Jackmaster‘s released his original Mastermix from 2006 to kick off the new year.
Since the debut landed over ten years ago, Jackmaster’s Mastermix series has become a highly regarded institution in the dance music realm, as it’s one of the most dynamic collections of tracks in the scene. While it was believed to have been lost, the original mix has been unearthed thanks to producer Jack Revill’s “genius wee brother,” and has now been uploaded onto SoundCloud for all to enjoy.
In just over one hour of music, Revill juxtaposes a rousing array of popular music from the era. He manages to splice together an invigorating culmination of pop and disco tracks, which offers a glimpse into Revill’s stylistic evolution over the years.
Revill dished on the mix on SoundCloud, saying:
“To say thanks for all your support last year I decided to upload the first ever Mastermix, recorded in 2006. It’s an all vinyl mix that I thought was lost forever and hasn’t been on the internet for some 10 or more years, but my genius wee brother somehow found it. It runs through everything from Ciara, Beyoncé, Janet and Missy to Mr Oizo, Drexciya and DJ Funk – original party material.”
He continued, “It’s a perfect example of how I was DJing when I was a wee guy and brings to mind vivid memories of the old Numbers nights we used to put on in the tiny wee basement of a gay bar where we threw the parties that gained us notoriety in Glasgow.”
As Ajuna family worldwide ascends onto the Gorge Amphitheater this weekend, Sept. 15-17, those not lucky enough to be inside Central Washington’s picturesque venue can now live vicariously through their computer screens. Above & Beyond has partnered with Live Nation to bring ABGT250 to a live stream on Twitter, featuring line-up support from YOTTO, Lutrell, Seven Lions, Oliver Smith, Moonboots and many more.
The global trance gathering features on-site camping and music from deep within the Ajunabeats and Ajunadeep vault. Saturday’s live stream featured an 8-hour radio broadcast with a tantalizing climactic Group Therapy set c/o Jono, Tony, and Paavo; while Sunday kicks off with a special Above & Beyond yoga set followed by an Ajunadeep stage takeover from 16 Bit Lolitas, Jody Wisternoff & James Grant, and Eli & Fur.
Believe it or not, there was a time when Tropical House was a difficult sound to track down. Before its vibes invaded the bona fide mainstream, those keen on the sound were forced into the unenviable task of wading through the annuls of SoundCloud in search of stray house tracks with a bongo or acoustic guitar.
For those who arrived early on the hype, Thomas Jack‘s SoundCloud page was a beacon of light. Though the producer has since branched out into fresher territory, his mix tape series featured a range of eclectic “tropical” artists—then, still fleshing out a sound that would come to dominate commercial dance music for several years.
At the time, production duo Klingande (that moniker now belongs to producer Cédric Steinmyller’s solo creations) were just drumming up traction for their infectiously sunny originals and their efforts for the series created a mix that stood apart at the time for its totally coherent tropical vibes.
Though Jack and company have since made household names of themselves with their once unique sounds, this mix brings back memories of the early days when Tropical House was an exciting new brand of music.
1. Filous – Summer (Cover)
2. Noah – It Breaks Your Heart (Marv Edit)
3. Kungs & Mozambo ft. Molly – To Describe You
4. Klingande – Jubel (Nora En Pure Remix)
5. Lilly Wood & the Prick & Robin Schulz – Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Remix)
6. Granville – Le Slow (Les Filles Et Les Garçons Remix)
7. Clean Bandit – Extra (KG Remix)
8. Disclosure – Latch (Mozambo Remix)
9. The Chancellors – Cut Soul (Kungs Remix)
10. Lexer – My Princess (Vocal Version feat Philippe Heithier)
11. La Roux – Bulletproof (GAMPER & DADONI Remix)
12. The Weeknd – Devil May Cry (Fabich & Ferdinand Weber Edit)
It has been a busy year for Fractal Fantasy co-founders Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones. With Sinjin Hawke’s album, First Opus, being released in May and a steady stream of singles, remixes, and collaborations coming from both artists, it is easy for some great content to slip through the cracks. A few months ago, the Spanish duo put on an unmissable bass-driven Boiler Room set.
The event, recorded live in Bengaluru, India, is full of surprises that only these DJs could have in their arsenal. With most tracks by either one or both artists, Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones showed off the intense work that they put into their diverse live shows. Packed with unreleased bootlegs, edits, and more, the set spans many genres including footwork, jersey club, grime, trap, and hip hop. This eclectic mix of heavy beats and deep rhythms is a perfect example of what these two rising producers have to offer.
Zora Jones & Sinjin Hawke – Glass Chains Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones – Source Of Conflict Busy Signal – Brave & Bold (Sinjin Hawke Edit) E40 – Choices (YUP) (Zora Jones Bootleg) Sinjin Hawke – Nailgun Famous Eno, Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones ft. Trigganom & Serocee – Gunshotta 1180 – Lick It Brandy – Sittin Up In My Room (Xzavier Stone & Sinjin Hawke Bootleg) Fox – Big Man Ting (prod. by Famous Eno) Sinjin Hawke – Don’t Lose Yourself To This Sinjin Hawke & Dj Sliink – Raw Zora Jones – Too Many Tears VIP MikeQ & Sinjin Hawke – Thunderscan Bambounou – Any Other Service x Blaqstarr (FF Edit) Sinjin Hawke – ??? Dj Jayhood – Lights Down Low (Zora Jones Remix) Dj Na – MikeQ vs. Fingers Up (Boomclap Edit) Jammer – Feedback (FF Edit) Gangsta Boo & Sinjin Hawke – Yea Hoe (Vjuan Allure Remix) DVA, Killa P, Sinjin Hawke – Worst [Vocal Dub] Xzavier Stone – ??? Kid D – Set Fire Scratcha DVA & Wiley – Apocalypto (FF Edit) Low Deep – So Right Now Soulja Boy – Pow (Boomclap Edit) Zora Jones – First Light Ceeda – Zoom (FF Edit) Ciara – Go Girl (Zora Jones Edit) (Club Mix) Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones – Lurk 101 Xzavier Stone – ??? Zora Jones – ??? Sinjin Hawke – Flood Gates VIP Dj Roc – Uh Huh (Boomclap Edit) v1984 & Zora Jones – The Zone Dj 2Tall x Dj YB – Sex With Me (Boomclap Edit) Assasin – Goodie Bye Bye (FF Edit) Dj Roc – Vybrant Vibez Sinjin Hawke – 321 [Vox Beatking] Tiara Goonie – All Out Of Time (Zora Jones Edit)
Drum ‘n’ Bass is one of the oldest sub-genres of modern dance music, having differentiated from rave/hardcore techno back in the early 1990s in England. Characterized by high-tempo beats and intricate bass lines, the genre rapidly gained traction in underground dance music venues all over the world, before finally emerging as a separate genre in the mid-90s.
Peering into the unique past of Drum ‘n’ Bass, we look at ten of most influential and radical songs that helped shape this niche genre.
Andy C and Ant Miles created a true masterpiece back in 1992, right around the time Drum ‘n’ Bass was established as a separate genre. “Valley of the Shadows” can actually be regarded as one of the first ‘liquid’ DnB tracks, as it features soothing melodies and smooth beats. Interestingly, this track samples vocals from NASA’s Apollo 11 countdown and continues to be an instantly recognizable club classic, while setting the benchmark for DnB tracks nearly 25 years after its release.
Shimon and Andy C – Night Flight
The late 1990s and early 2000s are fondly remembered by many as the “Golden Era” of Drum ‘n’ Bass. A glittering example of the trippy tunes prevailing in the era is “Night Flight” by Shimon and Andy C. What instantly stands out about the track is its tasteful minimalism. Staying true to the genre, large portions of this track feature only energetic drums and a supremely groovy bass line, eliminating unwanted elements such as leads and synth melodies. The track has aged like a fine wine, and would fit in perfectly at a modern club setting.
Bad Company – The Nine
Another specimen from the genre’s “Golden Era,” Bad Company’s greatest ever hit is a fast paced, futuristic single way ahead of its time. “The Nine” features one of the hardest bass lines ever conceived by man. Despite its age, the crisp combination of hi hat samples and evil, growling bass line can be marveled at even to this day. The show-stopping track has been rated as the best Drum ‘n’ Bass track of all time by a variety of publications, cementing its place in bass music folklore.
Black Sun Empire – Arrakis
Fast forward to 2004 and Drum ‘n’ Bass had definitely evolved into a more intricate genre. Fresh sounds were layered into tracks, adding a new dimension to singles from this era. This concept is perfectly illustrated by Black Sun Empire’s ferocious single “Arrakis.” The Dutch trio is renowned for their harsh and uncompromising style while remaining true to the core of Drum ‘n’ Bass. “Arrakis” definitely has a lot more going on than its basic predecessors; a higher level of mixing which adds an unmistakable polish to the brilliant track.
Pendulum – Blood Sugar
Undoubtedly one of the greatest Drum ‘n’ Bass acts of all time, Pendulum changed the modern perception of the genre forever. Pioneering the use of synths in their singles, which have since become a staple in almost all songs, the band ushered in the second wave of Drum N Bass to the masses. “Blood Sugar,” taken from Hold Your Color in 2005, is one such track which uses the Pendulum sound to great effect; expertly blending synths with a high octane DnB core for intense head-banging action.
Noisia – Stigma
No Drum ‘n’ Bass list would be complete without Dutch bass masters Noisia. The legendary trio is revered by many a producer due to their glorious sound design and uncanny ability to alter the course of the entire genre with their genial music. “Stigma,” released in 2008 is one such single. The extremely energetic track kicks off with a suspenseful intro, aided ably by the warbling bass line and thick drums, which turn the track into a true bass monster; widely regarded as one of their best ever singles.
B-Complex – Beautiful Lies
Slovakian producer B-Complex is one of the contemporary greats of Drum ‘n’ Bass, cementing her place amongst the elite with her 2009 single “Beautiful Lies.” The soul of the track is permeated with a distinct Hip-Hop influence, clearly audible in the intro and break. The track features sublime production, as B-Complex expertly mixes in catchy vocal samples and piano chords into the bass drop -one of the contributing factors to the track’s status as a modern classic.
Netsky – Memory Lane
Netsky’s meteoric rise to stardom was a result of his ‘liquid’ style, which greatly widened Drum ‘n’ Bass’ fan base due to its easy listening appeal. One of his greatest hits came in 2010 with “Memory Lane.” Featuring a catchy hook and beautifully layered melodies, it serves as a benchmark for liquid DnB singles several years after its original release.
Sub Focus – Tidal Wave
Sub Focus is a true veteran of the genre, starting off in 2002 and still going strong in 2017. Having carved out a rock-solid reputation over the past decade, he first tasted commercial success in 2005 with “X-ray/Scarecrow.” One of his best ever works was the supremely serene “Tidal Wave.” The track gained significant popularity due to its ethereal vocals and it’s ridiculously catchy music, making it one of the standout Drum ‘n’ Bass hits of 2013.
Tristam and Bracken – Frame of Mind
Rounding off the list of classics is Tristam & Bracken’s legendary collaboration “Frame of Mind.” The duo had previously released some eye-catching music, but nothing of the magnitude of this particular single. The track became an instant hit after its initial 2013 release and continues to be a staple in most Drum ‘n’ Bass live sets and playlists. The reason for this unprecedented success is the ease with which the vocals melt into the sublime instrumentals, which strikes the perfect balance between low frequency drive and mid-range finesse. “Frame of Mind” is quite possibly the most popular DnB track of all time, ensuring its status as a classic.
Few genres have had as dramatic an evolution over time as that of dubstep. The aggressive, often cacophonous LFO wails which have come to define dubstep’s public perception since 2010 are a far cry from the gritty, subdued beats and dub samples which characterized its early days.
There is no single person who better epitomizes dubstep’s nascent stage than Skream. Though Oliver Jones currently presides as one of the most compelling artists in the house and techno circuit, the taste-making chameleon is widely considered to be one of the genre’s primary progenitors.
In 2005, Jones released “Midnight Request Line,” a song regarded by many as the first dubstep track ever produced. Two years later, as dubstep became an indomitable force in the UK, Skream provided the first proper dubstep Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1.
Today, June 17, 2017, Skream’s debut Essential Mix turns 10 years old. At just 21 years old, Jones introduced the world to the most malleable genre of the era. Throughout the two-hour set, the British DJ offered a crash course in dubstep, rinsing tracks from some influential figures such as Coki, Rusko, and Benga in addition to a comprehensive selection from his own catalogue.
It’s easy to see why Pete Tong refers to Skream as “the sound of dubstep” during the broadcast: at times menacing and at times sedate, his 2007 Essential Mix dutifully encapsulates the essence of the genre in its purest form.
Today, June 11, marks the 10-year anniversary of Justice’s debut album, Cross — a record that is, by all accounts, an electronic music masterpiece. Spanning 12 tracks, (13 on the Japanese bonus edition), it’s easily one of the most memorable releases of the last decade, with its influence reaching far beyond the dance music sphere.
Released on Ed Banger Records and Because Music on June 11, 2007, the album went on to top both the US and UK dance album charts, even receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Electronic/Dance Album.
Ed Banger provided the following statement on the album a year ago today:
In the past year, Justice have continued to wow the world with the release of their third album, Woman, and its fascinating accompanying live show. However, as impressive as Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé’s accomplishments in 2016-17 have been, it’s important to not forget the iconic album which started it all.
Described by the legendary French pair as a “Disco Opera,” the album melds classic disco and funk tropes with heaps of distortion and gritty French flair. Consistent in its aesthetic and unwavering in its sonic exploration, the album cemented Justice’s iconic sound and laid the foundation for their status as a global dance music phenomenon.
The album begins with the cinematic opener “Genesis” — which has been used in everything from Cadillac advertisements to Assassin’s Creed trailers — before weaving through a barrage of electro, synth pop, and tantalizing electronica. The second single from the album was “D.A.N.C.E,” a tribute to Michael Jackson, which proceeded to take on a life of its own, peaking at #1 on the UK dance chart and becoming a world-wide dance staple. Other standouts from Cross include “DVNO,” “Waters of Nazareth,” and “Phantom Pt. II,” although the entire album is worth listening to all the way through (over and over and over again…).
Since Sonny Moore launched Skrillex, his meteoric rise has packed a never-ending touring schedule that finds the OWSLA-naut behind the decks everywhere from boats in Fiji to canyons in Arizona. Sonny propelled the term dubstep into popularity, however, as he continually morphs his style and changes as an artist, his sets have naturally evolved as well. Recalling one of Skrillex’s earliest highlights reveals a trove of dance gems that have easily stood the test of time; revisit Skrillex at RockNess in his first Essential Mix.
This mix, taken from the 2011 RockNess festival at Loch Ness in Scotland, features some of the hottest tracks of the time from Sonny himself and other dubstep champions like Doctor P, Flux Pavilion, Bare Noize, and more. Clocking in around 50 minutes long, the live set is a high-energy high energy thrill ride from front to back. Skrillex shows some love for the UK scene with accents of drum and bass from Pendulum, Camo & Crooked, and Friction sprinkled throughout the mix. For anyone missing some old Skrillex or just craving heavy dubstep, tune into one of Skrillex’s earliest milestones.
“Fifty bucks? Are you crazy?” Walt Jr. incredulously asks his father after they sell their Pontiac Aztek to an auto body shop. Walt Jr.’s father winks in response, proud of his recent sale. Cut to the next scene, in which father and son pull into their driveway in the newly purchased Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger. Viewers can hear audio from a decadently audacious track, aptly fitting for Walter White’s newly found intrepid wealth. For those unfamiliar, this scene is from Breaking Bad, perhaps the greatest television show of the recent era. Fans will immediately recall the soundtrack to the end of this particular episode features “Bonfire” by Knife Party. One might go as far as claiming the cult-like idolatry surrounding Walter White is comparable Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen‘s veneration within the dance music industry.
“Bonfire” appears on Knife Party’s sophomore EP, Rage Valley, which was released half a decade ago. To celebrate this trend-setting, genre-defining work is not to simply listen to the record again, but rather to bask in the heinous sounds that amplified the then-growing dubstep and complextro house movements. To celebrate this EP is to lovingly embrace the absurd noises that terrify the Baby Boomers and shake their dwindling hopes in the artistic tastes of younger generations. To celebrate this EP is to understand where it comes from and who made it. Swire and McGrillen did not begin with Knife Party, and likely won’t end with Knife Party. Ultimately, this opportunity to celebrate Rage Valley is also an opportunity to celebrate these two creative talents producing at the top of their respective games.
Swire and McGrillen met at Scotch College, later forming heavy metal band Xygen – their first project together. The parallels between Knife Party’s tenacious output and lots of classic heavy metal, with distorted guitar riffs and belching bass lines, shine distinctly in revisits to their old material. After Xygen split, they formed Pendulum in 2002 with Paul “El Hornet” Harding. Pendulum’s creative contribution to drum & bass, live electronic music performance, and the electronic music industry as a whole cannot be understated. Elaboration here should be reserved for a post of it’s own.
Eventually the two split off from the iconic drum & bass trio to form their own offshoot, Knife Party. Their first EP 100% No Modern Talking leapt bounds with the uniquely terrifying, now-canonized “Internet Friends” as their breakout track. “Modern Talking” refers to a hackneyed preset in the Massive synthesizer used by many dubstep producers. The outspoken opinions of the artists behind the Knife Party project bleeds into their music. Their first EP was one of many jabs at their contemporaries inability to innovate beyond what’s already being produced.
Modern Talking is the Comic Sans of dubstep sounds.
A year after their first EP, Rage Valley was delivered. The opening track, the album’s title offering, “Rage Valley” is a teeth-grinding, anxiety-inducing electro house fire starter. The track is a searing, truculent whirlwind of artificial sonic screams, wails, and distorted bass riffs. “Centipede” comes second. After the unnerving vocal sample provided in “Internet Friends,” “Centipede” follows in its wake with an equally disturbing vocal sample seemingly repurposed from a dusty old documentary. Rather than four to the floor house, like “Rage Valley,” Centipede drops into a two-step kick snare familiar to the rising dubstep sound of its time, with melody and sound engineering that matches every bit of the haunting tone of the sampled centerpiece.
Next comes “Bonfire,” arguably the collection’s most popular offering, and perhaps Knife Party’s most successful product to date. The track unabashedly nurtures the nascent brostep sound brought on by the likes of early Datsik and Skrillex. As a poignant exclamation mark and the end of a caustic clause, “Sleeze” with vocals by Mistajam concludes the EP. A refreshing change of pace, “Sleeze” drops the tempo down below 110 drawing on the rising moobahton wave of 2012.
The Rage Valley EP set the bar for bass music in a number of different ways. “Bonfire” and “Centipede” fed into the dubstep canon, while “Sleeze” and “Rage Valley” into fed moombahton and electro house, respectively. The irony here is, while Swire and McGrillen do what they can to avoid sounding derivative and often go as far as satirizing music producers that cannot innovate, they themselves are often icons for imitation and derivation, and perhaps Rage Valley is the best example of this. The much-maligned “brostep” term sparked around this release surely inspired many a young producer to imitate such an iconic sound, though half a decade later, each track of Rage Valley has gracefully stood the test of time.
Justice set the dance music world ablaze when they released Womanin November, triumphantly breaking their five-year musical hiatus. Old and new fans alike recognize the momentous impact of the duo’s third album, which reaffirmed their veteran status. Justice’s masterful fusion of disco, rock, and electro manages to simultaneously innovate and recall classic musical movements.
Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay are, of course, no strangers to such combinations — they’ve built their illustrious career upon their electrifying stylistic combinations. While their debut album, Cross, garnered Justice widespread acclaim upon its 2007 release, Gaspard and Xavier had already become known in underground circles for their skillful genre fusion.
Justice’s set at the 2006 edition of Belgium’s legendary I Love Techno festival provides a fitting example of their longstanding abilities. Predating the release of Cross, this performance showcases the duo’s capabilities prior to their ascension to international fame. Still meticulously hectic, the set leaves a formidable impression ten years later, as Justice manage to captivate their audience through their raucous curation of electro, techno, disco, and house.
Behold the majesty of Justice in a pre-EDM world above.
Tracklist (Courtesy of Justice Club):
00:00 Scissor Sisters – I Don’t Feel Like Dancing (Teenagebadgirl Remix) 1:00 Alex Gopher Dust 4:00 MBG & SDS – New Jack (Steve Angello Remix) 7:30 Kavinsky – Testarossa Autodrive (SebastiAn Remix) 9:38 Zongamin – Bongo Song 10:58 Simian – Never be alone 11:41 Justice vs. Simian – We Are Your Friends 13:27 Para One – Dundun-dun (MSTRKRFT Remix) 17:50 Justice – DVNO (Surkin Remix) 19:52 Modeselektor – Kill Bill Vol. 4 21:33 SebastiAn – Walkman 25:30 Justice – Let There Be Light