Influences “Champion Sound” Defrostatica

To celebrate the release of the “Youth EP” on Defrostatica Records we asked Champion Sound for a small rundown of influential tracks that have helped shape their sound. Dub and reggae sound system culture has been a major influence on the trio, for Distant Roots this began with a chance encounter with Scientist on a Grand Theft Auto soundtrack, the three members of Champion Sound also played together in a live reggae band before turning their passion of jungle into producing electronic music.

The “Youth EP” continues the trio’s adventure into reggae fused drum and bass featuring the vocals of Kingston dancehall legend Hawkeye on lead track “Ghetto Youth” with a turbocharged breakbeat mix by US vaporwave artist Nmesh. Elsewhere on the EP blog favourite Sun People goes full-on dancefloor mode with his take on “Talk”.

Exclusive Premiere: Champion Sound – Ghetto Youth Featuring Hawkeye [Nmesh Remix] (Defrostatica)

Buy: Bandcamp

Scientist – Your Teeth In My Neck

I first heard this track in a computer game called “GTA3”. At that time I didn’t know anything about dub. After a while, I decided to figure out what kind of music it was. I returned to the soundtrack and found out it was by Scientist and listened to his entire discography, then moving on to other artists from the genre. It was already impossible to stop me, so it’s safe to say that this track changed my life. (Distant Roots)

Theory – I Saw You Girl

45seven is the most important label for us as Champion Sound started with blessings from LXC. This track is an example of the scientific approach of the label. 7″ records can sound better than some 12’s and the bass is absolutely murderous, it’s amazing! (Neekeetone)

Amit – Red Flag

We play this track at all our parties. Powerful bass and heavy drums that make you dance even if you are tired. We have two copies of this record in our collection, even if one of them goes bad, we’ll be able to continue playing this tune anyway! Absolute killer! (Distant Roots)

The Prodigy – We Eat Rhythm (Jungle Mix)

This is one of those things that changed my life. I was a little boy when I saw the “Electronic Punks” video, this track played at the beginning and the end. I was a real fan of The Prodigy and always try to find some bootlegs or different versions, this track was really hard to find but I still think that it’s brilliant. (Neekeetone)

Moresounds – We Are Tribe

It is about how modern music is stepping forward from the roots. For me, this track has magic vibes from the old times, but at the same time, it’s so futuristic. (Neekeetone)

Link: Soundcloud

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Influences “Askel” none60

To celebrate the release of “Glass Hands/Saboteur” by Askel on none60 we asked the Finland artist for a rundown of five tracks that have helped shape his sound.

While the scientific approach of Photek seems to have had a big influence on this release, with its clinical drums and fascinating interplay of electronic and double bass its also refreshing to see Ydinperhe being hailed as a contributing factor to the producers style with their raw, political and energetic edge.

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Photek – The Seven Samurai (Photek Remix)

Photek’s early work is just mind blowingly good – especially the drum work that’s still incredibly impressive. There are too many amazing tracks to choose from, but I landed on this one because I… uh, borrowed the ride pattern from it on my tune “Glass Hands”.

Little Dragon – After The Rain

Little Dragon’s debut album is easily one of my most listened to records of all time. I don’t understand much about jazz (or about music theory in general, even) but this cheeky mix of jazz/soul/electronic music hits me somewhere any other music can’t.

Alix Perez Featuring Adeus – Over You

I wanted to mostly pick my longest standing influences but my current favourite, Alix Perez, has been killing it so hard lately I couldn’t not include him. I try not to take direct influences from within the genre, but Alix’s work rate and level of technical prowess are really admirable. Some of the tightest drum programming out there right now, and how does he make those basses so wide and still make them work?

Ydinperhe – Älä tee mitä pitää

I think all art is inherently political, and artists’ opinions shouldn’t be separated from the art. I don’t get to show that much in dnb, but I used to play drums in some punk bands and I still listen to a lot of punk. This song is off one of my favourite Finnish albums from last year. The title translates to “don’t do what you’re supposed to”.

Marcus Intalex – Steady

I reference Marcus’s tunes a lot when producing. He nailed everything from sound design to grooves and especially arrangements; he always knew exactly how long each part should be (usually much longer than I’d dare to make them). Masterful. RIP.

Glass Hands/Saboteur” by Askel is now available to buy direct from the none60 Bandcamp as well as all good digital outlets.

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Influences “Jem One” Metalheadz

To celebrate the release of the “Transpose EP” on Metalheadz, as part of the XX series, we asked Jem One to provide a list of influential tunes that have helped form his own twisted take on DnB.

A heavy hitting and dark sound runs through the “Transpose EP”, going for the jugular from the start with its no-nonsense approach, from the mechanical drone bassline on “Lotus” to the jagged 90’s stabs on “The Hardcore” the release is tough and twisted.

The “Transpose EP” is available now via the Metalheadz Bandcamp store.

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Public Enemy – Rebel Without A Pause

Raw! This track brings back memories from my graff days. I remember being with Goldie and others in a post graff jam at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall around 1988 brockin’ out to this. He’d just come back from the States and was like a graff God to us all.

Kariya – Let Me Love You For Tonight

My whole foundation is built upon the early rave scene. That b-line, the lazy snare, the keys and that vocal. This was more than just music, it was a pure spiritual experience.

Goldie – Inner City Life / Timeless

Absolutely timeless in form and function. There are no words for this album. I remember visiting a mate in London for a few days when this came out. As he was at work during the day I spent days walking around Shepard’s Bush with this on my headphones. I can honestly say it changed my life.

Dillinja – Threshold

That bass man! The step, the vibe… absolutely lethal. This has had a massive influence on my headspace when writing music.

Grieg – In the Hall of the Mountain King

Bit of an obscure choice this one. However, the power and textures of the horns, the taiko drums and the strings, towards the end of the piece just kill me. When I listen to this piece of music something stirs deep within me. The feeling on an emotional level that is created, comes somewhere close to the feeling that I have within when writing my heavier tracks.

The “Transpose EP” by Jem One is available to buy on both vinyl and digital formats direct from the Metalheadz store and their Bandcamp.

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Response And Pliskin “Disturbed Talk”

This year has already seen a great deal of excellent LP’s released. Highlights include “Full Circle” by J Majik on Infrared, “Bobby” by Lenzman and Agzilla’s “Cats Can Hear Ultrasound”, both on Metalheadz. When you look at this list you realise just how diverse the current scene is, “We’re All Disturbed” by Response and Pliskin further confirms this.

The LP sounds like nothing I’ve heard before. Seven tracks in total with the shortest at around 8 minutes and the longest clocking in just shy of 13 minutes, four-fours are front and centre and it tackles subjects like social injustice and knife crime.

We caught up with the Mancunian brothers, Response & Pliskin to find out more.

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Before we get into individual tracks and themes, what’s the concept behind the album and how did you approach making it?

Pliskin – Initially, there wasn’t a concept in mind however over a period of 2-3 months when the tracks were being produced one developed, that concept being social injustice and unfair treatment of the common man! We had just made “Tangled Web/Plastic Face” so the tracks on the album followed on from these two and given that they are very long tracks it just seemed like the right progression to create more with a similar feel. Deadman’s Chest was totally into them and could also see a similar concept developing so it was a fluid process.

Fair play to Alex he has shown some balls in putting out this album as other labels would of just shit their pants and run for the hills saying “it’s weird”, “it’s too long” and “it doesn’t tick the generic boxes”. Well, fuck that, dance music to us is about having an open mind and not going round in circles which unfortunately most knob heads in dance music do…

It’s certainly doesn’t tick the generic boxes, which why it stands out from a lot of other stuff around at the moment! It avoids the typical drum and bass cliches, no big amen tracks or hands in the air moments for example. It fits right in with the Western Lore sound without being a carbon copy of previous releases. There is a certain grit the label has that I love… How would you describe your sound and how did this develop?

Response – Let’s have it right we ain’t reinventing the wheel, its all been done before and probably to a better standard… I guess the arrangements stand out, maybe it is a skill to make a 12-minute tune interesting but that’s decided by the ears that are listening to it. I ain’t gonna describe my sound as you end up sounding like an arsehole. Honestly, I sit in a room for a bit and stuff comes out. I have done this for many years and will continue to do so as its fun and passes time positively before I die. The less thought that is involved in making music is better for me. The arty term is surrealist automatism, creation without a thought. But, I do understand in relation to making music that doing that in its true essence is impossible.

The techno and ambient influences really stand out to me that was integral to the creation of the rave scene but are often overlooked for the more amen-fueled days of the golden-era. A lot of labels would shy away from putting anything out with a four-four whereas in a lot of your productions it’s the driving force. I’ve mentioned 1992 in the past when describing the LP sampler, with classics like the remix of Nasty Habits “Mayday Mayday” springing to mind for comparison. What influenced the sound of the LP? Any stand out tracks from the past?

Pliskin – There are many musical influences that we could draw from including heavy metal, rock, house, jungle, techno, rap, dub, ambient stuff, film scores etc. We basically like every type of music which is again about having a diverse ear, I mean I don’t know much about folk music but if I was to listen to shed loads of it I know there would be stuff in that particular genre I would like. People who only listen to one type of music to me are absolute morons and all they are doing is narrowing their minds where surely minds need to be expanded, you can’t do that by just listening to one type of music. Many people into drum and bass claim to be open-minded but when you dig a bit deeper and scratch the surface you realise that if it hasn’t got the garbage generic rave stabs or overused reggae vocals and crap rewind samples then they tend to shy away and continue to go round in circles, which I guess comforts people. Using the 4×4 drum just added different energy and it suited the tracks for this album however it will be something different in the future I’m sure! We wouldn’t want to get pigeon-holed like a pair of dicks.

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Alex has really created something unique with Western Lore, similar to Next Phase out of Holland the effort put into the presentation and sound quality is something else. How did you guys hook up and can you expand on this “fluid process” of how the project came together?

Pliskin – Western Lore is definitely the correct label for this album Alex has done a fantastic job in building the label. He provides what we want as fans, proper artwork, heavyweight vinyl, tapes, stickers etc and decent forward-thinking music. I do not understand labels who put out records in just a plain sleeve on flimsy vinyl.

It’s not the fucking 90s anymore where labels were pressing 10,000 records, so, if you are going to put out records today do it properly and give the record buyers a solid product.

We initially met Alex at an Ingredients Records club night in Manchester, Response and Eveson were playing at the event as Clive the label owner was putting out tracks by both music makers at the time. Alex was supposed to stay at a hotel after the gig and then make a tune with Response the next day, that didn’t happen. What did happen was we all piled back to my flat and got plastered on booze and drugs for a couple of days listening to music and having a laugh, it was an enjoyable session.

Alex came across as a very genuine person who was amusing and knowledgeable regarding music and life and he didn’t shy away from getting his hand in his pocket. We sent him a few tunes and he got back to us about a year later saying he liked them, he had just started Western Lore and was keen for us to do something for his label so that’s when he took “Tangled Web” and, in my opinion, the not so amazing “Plastic Face”, although it’s a decent track it’s not as good as “Tangled Web”. The process for the album was a fluid one due to Alex sharing the same desire as we had for the tracks that were being created and the fact that he is a Space Lion who doesn’t take himself ultra seriously, simple as that really.

On to “We’re All Disturbed”, the opening track “Stabland” confronts two of the biggest issues the UK is currently facing, knife crime and gang culture. Elsewhere on the LP vocal samples are used to great effect to question the role of news media and the control they have over our thoughts and opinions. What made you decide to address these topics and where did you dig out the samples from?

Pliskin – Addressing and highlighting such topics should be a responsibility of everyone, unfortunately, the majority of people choose to bury their heads in the sand and pretend it’s not happening. We have always gravitated towards music that questions society and all the horror that the human race creates. Many of the samples were taken from Heavy Metal and Rock musicians who rightly speak out and question dickhead politicians, twisted businessmen, pathetic royal family fox hunters and the bullshit media machine which is designed to sway opinion through spin…

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It’s refreshing to hear drum and bass, which was once the music of youth, dealing with these issues. It gives the LP additional meaning and purpose plus helps with the narrative of a nine-minute plus track. You said you didn’t want to describe your sound but can you give us an idea of what you want the LP to stand for or achieve?

Pliskin – It doesn’t take a genius to realise that very few people have the opportunity or motivation to change society, but everyone has the chance to change their own mind and if enough people set out to do this society will change.

This is what the album stands for… so stop starring at screens, wake up fucking robot human being pissing about on social media taking pictures of yourself, fucking embarrassing state of affairs…

You have very clear views on the dance music world, what’s your take on the current drum and bass scene?

Pliskin – What do I think of the current drum and bass scene? Erm, well I’m not a scene man so I wouldn’t know but I am aware of the structure of a scene and it basically involves a load of people just licking each others arse to get ahead and then slagging each other off behind closed doors. A scene is a scene I guess.

Musically, in my opinion, today’s dance music cannot on any level compete with the past, simply because it’s not new anymore, it’s lost the true edge. And the fact that it has been bent over, rinsed out and shafted by commercially minded twats…

Just go back to the 90s, do your fucking research and don’t get too submerged in current dance music as it ain’t that good mate…

Finally, are there any particular tracks from your back catalogue that you would recommend for listeners who are only just discovering your music?

Pliskin – I would recommend “Spinster” on Skeleton Records, “Tangled Web” on Western Lore, “Light Years” on Function, “Hard Times” on Ingredients, “Stolen Keys” on Rupture, “The Chisel” on Fresh 86… And “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood…

Thank you guys for the insight to the LP and cheers for the chat…

“We’re All Disturbed” is available now on digital and 3 x heavyweight (180g) black vinyl, shrink-wrapped & housed in a full art gatefold sleeve.

Direct purchases from Bandcamp come bundled with a two hour digital mixtape containing tracks from the album and forthcoming music on Fresh 86 and Northern Front by Response and Pliskin.

Buy: Western Lore

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Exclusive Premiere: Justice And Metro – The Hump [Coco Bryce Edit] (MJAZZ)

Coco Bryce gives “The Hump” by Justice And Metro the edit treatment, taken from the “Special Projects EP” available on MJAZZ Records.

The EP also features the original version of the track, a new composition by the duo and two remixes of earlier tracks by Justice And Metro chopped and reimagined by champions of old-school sounds Sicknote and Tim Reaper.

Sicknote takes “The Navigator” deeper into mysterious space territory injecting the distinctive bass line of the original with Venom-like attitude and adding twisted beats and sci-fi FX.

Tim Reaper adds his trademark amen style to “Moscow Calling”, heavy and chaotic yet retaining the character of the original this is drum and bass cranked up to eleven.

“The Hump” is an ode to early rave culture built around the famous drum break “Humpty Dump (Part 1) by The Vibrettes. Layered with MC and whistle samples the track is held together with a sub bassline that will instantly take you back to the 90s.

This four-track 12” is limited to only 100 copies, hand labelled by the artists and housed in a reversed cardboard grey sleeve.

Buy: https://modernurbanjazz.bandcamp.com

Influences “Soundbwoy Killah” Sneaker Social Club

We’ve been lucky enough to have heard the LP “Halcyon Daze” by Soundbwoy Killah, forthcoming this Summer on Sneaker Social Club, and to celebrate this fantastic collection of multi-genre electronics we asked the artist for a rundown of inspirational tracks.

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It’s been quite the year for Soundbwoy Killah and Sneaker Social Club with multiple releases receiving critical acclaim from press and DJ’s alike, this latest collaboration has already gained support from Lone, Om Unit and Benji B.

“Halcyon Daze” continues the theme of eclectic bass music featured on the “Come My Selector EP” (Sneaker Social Club, 2018), although this time it’s early rave culture and the dawn of the drum and bass era that runs through its core. From the acid bass line in the intro track “Escape Velocity” to the chopped amens of “Heartbeats”, the smooth jungle vibes of “Under The Influence” and the Roni Size style jazz tones of “Under The Influence”, the album references multiple moments from the mid-nineties golden era while contrasting them with tracks like the house and UKG hybrid “Wanna Hold U” and the atmospheric soundscape title cut, “Halcyon Daze”.

Just like the album, this list of inspirational music features blissed out ambience, soulful future garage and jazz-fuelled drum and bass.

Donate Dozzy – Vapourware 07

“A slab of pure euphoria that I could listen to on loop for the rest of my life. I still think about the first time I heard it get played.”

DJ Rashad – Let It Go

“Hard to pick a better example that demonstrates the beauty of simplicity. RIP!”

Chris Mack – Baby Gonna Rock Dis (2 Step Dub)

“At a festival aged 16/17. Walked into a tent where Deadboy was playing a super minimal, skeletal 2 step thing (probs El-B?). Was hooked ever since. 2-step > 4×4 garage.”

Photek – Rings Around Saturn

“Like an onion, this track has just kept revealing more and more layers to me over the years. I love the way the downbeat feels as though it’s changing throughout the entire track.”

EVA808 – Bladed

“Rolling reese bass and soulful vocals done perfectly. EVA808’s productions are mad but this one takes the hat for me.”

D Base – Dreaming

“Another one for the long list of tracks I wish I’d written…”

You can stream “Pang” from the album below. “Halcyon Daze” is due for release on Sneaker Social Club at the end of August.

Stream: Soundbwoy Killah – Pang

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Exclusive Premiere: Wagz – Hyena (none60)

“Hyena” by Wagz is taken from the compilation LP “none of the above” released on none60 July 19th 2019.

In the past, the art of the compilation LP was a great way to expose people to a wide variety of artists and, perhaps more importantly, help demonstrate a labels style and direction. Mastered by the likes of Metalheadz, Moving Shadow and Reinforced these collections often captured pinnacle points in the scene and rounded up big or important tracks from their respective catalogues. The really interesting ones featured a handful of exclusive tracks or “dubplate only” mixes, this is the approach favoured by none60 today. It would have been easy to fill the track list with back cat highlights but instead, they present twelve new tracks from key members of the crew responsible for forging the labels sound. A bonus thirteenth track, the Dominic Ridgway remix of Sinistarr’s “I Am Not Invincible” is exclusive to Bandcamp.

From the slow-paced cosmic soundscapes of Lewis James to the menacing crawl of Hathor, the two-step techno sonics of Altitude to the classic Photek tinged melodies of Wagz the LP delivers a constant stream of tracks that further define none60’s commitment to forward-thinking drum and bass which they describe as “emotive, daring, intricate and sometimes challenging”.

The digital compilation is now available to pre-order from their Bandcamp which also features a super exclusive bundle containing the full thirteen track download and a highly limited lathe cut twelve-inch containing “Response” by Lewis James and “U No” by Oliver Yorke.

The two-track vinyl is limited to 50 copies worldwide and has been cut by Sicknote & Dexta from 1-800-Dubplate with artwork designed by Oliver Yorke. This twelve is available separately while stocks last but we would highly recommend spending the extra five pound to purchase the full LP.

“none of the above” stands by the core principles of the label and is all the better for it, if you’re after retro amens for the dance floor then this isn’t the album for you but if you’d like a collection of highly detailed tracks by some of the scenes most exciting experimental producers we’d highly suggest you give this LP a go.

Buy: Bandcamp

Exclusive Premiere: Champion Sound – Vershun Excurshun (Through These Eyes)

Forthcoming on Through These Eyes, a Berlin-based record label, “Vershun Excurshun” by Champion Sound sees the Russian trio fuse electronic dub with drum and bass.

Vinyl only and limited to 300 copies this hand stamped white label features two dancefloor-ready cuts of modern jungle.

Vintage soundclash samples blended with synthetic strings and dub melodies form the main ingredients of “Vershun Excurshun” and on the flip “Through The Roots” contains a clever use of the 1994 RAM classic “Sound Control” by Randall and Andy C.

Authentic modern dub from a trio well versed performing together in a reggae band.

“Vershun Excurshun/Through The Roots” is released on the 28th of June 2019 and is available to pre-order now direct from Through These Eyes.

Buy: throughtheseeyesrecords.bandcamp.com

Exclusive Premiere: Outer Heaven – Still Waters (UVB-76)

Outer Heaven returns to the Bristol-based UVB-76 label for an EP of clinical beats, sour atmospheres and gruelling bass. The follow up to his “Pathos EP”, released back in 2017, contains four tracks, three of them are drum and bass and a fourth is a downtempo piece.

“The Last Men EP” uses a palette of noise, kicks, sub-bass and percussion to craft sinister techno rhythms that capture a sense of building pressure and foreboding with each track generating a unique aura. Like techno, these soundscapes begin full yet minimal creating an environment where the slightest change in rhythm or introduction of a new sound adds momentum or tension. A great example of this is the devasting bass line switch in “Trapline”, avoiding an all guns blazing approach often seen in dancefloor jungle Outer Heaven instead builds energy in his productions before unleashing subtle elements that manage to take the journey in a whole new direction or intensify the current one.

“Still Waters” begins relatively calm before the introduction of fierce bass tones that signal a more turbulent journey ahead. The amen break makes a brief appearance but disappears before it becomes unwelcome, almost like the past coming back to haunt. The beauty in these tracks is how much of an impact Outer Heaven achieves without obvious drum and bass linchpins.

The EP is dark for sure but not in a 90s cliche way. This is sinister without being overbearing. Subtle yet highly charged. Every element has a purpose and space. Beautifully crafted and perfectly executed.

“The Last Men EP” by Outer Heaven is released June 28th 2019 and can be pre-ordered now on digital via Bandcamp. The release will also be available on 12” vinyl.

Buy: uvb-76music.bandcamp.com

Exclusive Premiere: Response And Pliskin – Persecution (Western Lore)

“Persecution” by Response & Pliskin is taken from the forthcoming “We’re All Disturbed” LP, scheduled for release on Western Lore in early July. It also features on the vinyl and digital album sampler (backed with the exclusive and equally mighty “Ostrich”) available late May.

Both tracks are epic in scale with “Persecution” clocking in over twelve minutes and “Ostrich” just under ten. Brimming with anarchic energy they blur the line between techno, hardcore and drum and bass, continuing the Western Lore tradition of challenging club music for raucous dancefloors.

The combination of in your face breaks and loud and proud four fours are reminiscent of 1992, with classics like the remix of Nasty Habits “Mayday Mayday” springing to mind for comparison.

The feeling of the early 90s is also captured in the subject matter of the songs. A desire to wake up and break free from the trappings of everyday society is addressed through the use of vocal samples questioning the role of news media and the control they have over our thoughts and opinions. It’s refreshing to hear artists addressing important topics through their music, encouraging social change and highlighting modern issues.

Response & Pliskin are proving to be a driving force in the current scene with their distinct style and openness to experimentation and sounding different.

We can’t wait to hear what the whole album sounds like.

Buy: Bandcamp

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