15 Years of Secret Operations

15 years is a long time in music. 15 years from the time of writing, Nelly’s Hot in Herre was top of the US billboard charts – a position it had occupied for 6 weeks previously, and would surrender the following week.  15 years is an even longer period of time to be pushing music; some flash in the pan artists are lucky to go a five-year stint in the limelight. This makes Seba’s seminal Secret Operations label even more important.

Reaching 15 years of age, Swedish-sprung Secret Operations has decided to look back, not forward, to appreciate all that has gone before it to date. Seba has selected 18 tracks to represent the label’s ever-expanding history, including collabs and features from the likes of the timeless Robert Manos, the genre stalwart Paradox, and an unusual track from the ever imaginative Resound.

Musically, the LP features that signature Seba sound, carefully constructed breaks alongside a musicality so often overlooked by today’s brightest producers. Tracks like Pieces, Wake Up Call, and Forever amongst others capture that vibe expertly. That said, there’s also room for the darker side of drum and bass that has woven its way in and out of this genre’s discourse since the early 90s. Cuts such as External Reality, Fire Like This, and Day By Night are my go-tos as far as darker material goes.

But my wanton pigeonholing of tunes here doesn’t allow for some of the classics present on here. Before I Can Breathe from Seba & Physics was one of the first tunes I heard getting into the genre, and much of the rest of the album will represent similar audible milestones for you, too.

Distilling 15 years into 18 tracks would be hard for any label manager, but I think those selected for this compilation both reflect the outstanding musical ethos of the label, as well standing the test of time. Here’s to 15 more years of Secret Operations.

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Written by James Austin, aka DJ Auzi, label manager at Terabyte Records

Facebook: facebook.com/auzidnb

Classic Album: Seba – Return To Forever

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.


Seba – Jungle Music / Cloudless [Secret Operations]

Seba returns to his own Secret Operations label with another top notch 12″ release. Jungle Music lives up to it’s name with crunchy old-school breakwork and hefty sub leading the charge, giving way to some lovely atmospheric pads towards the bridge.

Over on the flip Cloudless delivers that trademark Seba liquid that fans of the Swedish producer know and love so well. Lush business! Check out the clips below and keep your eyes peeled for the release coming at the end of October.

Seba – Nothing Can Replace / Too Much Too Soon (Remixes) [Secret Operations]

Secret Operations returns and this time Seba has recruited John B and Blu Mar Ten for remix duties on tracks from 2013’s Identity LP. The former turns in a big bouncy dancefloor relick of Nothing Can Replace. Gone are the slightly 80s sounding synths of the original in favour of warm bass stabs and a pretty infectious hook.

Blu Mar Ten opt for a less drastic shift of tone for Too Much Too Soon, turning in a trademark deep liquid roller that captures the essence of the original (mainly thanks to the unusual vocals) while switching up the melodies enough to make it their own. Check out the clips below and look out for this one dropping on vinyl and digital very soon!

Seba – Inside Yourself / Berberian Sound [Secret Operations]


Seba’s latest single sees him blending the sounds of deep house and techno with the tempo and rhythms of Drum & Bass. For once the description in the press release is actually pretty illuminating: “This is the type of sound that I listen to when I go out clubbing. The only difference is that the tempo is usually 125-130 BPM”. The stabs, pads and general atmosphere of Inside Yourself will certainly be familiar to anyone with an ear for techno production.

Berberian Sound moves things into spookier territory, with the synth lead and booming bass both lending the track a tense, ominous edge. As usual Seba’s ability to craft detailed, clever beats with one foot on the dancefloor and the other in some strange dimension remains unassailable. Check out the clips below and watch out for this one dropping on vinyl and digital from Feb 16th (though judging by the delays on the last Secret Operations release, this may slip).

Seba & Paradox – Delusions [Secret Operations]

Seba and Paradox reunite for their first collaboration in a while, dropping via Seba’s Secret Operations imprint. Delusions strips things right back to the bare essentials, with weighty sub, classic breaks and an ominous sliver of melody lending the tune b-boy flavour and menace in equal proportion.

Future Now keeps the bassweight and spooky vibe but swaps out the relatively steady break of the A side for a far more chopped up affair, snares and cymbals landing all over the place as the low frequencies wobble away beneath. Dangerous! Check out the clips below and look out for this on vinyl and digital from December 8th.

Seba – Mesmerism EP [Secret Operations]

Seba follows up on last year’s Identity LP with a varied new EP for his Secret Operations imprint. Mesmerism gets the EP off to a fine start with a skanking half-step beat and lilting, spacey leads over dubbed out low end. Next up Physickl shifts the tone with rich synths and playful acid sounds building up to an insistent stepping beat layered over an irresistibly stark hook.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Seba release without at least one trademark deep liquid tune, and Life Is delivers that sound we’ve come to know and love – understated melodies and warm, deep sub bass. This one isn’t quite up there with Under The Sun’s masterclass in liquid euphoria but it’s still a worthy addition to Seba’s impressive back catalogue. Finally Science Fiction heads for darker territory with detailed, angular percussion on a tune that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Fracture set.

Once again Seba and Secret Operations proves to be a force to be reckoned with. Check out the teaser below and look out for the release dropping very soon.

Seba Album Sampler [Secops]

Swedish Drum & Bass maestro Seba is winding up to release his latest album on his own Secret Operations label, and in preparation he’s got a 12″ sampler in the works. Too Much Too Soon delivers a nice slice of warm vocal driven liquid but for me it’s all about the crisp snares and acid style bass of Say You Love Me. Watch out for the release on December 17th!