogy earned a name unlike many others in the domain of Drum & Bass. Each artist that comprised the trio had their own reputation forged before joining forces: Andy C, Origin Unknown, and Shimon. RAM Trilogy broke onto the scene as a trio with three immense singles on RAM Records that built up to their aptly-named 1999 album, Molten Beats.
Relentless beats and brutal basses are synthesized with expert precision across the entire album. Molten Beats explodes out of the gate with a bang(er): Evolution effectively sets the tone for a rolling Drum & Bass album of epic proportions. The unforgettable No Reality sounds as otherworldly as ever with its distorted bass glittering of harmonic gold. Near the end of the album, Mind Overload is a gnarly tune that, to me, defines the essence of the whole record. Of course, every song that graces this album’s track list is solid, meaning that Molten Beats can easily be enjoyed from start to finish.
RAM Trilogy locked in on a tightly focused sound and motif for this LP that results in a consistently heavy and intense experience. The combinations of bass, breaks, FX, and atmospheres blend so well, feeling thematic of bustling metropolises and the zeitgeist of the pre-Y2K era. The albumfittingly received the remaster treatment from RAM Records in November just last year, its first half of which was released 20 years later to the exact day from the original. There’s no better time to check out this masterful work from some of Drum & Bass’s finest.
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.
Regular readers have probably noticed that we’re big fans of Seba here at the Dojo. The man’s ability to bend classic breaks to his will and layer them over fantastic synth backgrounds, combined with a versatility that sees him producing everything from dark amen smashers to beautiful rolling liquid has cemented his position as one of the finest names in the scene.
On to today’s #TBT feature then, and the fantastic news that Seba’s 2008 debut LP Return to Forever is being given the digital remaster and reissue treatment via his own Secret Operations imprint following the demise of its original home, Combination Records.
From the uplifting euphoria of Blaze & Fade Out through the driving darkness of Special Ops and out into the hypnotic syncopations of Crocket, Seba’s debut sounds as fresh now as it did seven years ago and punchier than ever thanks to the new mastering treatment.
The high energy tracks are broken up nicely by jazzy downtempo number Silicone and a Jesper Dahlbäck techno remix, and for an added bonus we get the slightly different 12″ mix of Blaze & Fade Out included too. Can’t say fairer than that! The LP is out right now via all good download stores so go grab a copy at your leisure.
It’s hard to believe that seven years have passed since US D&B legends Evol Intent dropped their debut LP Era Of Diversion. I remember the release vividly and still rinse out tracks like 8 Bit Bitch and Middle Of The Night regularly in my sets, and the album is still a fantastic listen from start to finish. Being the generous coves that they are, the trio are celebrating the album’s anniversary by giving away a download of the whole thing for nothing! You’ve got a week to take advantage so check out a stream below and head over here to grab a download.