Here’s a tune which flew under my radar for ages, but I’ve really come around to as of late. For those who don’t know, Torchman is an long-long-longtime veteran of the UK jungle/hardcore scene, since before that scene even existed (starting with Acid House in the 80’s). Aside from DJing top events like Fantazia, Orange, Fusion, etc, Torchman released one of the most well loved tracks of 93 (and one of the most pricey), “Tell Me” on Face Recordings. In comparison, I think this later EP flew under a lot more people’s radars. I can’t say I’ve heard it in many mixes, though obviously ben / jj / phil can feel free to correct me on that. The label who released it (Faster Faster Recordings) only ever did this EP, though the catalog number makes it look like Faster Faster may have been a sublabel or affilate of a Hiphop label of the time, Expressive Records. Either way, this EP definitely didn’t have the label push that something on Face would have, which might explain the lack of presence in big sets etc.
Tune-wise, I’ll admit I didn’t really think all that much of “Shine” at first. I usually focus in on beatwork in tracks, either brash programming or intricate sequencing. In the case of this EP, both sides are quite stripped down, with nothing crazy going on. Most producers by 94 were layering in think or other more “full”/heavy sounding breaks, whereas the ones in “Shine” are more classic hiphop/funk ones pitched up enough that don’t have much low end to them. Also, the vinyl cut itself is kind of quiet, and it takes a bit of boosting live despite being cut at one track per side. However, that’s not to slate the tunes themselves – they’re well worth checking! Shine in particular is a winner – hynotically loopy soul/jazz bits somewhat reminiscent of Reinforced, combined with Stacatto sub bass hits and simple but catchy timestretched vocals. No unexpected changeups or anything to blow you away, but absolutely proper headnod vibes that get the job done nicely. A lot more people seem to be into melodic, laid-back and atmospheric jungle stuff as of late, and many of those tunes are picking up a lot in demand value. I’m guessing few people still know this one, so if that’s your bag, definitely check it out and buy a copy if you like it!
As an aside, simply listening to tracks like this on their own on the internet, it’s easy to forget their just-as-important use as tools in a set as opposed to expecting each and every one to smack you over the head like a prime-time track. Anyone can grab a few dozen amen smashers and do a set that tears your face off from needle drop. It takes a bit more effort to find the right tune for the right time, slowly building up energy, etc. Being such a veteran DJ, I’m sure Torchman knows that better than anyone, hence tunes like this!