His rationalisation, for what appears to have been a kind of therapeutic exercise, a form of "memory work" or self-mourning: "I... thought what a shame it is that the fast pace of dance music doesn’t lend itself to longevity. The links and chains are lost to time, and so much has been forgotten.... It changes and develops so quickly that people come in, hear a years worth of one style, and then move on. And these old artists made amazing, innovative music that is never heard any more. It made me sad, and it made me long for the so called good old days lol. Only, I did not want to go back to them,. I wanted to bring them to me, to now. I wanted to show them to those who missed it the first time around.
"And like that, I knew I would never find a way forward without going backwards first.
"So I turned to the music of my youth, my hardcore hero’s, for inspiration. Acen, Soundcorp, NRG, Nookie, the huge names like the Prodigy, the tiny and obscure like DSFK. All those great artists that made their names when the music was new, and had no rules. I found myself messing about with one of my all time favorite tracks – NRG’s He Never Lost His Hardcore, and I wondered – would modern audiences dig the old skool tracks if they heard them now? As if they were new, as if they were made with modern technology. I love my old school, but musical production levels have changed so dramatically over the years that no matter how well produced an old school tune is, a new raver will hear “slow, flat, weird”. The weird I couldn’t change – and I wouldn’t, because that is one of the things that made old school so awesome. But the flat sound is simply production, and the speed can be changed.
"Which is what I did.
"The Timewarp set is a set of old school tracks remade from scratch. I gave myself some rules that firmed up as I went along:
1. No sampling the original release. I did bend this rule on aa few of the tracks where I had no other option, but all the others are built with no samples from the original releases at all.
2. Find the original samples sources and get them as clean as possible.
3. The format must remain the same, even if, or especially because, its weird. No adding or changing things – these tracks are not remixes. Where things needed to be added or changed due to technology etc, I did, but I did everything I could to remain in the spirit of the original tracks.
4. Fix what can be fixed, leave the rest alone. By this I mean, some of them just could not work in a modern day setting, but with a few very minor tweaks, could be made to fit.
"The result is Supaset 16, The Timewarp set. The basic premise is this – if these artists were making these tracks today, how would they sound? If a 1992 Acen had been somehow given access to a 2015 studio, how would his track have sounded? I deliberately set myself aside as much as I could – I wanted to be a ghost of a producer, rebuilding the tracks but having no artistic impact.
"I have tried to get as close to the originals as possible in every way possible. Some actually sound like I have magically pitched them up with no audio loss – these are the ones I am most proud of. Some differ from the originals because nowadays, you can either be 4×4 or breaks and bass. Back in the day, tracks often combined 4×4 and a bassline, which works with a light bassline, sort of, but absolutely would not work on the modern dance floor. So with some tracks, I had to make a choice which way to lean. It was important to me that the tracks could be played to a modern audience without compromising the original vibe. I think I have done okay with that bit, the best I could do.
In the end, this set was a labor of love and gratitude. These tracks in their original format shaped my life, and while I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the original artists, I could never explain to anyone how much these tracks meant to me. It was in incredibly difficult set to make. I hope you enjoy it. Now I will shut up and let the set play…."
What an articulate account of a compellingly strange undertaking!
Like this bit:
"I deliberately set myself aside as much as I could – I wanted to be a ghost of a producer, rebuilding the tracks but having no artistic impact. Listening, they don't sound that different, which is obviously the point. They are faster, slightly cleaner-clearer, the drums a bit more harder-hitting.
I prefer the cruddy lo-res murk of the originals, but then I am E-motionally cathected to that sound, from the original time, and from countless subsequent replays and revisitings. But overall, I would say Chris has achieved what he set out to do.
Here's one of his own classics from back in the day: