We’re delighted at Hyponik to be running a takeover of the internationally renowned streaming service 22Tracks for the next fortnight. A statement about some of the music that has shaped us and continues to influence us moving forward, it was unsurprisingly a pretty difficult – but enjoyable task, to whittle down the hundreds of tunes that we trimmed down to just 22. In the end we tried to be representative of our heritage as a company by loosely tracing the curve of the Hardcore Continuum, something which has had a huge impact not just on the way we listen to music, but the way we live our lives.
Not an exhaustive or authoritative list by any means, this playlist serves as a nice look through some of the many developments that have characterised the last 2, exciting decades in British electronic music. That means that there’s Jungle, Garage, Grime, Dubstep and finally a slew of today’s highly innovative and uncategorisable hybrids, with two exclusives from EXIT Records and Deep Medi wedged in there amongst vinyl-only releases from Rufige Kru, Groove Chronicles, Digital Mystikz, Ramadanman and more. For anyone who’s new to the site, we welcome you and for anyone who’s stayed with us over the last few years, we say thank you. Enjoy the playlist and thanks for your support.
Listen to the playlist HERE and checkout out a run down of the tracks featured below.
1. LTJ Bukem – ‘Atlantis (I Need You)’ (Good Looking)
We start our playlist with one of Drum & Bass’ most untouchably classic records. Good Looking boss Bukem continues to stay relevant to this day, although few would argue against ‘Atlantis’ as a creative zenith of his long and illustrious career. More than 20 years down the line, it still simmers with a deep soulfulness that has rarely been matched since.
2. Ruffige Kru – ‘Terminator’ (Metalheadz)
Instantly hailed as revolutionary upon its release in ’92, ‘Terminator’ is one of the finest artifacts from Goldie’s peerless run in the first half of that decade. Incorporating all the elements of what was becoming the increasingly divergent Hardcore sound, the track takes in rude, time-stretched breaks, cutting lazers and fizzing synths. Taking in a whole range of different phases and moods, its an epic journey still capable of messing up the dance.
3. dBridge & Vegas – ‘True Romance’ (Metalheadz)
Widely revered as one of the finest Drum & Bass records ever made, regardless of sub-genre, ‘True Romance’ is a beautiful bundle of contradictions. Smooth and rolling, its based around a highly distorted bassline the insistently burrows its way into the subconscious, whilst being augmented by rapid fire metallic breaks that somehow hit as a softly as a blow in a pillow fight. Whatever your present day relationship with the genre, its hard to imagine DnB producing another one like this anytime soon.
4. Special Request – ‘Ride VIP’ (Houndstooth)
Following a trio of breakbeat led anthems we arrive at a present day killer from one of the most talented manipulators of the Amen in recent years. Paul Woolford’s debut album under his Special Request alias, ‘Soul Music’, rightly earned a spot at the top of many people’s ‘Albums of the Year’ lists, and listening to the manic insanity of ‘Ride’ VIP, its not a struggle to see why. Flitting from idea to idea with great aplomb, Woolford employs funky slap bass (cribbed from Bob James’ legendary ‘Nautilus), monolithic Reese basslines and an ever changing torrent of drum patterns to make a tune that is at once vitally fresh and reassuringly familiar.
5. Stray – ‘L.A. Zoom VIP’ ( Exit Records – Unreleased)
For the first of two exclusives we have an unreleased gem from Stray. Although starting out vaguely entrenched in DnB, Stray was always on the more experimental curve of the genre, with his forays into more conventional DnB generally now finding a home on side-project cum supergroup Ivy Lab. Here he loops a pitched down vocal sample throughout as he layers on various tones and pads atop a frantic bed of percussion. Packing a similar hit to footwork, the track descends into a headspinning tangle of repeated vocals and hyperactive polyrhythms, before effortlessly switching things back to a jazzy gallop. Stray has an EP called ‘Chatterbox’ lined-up for release on EXIT on 21st April, keep your ear to the ground for that!
6. Adam F – ‘Circles (Phillip D Kick edit)’ (White)
A masterful edit from Jim ‘Om Unit’ Coles’ now retired Jungle/Juke Phillip D Kick alias, which is said to be the producer’s personal favourite piece of work from the project. Rather than go for a kinetic rerub of Adam F’s original, Coles retains its jazzy breakbeat bliss-albeit with percussion that’s decidedly more Chicago than Bristol.
7. R.I.P Productions – ‘Obsessed’ (Ice Cream Records)
One of the most choice cuts from Ice Cream’s nigh on impeccable catalogue, ‘Obsessed’ is still being cained by everyone from Bicep to EZ. Like a lot of the best tunes, there’s nothing too fussy or over complicated going on here, just simple chords and masterful vocal cut ups.
8. Groove Chronicles – ‘Masterplan’ (Groove Chronicles)
A none more funky slice of vinyl-only UKG from two of the best in the business here. Recent YouTube Sessions contributor Noodles and El-B build this one from the ground up with a fat sub worming its way around at the low end, as clipped vox and organ stabs dance atop.
9. Blaque Ivory – ‘I Do (Phuturistix Remix)’ (Columbia)
The Garage odyssey continues with this late 90’s rework of long forgotten U.S. girl band trio Blaque Ivory from Phuturistix, the duo comprised of Zed Bias and Injekta. Part of a slew of bass heavy garage reworks of RnB/Pop tunes by the duo, this version gives the sensual vocal stylings of the original a rude boy make-over.
10. Dizzee Rascal – Stop Dat (XL Recordings)
Hear the opening seconds of this one and you’ll instantly forget all the Robbie Williams collaborations and penthouse flats, and remember that Dylan Mills was once a very angry young man. Part instrumental, part terrifying sonic assault, ‘Stop Dat”s beat is ridden by Dizzee spitting some of the most hyped up and aggressive bars of his career. Capable of inducing a riot in clubs up and down the country.
11. Terror Danjah – ‘Cock Back v.1.2 (featuring Riko, Bruza, D Double E, Hyper )
Gun shot sound effects pepper the riddim on this posse cut from 2005’s ‘Run The Road’ compilation. Each of the MC’s have their moments on this one, but ultimately its D-Double who steals the show whilst dropping one of his most loved bars when he promises that ‘bullets will make your face look thin’.
12. Digital Mystikz – ‘Haunted’ (DMZ)
A pure distillation of the potential of Dubstep’s minimalist, driving intensity, its nearly impossible to get away without performing a head nod when the unstoppable bass unloads on this one. Packaged with the different yet equally flawless ‘Anti-War Dub’, owners of this now incredibly pricey 12″ should considers themselves very lucky.
13. Truth – ‘30,000 Ft’ (Deep Medi)
Our second exclusive comes from Mala’s Deep Medi imprint, a label that stands tall as one of the few remaining outlets for quality Dubstep. Here on ‘30,0000 Ft’, the Kiwi duo lay on swathes of exotically accented atmosphere before getting down to the nitty gritty with an unsurprisingly deep b-line. Syncopated Reggae chords join the party briefly to generate a vibe not unlike the rootsy styling of his label boss. This track is lifted from Truth’s ‘30,000ft’ EP which will be released on Deep Medi April/May 2014.
14. Logos – ‘Seawolf’ (Keysound Recordings)
One of the highlights of last year’s superb ‘Cold Mission’ LP, ‘Seawolf’ finds Logos affirming his status as one of the poster boys for the current wave of instrumental Grime producers. Guns being cocked back provides much of the percussion, whilst warped bass is tinged with Eski flourishes throughout and video game samples reverberate intermittently. Crucially Logos derives most atmosphere from his expert command of space, utilising silence to maximum effect.
15. Burial – ‘South London Boroughs’ (Hyperdub)
The first track from the first ever release from the universally acclaimed producer, ‘South London Boroughs’ is now recognised as somewhat of a musical landmark. The opening horns generate a sombre atmosphere that’s maintained throughout, as the man we now know to be named Will Bevan uses a growling low end and a skittish 2-step beat to generate his rhythm section. Ominous FX drop in and out of the mix on what would be the first of many pitch perfect accompaniments to navigating the arcane labyrinth of South London’s streets alone late at night.
16. Joe – ‘Level Crossing’ (Hessle Audio)
This cut from mononymous producer Joe is made from percussion as idiosyncratic as can be found anywhere else on Hessle’s catalogue. Typewriter FX, cowbells, whistles and organ thrusts permeate this highly rhythmic excursion, with the occasional piano flourish chucked in to accent proceedings with a smattering of Jazz. Shifting its shape constantly, this is exactly the kind of assault on which Hessle’s unique legacy is based.
17. Deadboy – ‘If U Want Me’ (Numbers)
Hammered by a broad selection of DJ’s upon release, ‘If U Want Me’ is a mercilessly catchy funky/2-step hybrid built around its irresistible droning, pitch bent synth lead. Chuck in some low slung bass and an imploring female vocal, and you have a dancefloor smash that made a lasting impression on those who heard it and put Numbers on the map as a label.
18. Ramadanman – ‘Work Them’ (Swamp81)
Renowned for his drum programming from the very start of his career, ‘Work Them’ effectively finds David Kennedy shwoboating for nearly seven and a half minutes. Indebted partially to footwork, the tune is nonetheless utterly unique, deploying a barrage of 808’s, snares, kicks and hi hats with what is eventually a ferocious level of intensity. With the titular refrain repeated throughout with mesmeric frequency, ‘Work Them’ is arguably Kennedy’s most eminently danceable creation.
19. Untold – ‘Stop What You’re Doing (James Blake Remix)’ (Hemlock)
An early sign of Mercury Prize winner Blake’s immense talent, this rework caused jaws to drop when it landed in ’09. A gargantuan, harmonised b-line and heavily treated RnB vocals lead the way before the tune erupts with mammoth synth bursts and a wailing G-Funk line. Built on top of a playful jumping rhythm, this somehow manages to be both highly melodic and hard hitting.
20. Mosca – ‘Square One VIP’ (Night Slugs)
An astute rework of the first ever Night Slugs release, this is a crystallization of the relentlessly diverse and original approach that made the label such a big hit when it first appeared. Hammering ominous chords, sweeping icey pads and a carefully clipped Ciara vocal build up into an edgy chug, before the heavy duty swing of the Funky influenced b-line drops to generate bedlam. A club banger that kept the dancefloor on its toes, it was emblematic of the ‘anything goes’ mentality that had begun to grip British dance music at the time.
21. Pev & Kowton – ‘End Point’ (Livity Sound)
We enter the home stretch with a cut from two thirds of one of the most hyped labels of the last couple of years. Here Pev & Kowton paint a lush picture of serene pads but let mechanical effects and skitty hi-hats maintain an undercurrent of tension. Like Basic Channel gone Bristol, this one deals in classic Techno with a distinct UK sound system flavour.
22. Lee Gamble – ‘Digbeth’ (PAN)
To conclude we have a track from one of the most adventurous sonic explorers around today. Building his album ‘Diversions 1994-1996’ from found sounds on old Jungle tape packs, Gamble crafted an impressionistic rendering of the genre’s attitude and ethos. Here time stands still for a second as the collated wash of white noises inhales and exhales to beguiling effect.
You can listen HERE to our 22Tracks playlist until 21st March.