Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Naphta catches Fever - 19/08/05

Naphta/Droid + Slug @ Fever/Bassbin 190805. Photos By DC
Flash slideshow by Droid with some open source help from this guy. Press play to start - pause to stop. Get Flash here

Naphta Catches fever @ Bassbin 190805.zip (145.5mb)

1. Source Direct 䴋 Snake Style (Source Direct)
2. Koda 䴋 Crisis (Intalektive)
3. Krust 䴋 Priorities (Full Cycle)
4. Attica Blues 䴋 Blueprint [Photek Remix] (Mo䴜Wax)
5. Phaze One 䴋 Phaze One (Odysee)
6. Flytronix 䴋 Return To Intelligence (Moving Shadow)
7. DJ Crystl 䴋 Deep Space (Dee Jay)
8. Manix 䴋 Inside Outside (Inch Press / Cutting Edge LP Sampler)
9. Photek 䴋 Rings Around Saturn (Photek)
10. FBD 䴋 Just Visiting Mars (Outstanding Records)
11. Springheel Jack 䴋 Flying Again (Rough Trade)
12. Mirage 䴋 Just For You (Odyssee)
13. Dope 䴋 Travelling [Slow Train To Philly Mix] (Good Looking)
14. Xedos - Subsonic (Street Beats)
15. DJ Crystl 䴋 Let It Roll (Dee Jay)
16. Lemon D 䴋 Deep Space (I See Sunshine) Original Drum & Space Mix (Planet Earth)

----------------Break in Recording--------------------------------

17. Foul Play 䴋 Cuttin Loose (Moving Shadow)
18. Paul Z 䴋 Talking To God (Street Beats)
19. Intense 䴋 Paradox (Rugged Vinyl)
20. Override 䴋 Critical Phase (Octopus)
21. Danny Breaks 䴋 Astrologikal Remix (Droppin Science)
22. Sounds Of Life II - Currents (Certificate 18)
23. Digital 䴋 Niagra (Metalheadz)
24. Sounds Of Life II 䴋 Intellect (Certificate 18)
25. Orca 䴋 My Eyes (Lucky Spin)
26. Photek 䴋 Fusion (Photek)
27. DJ Fokus 䴋 I Want (Lucky Spin)
28. Studio Pressure 䴋 Presha III (Certificate 18)

OK, first up, apologies to all for some slippages and for some dodgy moments on this mix‰¥Ï some of those woaaaahhh-only-2-wheels - on-the-ground-type mixes‰¥Ï ‰¥ùtwas due to my own rustiness (an ever-more punishing studio schedule has kept me off the decks for some time), and also due to a slightly awkward set-up when it was recorded (Droid and Slug can and will bitterly attest to this, believe me!) (The rant is festering as we speak! - Droid). Anyhow, Droid has persuaded me that it‰¥ús good enough to stick up, but personally the only way I can justify it is by imagining that if nothing else, at least some of you will get a kick out of checking some of the tunes, cos there‰¥ús a bunch of them on here that I haven‰¥út heard on any mixes before, and a lot of this stuff has been unavailable (on vinyl anyway) for some time. Better than me telling myself that I‰¥úd do a ‰¥ùproper‰¥ú studio re-recording of it anyway, cos we all know what useless bastards DJs are when it comes to that sort of shit hehehe‰¥Ï

So. Source Direct kick things off with some extremely deft cut-ups of the Tighten Up break, deep moody business. I never even saw this tune back in der day ‰¥ã in Dublin we picked up what we could and counted ourselves lucky for what came limited selection of jungle and d+b tunes appeared on the shelves of our non-breakbeat lovin‰¥ú town! Hence I had to wait for the recent repress‰¥Ï so Big Up the represses! Yes, I ain‰¥út one of those old skoolers who gets pissed at seeing represses: I say, bring em on. The more new skoolers who get to hear the many colours and shapes of drum n bass music from ye olden times, the better IMO‰¥Ï might help inspire producers to try rolling out something other than ultra-compressed monochrome slabs of one-idea loops‰¥Ï.

Woah, dodgy mix‰¥Ï there are some better ones ahead I swear to you!!! Argh!!! Right, quick, on to Crisis from Koda. Not quite sure what exactly linked Deejay, Lucky Spin and Intalektive, but I always have em connected in my head. Intalektive shit seemed a little rawer than its artier cousins (although I often forget that Deejay brought us Splash‰¥ús thunderous ‰¥ùBabylon‰¥ú and its equally ruff remixes ‰¥ã albeit licensed from elsewhere initially - a lÌÁ ‰¥ùDead Dred‰¥ú on Moving Shadow). Pete Parsons on engineering duties is certainly one common factor across Lucky Spin and Deejay ‰¥ã for me he‰¥ús certainly up there with Nico and Rob Playford as one of the prime movers in that area (he did most of DJ Rap‰¥ús Proper Talent tunes too if I‰¥úm not mistaken); I wish that more of today‰¥ús experienced studio heads would revive that role: getting new kids in with the ideas and helping them shape em‰¥Ï

Krust ‰¥ã ‰¥ùPriorities‰¥ú‰¥Ï some of the deepest rollidge to emanate from the formerly godlike Krust, but an early Full Cycle number, and thus devoid of the coldness and null, blunted depression that (to me) characterised his style by the time he dropped his debut LP‰¥Ï instead, there is a lovely afterglow of warmth to this, despite the inyerface punch of the bass‰¥Ï From there, into one of my favourite drum n bass tracks of all time: Photek‰¥ús beautifully considered remix of Attica Blue‰¥ús trip-hoppy ‰¥ùBlueprint‰¥ú on Mo‰¥ú Wax. This was a real 6am after-the-party tune for me many moons ago, and its delicate mood and subtle roll never cease to suck me in hook, line and sinker.

Next up, Phaze One on Source Direct䴜s Odysee label. I was well chuffed with this combination until I clicked (just now) that Phaze One was in fact PHOTEK 䴋 and not (as I䴜d thought for some reason) Source Direct. Hence I broke one of my own Golden Rules of Mixing: never mix 2 tunes by one artist together!!! Doh. It䴜s not a silly vanity thing BTW 䴋 just one method I䴜ve had of trying to up my game when selecting down through the years, and of making me look for new combinations rather than taking easy options.

Yes, anyway, let‰¥ús slide swiftly through that mix (!) and continue‰¥Ï taking it up a gear next with Flytronix. Taken from a badass 4 track EP this one‰¥Ï although these guys kinda lost me right after this if I remember. A well dodgy title too (the emergent Art/ Function split in d+b from ‰¥ú94 was characterised by much talk of ‰¥ùintelligence‰¥ú: but like, could you really hear that Bukem was more intelligent than say, L Double from his tunes?!?!?! Ludicrous really, but it was easier for me to ignore all that shit, cos the social implications of what style of d+b that you chose to align yourself with in London were lost on me over in Dublin‰¥Ï we few isolated Irish breakbeatists dug hardcore, jump-up, darkside, rollers, ambient/artcore, techstep ‰¥ã whatever had the energy ‰¥ã whether it was more traditionally ‰¥ùmusical‰¥ú, or whether it was a collage patchwork of street ruffidge‰¥Ï

So, into a deep-beat workout from Crystl (with, as always, more than a little help from Pete Parsons)‰¥Ï I love the Prodigy-like simplicity of the hooks and samples and the way they combine to paint the image that the title conjures up‰¥ÏHmmm, it‰¥ús hard to explain this. I guess what I‰¥úm getting at is how, even here on one of his less frantic pieces, you could hear that Crystl was a RAVER (albeit a Hip Hop Raver rather than a Junglist, despite his influence on so many latter-day purist beat-headz‰¥Ï‰¥Ï‰¥Ï..

OK, and so a nice quirky stomper from Manix follows 䴋 one which I only picked up earlier this year over in Brighton. The self-consciously 䴝musical䴜 parts of this neeeaaarly get on my wick a bit, but the contrast with the tuff beats more than compensates. I can enjoy the er, West London muso-vibes like this most when they䴜re ruffed up a bit and treated like the samples they should be (best exemplified on some of Tek 9䴜s 䴜94 / 䴝95 Jungle methinks).

Dropping down into more Photek, and the Pharaoh Sanders-sampling 䴝Rings Around Saturn䴜. Now here䴜s a producer who filtered the 䴝rave䴜 out of his d+b long before most, and thus played such a big part in defining 䴝drum n bass䴜 as something distinct. Here, however, his precision is all jazz-precision (rather than his current techno-precision), and the samples are allowed to play off each other with an easy fluidity, working up a vibe that still connects to Jungle 䴋 largely because the polyrhythms give it that snappy 䴝of-the-moment䴜 quality that, in terms of sheer urgency, the linear 2-step formula has never been able to equal.

Not too painful a mix later and we‰¥úre into FBD Project (aka Neil Trix). As far as I know, this was one of his biggest tunes ‰¥ã but whether that translated into actual sales or not I cannot say‰¥Ï many of the tracks hailed as influences by producers actually sold bugger-all. Regardless, a classy slice of deep atmospheric cut-up Amen pressure. BTW, I initially heard that ‰¥ùFBD‰¥ú stood for ‰¥ùFuture Beyond Dance‰¥ú ‰¥ã a big trancetastic yawn of an acronym these days, but amusing in its naivety at the time. Much later I read Trix himself admit that it really meant ‰¥ùFunded By Drugs‰¥ú, cos that was the reality of the scene at the time! Hahahaa, Chap!

Woah, jumpy vinyl bullshit. Right, from there we‰¥úre on to a track from Springheel Jack‰¥ús first LP (which, BTW, is an absolute corker and should be picked up on sight). Not entirely unlike Omni Trio, these pop-Junglists were regarded as something of an oddity but while Rob Haigh got limited but important airplay from the influential Jungle DJs for a couple of years, I don‰¥út remember ever hearing Springheel Jack feature on any A-list Jungle playlists‰¥Ï a shame really cos they were some of the first casualties of the scene‰¥ús increasing narrow-mindedness, and they could have brought it a lot more colour and some fresh influences ‰¥ã which as time passed, it badly needed.

Next up, Mirage (aka Source Direct again), and the statuesque ‰¥ùJust For You‰¥ú, another minimal masterpiece that offsets the swiftly gliding pace set by the beats with timely melodic shimmers reminiscent of Brian Eno (although more probably sourced from FSOL hehehe). From there onto D.O.P.E. and what seemed to be a kind of GLR/Rugged Vinyl co-production‰¥Ï You wanna hear how to work up some neat percussion and keep the tune rolling without slamming snares on the twos and fours? Listen up!!

Alright, sorry, more freaky mix time‰¥Ï I had some serious dodgy Technics pitch-jumping at the centre going on here with Xedos, and what should have been a timely switch kinda ended up tumbling down the hillside. Fuck it‰¥Ï enter a tasty little beat-switcher from Streetbeats‰¥Ï bar the sax-attack in the middle which has always made me cringe a bit (feels a bit like‰¥Ï the ghost of Kenny G). OK, get me outta here‰¥Ï but now I‰¥úve run out of room on the pitch-slider‰¥Ï help me O Jungle Gods!!!

And the Jungle Gods arrive‰¥Ï in the shape of Crystl & Parsons. Hehehe. Sounds like a solicitor‰¥ús firm‰¥Ï or maybe an antique dealer. Anways, THIS is how to roll. Oh yes. When I hear nu skoolers talk of ‰¥ùrolling‰¥ú, I got to take issue, cos the first real rollers were producers like Crystl (and many others who appeared on Lucky Spin / Deejay‰¥Ï also DJ SS, Gachet and others‰¥Ï and this is before Bristol (or Bristol in the shape of Size, Krust and Die) really settled on their own linear formula. ‰¥ùRollin‰¥ú therefore, is this: rollin out a drum and bass workout and making that the vibe Y‰¥úsee, from my angle, the more subdued the polyrhythms become, the more ‰¥ùrolling‰¥ú just morphs into a seamless, frictionless easy-glide. When I ‰¥ùroll‰¥ú, I want a little bumpiness, some fairground ride-style hanging-on, some stop-start dynamics i.e. some ATTITUDE. And this track has all that, in spades.

And on. I found this lovely melodic mix with the next track only recently‰¥Ï didn‰¥út really pull it off properly here though. Fortunately the switch during recording conceals it. Ha! Here we have Lemon D (played off the superb 1995 ‰¥ùCounter Force‰¥ú compilation on Internal ‰¥ã another ‰¥ùBuy On Sight‰¥ú LP) dropping some sweet and sublime atmospheric vibes ‰¥ã I love the way he‰¥ús pushed the Amen into the background and softened it, enhancing he dreamy quality set by the rest of the samples‰¥Ï and the melodic switches ‰¥ã this guy has always been sooo slick at pulling them off.

From there into more Foul Play, with a track off Moving Shadow‰¥ús ‰¥ù2 On 1‰¥ú series. These guys never got anything like the retrospective glories heaped upon much less deserving producers from back in the day‰¥Ï even their lesser tracks tended to outclass nearly everyone else at the time‰¥Ï had they not been beset by tragedies and break-ups, they should‰¥úve been up there with Photek in the drum n bass Hall of Fame as Absolute Masters of the marriage of fractured polyrhythmic precision with a more traditional ‰¥ùmusical‰¥ú sensibility (no the catchiest Title for a Award, I know). Anyway, a shame. More Streetbeats follows, this time from Paul Z (yes, I too have no idea who this guy is). A bouncy little roller with an anxious but compelling vibe here, and I love the acid house/80s portentous voice-synths. The way the tune rolls out is pure Basement Recordings BTW, and Streetbeats was connected to Basement so there actually may be some links there beyond a similarity in the shape of the tune that I don‰¥út know about‰¥Ï?

And in comes another one of my most-played back in the day. Did Dev Paradox name himself after this tune? I keep forgetting to ask, but Intense were undoubtedly a big influence on him, as they tore into this kinda cut-up widescreen cinematic drum n bass sound almost before anyone else 䴋 and they showed everyone else how it should be done. This, a more linear number is off one of their 2 tearing 3-track EPs on Rugged Vinyl (from 1993 goddamit!!!), and each and every tune on 䴝em is savage. Take my word for it!

Uh Oh, some riding the stormy waves in da mix!! And in comes Override aka Klute, with some torch-in-the-dark journeying across a ruff sea of breaks. Octopus put out a couple of excellent d+b 12‰¥ÿs in 95/96, and you should keep an eye peeled in the 2nd hand shops: Digital also featured on there under his ‰¥ùNatural Mystic‰¥ú guise. Next up Danny Breaks with a remix of his own ‰¥ùAstrologikal‰¥ú on Droppin Science. As always on early DS, the quality is second-to-none, and the vibe is all his own. From here we sail through some atmospheric Source Direct (as ‰¥ùSounds of Life‰¥ú) mixed up with one of my favourite early Digital tunes (‰¥ùNiagra‰¥ú I think ‰¥ã although I‰¥úve always suspected that the label was on the wrong side of this 12‰¥ÿ?). Anyway, I think this was the first Digital track that really made me think: this guy can go well deep. Prime era Headz. As for Cert 18, I had to start representing this excellent label in this mix super-quick cos they had sooo many class tunes in the chilled/atmospheric style when it was still fresh and creative. They pretty much provided the platform from which Photek, Source Direct and Klute all launched themselves and the initial sound of Bukem‰¥ús seminal ‰¥ùSpeed‰¥ú night was all about the early Cert 18 i.e., technical and melodic, and mixing the ruff with the smooth.

Back with the Lucky Spin and another slice of on-point minimal breakbeatism from Bristol‰¥ús Decoder in one of his earlier incarnations as Orca: rolling drumwork with a dubwise influence carrying the undertow. More Photek follows, indeed, a perfect example of vaguely acid-jazzy vibes kept just the right side of schmaltz by virtue of the graininess of the ruff little break and by the way the samples are handled ‰¥ã i.e. as samples rather than as ‰¥ùsubstitute-real-instruments‰¥ú. A worrying title though (‰¥ùFusion‰¥ú‰¥Ï ugh!)‰¥Ï too self-conscious. Jungle IS ‰¥ùfusion‰¥ú already‰¥Ï it doesn‰¥út need to think of itself as such‰¥Ï that should come naturally.

Heading for the outro, and dropping into some nice simple DJ Fokus (Pete Parsons is in there again), a simple upbeat track with those characteristic slippy little Lucky Spin drum-rolls! And just got time to squeeze in the final instalment of Photek‰¥ús ‰¥ùJump/Presha‰¥ú series as Studio Pressure. You can hear so much later of later Photek in this track - that big gong-motif, the minimal bass framing the drums, the controlled aggression‰¥Ï sadly, NOT the little ‰¥þJUMP!!‰¥ÿ gerbil/hamster voice though. So, bring back the gerbils Rupert. Forget about the breaks. Just bring back the gerbils and all will be forgiven.

More mixes from me soon I hope. More mixes, less trainwrecks! In the meantime, hopefully you䴜ll find something in here to enjoy...