LTJ Bukem – Demon’s Theme [Good Looking Records]
I first heard this tune on the reissue of Logical Progressions in 2000, I was only 14 at the time and it blew my mind (when it originally came out, I would have been 6). So deep, soulful and intelligent. Up until that point I hadn’t heard of Bukem, but was recommended this at the local record shop and to this date it’s still one of my favourite D&B mixes. At school everyone was obsessed with the MCs and more popular jump-up styles where a DJ rewinds a track every 30 seconds, which wasn’t for me. I remember recording this to cassette and taking it to school to show one of my friends, and they were like “where’s the MC?” This one has so many different elements and progresses with a rave sort of nostalgia and breaks which I love! I’m a sucker for the amen break!
Omni Trio – Renegade Snares (Foul Play VIP Remix) [Moving Shadow]
Without a doubt, one of my personal favourites, and definitely one of my desert island tunes. This is pure genius from start to finish. The drum programming is on point. When the smooth female vocal fades up at around the 2:40 mark, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end because I know what’s coming. Killer killer jungle tune! Just listen!
Goldie – Saint Angel [FFRR]
Of course Inner City Life is a masterpiece, but Saint Angel also has something really special about it – it’s a hidden gem. It’s a dark and aggressive roller, and when the pads drop around the 5:00 mark, it’s like a sun breaking through the clouds and adds a new dimension and light to a brooding dystopian cityscape. Seeing this being played live with the Heritage Orchestra was an incredible experience! I met Goldie at Dimensions Festival a few years ago when he played. I got to hang out with him while he was DJing. The whole time I was like, “What the fuck, I’m speaking with Goldie?!” I had to pinch myself a few times.
Lemon D – I Can't Stop [V Recordings]
One of the first drum & bass records I bought on vinyl back when I was 15, this was when HMV still sold vinyl. I grabbed this on their 3 for £10 promo on V Recordings using my hard-earned cash from my paper round. Such a bargain buy looking back! Probably one of my favourites from the V Recordings catalogue during the 90s. I remember the kids at school used to go crazy for Warhead by Krust, but this was the one for me! I was always drawn to the progression of this one. It starts off nice and mellow building with some tasty drum programming into the amen break (I told you), and then boom: BASS!
Ed Rush, Optical & Fierce – Alien Girl [Prototype]
Heavy, dark and haunting. One of my favourite darker drum & bass records. I didn’t get a chance to buy this record until I was 17 or 18 digging in Soho’s Reckless Records. I’m sure this cost me £20, and was worth every penny. It would have been the most I’d spent on a single vinyl at the time, having been collecting for two or three years. It could be a techno Record (if it had a 4/4 beat), and hearing this on Surgeon’s A Food for Thought mix bridged the gap for me between the two genres. The flip to Alien Girl is Cutslo (Lokuste Mix), which is also a killer record in its own right. Finding this record was like winning the lottery for me. Ed Rush & Optical were masters of their art!
4 Hero – Better Place (Marcus Intalex & ST Files Remix) [Reinforced Records]
This a killer remix of a 4 Hero track. The original, released in 1993, is actually a house track and sounds completely different. I would have been 15 years old when I first heard this on DJ Marky’s The Brazilian Job mix, and it’s always stuck with me. Such a soulful, deep beautiful tune. At least one track from Marcus needed to feature here, and it was a coin toss between this and How You Make Me Feel on 31 Records. Both are equally amazing tracks but I decided to pick this one because I have such great memories of hearing this track, especially when CD mixes were king! I have so much appreciation for the level of production and ideas that went into making these timeless tunes. An absolute classic. I had the pleasure of knowing Marcus for a couple of years before his passing. Hanging out with him in Berlin and Manchester was a real pleasure and it blew my mind when he sent me Trevino tracks hot off the press. Such a G! It was so great to be in company of such a great and real person, a king among men! I remember telling him I’d loved his productions since a young age and that his FABRICLIVE mix CD was one quite possibly one of the finest drum & bass mixes ever. I know he would have appreciated that. RIP Marcus.
Technical Itch – Pressure Drop [Penetration Records]
One of the heaviest records in my collection. It’s a fury of darkness and drums. Such a killer trip! The way the track progresses is insane, and it keeps building. It doesn’t stop. Listen, turn up the volume, and strap in!
Total Science – Tight Fit [Metalheadz]
It wouldn’t be fair to exclude either a Total Science track or something from Metalheadz. It was a tough call between this and Dillinja’s The Angels Fell, which is probably one of my favourite Dillinja tracks. Total Science created some amazing records, the first one I remember hearing was their Q Project (one half of Total Science) Champion Sound on most drum & bass tapes which were passes around school when I was 13 or 14. It was an essential rave anthem. I picked a newer track from my collection, because it’s probably one of the last drum & bass records I bought on vinyl from Boogie Times in Romford. The whole of MDZ03 Metalheadz Presents No Smoke Without Fire is full of heat!
Photo: Enrico Policardo