I must admit that I did not buy that much Drum and Bass in its mid 90s heyday. I simply loved too much of it, thus it seemed purchasing what I loved would drain my budget for good, as there was enough already going on elsewhere I needed to keep track of. I bought a whole lot of mixtapes though, trying to devour the most and best of it as it was intended to shine. I applied the same pattern with Dubstep as well later on. There were just too many interesting records to add the them to the shopping list I already had week in week out. I went to nights, bought some mixtapes again, kept in touch. But then some day 5 years ago, I was going up the stairs to Hard Wax, and DJ Pete was booming this over the store PA. With every step up I became convinced more and more that this was not like anything I heard in either Drum and Bass and Dubstep so far, yet it sounded like it belonged to both, but it had very determined sound aesthetics more linked in my mind to Techno as well. The half time tempo had me confused at first. Of course you could always mix Drum And Bass or Dubstep with slower paced downtempo tracks, but this particular track seemed to be built for the purpose, only the other way round. Its beats were really heavy, yet agile. It’s atmosphere dark, yet totally engaging. The vocals floating above, adding still to the austerity. I asked what it was, and bought it instantly. There will be a time you will drop this, and it will do serious damage, I thought. I was right. I also fucked up my budget by extending my purchasing schemes to this area, for years to come. Sometimes, you just have to give in.
One thing I really enjoy when DJing is sequencing tracks that use the same samples, or combine them with the material it was sampled from on top. The same goes for tracks with similar sounds, and of course you find the most similar sounds if you takes a closer look at a certain producer’s output. I have a very weak spot for the eccentrics of House music and Chicago’s Curtis Jones is among my favourite from that species. I have a weak spot for spoken vocals in House tracks as well, particularly if they exceed mere dancefloor imperatives or spiritual togetherness stuff, or embarrassing sexual posing. Well, Curtis Jones is well smart and hip enough to perform the latter with tolerable style and humour. So I was flicking through my archives of 90’s Chicago House 12″s for a recent gig at Panoramabar a few days ago, and I remembered that several tracks produced by Jones used the sound template made so famous by the “Underground Trance” version of Cajmere’s “Brighter Days”. The other that instantly came to mind was “Chit Chat”, it took a while longer to come up with “Believe In Me”. All three tracks sound very similar, but have a very different lyrical content. I decided to play “Chit Chat”, “Believe In Me”, and then “Brighter Days” in succession, and together they form a really weird narrative. Of course the majority of the people on the floor have enjoyed the music more than the tracks’ twisted little story, but that is perfectly fine. Not every point you make has to hit home. But it is important to make a few points throughout a set, for me at least. I also played a few early 90’s NYC sample House tracks that sample Yazoo’s “Don’t Go”, but none were too obvious, and I forgot to bring Yazoo’s “Don’t Go”. Next time.