It’s dark, it’s weighty, it’s relentless…it’s Konspiracy by Kemal + Rob Data, better known as Konflict. Top notch drums and gnarly bass are the name of the game here, with instrumentation that grooves and moves – which will get you moving too. 2002’s Konspiracy from Industry Recordings is almost criminal in its potency.
Even better, this year this classic has been remastered and put on Bandcamp for digital download!
In times of hardship such as what we’re currently seeing in the world, a respite, an escape, is sorely needed. Today we dig deep to find a 1997 Drum & Bass gem by Parallax that can offer a breath of fresh air. This delightfully mellow A-Side comes from the archives of Urban Flavour Records, the brainchild of Tricksta, that would eventually evolve into Nu-Directions – a label that featured notable artists including ASC, Need for Mirrors, and BCee, among others.
Watercolours paints a picture of rich tones filled with pleasing, even pensive, auras. Gentle stabs punctuate phrases that emanate vibrant, ambient acuity. This song glides about with an elegant air, aided by tasteful piano and synth runs. A pure bassline and smart breaks congeal into a jazzy groove that breathes a dynamic spirit into the track. And that switch-up in the latter half? A stroke of genius. A much needed escape, indeed!
In the mid-90’s, the sound of Jungle/Drum & Bass was forever changed with the arrival of the Techstep style, showcased brilliantly by Spider Net’s Awake. Spider Net was an alias used only once — for this particular release — by none other than No U-Turn label boss and collaborator, Nicholas “Nico” Sykes.
A fat B side by any standard, Awake is a 1996 jolt of Techstep that stomps heavy and hard. The rough and rude bass here is characteristic of the No U-Turn sound for the time, and is quite honestly one of my favourite sounds in the world. Protean drum sampling establishes a decisively wicked groove comprised of three break flavors. Sparse samplings of complementary sounds provide just enough atmosphere to round out this monster of a classic.
No U-Turn’s catalogue boasts a heap of bangers like these, making it easy to see how the label’s trademark style indelibly marked the scene.
Jazz Juice (previously known as Unit 1) was the ephemeral two-piece collaboration between Alex Reece and Wax Doctor, featured on the equally ephemeral Precious Material label formed by the steadfast Phil Wells, better known as Basement Phil (side note – an excellent account of the Precious Material label can be found over on God Is No Longer a DJ).
Jazz Juice’s self-titled song on their 1995 self-titled EP is a beauty of a tune beloved by those who are enchanted by its soothing vibes. This ramble through a languidly lush soundscape is speckled with the unmistakable Do This My Way break from Kid ’N Play that cleverly captures a cadence marked by 90s techno influence. Alex Reece and Wax Doctor employ an impeccable palette of colourful sounds, each one tastefully complementary to the last. Perhaps my favourite aspect of this tune is its clever phrasing, highlighted by alternations between just beats to beats with melodic backing. No doubt a unique track, give Jazz Juice a listen below to discover (or remember) what makes it so special.
The recent passing of the venerable Edward Holmes, better known as Optiv, has been a time to celebrate his body of work. A stalwart in the pantheon of Drum & Bass luminaries, Optiv’s impact will live on forever. One such work by Nomis and Optiv sticks out indelibly for me in a lineup of classics from the Cause 4 Concern camp, released on Optiv’s Red Light Records.
Piston is an underrated 2002 track that can stand with the best bass bangers in the genre. I love to crank the dial on this tune to get the full effect of its behemoth bass…yet, I always end up having to bring it down a notch or two just because of its sheer force. Intensity is further mounted by the frantic cacophony of howls and shrieks that ensnare the atmosphere. And what’s a song in the C4C domain without slick drum sequencing? This track has it in spades. Sonorous grooves beat away in this brute force classic. Long live Optiv!
Dev Pandya broke onto the scene under his Paradox moniker in 1996 wielding solid amen smashers. The formidable energy and complexity of Pandya’s deft cuttage made him a staple of the Jungle/Drumfunk style. Remaining true to his sound, Paradox rocks his breaks-heavy style to this day.
Paradox’s breaks are relentless and stone cold on the early Renegade Hardware release A Certain Sound, with bass straight from the depths of an abyss. The 1996 heater employs a quote from the iconic film Dune to psychedelic effect, as Paul’s voice bounces along in hypnotic cadence, and is ultimately complemented by eerie atmospherics. This classic track is not to be missed – a considerable weapon of sound in any Jungle/Drumfunk DJ’s arsenal!
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…
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…
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.