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.
For anyone who’s wondering what DJ Trace has been up to lately, it seems he’s been busy founding a new label in the form of 117 Records. Apparently having tired of the neuro sound he’d been championing for over a decade at DSCI4, he shut that label down and started 117 with a view to releasing a slew of music from producers who have been harnessing a more old school sound in combination with modern production techniques.
The label’s latest output is an absolutely gigantic LP featuring D&B and Jungle cuts which are dark and at times techy but definitely a shade different to the neurofunk sounds that defined DSCI4. The two LP bundles available are split between 8 tracks in a vinyl only bundle (available at Redeye here) consisting of 4 limited edition clear 10″s, and a 24 track digital bundle.
Particular highlights from the vinyl bundle come on from Kid Lib with the manic jungle syncopations of The Rifle, Gremlinz & Homemade Weapons absolutely menacing Scar-H and the equally brutal roll of Genotype’s aptly titled Aggression Snare. The digital bundle meanwhile plays host to some treats such as the hyperactive amen cut ups of X Nation’s remix of Trace’s Never Felt This Way, the distinctly old skool stabs and breaks of Fade’s Phobia and Trace and Nico’s clattering Monkeys.
The whole LP is well worth a listen so check out the clips on Soundcloud and pick your own favourites.