Tag Archives: uk drum and bass

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.

 

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Dutty Songworm OF tha Day: Phuture Phunk

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http://grooveshark.com/s/Phuture+Phunk/41ya9m?src=5

Aight, check this out. Today I experienced a totally irrational hankering of nostalgia for some ol skool drum and bass. So I dug out CD 1 from my double disc set, “Essential Drum and Bass 2” (Beechwood Music, 1998). If you like atmospheric drum and bass with vocals, then you’re gonna dig this. With classic gems by 4 Hero, Photek, Roni Size & Krust, how the hell can you go wrong? Anyways, by the time I got to track number 10, I realized the song I was dying to hear was not on CD 1. Disc 2: nowhere to be found. Horrors. I got on the net and, with a bit of sleuthing, discovered what I was looking for. Nevermind the fact that the file is low res; I was just happy to hear the thing. Too bad the embed’s got the hate on for WordPress 😦 

Nonetheless, the track is titled, “Phuture Phunk” by Science Orchestra. It starts off with a bombastic, killer bass intro with a punchy emphasis on the one, spruced up with cowbells and scraper. And that offbeat shaker at 00:45 – sheer brilliance. The Latin swing of this composition plays a huge part in its enduring appeal. Aesthetically pleasing in so many ways, the creative layering of horns, abstract vocal loops and simplistic beats put me in touch with my Latin American roots in the trippiest way imaginable. Major props to this underrated treasure of UK drum and bass. Worth a listen, especially if you can get your hands on the original. Crank that shit up, feel it bounce in your meat machine and you’ll know exactly what I mean 🙂

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.