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Category: Tunes

The First Instalment – Enity A1

Here’s an interesting mega-obscurity supposedly on Entity Records. I’ve only ever seen two copies before. Gotta say, it’s one of these ones where you can kind of understand why it didn’t get a full release, but still it’s a fun tune with some nice moments and an absurd amount of samples chucked in the fray. Some of those samples are pretty nice, like the little timestretch break layered with the beatboxing most likely sampled from Kaotic Chemistry “Illegal Subs”, or the “Dedicated to all those who like it hot” line from MC Moose. Some a bit more ropey, like the extended Alexander O’Neil “If You were Here” bit. Probably not going to jump to the front of anyone’s wantlist, but a fun tune for sure if you ever chance across a copy!

The First Instalment – Enity A1

Another Dimension – Twilight Zone (Key of Imagination Mix)

Here’s a long time favorite which still seems to be going for reasonably cheap, though the original is a bit harder to find. Strange since I definitely like the original, but this remix wins for me, no doubt about it. Nothing too crazy going on here element-wise. As you’d expect, you get the twilight zone theme music. Honestly, any other theme song might make this a bit of a novelty track, however this one obviously lends itself perfectly to a non-corny track due to the atonal nature of the synth just looping over and over while layers upon layers of classic BBK amens bang away in the background, flanging a bit at times. Eventually a nice pad breakdown hits with a bit of techno synth (sounds a bit like the “Surkit” synth, as used in Return to Atlantis?). Then back to business with the Twilight Zone synth + serious amens. Definitely one to grab, whether it be vinyl, digital or both.
Edit – Ooops, right before publishing this, I gooogled it and fnd Bay B Kane is selling it himself on some sites… best to buy it from him and check from the clip below!!

Blame & Justice – Murderin’ M.C.

Anybody into their hardcore knows Blame “Music Takes You” and Justice & Mercy “Sooth My Soul”. Before those two tunes though, Blame and Justice collaborated on this obscure hardcore bleeper on Chill Recordings. You can tell based on both these tracks that these guys were big into their hip hop back then (who wasn’t?). The flipside (“Death Row”) is a solid 91 style hardcore track with an instantly recognizable Public Enemy vocal bit, but this is my favorite of the two. “Murderin’ MC” has a similar hiphop sample (from Erik B & Rakim “Follow The Leader”), but it’s also got some nice bleepy hardcore synths which were a bit of a signature sound for Chill Records around this time. It’s definitely a pretty rough-around-the-edges tune, but it’s exciting to hear these guys starting to find their footing with this stuff before the success of their later tunes (pretty sure I heard that they made this while still in school?). Also, for some reason this is a quite pricey and hard to find EP these days… guessing despite being on Chill it was pretty limited back then.

Blame & Justice – Murderin’ MC

X Amount Crew – “can’t do it alone” [unreleased, 1993]

Some of you will know I’ve been planning to write this for some time…

I was inspired in part by fellow contributor Droid, who linked on Subvert Central about this fascinating article on reggae & acid house in the late 80s

LONDON ACID CITY: When the Two 8’s Clash — John Eden

Basically it’s time to post about this amazing unreleased tune I’ve had on tape for many years, that turned up recently (ish) on dubplate!

It comes from this radio recording I have of Brockie on a sunday evening, alongside MC Dett & Navigator, which I later narrowed down to a date of 5th Sept 1993. For the last tune of the night, Brockie drops from the top this pretty awesome ‘hardcore’ stomper, with clattering breaks and massive bass, and as it starts, Navigator on the mic says: Coming from the X Amount Crew… and it’s done by me the Navigator… 10"  dubplate pressure… And it goes out to the Flinty Badman — requested this one.

Later, on picking up the “The Victory” 12" and discovering it was something else, I assumed it was probably some other release I wasn’t aware of yet… With the advent of the internet, it wasn’t long until I stumbled upon the details of this, which finally solved the mystery, I thought:

Eventually, making an effort to track down a copy, and eagerly getting it on the decks at home, to my disappointment I discovered it was not on it! — although, not for long because turns out it’s four slices of top-notch tunage that, amazingly, I’d never heard before (does anyone know of any sets they appear in?)

X Amount Crew — Wild And Free EP
Close-up of Wild & Free EP

So, what does the Uncarved article cited above have to do with this unreleased tune? Well, it’s a fascinating insight into the intersection between reggae sound culture and the emergent rave scene in 1988, in particular going into detail about the north-east London based Unity Sound — and brought to my attention the fact that Navigator and Flinty Badman were both originally a part of.

This was somewhat of a revelation to me, and intrigued, I hit upon this article Navigator — The Evolution Of A London MC (and associated video) — which amongst other things revealed whilst on the sound he originally went by the name Specky Ranking "The" Navigator — explaining the credit on the Wild & Free EP (not two people like I had originally assumed!)

In addition, having risen to some notability with Unity Sound, and finding himself at a crossroads on how to continue as a vocalist, Navigator goes on to tell about hearing Lenny De Ice “We Are I.E.” for the first time, and the impact it had on him (a story he also relates in the documentary “A London Somet’ing”)

Rare image of Specky Ranks “The” Navigator toasting on the mic, with Unity Sounds

Then all of a sudden, I hear this track called "We Are Ie",
and I hear this b-line…
and I’m like yeah — that’s a proper b-line…
and that was the point when I was like, yeah — that’s what I wanna spit over

MC Navigator — from "The Evolution Of A London MC" [2012]

It’s interesting because when you listen to this unreleased tune (and the tracks on the Wild & Free EP), you can definitely tell an influence taken, that sort of – very saturated, enveloping bass, and crisp breaks right at the forefront, very much with a similar force of impact.

By the time of mid to late 1993 though, that prominent four-to-the-floor given as a counterpoint, reminiscent of “We Are I.E.”, was finding it’s way out of vogue, and with a change in the popular form of the music one can only guess a release was decided against, in favour of the more ‘jungle’ styled “Get Your Body” and the anthemic “The Victory” by DJ Dextrous.

It’s a shame in some ways that the music never stayed like this. On the other hand, we were given the classic jungle sound that became such a phenomenon that it’s hard to complain too much.

Of course, other members of Unity Sound would also play key roles in the development of jungle/drum & bass. Flinty Badman went on to form Ragga Twins with Deman Rocker, Peter Bouncer would lend his vocals to a number of important tracks, and even Ribs, the traditionalist founding selector of Unity Sound, would go on to receive credit for a tune on the celebrated “Champion Jungle Sound” compilation.

victory champion
The Victory 12″, and insert of Champion Jungle Sound LP

Interestingly, there may be a bit more to the story than this. One of the unusual things about the “The Victory” / “Get Your Body” release is there are two different catalogue numbers associated — side A is etched ‘XA002’, and the other – marked ‘XA001’ – has been gone over to make into a ‘2’. This suggests the possibility that this unreleased tune was infact the original intended ‘A’ side of this release, and that maybe some as-yet-undiscovered test press could well exist!

This is something borne out by the aforementioned dubplate having the “Get Your Body” tune on the flip – which, allegedly from Grooverider’s collection, moved surreptitiously on ebay into the hands of a nameless collector for a princely £££ sum…

So, without further ado, and incidentally making use of a choice sample taken from Philly-soul classic “At Peace With Woman”, I present to you my cherished clip, as broadcast live on Kool FM, late summer 1993. Enjoy!

NB. You can read more about UK sound culture, and the amalgamations pioneered by those such as the Ragga Twins, and indeed Shut Up & Dance, here:

Parallel – Untitled (Eeze the Pressure)

Here’s a nice Bay B Kane related track that I’ve been into as of late, which I think is a bit overlooked – I certainly overlooked it until recently.
Even on the EP it’s featured on, at least two other tracks (“How should I Start” and the “Let Me Feel It Once More” remix) are much better known. Still, this tune is fun and has been great to throw in mixes as of late. The primary melody and vocals are from Subliminal Aura “Ease the Pressure (Hypnotic Trance Mix)”, but with killer Bay B Kane breaks-n-bass added in as well as some more bleeps. Definitely a fun surprise if you’ve got this record for the first two tunes but want something different to play.

As always, big respect to Mel on this one! Aside from picking up this EP, you can also grab the official “return of bay b kane” reissue EP or a Ruff Guidance Records T shirt.

Parallell – Eeze the Pressure

Persian Prince – Existance is Resistance releases

I know I don’t post much in the way of new releases here (mostly because StrictlyNuskool Blog do a great job of keeping up), but here’s some nice Persian Prince releases which sort of went under the radar. Unlike some artists/labels which get tons of hype and everyone seems to look out for, Persian’s stuff I don’t seem to hear as much about (despite or maybe due to it being super limited). Unlike a lot of artists and labels (including myself) which are very narrowly focused on jungle of a certain several-year period, Persian’s EPs feature run the gamut from jungle to UKG, breaks, house, and more. These aren’t unfocused genre excursions, he’s every bit as good at making UKG stuff as he is at jungle and some of those style tracks are quite rare and in demand now. Also, while that kind of variety might have been a bit of a hard sell 20 years ago when DJs were more sub-genre specialized, it seems there’s now a new generation of listeners and DJS who treat genre specificity as a problem of the past.

With Persian’s latest released EP, Don’t Deal Wid Violence, you get a number of styles running the gamut from breaks to hardcore to house. The title track is kind of a throwback breakbeat-y hardcore tune, a bit bleak with acid bits later on.

On the other hand, you also get “Khaab”, a house track which sounds a bit like Fingers Inc meets Farsi poetry to me:

Tracks like this are a personal fav for me because they showcase Persian Prince’s background (as the name indicates he’s originally from Iran) and show the same kind of synthesis of culture and influences which originally lead to the foundation of hardcore/jungle.

You can grab that release HERE

Another recent release is The Young Skywalker EP, which combines dubwise jungle with some classic sci fi movie samples.
“Disengage the Computer” is a nice rolling jungle tune with star trek samples aplenty:

In all honesty, the slightly updated, rolling dubwise jungle/dnb style isn’t my personal fav style, but I’ve seen firsthand how well it works on the dancefloor in the UK, and it’s definitely a serious scene of it’s own. People into that stuff woudl definitely be wise to grab this one HERE.

NRG – Domino

Here’s a fun track for Friday.. guessing the only reason this wasn’t bigger back when released was that it came out in 94 but sounds very much 92 style… not just the uplifting pianos (which contrast nicely with the Cape Fear soundtrack music sample), but the low fi hiphop vocals bits, etc. In fact, it pretty much sounds like it could have come out of the exact same sessions as NRG classics like “Never Lost His Hardcore” or “Feel the Fury”. Not sure if that’s the case or not, but either way, I don’t think it ever got proper UK release and instead came out in a German label in a couple of different pressings. Definitely a fun grab if you’ve got the other NRG stuff (which most 92 fans do) but are looking for something less known with a similar fun sound.

NRG – Domino.mp3

Paul Z – One Small Step

With all the focus on jungle lately, it seems LOTS of tunes are going way up in price, not just the rare/in demand ones. For instance, Paul Z’s great EP “Open Mind” seems to be totally sold out on discogs as of writing this. Still, it’s nice that there’s plenty of other tunes like this which are still kicking around for a pound or two. This EP is a bit later than “Open Mind”, and has more of a steppy feel at its base (due to the later year), but still lets loose with nice amens after a while, plus heavy sub and those classic moon landing samples. Not gonna cure cancer or change music as we know it, but some nice really fun stuff to throw in the mix! Big respect to Paul Z wherever you are.

Paul Z – One Small Step

Future Viper – Creatures of the Drum pt 3

Normally when I wait this long between tune posts, I try to post something super rare or in-demand or otherwise special. Dunno if this qualifies, but at the least it’s an odd tune which nobody checking this blog has heard before (well, before I played it on BTTO Radio Dec 27th). Certainly wasn’t getting rinsed by Jungle Royalty bitd at massive raves, hehe.

Future Viper, aka Oliver Kirwa, was more of a hardcore and gabber producer, as well as developing some quite cool looking C64 games. This is the only jungle track on the EP, and despite digging for “out there” stuff like this I may have never found if my buddy Crugga didn’t chuck it into an order for me (knowing how much I love odd tunes like this). It’s definitely a jungle track track through and through – chopped amens, subby bass, bleeps heavily reminiscent of YMO (maybe sampled from them?), alternating with a dark ominous bell tone. Nice clean production too. Still, there’s something a bit “off” that makes it not really work as a jungle tune – maybe it’s the super bouncy happy sound of that YMO-ish part. Either way, quite interesting and cool to hear for those who think they have “heard it all”!

Future Viper – Creatures of the Drum 3