Monday, September 03, 2007

A tale of three mixes

I came across these recently, having long ago assumed that they’d disappeared for good. Recorded in 2002, they were actually the last drum n bass mixes that I made prior to falling out of love with the dnb scene some time around 2003. After sitting on them for 5 years or so, I'm just going to throw them out there with some short notes in the hope that some of you will appreciate them. Each mix is approximately CD length if any of you want to burn them:

Naphta - Represent (103mb. mp3)

1. Naphta - Out Of Time (Bassbin)
2. Dillinja - Sky (Philly Blunt)
3. Sonic & Silver - On The Ansen (Metalheadz)
4. Matrix - Convoy (Prototype)
5. Suv - Free By Four (Full Cycle)
6. Breakage - Numbers Track (Reinforced)
7. Paradox - Reinstate (Reinforced)
8. Vertigo - The Drained (Droppin Science)
9. DJ Ron - Rockers (London Something)
10. Sonar Circle - More Time (Reinforced)
11. Nucleus & Paradox - ? (Reinforced)
12. Total Science feat. Robert Owens - My Dreams Remix (Hospital)
13. K - No Sleep (Subtitles)
14. Paradox - Dioxide 170873 (Reinforced)
15. Photek - Seven Samurai Remix (Science)
16. Danny Breaks - Revenge Of The Big Bossa (Droppin Science)
17. Paradox - ? (CIA)
18. Tango & Ratty - Inventa (L Plates)
19. Breakage - Break - Age (Reinforced)

Naphta - Rastachuan Special (103mb. mp3)

1. Teebee & Future Prophecies - The Path (Subtitles)

2, Naphta - One Squeeze (Bassbin)
3. Digital - Natty Dread (Reinforced)
4. Noise Factory - Roll With Me (Three Lions)
5. Total Science - Hen Night (Fix)
6. Polar - Futile Dream (Subtitles)
7. DJ Ron - ? (No Frills)
8. Polar - Ill - formed (Cert 18)
9. Marcus Intalex - Lose Control (Metalheadz)
10. Polar - Mass Mysterior (Cert 18)
11. Surge - Working Out (Full Cycle)
12. Digital - Latest Request (CIA)
13. Twin Blade - This DJ (Beeswax)
14. Elementz Of Noize - Hit The Deck (SOUR)
15. Capone - Jah (Chronic)
16. Use Of Weapons - Switchblade (Droppin Science)
17. Ganja Kru - Gone Are The Days (Parousia)
18. DJ Mace - Remenisce (Mix & Blen‚)
19. Total Science - Taxman (Advanced)
20. Calibre - Global Love Remix (Hospital)

Naphta - Freestyle Sessions 3 (102mb. mp3)

1. The Dream Team - Freaky (Joker)

2. Teebee - Stolen Documents [Polar Remix] (Cert18)
3. DJ Ron - 21st Century (Parousia)
4. Polar - Red Triangles (Cert 18)
5. 3 Way - Sub Zero (Dope Dragon)
6. Danny Breaks - The Lost Souls (Droppin Science)
7. Polar - Sit Down And Dance (Breakbeat Science)
8. Blue - ? (Streetbeats)
9. Alaska - Broken Silence (Vibe‚z)
10. Breakage - PMT (Reinforced)
11. Special Touch - Let Me Count The Ways (Reinforced)
12. Digital - Watch It (Reinforced)
13. Alaska - Aries Maze (dub)
14. DJ Ron - Rockers (London Something)
15. Shanie - What Way To Turn? [Dom & Roland Remix](Cyba)
16. Paradox - ? (Reinforced)
17. Photek - Titan (Astralwerks)
18. Gang Related - Vibrations (Dope Dragon)19. Alaska - Point Blank (Vibe'z)

The ‘Represent’ mix was intended as a showcase for some serious polyrhythmic action, but it was also something of an indulgence for me back then, as in reality, it rather went against the grain for me to shoe-horn so many deep-beat workouts into one mix, at least certainly not at a time when dnb audiences in Dublin were still largely ignorant of the music’s history in Hardcore and Jungle, and were instead just freshly arrived from a techno or rock background.

Thus there were few opportunities for me to play out stuff like the 3/4 time signatures featured on the Matrix and Suv tunes here, or to drop anything as concentrated as the punishing roll-out when ‘Reinstate’ and ‘The Drained’ get mashed up together, or indeed to fuck around with the likes of Polar’s freaky swing-time re-edit of Teebee, as featured early on in the ‘Freestyle Sessions’ mix. Fortunately, my two-year residency with Bassbin in Switch in Dublin afforded me the chance to slip in such things occasionally when I could - despite raised eyebrows from some of the younger Bassbin cru who often perceived my approach to DJ'ng as being purposefully wilful or ‘difficult’.

Indeed I well remember the challenge back then of trying to negotiate a path between keeping myself musically interested and catering to the needs of the dancefloor - especially as my sound was very much a minority sound in dnb - and indeed a minority sound in Bassbin too (Digital and Total Science excepted: they were the common ground - we all caned their tunes).

Back then, Breakage had only really just appeared on the scene, and ‘dubwise’, ‘choppage’, ‘drumfunk’ etc. were still largely unformed stylistic identities. As regards the mellower sounds: Calibre’s debut LP aside, ‘liquid’ had yet to be really accepted as a variant within dnb in its own right, and Seba had yet to return from his post-GLR wilderness to broaden Paradox’s melodic horizons. while Amit had also yet to unveil the true weight of his half-step deviancies. Instead, I remember dnb 2002 being locked firmly in the grip of Dillinja/Bad Company-inspired midrange ‘techno’ antics, with occasional bloated trends like ‘disco dnb’ (remember that one?) floating by and feverishly distracting everyone for a while. Makes one wonder just how much has changed five years on?

So, with limited material to work with, there was a seriously heavy reliance on Paradox and Polar going on in my sets, with various other under-exposed tunes from the likes of Sonar Circle and Danny Breaks thrown in, along with some older jump-up fare pulled from the shelves to keep everything from getting too technical, too dry, and too grimly masculine (there were never either enough subs or melodies in dnb for the ladies back then). Apart from Digital and Total Science (who managed to retain a certain Junglistic energy in their music during this period) I also relied a lot on the early ‘2nd Wave’ material from Reinforced, despite having some serious reservations about the overall direction the label had taken.

Anyway, the ‘Rastachaun’ mix was put together in the wake of a gig I played for the cru of the same name up in Dundalk, and was made up of many of the tunes that I’d dropped for them that night: overall, a bit more of a roller than ‘Represent’. while the ‘Freestyle Sessions’ mixes (of which only this one survives) were intended to expand upon one of my DJ'ng policies at the time i.e. deliberately rubbing up styles that most dnb DJs would never dream of playing against one another in order to see what might result.

Although very much ‘of their time’ to my ears now, there are indeed some nice tunes in these mixes, and some nice mixes in these mixes too. I think! I particularly like the section from Alaska’s ‘Broken Silence’ up to Dom & Roland’s unearthly, gut-wrenching remix of Shanie’s ‘ What Way To Turn?’ on the ‘Freestyle Sessions’ mix, or the part from where Sonar Circle’s ‘More Time’ rolls all the way up to Danny Breaks’ masterful ‘Revenge of the Big Bossa’ on the ‘Represent’ mix. Certainly, if nothing else, some rollin’ tunes that never got enough props are surely highlighted.

Question marks in the track-lists indicate white labels that are still hiding somewhere down the back of my record collection - but I’ve managed to recall the label and artist in each case, so hopefully Droid won’t bust my balls over that too much!

Hope you enjoy.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thoroughly enjoyable mixes, thank you. Freestyle sessions 3 has woken me up from my dnb-disillusionment.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Bigness. My mate just introduced me to that total science robert owens thingy a few days back and there it is again. Baaad tune.

Baaad mixes

12:16 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

just beautiful

incredible stuff

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great write up, looking forward to checking these mixes.

12:37 AM  
Blogger Emmet said...

that paradox tune on the third mix is called "Unnatural Causes". great stuff

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

really nice mixes :)

1:08 PM  
Anonymous schischa said...

very nice mixes. especially the 2nd one :)

9:19 PM  
Blogger James said...

Tthat's real cool and kinda spooky... MOST of these tunes are faves of mine - and in my vinyl collection.

I might download them anyway. :)

10:41 PM  
Blogger Abstrakt said...

1st off, thank u 4 posting these mixes...they r now on heavy rotation in my mp3 player :) im only a few years into dnb so needless 2 say, im kinda late hearing some songs. i dont know if u've posted this already but if not, is it possible to post the Numbers EP by Breakage in its entirety? "Back Off" was one of the 1st joints i've heard as far as dnb goes and one of my favorites but i cant seem to find it anywhere. it would b greatly! :) thanks again 4 the mixes!!

9:16 PM  
Blogger droid said...

Sorry Abstrakt, we tend not to share music in 'unmixed' form here. You might try asking where to find it at Subvert Central maybe? Im not sure naphta even has that record...

9:20 PM  

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