Whilst maintaining it’s fundamental elements, the essence of the of the 160-170 BPM music bracket or DnB spectrum has been fluctuating wildly in recent times. It’s ongoing evolution is as relevant, infectious and omnipotent as ever. Drawing on influences such as Chicago’s Footwork, Juke and Ghetto House sounds, the big guns at Exit Records, Critical, Metalheadz et al., continue to be the pioneering forces shaping these sounds. Constantly pushing the boundaries and making it impossible for any sort of categorical box to even enter this conversation.
Down in the trenches along the fringes of the war-zone, Sam Binga has been doing a first rate job in cutting his teeth, chugging out bombs alongside mainstays like Om Unit & Addison Groove, he has left his mark on the field and has earned his stars to garner huge support behind this alias. We thought it fitting time to recruit the man for the latest instalment of the 7 Wonders series. His selection features new and unreleased music from Om Unit, Coleco, Illum Sphere, FKA Twins, Special Forces, Sappo plus collaborations with Fracture and Hyponik favourite Deft. Enough talk, check out the fine arsenal of weaponry below.
1. Om Unit & Moresounds – ‘Nuff Music’ – (Cosmic Bridge) (Dub).
This is coming out later this year on a mini-album / extended EP on Om Unit’s label Cosmic Bridge. I had to stop myself using a load more of the tracks from it – such a strong collection of tracks, including an absolute banger from Kromestar which has gone straight into my set, and will be staying there for a while.
2. Coleco – ‘Nineteen Double X’ – (Dub)
Alex Coleco has been making some wicked stuff – I heard Kode 9 playing one of his bits a while back, and I think I saw D Bridge drop one of his tunes on a Boilerroom slot – but I slept on this when he sent it over a few months ago. It’s been one of those tunes that I played out on a whim and was fairly blown away with how good it sounded, and cos it’s so sparse, it’s really good fun to mix with. Alex and his missus Lorna also run the Inflect night in Bristol, which is pushing some of the more interesting stuff around.
3. Sam Binga & Deft ft Redders – ‘Steppin” – (Critical) (Dub)
I’m working towards an EP on Critical, and this collaboration with Deft, featuring the irrepressible man like Redders back on the vocals, will probably be on there. It was wicked bouncing stems back and forth with Deft – he is a master at twisting sounds to add detail to tracks, and I’m a master at being too lazy for that, so it worked out nicely. ‘Elastic’ from earlier in the mix will likely go on there as well – I’ve been getting some great reactions playing that one out.
4. Illum Sphere – ‘Psycho’ – (DDT RMX) – (Dub).
This tune is a great example of why you should always spend time hanging out in record shops. I was up in Manchester for a gig, and had a bit of time to kill, so obviously I popped into the legendary Eastern Bloc. While I was in there, Jim Bane started playing me this Illum Sphere rework his mate had done, and it was obviously dope, so I got his email address and grabbed it off him. I think I also bought a Rhythm & Sound record while I was in there as well, so all in all a pretty good trip Oop North.
5. Fracture & Sam Binga – ‘Grippin’ Grain’ – Exit (Dub)
This one will be coming out on Fracture’s EP for Exit, which I think should be dropping before the summer. Another tune which involved sitting in the studio horribly hungover for most of the day, until we reached the point of hating life and were just about to leave, but then tried that one last crappy idea which turned out to be the key to making the tune pop. I think a lot of the ‘Small Victories’ EP with Om Unit was written the same way – I wonder if being hungover and therefore having no expectations of being able to get anything done somehow takes the pressure off you, resulting in ideas you probably wouldn’t try on a ‘good’ day? To be investigated further, via the pub.
6. Special Forces – ‘The Bleeps Tune’ – (Photek Productions) (Dub)
From that extended golden run, where it seemed like every tune Photek made was pointlessly good. Nice nod to the classic Sheffield bleep sound (my Northern pride coming through again), and I was pretty chuffed to find it fitted so well with another classic, ‘Shadow Boxing’ – in this case the super-fresh and halfstepping Om Unit rework thereof. Photek simultaneously inspired and terrified me in the late 90s – I wanted to be able to make tunes as good as his, but I knew I couldn’t. I still hear new details in Modus Operandi, all these years later.
7. Sappo – ‘Hard On’ – Advisory (and the Dub Phizix tune before it)
I ended the mix with a bit of a Manchester salute – firstly Dub Phizix, possibly the most influential Drum & Bass producer of recent years, with ridiculous production chops and – more importantly – something fresh to say, and then into the original don DJ Sappo, who was one of the first Manchester peeps to have a show on 1Xtra way back when, and a complete master of the roller. Out to Fox and Chimpo – two absolute characters, who always carry a big bag a vibes with them.
7.5. FKA Twigs – Papi Pacify – (Young Turks)
Arca’s beat and Twigs’ vocals work so well together. The EP this is taken from was the best release of last year IMO.
Artwork: Elyn Kazarian