DJ Eastwood

DJ Eastwood – ‘U Ain’t Ready’ (No Hats No Hoods)

The curation of Ruff Sqwad’s incredible ‘White Label Classics’ instrumental CD, a project that documented grime’s formative hit-makers at their peak, tying together some of their earliest and most iconic works, has sparked something of a renaissance.

A thirst for classic cuts, the type many presume are resigned to London’s pirate radio vaults, has seen Youngstar’s thuggish anthem ‘Pulse X’ brought up to speed by newly-formed imprint Liminal Sounds, whilst Spooky’s ‘Coolie Joyride’, a track that had existed purely as a dub-plate for nearly 7 years, was harnessed by Oil Gang only last month. Moreover, even more interestingly, a wrath of innovative new producers (Wen, Visionist, Breen et al) are running with the signature sounds, eski clicks and pulsing bass lines that proved the cornerstone of the genre’s early success, making some of 2013’s most coveted electronic music to date. With this in mind, it’s no surprise to hear that DJ Eastwood‘s ‘U Ain’t Ready’, originally pressed as a white label back in 2003, is the latest classic to be restored to former glory.

Call them a labour of love, but No Hats No Hoods label head Peter Todd (aka DJ Magic), has found his niche in restoring grime’s lost gems and Eastwood’s 8-bar stomper is no exception, carrying the baton from ‘White Label Classics’ with nostalgic aplomb. His reputation as a producer has been somewhat understandably diluted over the years but U Ain’t Ready was a staple of early grime sets, even earning a coveted slot on John Peel’s Radio 1 show. Built around a rugged 8-bar framework, it loops explosively, exuding a freedom rarely found in more contemporary grime; brutal simplicity is key here. Accompanying the weighty eminence of the original are two remixes, one from Spooky and the other from an unlikely source in Hemlock’s Untold.

Spooky’s rework shares similarities with recent riddim ‘Electric Fence’, working bass and clap furiously to create something altogether more sinister whilst Untold switches up the scrip completely. Sci-fi, outer worldly synth work turns the track on it’s head, nullifying the original tenacity of Eastwood’s effort just slightly, instead opting for maximum impact on the dance floor – glorious.

It might be becoming something of a trend but grime of old is certainly proving to be a thing of the future too.

Tomas Fraser

‘U Aint Ready’ is out via No Hats No Hoods on 6th May