Tag Archives: Roni Size

Roni Size / Reprazent New Forms Turns 20

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roni-size-reprazent-new-forms

20 years ago on this day, June 23rd 1997, seminal album New Forms was released by U.K. drum and bass producer Roni Size and Reprazent, a collective of artistes including Onallee, DJ Krust, Suv, Die and Dynamite MC. The successful mashup of spaced out jazz with hip-hop infused drum and bass earned Size/Reprazent the Mercury Prize in 1997 and heavy hitter status during the 90’s rave era.

I happened upon this album sometime in 1998. “Brown Paper Bag” happened to be playing on a T.V. where I worked and I was hooked. To top it off, the video was shot in Toronto! An extended intro featuring a double bass doing a seductive number with a flirty guitar, like a conversation leading back to bass place…that conversation par excellence helped that song become a bonafide hit. At first I got the single C.D. but later acquired the double disc. And that, in and of itself, was a revelation.

From the head-bopping infectious rhyming of Dynamite MC on “Railing” to the digital staccato burst of “Morse Code”  this mind-blowing album took me on a joyride through superlatively rich soundscapes. “Share The Fall” featuring Onallee’s éclair whipped vocals became a classic DnB anthem. American MC Bahamadia’s hypnotic heist on “Feeling So High” left heads speechless. Clearly, this maverick collaboration was a critical and commercial success. Roni Size graced the cover of several music magazines, somewhat overshadowing the Reprazent crew. Heck, I even saw Size spin at a rave in Toronto (he’d shorn the locks, I was disappointed! His set satisfied me though :).

reprazent

Roni Size / Reprazent

It’s fair to say that if you have not heard Disc 2 of New Forms, you are truly missing out. If you listen carefully, it becomes evident that water plays a predominant part in the production. Which is hardly surprising when you consider that Roni Size is Scorpio, a water sign. Moody and playfully mellow, “Down” is anything but. I felt like a leaf, meandering down a burbling brook on an overcast day as the water swirled around me. Skillful breakbeats layered with jazzy instrumentals, strategic looping and clever phasing give this double album an atmospheric feel that is unparalleled. It is full of textures, ranging from mysteriously edgy to effervescent. I love playing it on a rainy day as it amplifies that warm cozy feeling that makes me glad to be indoors with a hot cuppa tea, getting a proper rinsing!

20 years later, I still listen to New Forms. It sounds every bit as fresh as it did back then. Sure, I have bigger concerns than getting a fresh pair of cargos for the next rave but you know what? It just makes me all the more thankful that I had this amazing experience. Oh, and “Hot Stuff” is going off in the background, which brings to mind supers and laying down in bed, admiring my silver tone bubble chair and my Liquid Adrenaline poster which I will never forgive my mother for accidentally throwing out.

I could go on and on about the cool sound effects on each track like the windchimes on “Ballet Dance” but I suggest you discover this brilliant gem of an album yourself. Or revisit it from a mature perspective. There is much to love and appreciate about New Forms as we evolve over time.

Copyright © 2017 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

Danny Byrd & Roni Size New Single, Love You Like This

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This just in…today, Danny Byrd of Hospital Records dropped his latest album Grit, featuring a collaboration with beatmeister Roni Size.  Size tweeted the video link for “Love You Like This” and I have to confess I’m loving it! Muppets take over a studio in Bath as Danny and Roni look on in amazement. Yoda quips, “Mmm Danny Byrd, Roni Size, drum and bass masters…I’ve forseen your arrival ahead.” I guarantee Jim Henson would be amused. He’s probably stepping to this track somewhere in the Afterworld. Thanks for making me smile on a Monday guys! 🙂

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Raver of The Month: Buddy Holly

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Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly recently came forward and fessed up about his youthful hedonistic exploits. Better to get all that guilty joy out in the open instead of letting it fester, ooze and mutate into a raging mid-life crisis (oh the horror!)…For the record, Buddy is light miles away from mid-century meltdown. Turns out this dude is a walking encyclopaedia on North America’s partyland past. I told him he should write a book but as you can see, Buddy’s well, a little bit shy. I could create a 12 part mini-series based on Buddy’s überwild escapades, but I’ll stick to the simple stuff – for now anyways… 

F: So Buddy, tell me when you first got into raving.

B: When we were club kids just going downtown Toronto to a couple of spots where they were playing house music.

F: What year was this?

B: 1991, 92 maybe. Like Bassline and Shelter. And then you could go to Oz; that was Factory back in the day. And they used to have these techno parties…there was a place called Freakshow behind City TV – we’d go there. Me and my one friend, we started a trend with our friends and it was like, we were into the music. We’d go down to Nathan Phillips Square, we’d go to a meeting point and get a map. It was just like a musical adventure, you know?

F: At that point, how many people were showing up at these events?

 B: They started small but they started getting commercial…in the beginning maybe like 400 people, like the warehouse parties. Then they got really big like even ’93, 94, the big Atlantis parties and stuff like that; you would get about 2000 to 3000 people at those parties like Dose, Better Days and Destiny.

F: Speaking of treasure hunting, what was your most memorable find related to that era?

B: Awwh man…like mixtapes and records. ‘Cause I used to collect records but nothing too crazy. I remember my first two mixtapes were Syrous and Renegades parties with DJ Hype and Kenny Ken. That was like ’94 when I bought my first mixtapes. It was just an experience you know…

F: Have you ever embarked on a cross-country raving adventure?

B: We went to Miami once – the World Electronic Music Festival which was cool, ‘cause that was the first year they had it.

F: What year was this?

B: I guess it was 2000 or 99.

F: That sounds about right.

B: Yeah, I think it was. We used to go to Montreal Black and Blue parties. It was amazing, like 30,000 people at the Bell Centre. Unbelievable parties in Montreal. We went to Detroit once or twice, (then) New York city.

F: Who did you go to see in Detroit?                                                      

Buddy's most prized possession circa 1995

B: I went to see Derrick May once; we saw Richie Hawtin. It was a music festival – the Detroit Techno Festival. They had everybody there, like Jeff Mills.

F: I remember seeing Richie Hawtin, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson spinning at a rave in a parking lot downtown once. It was one of the most amazing parties that I’d ever been to.

B: (Aside) Hey man, can you flip that cassette? (To Frankenräver) An actual cassette! (Chuckles).

F: Do you know anyone who OD’d or G’d out on your sofa?

B: Not really; I mean, you would see it at parties, the ones my friends went to especially.

F: What about that guy you told me about that G’d out in his car?

B: He was a really nice guy; he used to party a lot with us and we went to Bassment one night at Bathurst and Bloor and he G’d out right at the corner in his car, like, in the middle of the intersection with streetcars backed up; he was there G’d out for half an hour with the car running.

F: Do you know what happened to him?

B: I think he was arrested that day and basically G was like the end of the rave scene for us; G and K, that whole vibe that came into the rave scene with the juicemonkeys and the strippers – that’s all they did. I remember the first couple boat cruises we had, like the Jennstar boat cruises – there was no G in the scene. They were the best parties in the world.

F: Tell me more about the boat cruises.

B: They were amazing. On the River Gambler they’d have like Derrick Carter, Cevin Fisher, Sneak, all these Industry guys. They used to throw the best parties and it was just that vibe and this was just before G and three years later. With G-heads like that, they had to actually get taxis to come and take people off the boat; there were bodies everywhere (laughter)…it was just really embarrassing, you know? I just think people could act more mature when they’re partying and be in control.

F: So how baked were you after staying up all night and then going to the boat party in the morning?

B: I’d be pretty baked; at Sundays they were called church, it was like a religious kind of gathering with all our friends, we’d have all the energy in the world. We’d go to friends in the morning and just stay by their place you know?

F: What was your time-honoured recovery routine?

B: Probably like a day, yeah like Sundays. Sunday nights you were okay; ready for work on Monday.

F: What was your most memorable moment at Industry?

B: Roni Size, Reprazent tour awwh man – that was such a killer party! Live drum and bass, two drummers, backup singers. Just live drum and bass; it was one of the illest things I ever saw. Besides that, it was Sneak and Derrick Carter on four turntables.

F: Do you remember what your last rave was like.

B: (Raps to Kenny Ken in the background) The funk phenomenon, I’m rhyming you like Lebanon! (Laughter). I can’t remember my last rave.

F: So when would you say raving as you knew it ended?

B: 2000. Like, 1999…I remember that party. It was just like, the energy wasn’t there, you know what I mean? It had become a business; it wasn’t about the music or the scene anymore; from the promoters, to the vendors, DJs, the runners – everybody. It was just all about making money; selling water, whatever – you know? Charging $6 for a bottle of water is murder.

F: And shutting off the cold water so you couldn’t refill your bottles. Yes, I remember that. I just think it was disgusting.

B: You see that; that’s not about love, you know?

F: No it isn’t.

B: That’s not love, that’s corruption, and once you have that in the scene, you can’t call it love or pure or ecstasy; it’s all about business, right?

F: Do you think it’s possible to overdose on Ecstasy?

B: I think you can overdose on anything…(laughter)…I overdose on apple pie everyday. I’m Buddy Holly!

F: If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?

B: Nothing. I had such a great time.

F: On a final note, what word of advice do you have for today’s current generation of ravers?

B: Eat your wheaties! Stay in school.

F: Thanks for your time Buddy.

B: You’re welcome. That was awesome!

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

 

Roni Size “Brown Paper Bag” Video Shot in Toronto

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 To all the drum n bass headz out there, did you know Roni Size’s “Brown Paper Bag” video was shot in Toronto? You can see the streetcar at 1:22 and St. Osgoode subway station. Ain’t it trippy?!

  Roni Size is a British Dj / producer who achieved tremendous success with his album,  New Forms which debuted in 1997. It is considered to be one of the greatest drum and bass jazz fusion albums. I highly recommend a listen to the double LP. And Size is mentioned in my up and coming book on Toronto’s rave scene (see previous posting). 

Something to be proud of Toronto!


Time 4 Another Sneak Preview! Frankenräver’s E-book on 90’s Rave Scene

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Well folks, it’s time 4 another sneak preview of my up & coming e-book, set to be launched into cyberspace sometime next week. Yay! I’m excited! T.I.M.O. chronicles the hilarious shenanigans of self-professed rave junkie, Gemma “G-Fly” Anderson. Set in 1998 during the height of Toronto’s burgeoning rave scene, G-Fly is encouraged by her gorgeous supermodel friend, Katrina, to keep a journal for forty nine days as an exercise in artistic liberation. Get ready for a page turning, thrill addicting experience, guaranteed to leave you in stitches and jonesing for more!

Warning: This posting contains mature subject matter which some may find offensive. Of course, that only applies to uptight conservatives, religious fanatics and anyone who has never uttered the word “fuck” in their entire lives – you have been forewarned…

Thu Oct.1st – DAY 17

It’s 6:57 a.m & I can hear the wind gusting like crazy. It doesn’t sound very inviting out there. The only reason I’m up is I have to be at work for 9:15 a.m. I hate waking up early in the morning but at least I’ll have the rest of the day to myself & it does get busier at night than during the day. Mom’s quarrelling with Amir to wear a jacket cuz it’s cold out there. He insists his school blazer is enough to keep him warm cuz a big jacket’s gonna kill the style he’s trying to flex. I guess he’ll find out the hard way.

Last night I dreamt I was at a mini-rave. I was in this little room with a few floories who, as usual, were passed out on the floor. For some odd reason, I had my Roni Size c.d. & decided to put it on. When “Brown Paper Bag” dropped, the room was suddenly filled with ravers. They were swaying in trance-like fashion to the seductive jazzy intro, stepping & bopping their heads. I made my way to the front of the crowd, trying 2 feel the vibe. Everyone was on E except me. Then they all disappeared & the room was empty except for 1 girl sweeping the floor. House was pumping from the adjacent room. Guess that’s where everyone went. Two black transsexuals were in the house & 1 of them needed help with his-her bra. I helped him-her hook the bra around her ample bustline. She needed extra help with the front. I watched as he-she did some grotesque folding manipulation of her breasts, which were actually massive folds of loose flesh. When she was done, it looked like cleavage. “Now you know how it’s done honey,” she said, dropping a conspiratorial wink.

So much for anxiety dreams & all that crap. I gotta go now.

Sat Oct. 3 – DAY 18

Well, I’ve managed to skip yet another day but it’s not such a crime. At least it’s not as bad as robbing a liquor store for example. But enuf of that. Today is D-DAY. I’ve bought my ticket & WE ARE GOING!!! I got hyped up in bed this morning just thinking about it. I finally spoke with Shastri on Thursday night. His brother was supposed to be coming with us, but I found out later he was going 2 another rave – “Liquid Groove” – which featured hard techno. “Fusion” (which is the 1 we’re going to) is supposedly more well-rounded with drum & bass & jungle in da mix, as well as house & techno. Should be a rocking party!

Speaking of hyped up, DJ Hype tore shit up last month at the Warehouse for Syrous 5 year anniversary. The line-up to get in was insane but it was worth it. I was chilling with Da Undaground Crew, grooving to Mystical Influence & about to dose my E when some dork knocked it out of my hand. Before I could pick it up, he stepped on it. I was pissed! Luckily the pill was in a baggie but it got crushed to a powder. Blaine advised me to dissolve it in water. I then proceeded to lick the bag & tried not to gag on the supremely horrible taste. By the time Hype came on, I was out of my fucking mind & sweating like crazy. Almost bit the sides of my tongue off from all the grindage. It was amazing to see this geeky looking white dude having the time of his life grinning like mad, scratching & mixing, driving every1 nuts. Oh my God…I swear MC Fats & Rage were like the Dynamic Duo on da friggin mic, especially Fats. His hypnotic voice put me in a trance with the reverb heavy sound FX, tripping every1 right the fuck out. People were literally falling over as they tried to move around during a mindblowing, synth drenched interval of spectacular mindfuckery employed by the masterful Hype. Not only that but Fats had this amazing voice which blew me away cuz not a lot of MC’s can sing. That night was 1 of the best nights for jungle / dnb ever! Pascal was all up there in da mix too, spinning LTJ Bukem. Bukem was like a rainbow waterfall flowing through my mind. Pure bliss! Hype took shit to another level after wrecking pure devastation on the dance floor with Ice Cube’s “West Up” set to jungle, which sent all the junglists & hip-hop heads into a stepping frenzy. My jersey got all torn but I didn’t give a fuck – it was Animal Crackers up in that joint, especially with the high concentration of males jungle always seems to attract. “Front, back, side to side / we be givin’ it up til the day we die/ niggaz hit me up I’ma have to erupt – So MOTHERFUCKER WEST UP!!!  Ya heard!!!

Yesterday I went to buy my ticket at Puff the Magic Dragon before I started my shift & guess who I saw as I was leaving the store!! Do I really need to say his name???! Needless to say, I was just as surprised & elated as he was. After all (& he said it too), what r the odds of us bumping into each other like this? Highly improbable I would say, since we move in different circles outside of raving. I had time to kill so we chilled for a bit. He did most of the talking & I did most of the gawking. I was just drinking him in, absorbing every aspect of his physicality; every blemish, each little strand of hair, inputting all the details into my demented database so I could pull up that file later & savor it lovingly, like a favorite dessert. His 6′ 3″ frame was draped in baggy sweats which couldn’t disguise the fact that he’s got broad shoulders & a killer body to boot. His sparkling, hazelish eyes r so expressive, being framed by delightfully thick, perfectly arched eyebrows. They remind me of dad’s eyes, except his are much lighter, like the color of champagne. He’s also got these juicy, mauve colored lips bracketed by the most adorable dimples & disgustingly straight, pearly white teeth. Shastri’s so friggin fine he oughta be locked up! Why oh why are mixed boys so damn hot?!! I picture him as a gold complected Adonis, batting sooty lashes & grinning shyly on an Olympic pedestal surrounded by screaming harpies. That gilded lily leaf would barely cover his formidable charms to be sure. I’m stunned almost speechless by his eloquent glory. His hands are shapely & well-manicured. I want to feel them on me. I can just imagine his pink tongue lapping up against my labia…OH THIS IS 2 MUCH!! Quite frankly, I would be genuinely surprised & MUCHO RELIEVED if he made a move (but not while under the influence of E). Anyways, we’ll see how this drama plays out.

Well Timo, I’m hooked up for tonight. I’ve got my E & later I’m gonna pick up some weed. It’s costing me a small fortune but I think it will be money well spent. This time I got a hugs & kisses. It’s a cute little thing. According to Eric, it’s supposed to make u feel “rushy rushy.” As long as it doesn’t make me sick, I don’t care. I’ve got to get my butt in gear as I have a busy night ahead of me. Still have to pick up some party favors – glo-stix & lollipops. So I’ll see ya tomorrow. Hope I’ll be coherent / co-ordinated enough to write (YEAH, WHATEVER!!!).

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.