Seems like most of the posts that come to mind right now will take a while to write, and as there’s all sorts of other stuff I should be doing (Freeformaniacs next week, remember) things might be a bit quiet here.
For now here’s that intelligent drum and bass set I’ve been talking about – very similar to the ustream version, but with a few tweaks and now finally online at mixcloud. This was obviously something of a labour of love (my first ever full-length dnb mix, in fact), and while it has its problems I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. Humour me, then, while I run through a few of the tracks and the thinking behind the set.
So Long happens to be one of my all time favourite tunes, but has always struck me as a hard one to mix. As a challenge I decided to use it first, but opening with those ever-wonderful melodies and amens gave me the perfect atmospheric, bitter-sweet base to work from. You’ll notice a couple of Future Loop Foundation tracks in the first half – I’d say he’s one of the most underrated artists in intelligent dnb, and is actually responsible for another
big, big favourite, Discovery. I couldn’t fit it into this set, but I Want to Believe and Spirit Catcher both feature that deep, melodic FLF style that echoes some of the more thoughtful 1992-1994 hardcore and jungle.
That connection from Sensory Elements was one of the toughest in the set, as I’d decided early on that I wanted to ‘deepen up’ SE with some pads in the final section. Anyone who’s mixed this stuff knows that finding tunes in the same key is a rare thing indeed, but after plenty of work I was very satisfied with my choice of Spirit Catcher. Incidentally, it’s worth mentioning that the sparseness of Sensory Elements arrives sooner in the set than I had planned – there was originally one more ‘pads and atmosphere’ track after IWtB, but it was just out of key enough for me to scrap it. Frankly I couldn’t face however long it was going to take to find a replacement, and lazily shunted everything else ‘up’ one place instead.
From halfway the problems with the stucture are a bit more obvious as the set meanders from one style to another, but I was glad to get in at least one PFM classic in The Mystics. Language of Love would have been the only ‘filler’ tune in the set, but I dispensed with the incredibly dull central section and just used the final third (which, helpfully, is pretty easy to mix). After things got a little too ‘realistic’ with LoL and Passage to India I wanted to get back to the spirit of the intelligent sound with the final four tracks. I think they work well, tied together by Shogun’s tracks and a very long transition between the In Too Deep remix and Jonny L’s beautiful Underwater Communication. As for Shogun himself, he was surely one of the finest producers of the time – Together brings back all sorts of memories while Nautilus is my final tribute to LTJ Bukem’s The Rebirth, the set that first inspired me to DJ.
Together is such a special track for me that I decided to fade out at that point. It’s a nice feeling to have finished my first set, 20 years after hearing these tunes – and after plenty of discogs trawling I now have more than enough material (including some rarer tracks) for another mix. That might happen eventually, but for now it’s back to 2014 and some more freeform set preparation.