Tuesday, May 26, 2015

hardcore heroes #1 and #4 - slight return

New Miro Pajic tune "Heart Department" with Mover Rmx!

Miro + Chesler tune from a few years ago with Mover Rmx

The original version of "Heart Department"

Saturday, May 23, 2015

too much rave footage too little time

raw material for Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore 2

"All footage uploaded has been sourced and uploaded for education purposes and to enable people to regress"

Steve Coogan AND Simon Dee in this next one!

Friday, May 22, 2015

RS4 - nuum to the kore

interview by Jack Law (aka Corpsey, aka Dirtnap) with deeptech producer RS4, also known as Oris Jay also known as Darqwan - a fellow with a lot of nuum history, and who knows his history

I have often felt bleep echoes in deep tech - and extremely interestingly, Oris Jay's rediscovery of bleep - the music that "originally got me into electronic music" , on account of the fact that he grew up in Sheffield - is what lay behind his shift into the deep tech zone

Q: Why the switch from Oris Jay/Darqwan/DQ1 to RS4?
RS4: I released an album in 2012 called "To The Fly" which had a mix of genres on it. Spanning about 10 years of musical styles that have influenced me from Hip Hop, Dancehall, Drum & Bass to Dubstep. What it missed was the music that originally got me in to electronic music, which was the Bleeps & Bass sound that Sheffield was known for in the late 80’s/early 90’s. I knew one day I would try and produce a few tracks based around that old style of music (basically stripped-down House music, bass driven, 808 & 909 drums with some synth sounds). In 2006 I gave it a go with a track called "Rudeboy DJ" which I did with DJ Veteran. That was the first time I used the alias RS4. A few months after the album release an old friend of mine called DJ Lombardo introduced me to the Deep Tech House sound. I remember him saying to me, “It sounds like your Darqwan stuff but House music, you should try it using another alias”. So I did, and RS4 was back. R.S is short for Oris and 4 is short for the 4x4 time signature (four to the floor). It’s nothing to do with Audis!
Q. Its interesting to see a producer from Sheffield - a city long associated with industrialism and industrial music - fastening onto this style, which I think has a quite mechanical feel to it. Could you explain the role growing up and living in Sheffield has taken in shaping (or NOT shaping) your musical direction?
RS4: Growing up in Sheffield in the 80’s/90’s was an exciting time for me musically as my local record shop was Warp Records. I could only just see over the counter at the guy playing these mad Bleeps & Bass sounds which I found fascinating. I was too young to get into most clubs in Sheffield at that time however, walking on my tip-toes and not making any eye contact with the doormen I managed to get into a club called The Limit. This club was pitch black, one way in and one way out, low roof and massive speakers. 5 minutes after I got in the track “LFO” by LFO came on and when the bass dropped I knew music was the life for me.

Sheffield was also known for its Steel industry. Where I lived you could hear the echoes of the machines banging repeatedly like a slow faint kick drum. I guess even the sound of the factories in the background have influenced me.

On his break with dubstep:

RS4: I never really stopped making music, I just decided to make an album that took longer than I expected. A few months after its release I got a bit of writer’s block as the sound of Dubstep had changed in a way that I didn't want really want to follow. My friend Lombardo rang me and asked me if I have heard of deep tech house, I said no. He said it sounds like the tunes you used to make back in the day as it has bass and bleeps with influences of house from the 80's and early 90's. I decided to try make one which was a track called "All Around" and it ended up being signed to Audio Rehab. After that I just kept going.

So basically Oris / RS - as a listener/fan, and as creator/participant - is nuum all the way through - his life taking him through bleep, jungle, UK garage / breakstep, grime, dubstep, and now into deep tech. Only thing he appears to have skipped is funky!

RS4's newest release for Audio Rehab

Special RS4 mix for Pack London:

special uk rave 90/92 mix

tasty but not the hasty breaksy madnesst you'd expect with the words 'UK Rave 90/92' or indeed expect me to post here ....

instead Man Like Iueke strings together a shimmerscape of slinky, oneiric, four-to-floor (so far anyway)....  floaty MDMA dreamflesh vybes....  a gentle fever...

vaguely in the zone of ooh Golden Girls' "Kinetic" maybe...  or perhaps Ubik and Nexus 21

but i don't recognise hardly  any of the tracks and dude's not put the promised tracklist up yet

love it

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

hardcore 4 Heroes ( # 1 of 1)

An interview  at FACT with Dego McFarlane of 4 Hero legend and broken beat not-so-legend

(He said cattily)

But seriously it always amazes me how little legends like Dego rate the stuff on which their legend is based.

Asked about the classic-era Reinforced and 4 Hero stuff  - which FACT interviewer Mr. Beatnick says "still feels futuristic and totally ahead to me. Maybe more now than ever", a right-on opinion as far as I'm concerned - Dego says this:

"To me when I hear those records, I hear the excitement of youth. I hear the non-boundary, don’t-give-a-fuck attitude going on....."

Yes, yes, I'm with you, I'm with you - pray continue Dego!

 "Some of the tracks are well crafted, yes. But for the most part, those records are cringey to me – I cringe. I hear all the mistakes. I hear mistakes all over the place...."

No, no, no... I beg to differ, Dego, I must beg to differ...

 ".... There’s a couple where I feel like, “Oh, I was on it there!” But it’s mostly mistakes to me. That was the problem, I didn’t go to music school...."

But that's why you were able to do what you were able to do, man!

"You’re hearing us learn stuff right there, open book we are. You can hear our progression...."

Exactly, you were going somewhere... you hadn't got there yet....


Dego does point to his remixes of Tek 9's "The Attack" on Breakin' Sound Barriers: Remixes EP from 1993 as among the few things that still stand up for him:

"I did two versions of it, parts one and two, and I think that was the best, most futuristic or whatever. Everything seems in tune."

Niiiiice, yes - but better than "Journey From the Light" or the Golden Age E.P. or "Wrinkles In Time" and "Terraforming" off Parallel Universe ????!!!

No coincidence surely that the "Attack" RMX is among the most looking "ahead" to broken beat of all the classic-era 4 Hero stuff....

Musicians - in truth, the last people you should listen to for an opinion on the merits and demerits of their own work!

The interview also mentions some recent output under the name  Cousin Cockroach that used "a diskette of old sounds from the 90s" and "parts from the old Tek 9 and Tom & Jerry stuff".

Titled, amusingly, "This Ain't Tom & Jerry"

Niiiiice enough  (does go on a bit though)

But I wish It Bleedin' Was Tom & Jerry,  to be honest.

It should be noted that Dego has a new solo album out, entitled The More Things Stay the Same to be released on 2000 Black on May 26.

About the title Dego says:

"I’m at that age where I’ve seen it all – things I bought at the time, people don’t want to hear that, and then later on, well, everyone likes this again now do they? It’s the same with fashion, its the same with everything, everything goes in cycles. There’s nothing really new. There’s only the nuances of the day that it is. Like when people say things like, “This person invented drum ‘n’ bass”, or whatever – that’s nonsense, jazz musicians did that years ago! Hit that groove. And something probably made them do that. Nothing really is actually new."

This is a view of things I do not concur with.

Interesting fact - Dego has been living in New York for a few years now.

But he also says "In terms of New York, I feel like since the glory days of hip-hop, Masters At Work and things like that, New York ain’t really come with a sound of its own. It’s all about LA now. They seem to have that creative buzz, creative circle going on."

I have a sneaking feeling (a sinking feeling, also) that he's talking more about Flying Lotus than DJ Mustard, though - don't you?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

re-e-wind (to the days of New Labour)

FACT with the story that Chuka Umunnawho just announced his candidacy as the Labour Party's next leader,  used to be a UK garage DJ. 

And not only that, but a music journalist, writing for urban music magazine Touch.

Umunna - MP for Streatham and  Labour's Shadow Business Secretary - is standing as a back-to-Blairsics, nu-New Labour, business-friendly / pro-"aspiration" candidate.

 Much of the story originally comes from a piece in The Independent from 2011:

"I love my music. I used to DJ – strictly vinyl – but I haven't 'played out' for ages, which I'm sad about. I briefly had a regular residency in my constituency when I was training to be a solicitor, and at university I used to run a night. You grow up in an area like this and music is a major part of urban youth culture. I went through a phase in my teens when I was majorly into ragga. Then I moved on to jungle. (We didn't call it drum and bass in those days). Hip-hop and soul were constants; I was brought up on soul music. Then I found US house and UK garage in the mid-Nineties, before it became really big." 

"Then I moved on to jungle... Then I found... UK garage"...

 Potentially the first hardcore continuum Prime Minister! He's got my vote, for sure.

Nuum Labour!

(Although slightly alarmed by the detail in The Independent that he doesn't pronounce "garage" as "garridge" but "surprisingly he pronounces it the way you might expect the average MP to – with its second syllable rhyming with 'Farage', rather than, say, 'Beveridge'."

(Lovely touch that - Ukip versus the fellow who laid the groundwork for the Welfare State)

There is also some stuff from a DJ magazine interview by Carl Loben:

"When I first started going out with my friends and enjoying music I was right there at the beginning of the UK garage scene. The brilliant thing about it was that it was a fantastic fusion of all of London's different cultures — it was distinctly London, a very British sound.
"And what also appealed to me about it was that there was no element of us seeking to mimic what people were doing in the US — it was a very British sound, and it just completely captured my imagination.
“I first started writing about it on a freelance basis for Touch Magazine, which was the offshoot of Kiss FM. Then when I was at university, I bought some decks — they were very old skool decks, belt-driven.

"My favourite DJ was probably Karl 'Tuff Enuff' Brown... 
"Producer-wise, I liked a lot of MJ Cole's stuff, Todd Edwards, Grant Nelson..."
It sounds like Umunna didn't care much for 'garage rap' and definitely disliked like grime, so he switched his allegiance to US soulful house 'n garage (presumably why he pronounces it 'garaaaage' not garridge' :

"I felt it was a bit of a shame that everybody got greedy, and it got too aggressive, the whole garage scene, which is why I slightly fell out of love with it. We allowed the MCs to take over, and it went from being quite a kind of happy, uplifting vibe to something that was a bit more aggressive — that I didn’t like" 

That makes me reconsider my plans to vote for him, especially as not super sold on the Nu-NuLab, pro-enterpreneurial slant of his candidacy. 

Although that will play probably well with the UKG generation I should imagine, now entering middle age and quite possibly feeling wistful about the flash-the-cash prosperous Britain days of the first Tony B prime ministership.

The mix-race Umunna certainly looks pure UKG, or should that be impure UKG - he's a photogenic blend of Nigerian, English and Irish, and was raised in South London, the son of a small businessman.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

your mind your body your soul

Imagination reminded me of this fabulous 2step song with Leee John on vocals

didn't realise there was also a MJ Cole version - bit over-egged compared to this previous superslinky take

Oh and more straightforwardly pumping house mix n all

original demo version

Friday, May 8, 2015

Brit Funk

reasons to be patriotic

(old reasons)

(partly British, that one)

(and this one)

(and again)

Rod is God!

Actually bought Imagination's remix album - one of the very first remix albums, not long after The League Unlimited Orchestra and Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Akkord Continuum

Akkord's  HTH035 reviewed by Reid Scott Reid at Tiny Mix Tapes:

"A sound that’s all smashed windows and crumbling walls, damp ceilings and dank corridors; a raver’s bucolic dream of escape disturbed by smoke, dust, and the sound of someone screaming"

The original  HTH020 EP from last year

The new remixes (presented alongside the originals as  HTH035 

lōc'ed on

think this are amazing - wish there was a whole subgenre of just this rap sound, 100s and 100s of tracks. 

this also great but in more classic rap-rock  Def Jam / Ultramagnetic MCs ' Travelling At the Speed of Thought' vein

a great rapper too - not in any MC's MC / lyricism sort of way - but just getting the job done  - swagger + poisernality 

Wonder if the album Lōc-ed After Dark has anything else as good as these on it?

Gangster Lean

John Barry waft 'n 'shimmer on this sublime peak-junglism classic

"Eee-zeee rock"

Monday, May 4, 2015

hardcore heroes ( # 5 of ___ ) - Nebula II

Nebula II are venerated by the headstrong hardcore for a salvo of 1991-92 tracks in a style that could be called breakbeat techno.  Tracks notable for their searing coldness and a fixated propulsiveness exceptional even by the amphetamine standards of the time - a quality of lethal linearity, single-minded intent on mission-completion, summoning up images of self-guided missiles, cyborg soldiers, and other products existing or yet-to-be-devised by the military avant-garde.

Most fearsome of a deadly batch: "X-Plore H-Core".

Like most people I should imagine,  I lost track of Nebula II after 1993's disappointingly mild "Eye Memory", which if nothing else can claim to literally be "dolphin jungle" on account of its cetacean sample and the title, based on the notion that once a dolphin looks you in the eye it'll never forget you. (I remember a DJ on a pirate actually explaining all that after playing the tune - an incongruous David Attenborough moment on Ruff FM or whatever station it was).  If I ever thought of Nebula II at all, I'd most likely have assumed that they'd either name-changed and were now operating as a drum & bass unit, or they'd simply fallen by the wayside, like so many H-core warriors.

So it was a complete surprise when in 1998 I picked up a flyer for Lenny Dee's 30th Birthday Bash, featuring  The Mover as a star attraction - and spied the name Nebula II on the bill. Or Nebula 2 as it was now being rendered.

Upon reflection, it made perfect sense - their classic tunes were at the techno-y end of the rave spectrum, so they must have branched off down a different fork - when things got jungalistic and ragga-tastic  - and moved into the hard techno field.

I went to that party  in Queens and my memory is hazy for various reasons but I am fairly certain Nebula II never got to  do their live performance. The party was busted - thankfully after Mover finished deejaying; during, I believe, Lenny Dee's own set. So I never got to hear Nebula II play, or accost them and thank them for "X-Plore H-Core", "Seance, "Peacemaker," and "Atheama."

Nebula II got into this pattern - or was it a Reinforced thing, at that time? - of following up each release with a remix - both sides of the 12 inch remixed, and always remixed by themselves, not another name on the scene, or even someone else in the Reinforced camp. And the remixes were more like completely new tracks. 

The mighty "Peace Maker" backed with the wonderfully typo-riddled (on the label) "X-Plore H-Call"


The nearest thing on the scene to the Nebula II sound was probably the Rufige Cru of "Darkrider" and "Terminator". I seem to remember Goldie saying something to the effect that at one point he considered them the competition. At different points, he had a kind of mental foe, a producer he was vying with, trying to outflank - even if they were unaware of the rivalry. At one point it was Foul Play, at another Cool Hand Flex, at another DJ SS. 

Actually now I remember it - it was being blown away by Nebula II's stuff when Grooverider and Fabio dropped it at Rage that actually led Goldie to their label of origin - Reinforced - and the start of his historic relationship with 4 Hero.

Most of Nebula II's famous tunes were on Reinforced but this killer came out on the Nottingham label J4M. 

Now what the hell is a C.O.D. Rider?

They returned to the Dollis Hill fold for this '93 EP, only one track of which is on YouTube. The others are "Clocked It" and "Benzine Fiend" - of which I have no memory, although I have the EP  - plus a different mix of "Eye Memory"


If you look closely at the Deeday flyer for Lenny's 30th, it says underneath 'Nebula 2" that they are on Industrial Strength Trance.

Post-Reinforced / breakbeat techno, they did not in fact go pure techno or gabba; they went hard trance. Which makes them pretty unusual as far as ardkore veterans who have second phases.

I am finding with a lot of these hardcore heroes that I'd taken to be shrouded-in-mystery, that there is in fact more information out and about on the web than I'd reckoned.

Here's what it says at Discogs about Nebula II, who indeed are a II-some or 2some  - Joachim Shotter & Richard McCormack.

"The duo first came to light in 1991 with Seance (featuring the devastating rave anthem Atheama on the b-side) which was released on Reinforced Records. The following year saw a steady flow of inspired breakbeat rave tracks, such as Flatliners, C.O.D. Rider, Peace Maker, X-Plore H-Core and two stunning remixes of their debut Seance / Atheama release.

"Nebula II's first P.A. was at Kool Kat in Nottingham, followed by a Christmas gig on the 23rd of December 1992. This was a very large event which also featured live performances from 4 Hero / Manix / Rufige Kru plus DJ sets from Kemistry & Storm, MRB, Goldie, Shot 1 & Coz (aka Nebula II), Cutz, Expression & Holocaust.

"From the success their releases Joe & Richard, along with MC Rimz & Dancer Peter 'E' started off the North's first hardcore club in Doncaster. The Warehouse (BYO) became one of the best venues in the country.

"Nebula II then moved into techno & psy trance. They set up Celestial Records with A Guy Called Gerald in Manchester. Their first release "The Positive EP" was a collaboration between Richard, Joe, his brother Mark and Tony Thomas who joined Nebula II along with Paul Smith.

"After a few releases the newly expanded Nebula II set up the Volt company which then set out on mission to release the finest & purest techno releases possible. Over 100 releases came out of this company in the next three years with artists including Arcana, Spy, Coca, Force Of Nature and of course Nebula II.

"Nebula II's next venture was to set up a party organization in Nottingham to outlet the local talent and perform their own music. The first major party was Inner Trance at The Ballroom. Dave Clarke, Thomas P. Heckmann, Shot 1 and Coz played to over 1300 people in Nottingham's biggest techno party to date! More followed with Paul Smith setting up Fusion which combined Techno & Drum & Bass.

"The next phase was of course a brief step into the world of drum & bass. Nebula II produced several records for Mickey Finn's Urban Takeover & alongside MC Magika won the Diesel Nu-Music 2000 award for best breakbeat artist (voted by legendary label Moving Shadow). They also held numerous events with Nottingham's own Jungle master MRB."

So they didn't fall by the wayside at all, they proliferated identities, switching direction into pure techno and trance (psy-trance, even!), before returning to the drum & bass fold. 

I have to say, though, I have not found anything to compare with "Atheama Remix" or "X-plore H-Core" or "Flatliner" in these latter stages of their career.  

Then again I've not tracked down their 1998 Industrial Strength Trance album Hardcorps , towards which I am already well-disposed on the basis of the title alone.  And the title track definitely has a certain appealing relentlessness, like 10 seconds of "House of God" looped for eternity. 

It's gabbertrance (but not hardstyle) - a union of the two genres at their most cheeseless and katatonia-inducing. 

Here's what YouTube has to offer from 1994 onwards- the many gaps in the post-breakbeat discography suggest that there isn't nearly as much affection out there for this phase of the trackography as for the 91-93 stuff. 
From the Audiobahn E.P.  on  Collide Records,   1994      



The Tube Mixes ‎(12") on   Out Of The Vault  1994                      


Then came three releases that leave no trace on YouTube - Avoid Fate EP ‎(Out Of The Vault, 1994);            The Positive EP  (Celestial Records 1994) and Scream/Pid on  Wide Area Network Recordings, 1995.

"Kundalini" on Sentinel Records (1995) produced the Youtube-collective-memory acknowledged "Subterrania" though.


Then a whole bunch of 1995-98 tracks  - "Casper", "Frank", Chroma", Chase" b/w "Gods", "Bandit", seemingly lost to time.                
Then in the 21st Century, a flurry of remixes of the 92-era classics

The latter is almost like time travel - a lost remix from the original back-in-the-day.

Whereas this pair of refixes are more in line with what D&B had become in the Noughties. 

I confess that I have not pursued all their post-Reinforced activity as intensively as I might have done --  aliases or side projects like Arcana, Bandit, CoCa, Glass Walker, Life Force, N.T.T., Neelia I,  Psyclan,  Self Esteem, Spy.  It's not for me. I fear.

Here is a relatively recent interview at Kmag with Joe Nebula aka Joachim Shotter, who's now  doing stuff on the liquid funk D&B tip.

On the turn away circa 94 from breakbeat:

"That was the time jungle techno had become jungle and I didn't find the right vibe in the music to make much of it. The beats I loved were there but I felt the music didn't progress fast enough and there was too much replication going on. So, Richard Nebula and I started to work with techno artists like A Guy Called Gerald and Thomas Heckman."

This is the vybe he is pursuing currently through his label Back2You and the Kemet FM station.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Quotes from me in an interesting article titled 'Does Dance  Music Have A Nostalgia Problem?' by Angus Harrison at Thump, addressing the phenomenon of retro-dance or what Michaelangelo Matos dubbed a few years ago, "permaretro"

Harrison writes about a meticulously planned weekend, an eclectic selection of clubs and styles - and effectively, of eras:

"[We are] people who, for lack of a better phrase, are on trend. That notion of trendiness haunted me all weekend. What 'trend' did we think we were on? The selections we'd made, crudely highlighted with a dying biro, enveloped the best part of the last 40 years of dance music. There was techno, house, acid house, jungle, trap, with the high chance of garage and shades of drum and bass making appearances. We weren't just on trend, we were on all of them....

"This is what has become of the internet generation. We have everything at our disposal and want to dance to it all. That sense of freedom comes at a cost. We're doomed, it seems, to living in the ominous shadow of the mythical 'back in the day,' a constant reminder that however good things seem now, they'll never reach the organic heights of the first time round....

"... There's something to be said for the idea that we are approaching saturation point. Where movements have previously dipped and resurfaced naturally, we're now drawing on 40 years worth of dance music. There's a genuine history. Add in the internet's never-ending process of storage and remembrance — every song, ever, pretty much, is just a few clicks and clacks away — and you've got an environment where new producers and DJs aren't just stumbling across older movements, older forms of expression — they're practically gorging on them."

"By fixating on the 'greatness' of a past we've never experienced, we're turning clubs into dance music Disneylands, replete with themed kingdoms awaiting us in each room. In fact, according to speculative internet music writers (just like me), in the last five years the UK has enjoyed a garage revival, a jungle revival, a drum & bass revival, a disco revival, a house revival, and an industrial techno revival. We are trapped in a perpetual state of revivalism, looking so far back we've forgotten which way we're supposed to be facing."

"... We swamp our lineups with masters, and immerse ourselves in retrospectives, every night knowing how amazing they will be. In this secure safe-space, we block out the risk of the new, the untested. I've noticed this on a ground level. As someone in their early twenties I am consistently struck by how much stock my peers place in history."

"... With all of history on offer at once, what will we remember as being 'now'? I envy the generation before me, who can look at an image or an outfit, hear a single track or step foot in one club, and be returned to a singular moment that was theirs. I struggle to see what crystal of current dance music culture will do the same for me."

In addition to yours truly, Harrison also quotes DJ Harvey, and Oneman, who has this to say:

"I don't see anything coming up right now that I really latch on to. The last big scene for me was the Jersey stuff, the Fade to Mind guys, but I even feel like they are falling away. So in terms of music I'm just waiting. I'm waiting for something big to happen."

Well i don't know about dance music but this dance-music blog certainly has a nostalgia problem, eh?

we love the pirate stations




my vision is clear