(Mostly) predictably fruitless geological surveying (on a, let’s face it, now barren, desecrated, dried up oil field).
Still, there’s a couple of decent, struck-it-lucky, blastholes and seismic rock breakage, ‘Constants’ & ‘Lamia’. The proverbial “DJ tools”…
More drum & bass/techno hybrid goodness – that is; d&b tempos but with blank concrete techno facades and shorn of any brok out/booyacka aspirations. No-one’s going to be doing any rewinds on these – they’re from a completely different world anyway. The label touts 011 in terms of “fundamentals” and “reductions” (which is er, minimalism no?)
Overlook flips it to his signatures (and frankly leaves the newcomers on 011 in the dust) – that is; techno tempos and a pungent bouillabaisse of ambient fog banks with a d&b step and stagger and subby boom. Not exactly bangers, more like rollin’ rumblers, dark meditations draped over long, evolving frameworks to glide down the rabbit hole on.
And speaking of Bristol and rave stabbing – leads me nicely onto DROOGS, the rather pointless sub-label of UVB-76. Natty artwork though.
There’s nowt wrong I suppose with some straight down the line, functional, D&B if you’re young and insist on your own own re-boot scene and practitioners to follow. I mean Aspect’s ‘Stand Clear’ is a ‘tune’ of sorts. Possibly. To some? – albeit a tried and tested one. Fuck it. Perhaps I’m the mug here? and it’s not even worth asking the question anymore – why people bother to spend their time creating such facile re-arrangements of such familiar sonic objects? This is Steve Carr/Digital and fam’s (Spirit, Total Science etc) ‘Dubzilla’ (2002) sound and era to a slavish T. Barely a tweak!
Honestly, purchasing these tunes was like a drunken shag with the Ex. You know you shouldn’t. Perversely, for some unknown reason, probably just because it’s easy and you can, you go with it but regret it as soon as the deed is done. The familiar pheromones are in your nose, on your skin again, but it’s too late as you remember all the hurt and pain you caused each other in the past.
The dirty uncles sounding totally at ease and on top of their game, thumping out the “deep, dark, rollers.” Old and new, all styles and a new W3C dubplate that smashes it.
No idea what that tune is that comes in at 13:04 is?? but it’s a fuckin’ destroyer! and my new sub woofer in the car nearly blew out the windows!!!
Download while you still can.
A sweet find. Didn’t even know I had this in one of my archive boxes! An old December ’96 copy of DJ Magazine and a two page article on No U Turn and “tech-step”, describing the genesis of the defining Mutant Jazz Remix. I’d completely forgotten the Jimi Hendrix tidbit and Bless! Look at the fresh-faced Dom boy hehe…
Don’t be afraid of the dark P1
Don’t be afraid of the dark P2
Like the Krease EP, essentially slowed down drum & bass. It has all the trappings of ‘dark’, has all the right ingredients and is certainly tech crafted, but ultimately it feels so self-conscious and self-regulated it almost sounds tired and by the book. Just makes me want to go and listen to the Moving Fusion, Ram Recs et al. back catalogue again. One for the bag no doubt, but a prisoner of its own devices.
I’ve always been a big fan/follower of Steve “Digital” Carr’s output (him being from my hometown of Ipswich an’ all) and admired his successful fusion of rave and dub aesthetics within the accepted d&b format. Not an easy or necessarily inspiring shackle to have to live under but he still seems to be tirelessly chipping away at that coal face.
I remember reading an old interview with him back in the day in Knowledge (the old d&b mag, “There was a mag just for d&b!?” Hard to imagine now I know…) where he cited his Father’s Reggae Soundsytem as a major early musical influence. I suppose it would be, wouldn’t it? but I always thought he had that dreamy, primitive experimentalist hiss, crackle and thud of dub just spot on. Ras’78 has to be one of my all time favourites from his early days.
Back in early 2014 he dropped an almost Tricky-esque downtempo collaboration with Strikez on Jakes’s H.E.N.C.H label (although strictly speaking the Starkey Remix was the true banger) but we’ve had to wait until ‘Bruk Down‘ for more in the same vein. Taking it down to 140bpm he keeps it sparse, minimal and sound system weighty with ultra fat, bouncing, distorted kicks, stuttering claps and shimmering (almost Orb-esque) LSD vibes.