Crate Diggin’
Kid Drama selects five essential 90s tech steppers

Drum & bass has seen countless evolutions over its lifespan, and Damon Kirkham helped spearhead many of them. Throughout the 2000s he was behind a string of the sound’s most esoteric anthems as one half of Instra:mental, an approach that led to pioneering an experimental, half-tempo take on D&B together with dBridge as Autonomic (if you’re yet to check it, their seminal FABRICLIVE.50 compilation released in 2010 was the perfect distillation of this inimitable style). He’s also dipped his toes into techno, bass and electro as part of Instra:mental and his solo Jon Convex project, but these days, Kid Drama is his go-to guise. The records he’s released over the last few years are no less innovative than his previous work – every bit as abstract as Autonomic, but often drenched in glistening atmospherics that sound made for early morning dancefloor listening. It’s a sound we’re looking forward to hearing first-hand when he joins DLR’s Sofa Sound Bristol showcase at FABRICLIVE on 14th June. In preparation for his date with us he dug into his crates of 90s techstep essentials – a style that inspired Kirkham’s very first records almost two decades ago.

Ed Rush & Optical – Watermelon [Virus]

It was a hard pick, but this is a percy for me. The bass on this still sounds amazing and fresh to this day, no-one has bettered the bass on Watermelon in my opinion. Mutant funk!

Ed Rush – Check Me Out [No-U-Turn]

I still play this out. Sick little snappy beats, late night sax licks and a subtle muted reese bass. I love that it takes ages for the bass to drop, it’s such a stepper.

Rollers Instinct – Haze [Emotif]

Emotif was a strong label with some amazing releases in the 90s, and this is one of them. Cold strings and chopping breaks and that distinctive Trace techstep vibe. Trace alongside Nico or Pete Parsons would always guarantee a killer.

Decoder – PGM 5 [Tech Itch]

Another track that I still drop regularly. A mix of London’s techstep movement and the Bristol sound of Krust. Decoder did some absolute rotters, but for me this is him at his best.

Nico – Lo [No U-Turn]

Without Nico there wouldn’t have been the shift into techstep and the following Virus movement. I could have picked any track from the album Torque but this one is the all-out darkness of Nico. Dystopian soundscapes and that snarling, twisted, reese morphing over a completely NUT stepping beat. Classic.

Friday 14th June

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