Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Naphta catches Fever - 19/08/05

Naphta/Droid + Slug @ Fever/Bassbin 190805. Photos By DC Slideshow by Droid with some open source help from this guy



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

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

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

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


OK, first up, apologies to all for some slippages and for some dodgy moments on this mixĶ some of those woaaaahhh-only-2-wheels - on-the-ground-type mixesĶ twas 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 its 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 theres a bunch of them on here that I havent 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 Id do a proper studio re-recording of it anyway, cos we all know what useless bastards DJs are when it comes to that sort of shit heheheĶ

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 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 town! Hence I had to wait for the recent repressĶ so Big Up the represses! Yes, I aint 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 IMOĶ might help inspire producers to try rolling out something other than ultra-compressed monochrome slabs of one-idea loopsĶ.

Woah, dodgy mixĶ 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 Splashs thunderous Babylon and its equally ruff remixes albeit licensed from elsewhere initially - a l Dead Dred on Moving Shadow). Pete Parsons on engineering duties is certainly one common factor across Lucky Spin and Deejay for me hes certainly up there with Nico and Rob Playford as one of the prime movers in that area (he did most of DJ Raps Proper Talent tunes too if Im not mistaken); I wish that more of todays experienced studio heads would revive that role: getting new kids in with the ideas and helping them shape emĶ

Krust PrioritiesĶ 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 LPĶ instead, there is a lovely afterglow of warmth to this, despite the inyerface punch of the bassĶ From there, into one of my favourite drum n bass tracks of all time: Photeks beautifully considered remix of Attica Blues trip-hoppy Blueprint on Mo 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 Directs Odysee label. I was well chuffed with this combination until I clicked (just now) that Phaze One was in fact PHOTEK and not (as Id 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. Its not a silly vanity thing BTW just one method Ive 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, lets slide swiftly through that mix (!) and continueĶ taking it up a gear next with Flytronix. Taken from a badass 4 track EP this oneĶ 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 94 was characterised by much talk of intelligence: 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 DublinĶ we few isolated Irish breakbeatists dug hardcore, jump-up, darkside, rollers, ambient/artcore, techstep whatever had the energy whether it was more traditionally musical, or whether it was a collage patchwork of street ruffidgeĶ

So, into a deep-beat workout from Crystl (with, as always, more than a little help from Pete Parsons)Ķ I love the Prodigy-like simplicity of the hooks and samples and the way they combine to paint the image that the title conjures upĶHmmm, its hard to explain this. I guess what Im 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-headzĶĶĶ..

OK, and so a nice quirky stomper from Manix follows one which I only picked up earlier this year over in Brighton. The self-consciously musical 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 theyre ruffed up a bit and treated like the samples they should be (best exemplified on some of Tek 9s 94 / 95 Jungle methinks).

Dropping down into more Photek, and the Pharaoh Sanders-sampling Rings Around Saturn. Now heres a producer who filtered the rave out of his d+b long before most, and thus played such a big part in defining drum n bass 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 largely because the polyrhythms give it that snappy of-the-moment 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 were into FBD Project (aka Neil Trix). As far as I know, this was one of his biggest tunes but whether that translated into actual sales or not I cannot sayĶ 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 FBD stood for Future Beyond Dance 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 Funded By Drugs, cos that was the reality of the scene at the time! Hahahaa, Chap!

Woah, jumpy vinyl bullshit. Right, from there were on to a track from Springheel Jacks 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 dont remember ever hearing Springheel Jack feature on any A-list Jungle playlistsĶ a shame really cos they were some of the first casualties of the scenes increasing narrow-mindedness, and they could have brought it a lot more colour and some fresh influences which as time passed, it badly needed.

Next up, Mirage (aka Source Direct again), and the statuesque Just For You, 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-productionĶ 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 timeĶ 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 itĶ enter a tasty little beat-switcher from StreetbeatsĶ bar the sax-attack in the middle which has always made me cringe a bit (feels a bit likeĶ the ghost of Kenny G). OK, get me outta hereĶ but now Ive run out of room on the pitch-sliderĶ help me O Jungle Gods!!!

And the Jungle Gods arriveĶ in the shape of Crystl & Parsons. Hehehe. Sounds like a solicitors firmĶ or maybe an antique dealer. Anways, THIS is how to roll. Oh yes. When I hear nu skoolers talk of rolling, I got to take issue, cos the first real rollers were producers like Crystl (and many others who appeared on Lucky Spin / DeejayĶ also DJ SS, Gachet and othersĶ and this is before Bristol (or Bristol in the shape of Size, Krust and Die) really settled on their own linear formula. Rollin therefore, is this: rollin out a drum and bass workout and making that the vibe Ysee, from my angle, the more subdued the polyrhythms become, the more rolling just morphs into a seamless, frictionless easy-glide. When I roll, 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 recentlyĶ didnt 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 Counter Force compilation on Internal another Buy On Sight LP) dropping some sweet and sublime atmospheric vibes I love the way hes pushed the Amen into the background and softened it, enhancing he dreamy quality set by the rest of the samplesĶ and the melodic switches this guy has always been sooo slick at pulling them off.

From there into more Foul Play, with a track off Moving Shadows 2 On 1 series. These guys never got anything like the retrospective glories heaped upon much less deserving producers from back in the dayĶ even their lesser tracks tended to outclass nearly everyone else at the timeĶ had they not been beset by tragedies and break-ups, they shouldve 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 musical 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 dont know aboutĶ?

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 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 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 12s in 95/96, and you should keep an eye peeled in the 2nd hand shops: Digital also featured on there under his Natural Mystic guise. Next up Danny Breaks with a remix of his own Astrologikal 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 Sounds of Life) mixed up with one of my favourite early Digital tunes (Niagra I think although Ive always suspected that the label was on the wrong side of this 12?). 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 Bukems seminal Speed 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 Bristols 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 i.e. as samples rather than as substitute-real-instruments. A worrying title though (FusionĶ ugh!)Ķ too self-conscious. Jungle IS fusion alreadyĶ it doesnt need to think of itself as suchĶ 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 Photeks Jump/Presha 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 aggressionĶ sadly, NOT the little JUMP!! 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 youll find something in here to enjoy...

Peace

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Droid Inna Dancehall Vol 1. - Basement Bashment



What better way to christen the site than with a mix? This ones a ragga/dancehall outing from myself, based on a 45 minute demo I put together in 2000 in a grimey basement (hence the name) on Dublins charming Parnell St that housed Bassbin's studio at the time. Inspired by the wonderful work of Paul Meme, and John Eden (and particularly their recent Lyricmaker mix), plus the fact that Im occupying a fully working studio for the first time in years, I dusted off an old CDR, ripped the mix, added a few effects and sirens, and tacked on an extra half an hour worth of mixes to make it CD length. Its a bit rough round the edges, but it does the job... For the record, all of the mixes here were done live on the decks, but where there is a break in the mix (ie between 2 selections), then that transition was done using a computer and an effects box. For example - the first 12 tunes, up until 'ring off me Cellie' were all done in one go, but the transition between that tune and 'Someones calling my name' was done on computer..

Unlike some of myself and Slugs other mixes, there was no real concept or theme behind this set. It was simply a collection of tunes I was playing out at the time and riddims I was into. Despite the fact that I didnt consciously do an old skool set here, as most of it was recorded 5 years ago - its all fairly old skool stuff. Spanning a range from 1992 (Capleton Mankind/Garnett Silk - Lionheart) to 1999 (The Riott riddim). I do often wonder if Im some kind of nostalgia freak when it comes to dance music. My favourite periods of Jungle, Electronica and Hip-Hop are roughly 1989-96, and its the same with Dancehall. Even though it gave us the Sleng Teng, amazing releases from Junjo Lawes, Jammys and Gussie Clarke, and a slew of legendary (and some of my favourite) DJs and singers like Charlie Chaplin, Yellowman, Josey Wales, Bailey, Brigadier, Flourgon, Ninjaman, Chaka Demus, Pinchers and Cocoa tea, the 80s still cant compete with the early 90s for sheer exuberance of talent. The fusion of rawer early dancehall styles with the minimalist sensibility of new producers like Dave Kelly and Steely & Cleevie, the influence of soundsystem culture and new technology on production, the emergence of a new generation of DJs following in the wake of the Grammy kid, the re-emergence of rasta and conscious lyrics and sensibilities the sheer pace of innovation, mutation, and recombination invites comparison with the UK rave scene (which was going on at roughly the same time), the difference being that in Jamaica the gene pool of dancehall was enriched, revitalized and mutated by local influences, and by the juices of its own culture, whereas rave, hardcore and jungle were driven mainly by the importation and mutation of external soundsĶ

And of course I was almost totally oblivious to it at the time!

Anyway, here's the mix. You can download a 192kpbs MP3 version of it below, along with the cover and time-marked tracklisting. The cover is designed for those slim CD-single cases that are fairly ubiquitous these days, so you probably have one lying around somewhere. Just print it out, cut along the guides at the corners, and fold in half.

Droid Inna Dancehall Vol 1. zip (105 mb)

(00:00) 1. Mu -ziq Brace Yourself (Remix) - Astralwerks/Caroline
(04:50) 2. Beenie Man - Year 4 - Steely and Cleevie (Bagpipe Riddim)
(07:11) 3. General Degree - Signal - Steely and Cleevie (Bagpipe Riddim)

(08:29) 4. Zebra - You See Mi - Steely and Cleevie (Bagpipe Riddim)

(09:11) 5. Steely & Cleevie - Bagpipe Riddim - Steely and Cleevie

(11:51) 6. Mad Anju - Rudeness - Steely and Cleevie (Bagpipe Riddim)

(14:07) 7. Mr Vegas - Latest News - Steely and Cleevie (Bagpipe Riddim)

(15:54) 8. Bingie General - New Clothes Version - Pisces Studio
(18:10) 9. Steely & Cleevie - Dirty Money Riddim - Q45
(20:42) 10. Mad Anju - Hell Fire - Q45 (Dirty Money Riddim)
(22:23) 11. Capleton - More Prophet - Q45 (Dirty Money Riddim)

(24:30) 12. Lexxus - Ring Off Me Cellie - Q45 (Dirty Money Riddim)

(26:51) 13. Pinchers - Someones Calling My Name - Jammy's (Who She Love Riddim)
(29:52) 14. Bounty Killer - Smoke the Herb - Jammy's (Who She Love Riddim)
(32:04) 15. Jah Screw - Clare (Part 3) Version Greensleeves
(33:15) 16. Spragga Benz - Ruff and Tuff - Digital B (Kuff Riddim)
(35:26) 17. Garnett Silk - All Alone - Brickwall (Kuff Riddim)
(37:12) 18. Leroy Gibbons - Magic Moment (95 Remix) - Jammy's (Kuff Riddim)

(38:26) 19. Bounty Killer - Cellular Number - John John (Kuff Riddim)

(39:58) 20. Dirtsman - Trailer Load Come - Digital B (Kuff Riddim)

(42:31) 21. Buju Banton - Hail Massa God - Penthouse (General Riddim)
(45:13) 22. Garnett Silk - Lionheart - Penthouse (General Riddim)
(48:09) 23. Capleton - Mankind - Colin Fat Records (General Riddim)
(51:37) 24. Major Christie - If Da Lord - Jazzwad Music (Riott Riddim)
(53:08) 25. Bounty Killer - Divide And Rule - Jazzwad Music (Riott Riddim)

(55:02) 26. Sizzla - Anytime Now - Jazzwad Music (Riott Riddim)
(57:03) 27. Riott Riddim - Jazzwad - Jazzwad Music
(58:59) 28. Steely & Cleevie - Black Widow Riddim - Shines
(60:58) 29. Goofy - Anything Can Happen - Shines (Black Widow Riddim)
(62:18) 30. Mad Cobra - No One Style - Shines (Black Widow Riddim)

(63:09) 31. Zebra - Picture Fi Frame - Shines (Black Widow Riddim)

(64:33) 32. Merciless - Gal Sheet - Shines (Black Widow Riddim)
(66:18) 33. Terror Fabulous - Them A Watch me - Shines (Black Widow Riddim)
(67:32) 34. Mr. Vegas - Big Things A Gwann - Shines (Black Widow Riddim)
(69:14) 35. Andrew Bradford - Warlord Riddim - Opera House (Warlord Riddim)
(73:14) 36. Buccaneer - Soca Noma - Opera House (Warlord Riddim)


(00:00) 1. Mu -ziq Brace Yourself (Remix) - Astralwerks/Caroline


Ok youre probably looking at this and wondering what the hell this tune is doing here, and if youre not, then you will be once you listen to it, so I suppose I have a bit of explaining to do. As far as I remember (and it was 5 years ago), I had a vague plan to do a series of mix tapes, each one concentrating on a different genre of music, but each linked by their first and last tracks. In my feverishly optimistic mind, this one was planned to slot into a series of myself and Slugs electronica mixes I even did an out section (which isnt featured here) for the B side of the original version of this mix that went from dancehall back into electronicaĶ oddly enough these plans never saw fruition, and I lost most of the B side in a hard drive crash in the basement.

Anyway, though this is bound to have some of you reaching for the fast forward button, you might get a laugh out of the mix between this and the next tune even if youre a dancehall purist. The saccharine melodies and hyperactive snares of 'Brace yourself' mix surprisingly well with the opera singing, guitars and erĶ bagpipes of the bagpipe riddim - and I still get a kick out of hearing Beenie voice over a Mu-ziq tuneĶ

Bagpipe Riddim:

(04:50) 2. Beenie Man - Year 4 - Steely and Cleevie

(07:11) 3. General Degree - Signal - Steely and Cleevie

(08:29) 4. Zebra - You See Mi - Steely and Cleevie

(09:11) 5. Steely & Cleevie - Bagpipe Riddim - Steely and Cleevie

(11:51) 6. Mad Anju - Rudeness - Steely and Cleevie

(14:07) 7. Mr Vegas - Latest News - Steely and Cleevie


This is where we really get started, with the first of three Steely and Cleevie riddims from the late-90s. Beenie Man gets things rolling with Year 4 affirming his supremacy as The king of JA and listing his many accomplishments in his career long time me inna the business/nah gwan like you blind/I man a chat the mic from 1979/from Alis Unlimited and all volcano time/from General Starky/I run Borderline. Its a classic (if less then minimal) Steely and Cleevie cut, with a palette of disparate sounds: guitars, opera samples, double bass, vocal hoo/hey and yo samples all intermingling with the wailing bagpipe that gives the tune its name.

Zebras offering over a stripped down version of the riddim, is an early example of his unique, almost Scottish sounding patois, which brings to mind DJs from the early 90s like Major Mackerel and Snagglepuss. You see mi segues into a version of the bagpipe, and if you notice something odd about it, its probably because theres a bit of fairly inept juggling going on with another copy of the riddim (though there is a nice spinback in there as well..) Another young DJ Mad Anju comes out of the instrumental with rudeness, which apart from some relatively mild homophobia: A mi love girls, mi want dem fi employ/a million girls mi want fi enjoy/I really cant be like that boy Roy/who left the girls for a boy, is a pretty harmless account of his girl-chasing antics. Mr Vegas gives us a bit of contrast through his hugely popular singing style as he finishes off ten minutes of the Bagpipe selection with Latest News - a musical tribute to his extensive gossip-mongering abilities.


(15:54) 8. Bingie General - New Clothes Version - Pisces Studio


I cant find out the name of this riddim! I have at least 3 tunes on it The a side of the 7 I played above, a sinister anti aids anthem by Major Mackerel called Disease, and a fairly anonymous bit of slackness from Sheriff called Good Red, all from the early 90s. Ive also heard it backing up specials on a few soundclash tapes. Its a bogley bit of bashment, with a taunting horn line and dubbed out guitars - nice and spacious with lots of punctuation, so its perfect for mixing out of vocal tunes and in between riddims. If you do happen to know what its called, please enlighten me.


Dirty Money Riddim:

(18:10) 9. Steely & Cleevie - Dirty Money Riddim - Q45
(20:42) 10. Mad Anju - Hell Fire - Q45
(22:23) 11. Capleton - More Prophet - Q45

(24:30) 12. Lexxus - Ring Off Me Cellie - Q45


Steely and Cleevies second riddim featured here, the Dirty Money from 99 is a slightly more typical cut from the duo. The stripped down production style is more delicate than the bagpipe, with clipped snares and a dull bass sound providing the rhythmic backbone, and a variety of synth stabs, swells, and hooks swimming up out of the mix.

Upcoming DJ (at the time) Mad Anju focuses his irreverent DJng style on the subject of religion in Hell fire: Yah no read the bible say/Say wickness nah go last/They think Jah waste his time dead pon cross. which, like many of Anju's tunes manages to be slack whilst delivering a religious or moral message..

If not for his rampant bigotry, Capleton would probably be my one of my favourite DJs. More Prophet is another killer cut from the 'Busta Rhymes of reggae'. The fiery vocal delivery here features the Prophet at his 'more fire' era best, with loads of drawn out guttural syllables and falsetto overdubs - and for once the batty boy talk is (thankfully) kept to a minimum - something that cant be said for Capleton's more recent output...

Lexxus's: 'Ring off me Cellie', was the first tune I ever picked up from the low-voiced DJ. The lyrics, I think are fairly self explanatory and comprehensible, and the chorus ('Hear me Pon the radio/See me pon the telly/(ringtone)(ringtone)/Ring off me Cellie/One bag of girls want me DJ acapelly/Antoinette/Kelly/Susie/Shellie') is particularly entertaining with its use of a mobile ring-tone, and some slightly more familiar slang. Lexxus was part of the Low-chat phenomenon that popped up in the late 90's, where it seemed that DJ's were competing to see who could get the bassiest sound out of their voice. Ward 21 were the other obvious contenders, but dancehall stalwarts Bounty and Beenie also did a few tunes in this style, with the latters 'say it nice' along with veteran DJ Silver Cat on Jammys being one of the standout tunes for me...


Who She Love Riddim:

(26:51) 13. Pinchers - Someones Calling My Name - Jammy's

(29:52) 14. Bounty Killer - Smoke the Herb - Jammy's


The next selection brings us back to 94 with Someones Calling My Name - a tune taken straight from the pew. Pinchers is one of those few artists from this period (alongside Sanchez), who could sing conscious lyrics as well as love songs over dancehall riddims and pull it off, and Jammys production of the who she love riddim, with its snaking bassline, marching snares, and stuttered organs works just as perfectly behind his devotional singing as it does backing Bountys Ganja anthem: Smoke The Herb. Beloved of jungilists (due to a widely available samplorific bootlegged acapella 12), this tune is a snapshot of the days when the warlord was a little more relaxed: I have rizla ready/Hand me the chronic/Me have some preserve/put dun and make tonic/Crack and the coke /all those things must abolish/Peter Tosh pon chalice in/na Buckingham PalaceĶ

Despite the fact that I still rate Bountys current DJ style (apart from his prolific and vicious homophobia), I think he produced some of his best work in the early to mid 90s- 'Fat and Sexy', 'Book book book', 'Celullar Phone', 'Down in the ghetto' - just a few of the classics he pumped out in his heyday. Whilst theres no denying that hes developed a unique and versatile chatting style over the last 10 years, IMO the lyrical content of his music has lost much of its charm in the processĶ


(32:04) 15. Jah Screw - Clare (Part 3) Version Greensleeves


Havent got much to say about this as it only plays for about a minute or soĶ Its a fairly nice echoey dub version, with just enough guitar to provide a counterpoint to Bountys fading vocals.

Kuff Riddim:

(33:15) 16. Spragga Benz - Ruff and Tuff - Digital B
(35:26) 17. Garnett Silk - All Alone - Brickwall
(37:12) 18. Leroy Gibbons - Magic Moment (95 Remix) - Jammy's

(38:26) 19. Bounty Killer - Cellular Number - John John

(39:58) 20. Dirtsman - Trailer Load Come - Digital B


The vast majority of dancehall falls into 5 basic categories. In a muso-critic-like fit of over-simplification, Ive dubbed them the 6 Gs of dancehall: Guns, Girls, Ganja, Gays, Ghettoes and God. This selection on the Kuff riddim offers 5 cuts on probably the most prolific: the ladies - ranging from slack to mournful to cheesy - and then back to slack againĶ

The Kuff is one of those riddims that pops up all over the place, and has been a mainstay for Jammys since the late 80s. Like a lot of riddims from this era, it's a rhythmic wall, with the bassline riding every beat of a 4/4 kick pattern and the snare cracking on the 3 - though its the weird fluttering melody (that fluctuates from a guitar to some kind of synthy xylophone between versions), which makes this one special. Heres a clip of the original riddim from the mid-late 80's (I think)..

Spragga offers us the usual slack chatting on Ruff and tuff (Good and plenty loving/No powder-puff/she want a real raggamuffin) over a very bright, digital sounding version of the riddim, replete with squelchy electro blips, female moaning, and truncated snare rolls. The contrast with the next cut couldnt be clearer. Although all alone is another Bobby Digital production from 1994, the sound has been softened to match Silks woeful ballad with the voice pushed to the forefront over muted bass, lighter drums, and a looser arrangement (More on Garnet Silk later).

Leroy Gibbons takes over next, with the unapologetically cheesy love song: Magic Moment 95. Taking things back to the Kuffs origin as a Sleng Teng derivative. Jammy pushes up the bass, minimises the melody, emphasises the snare, and lets the high-hats do most of the work - resulting in a much dirtier (though less harsh) sound than the preceding Bobby Digital versions.

Bounty Killer picks things up from Leroy Gibbons with the 95 hit Cellular number. This version of the riddim, though most similar to the Jammys production (odd that, seeing as John-John is Jammys son!), with the kick pushed back in the mix, and elements inspired by the Bobby Digital mix the squelchy snare (making an even more prominent appearance), and a scratchy stab that drops in every 4 bars - is probably the most experimental of the versions featured here, making up somewhat for the fairly average lyrics from Bounty.

We round things up with Trailer load come by Dirtsman - one of those fairly obscure DJs whose entire career was pretty much a homage to Shabba Ranks (and this tune is no exception). Directly quoting the grammy kid, with nearly every lyric referencing a Shabba tune: Mad bad and wicked inna bed/me wanna do the peanie peanie pon you/and just line them up this is taken from the LP Acid and is another digital B production - a cleaner, tighter version, with a huge reverbed snare and numerous vocal samples backing up Dirtsmans solid (if somewhat derivative) chatting. For comparisons sake - the original Shabba cut of Trailer load come can be heard here.

(42:31) 21. Buju Banton - Hail Massa God - Penthouse (General Riddim)

This is the undoubtedly the heart of the set - the General Riddim featuring three of the leading lights of consciousness from early 90s dancehall. Buju Banton opens proceedings with Hail Massa God (the non-Wayne Wonder/Heal the World duet version) on Donavan Germains Penthouse label. The version is a fairly faithful, if somewhat tighter reworking of the original riddim, driven by a 4/4 kick pattern with a snare at the end of each bar. It all sounds fairly conventional until a few bars in, when Germain and Kelly start chopping up the beat, alternating between a rolling tom-tom pattern, the echoed guitars which give the riddim its main melodic content, and a picked out complimentary bassline. He then piles on the pressure by throwing in a slew of what I call soundclash chops, when the producer steals a technique from the soundboy, and basically chops the entire riddim (or elements of the riddim) out between beats, as if using a cross fader on a DJ mixer. The resulting maelstrom is completely addictive, retaining the traditional structure and refinement of the original version whilst also managing to be totally unpredictable and stunningly raw in the range of devastating mixing desk edits employed by Germain.

Buju rides over all this in the accomplished fashion of an artist at the peak of his powers. This is a reality tune (with a touch of the biblical about it) lamenting the plight of the poor: Look in a wi heart and see whey wi can mend/where food is concerned there is a problem/woman caan find food to gi the children/while the rich man has the chicken-back to fed the dog dem/but woe be unto them/he who rise against poor people shall perish in the end . True to form to his status as the Don Gorgon, and in a typical example of the perennial rivalry between dancehall DJs Ninjaman came out with his answer to Bujus question of how massa god world a run? within weeks of this tune being released...


(45:13) 22. Garnett Silk - Lionheart - Penthouse (General Riddim)


I nearly always try and slip a few Garnett Silk tunes into the mix when Im playing a dancehall set, and Lionheart is not only my favourite tune in this mix, its possibly my favourite Silk tune ever! Another Penthouse production, the backing track on this is similar to the Buju version, but slightly more spacious, with pitch bended bass notes and vocal oh! samples thrown in to the mix of edits. The soundclash chops remain in place, but this time, the rolling tom pattern provides more rhythmic drive, rolling over in the background, seemingly with a mind of its own, even as the rest of the riddim stops and starts as it flips between edits and chops. The combination provides a perfect backing for a virtuoso performance from Silk.

A throwback to his days as a DJ for Mandevilles Destiny Outinational Soundsystem alongside Tony Rebel, Lionheart stands out from Silks discography for virtue of the fact that its only tune (that I know of) on which he combines the singing style that he was famous for with a fast-chat DJ performance. The content of the track is no less extraordinary than its delivery, and opens with a chorus which makes an odd third person sales pitch that almost dares the listener to find fault: Everyone is gonna love this/You will never forget this/The Lionheart giving you niceness/And I guarantee you happiness. The first verse continues in the same vein, describing the musics effect on its listeners: Sharon oh she just love this song so wild/Trevor shouting his neighbours/Hey friend turn on your radio/Here again the Lionheart come with a wicked ting/Its a long time I havent felt such musical feeling.. But its in the second verse, with the effortless flip from singer to DJ where Silks true intent is made clear. As the riddim is cut up with the first introduction of chopping into the mix, the gauntlet is thrown down to slackness DJs : Hey sometimes when I say these things you may be reluctant to believe/But if you hear a DJ chat slackness - jah know it get me grave/If they ever come a my dance - dem would have to pack up and leave/but you can stay if you are here and willing to take heed/Me use the culture counter-react slackness and take the lead/if a slackness DJ try come test me really make im bleedĶ The lyrics are almost unique in that they offer an overt challenge to slack DJs (basically everybody in the industry in the early-90s), from one of the most benign and positive forces in reggae at the time (and possibly ever). Not only is the delivery enough to scorch any slack DJ unfortunate enough to step into its path, Silk pulls it off in fine style without resorting to the gun-talk and bluster that usually accompanies clash tunes. He somehow manages to diss a whole generation of DJs whilst remaining positive offering the listener niceness instead of rudeness, and demonstrating conclusively that you dont have to be slack to chat...

(48:09) 23. Capleton - Mankind - Colin Fat Records (General Riddim)

Capleton makes another appearance here, voicing over a Fatta production of the General, which was cut roughly at the same time as the two tracks above. This is a much 'harder' version of the riddim, the bare rhythm is exposed as a cleaner 4/4 kick + snare (which sounds like someone bursting a paper bag in your ear) pattern is pushed to the forefront. The soundclash chops are still there, but applied to the bass only, and the edits and cuts between the main elements are much more restrained. The only actual addition sonics-wise is the introduction of a descending string line that features in the intro, and occasionally pops up in the track..

Based mainly around biblical themes that range from lamenting the evils of mankind, to an account of the birth and life of Jesus: 'Me say only the almighty/People unno fi worship/ You know the almighty him well damn equipped/Him make me back, wi belly/we chest/make we spine and we hip/we hand dem fi thump/and we foot dem fi kick/Down in a river jordan/where the almighty dip/and who did a dip him/but John the baptist/When him come out of the water/Him feel so classic/and dun pon him shoulder/A white dove pitch'... This is Capleton at his finest IMO. Voicing Positive and educational lyrics with his hypnotic narrative style over a classic riddim... something that we could do with a bit more of today.

OK - thats the end of the '2000' portion of the mix. the next section was recorded in one go a couple of months back, and was based loosely on the vague memories i had of how I had planned the mix on going...


Riott Riddim:

(51:37) 24. Major Christie - If Da Lord - Jazzwad Music

(53:08) 25. Bounty Killer - Divide And Rule - Jazzwad Music

(55:02) 26. Sizzla - Anytime Now - Jazzwad Music
(57:03) 27. Riott Riddim - Jazzwad - Jazzwad Music


The
UKs master riddim builder Jazzwad has a tough time following up the General, but just about pulls it off with the Riott riddim from 1999. A softer sounding riddim (by modern dancehall standards) the Riott is driven by a fairly muted bassline, backed by a melodic saxophone riff, with tiny vocal uh-huhs, yeahs and nos and a variety of overtly electronic counter-melodies and sound effects providing the detail.

There are four cuts here, including the version, starting with the hymn-like If da Lord from a relatively unknown singer: Major Christie. Bounty soon takes over with Divide and rule, riding a different, guitar heavy (and sax free) mix of the riddim, and Sizzla provides the best cut with Anytime now which features strong political lyrics and a positive (if somewhat ominous message) Id rather to be/with the people I lead/giving my daily strength and showing them my daily need/ and id rather to see/more love the grieve/Thats the only way the ghetto youth a go achieve/And id rather to be/With the people in need/ Babylon system only come/yah so fi deceive/Id rather to listen and not a word receive/Dem a go cut the womans breast and bust dem seed/West a perish/Long time me see it/Black people back up and yard in a the east/Tell the Indians a fi go look fi dem chief/Tell the white man pon a Europe go hide and seek/Hey - Rastaman aint got no secrets to keep/There will be a weeping and a wailing and a gnashing of teethĶ With the help of a bit of delay and some fairly severe eqng Sizzla takes us into the Riott version, which leads us directly into Steely and Cleevies third riddim on the mix The Black Widow.

Black Widow Riddim:

(58:59) 28. Steely & Cleevie - Black Widow Riddim - Shines

(60:58) 29. Goofy - Anything Can Happen - Shines
(62:18) 30. Mad Cobra - No One Style - Shines

(63:09) 31. Zebra - Picture Fi Frame - Shines

(64:33) 32. Merciless - Gal Sheet - Shines
(66:18) 33. Terror Fabulous - Them A Watch me - Shines
(67:32) 34. Mr. Vegas - Big Things A Gwann - Shines


The Black Widow, is one of those simple but infectious riddims that Steely and Cleevie specialise in. Minimal to a fault, the tunes main impetuous comes from the organ/synth led main melody hook, and the bright snare hits, complimented by a subtle bass line that lays down the rhythmic foundation in this sparse arrangement. There are a variety of DJ styles on display here: Goofys irreverent chatting, Mad Cobra and Mercilesss girl talk, and Mr Vegass singjay braggadocio. The cuts from Zebra and Terror Fabulous stand out for me though; the former for the almost unintelligible chatting style which veers between a Caribbean to a Gaelic accent on (gal want mi) Picture fi frame, and the latter for his bombastic consciousness on Them a watch me.


Warlord Riddim:

(69:14) 35. Andrew Bradford - Warlord Riddim - Opera House
(73:14) 36. Buccaneer - Soca Noma - Opera House


The Warlord riddim (after the Bounty cut of the same name) is another minimal masterpiece, coming this time from Andrew Bradfords Opera house label. Peppered with blippy electro snare rolls, Bradford keeps the momentum up by cutting in and out of the main melody sample and shifting between different bass sounds. I got a bit carried away with the Black Widow selection, and I only had room for one vocal on this - so I picked the best...

Buccaneers Soca Noma shows a different side to a DJ better known for novelty hits like Fade away. A not-so-subtle message to all the haters, this is a serious tune, with Buccaneer employing a twisting nasal style to convey his lyrical contempt: Well, fi see you mash up in a life enough of them aim/especially when you have money and fame/but dem nah get close to we, shotta cant tame/so go (suck ya momma) from you a call out me name. The Opera style backing vocals and smooth yeah samples in the chorus add an extra edge to the riddim, and give a bit of contrast to the atonal delivery, making this tune one of the highlights of Buccaneers extensive discographyĶ

Phew! This blogging stuff is harder than it looks! But nonetheless, were going to try and keep the frequency of posts (and mixes) reasonably regular. Without revealing too much, I can tell you that the next offering will be from another contributor and will be a little more jungilstic in flavour, so watch this space. Volume 2 of Droid inna dancehall is also in production - Im planning a Dave Kelly/Shocking vibes megamix, with a whole load of Bogles, Butterflys, Pepperseeds and Urkle Dances thrown in, and maybe a bit more conscious ragga.. Itll be all new mixes, and my first set using CDJ's along with the 1210s, so, all going to plan, you can look forward to loads of timestretched vocals and some more hyperactive mixing.

Till next time...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Howyiz

Even by my standards, theres been an extraordinary amount of procrastination on getting things started here - too much lying around in the sun at lunchtimeĶ Anyways were here now, and finally, the clapped out sound-boys, studio hermits, corporate sell-outs, genre whores and washed up producers of Ireland finally have a platform from which to spit our viscous vitriol, cynical musings and ludicrously out of touch ideas on music and whatever else comes to mindĶ

Enjoy the spectacle!