Rings Around Saturn – Photek

This one is best categorised under ‘deeper cuts’.

Drum & Bass / Jungle pioneer Photek released this drifty, meditative soundscape in 1995. One of his less-known tracks, it is pretty much impossible to find (Discogs only baby) but it always sends me deep every time. Mad to think it was released 25 years ago.

A couple of side-notes for the nerds. If it sounds familiar, it could be for two reasons. Option 1 is pretty cool, the 1971 jazz track Astral Traveling by Pharoah Sanders:

Option 2, is well, less so. The backing track to FA Premier League Football Manager 2000 on PS1. Yep.

Drop – Mistabishi

Okay, so quite the controversial character is Mistabishi. If you cast yourself back to 2009 you’ll see one of the most exciting drum & bass producers on the scene. James Pullen has left his job in the city, and been signed by Hospital – the biggest label going – and released his first album, the critically acclaimed Drop.

Fast forward another 10 years and he has disgraced himself by fucking off just about everyone possible. Firstly the music-heads, by playing a pre-recorded mix at a gig and trying to pass it off (badly) as mixing live. Secondly (and repeatedly) anyone who isn’t a full-blown racist by claiming that ‘real’ Londoners are white – and blaming rising crime levels on immigrants and ethnic minorities. He then apologised for causing offence in about the least convincing way possible (and partially blaming some residual PTSD…). All in all, the guy is not a good egg.

So, if you want to enjoy this album you have to go through a real case of separating the art from the artist. If you are able to do that (and you want to) then Drop is a real gem. It mixes heavy and light, ecstasy and fear, all with a sharp dark sense of humour.

Drop contains three of my all-time favourite drum & bass tracks: No Matter What, a euphoric belter; The Light’s Really Bad, a cinematic roller full of hope and longing; and Falling in Love, another big’un with the emotional vocals of Danman.

There’s a lot to get your teeth into. Printer Jam will certainly not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you have to admit that the guy has talent. Greed is a rolling dark monster with some hard right wing free-market philosophy thrown in to boot.

If you are listening for the first time, or the first time in a decade, let me know what you think.

Escape From Planet Monday – DJ Fresh

Today is a right old throwback to 2006 when DJ Fresh was a fresh-faced drum & bass producer. Some of the album has aged very very badly so I’m just picking out the top tracks.

First up, It’s All That Jazz. 3 minutes of beats, bass, rhythm, breaks, guitar strum etc. etc. playful jungle vibes.

X Project. Great name. Great tune (granted, in a very 2006 DJ-Clipz D&B scene way).

And last up, Funk Academy. I have no idea what he was thinking but it kind of works.

More Than A Lot – Chase & Status

So this is obviously a post about Chase & Status. But stay with me. I’m talking ’08 Chase & Status. When they were playing at Neighbourhood and you have to try get in without ID and your mate was selling tickets to someone called Chasing Status because you were only 16 and didn’t really know what was going on and you probably weren’t going to be able to get in anyway because let’s face it, International Driving Licenses were a joke. But you do get in, and it is class. That’s the Chase & Status I’m talking about. And that Chase & Status is all over this album.

And let’s not forget we’ve got Kano, Plan B, Nneka and Jenna G on here. We’ve also got all-time classics like Take Me Away, and Hurt You. Put your drum n bass hat on and get jumping.

High Society – High Contrast

Today we are heading back to 2004, with Hospital Records pillar, High Contrast. This guy was pretty much responsible for building my love of drum & bass back in my teens, and this album is one of his finest. Proper goosebump material.

Tutti FruttiBrief Encounter, Racing Green, Natural High and Twilight’s Last Gleaming are all top level feel-good d&b bangers. Fast breaks, soulful vocal samples and thrubbing bass. It’s a good recipe, and one that he has down.

Hospitality are throwing a day party at Printworks in February. They have put together about as strong a line-up as they can muster with High Contrast being supported by S.P.Y, London Elektricity, Danny Byrd and more. Tickets on sale now.