Wednesday 25 July 2012

Drums And Bass IV: Back To The Future (Part 1)

I recently came into a fair amount of real old school drum & bass. like even older than the stuff I've put up before, we're talkin 1993 up in here. Now, opinions are usually divided about what's better, the old school or the newer 'liquid funk' style. Me, I like 'em both, and I'm gonna whip up a nice mixture of the two, starting with the old.

I can never escape Omni Trio, his production is always solid throughout his catalogue. My first introduction to his brand of drum & bass was the album Even Angels Cast Shadows, and because of that I was skeptical of how this was going to sound, being nearly 20 years old, how much had his style changed? A fair bit it turns out, Feel having some sick rave-styled machine gun stabs from the first break - compared to the lush, almost loungy piano keys and breakbeats that I know Omni Trio for. This one still has that well produced feel of those tracks though; it might not be as slick and modern sounding as OT's later work - but everything from the samples to the breaks has a lot of love behind it.

And of course, I have to include the classic that is Renegade Snares. It's just one of those tracks that is quality through and through. Also it's kinda like a bit of foreshadowing, that piano hook that kicks off the tracks and swings back in every now and then is now what I'd consider Omni Trio's trademark, and he does it really, really well.

I seem to have a thing for liking overlooked B-sides, the A-side to this EP Spiritual Aura is already another of those classics within the scene. But for me the highlight is the introduction to Rhythm. It's up there in my list of all time best intros ever, that effect is unlike anything I've ever heard before (it's apparently a unstretched pitch shifted drum loop) or since. The track as a whole is tidy but that little bit just steals the show, especially when it gets cut up and thrown in the mix throughout.

Of course now we end up in the transitional period, the sound's changed alright, but it ain't quite the liquid funk of today. Leading the pack once again here is Goldie with a slice from the amazing Timeless. It's pretty good at demonstrating the evolution, the drum programming's got a little bit more complex but stuff like the samples and rumbling basslines are still there alright. Speaking of drums, get a load of that 808 about a minute in.

One thing I didn't tell you about Weekend World the first time around is that there's plenty of conventional drum & bass strewn among the jazzy stuff I focused on last time. They're complete opposites in terms of sound to both the jazzy tracks from the album itself and the direction Goldie was taking things in, subscribing more to the old school style. But that's what you get from Moving Shadow, after all they did bring us the OT tracks from earlier.

As we head into the 2000s, things go quiet for a while. That is until Pudendum come along and bring D&B back to the mainstream. To their credit Hold Your Colour was a petty nice album but that's something for the next part to cover. Join me next time as we travel through the millennium to explore the depths of contemporary D&B.

Amen Brother,
-Claude Van Foxbat

1 comment:

Cristie Sampson said...

I think its really cool that this blog goes through the ages of Electro music. From the early 1990s up until today. It was so cool to see how much this genre has changed throughout the years. Really got me wanting to read more! I started listening to Electro on its pretty cool because they have a bunch of stations that play Electro so I'm getting more and more into it. I love the beats and how this type of music makes you feel afterwards. Perfect to workout to :)