Various Artists - Techsteppin'

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The Emotif labe was founded in 1995 as a subsidiary of SOUR. In late '95/'96 techstep was all the rage and Emotif picked up on it pretty soon with this compilation. In fact, Techsteppin' played a major part in both establishing the genre tag and bringing the sound to a wider audience beyond the jungle massive.

Though most of the tracks are Emotif exclusives, it's hardly surprising that Techsteppin' is dominated by Ed Rush, DJ Trace and Nico Sykes of the genre defining No U-Turn label. Of the twelve tunes, five (plus a remix of Mutant Jazz) are by the duo Trace and Nico under their Rollers Instinct and Skyscraper aliases, while three are by Ed Rush aka Hydro aka The Zone. (Here's a complete tracklist.)

Released in 1996 at the tail-end of the classic jungle era, Techsteppin' came out when the genre was already morphing into drum'n'bass. So the two-steppy kick drum is already in full effect, but the drum beats are still a far cry from the broring straight-forward linearity of later d'n'b . Rather, the two-step beat is used similiar to the four to the floor-bass drum in some of the best house and techno tracks: as a rhythmic anchor around which all sorts of crazy percussive shit is going on.

In preparation for this post I've been listening to Techsteppin' for the first time in years. What amazed me was how versatile the tunes are and that most of them sound quite different from your typical techstep. They veer towards the eerie and uncanny instead of launching the full-frontal attack usually associated with the genre. The harsh, punishing rhythms and growling industrial noise are often juxtaposed with forlorn synth sounds slightly reminiscent of the icy beauty of Underground Resistance's Galaxy 2 Galaxy and X-102 releases. It's a vibe that's more Blade Runner (with some 2001 lost in space-feeling thrown in) than Robocop/Terminator. Still, Techsteppin' is jungle/early d'n'b at its most menacing and vicious. It just shows that darkness can have many shades.


Lee Perry - Excaliburman

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Here's another one for today: a short (at 37 minutes), but sweet collection of prime Upsetter goodness from the seventies. Pretty obscure it is too, I'd imagine, at least I've never heard of the Seven Leaves label before or since, and there's hardly any reasonably useful information about this comp on the net. Anyway, here are nine tracks, six by the Upsetters or Lee Perry solo, the others produced by his wackiness at the Black Ark studio.
Here's a tracklist and a short comment by Mick Sleeper, the world's foremost authority in Upsetterology. If you like the classic Lee Perry sound (and/or some mighty fine rootical sounds), you're gonna love this one too.

Goldie - Timeless (double disc-edition)

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What can I say about this record that hasn't been said a hundred times? Well, for starters, that this first edition of Timeless is a very different record from the regular, trimmed-down version. Paranoid, tension-filled darkside tunes like This Is A Bad and Jah The Seventh Seal make it a much edgier and more multi-facetted affair. Goldie didn't call Timeless "inner city ghetto blues for the 21st century" for nothing. But to really feel like a sweeping panorama of life in the more run-down and dangerous parts of London the record needs the epic sprawl across two discs. Only at this length the right balance between a vicious sense of menace, violent rage, lyrical soulfulness and moments of beauty and introspection can be created.

Timeless is not without its flaws and some of the criticism often levelled at it cannot be completely denied. Arguably, it's sometimes a bit too pretentious for its own good, with some of the tracks a tad over-long, and the more soulful/jazzy tunes at times veering a bit too close towards slick eighties-fusion. But Timeless is an album designed to be taken in as a whole rather than as individual tracks and as such it is still pretty impressive. I actually think that
in the album's overall context the more conventionally "musical" tunes work pretty well for the most part, with only the r&b-ish Still Life really falling flat.

Also, this record contains some of the most intricate and lethal breakbeat cut-ups ever created: swirling and swarming, fading in and out of the mix, they create an almost nauseating sense of disorientation. And for this astonishing level of rhythm science alone Timeless is well worth listening to.


Various Artists - King Size Dub Vol. 1

Disc 1 Disc 2

The first - and by far the best - installment of the long-running King Size Dub series is dedicated to British and British/Jamaican productions. At 27 tracks on two discs, it's quite a varied collection of amazingly high quality. Actually the only dull moments are two rather clumsy attempts at a fusion of dub and house by Got To Move and Zion Train. Highlights include tracks by the On-U posse (two each by Dub Syndicate and Revolutionary Dub Warriors and three Bim Sherman collaborations), Iration Steppas and The Disciples. I've hardly been keeping up with UK dub for almost ten years now, but I'm told that these tracks from the early and mid nineties catch the scene at its last creative peak. Could be true, given that most of the handful of newer tracks I've heard were quite by-the-numbers.

Listening to those two discs for the first time in years, what struck me was how dark, claustrophobic, cold and sometimes almost brutal a lot of it sounds in comparison to classic Jamaican dub. Often cluttered with eerie sound effects, the sonic space is incredibly dense and - especially on the steppers style tunes with their typical relentless four-to-the-floor drums - the beats and bass lines often come down with a brute, forceful ultra-heaviness. (Btw, these are all compliments in my book.) At times there's also a kind of haunted sadness contrasting quite effectively with the powerful rhythms. There's a unique quality to this sound that you don't even get from the bleakest and most militant Keith Hudson tracks or Lee Perry at his craziest and most paranoid. Actually, I'd say that a close comparison would be the best of current dubstep productions (i.e. the stuff that doesn't just sound like drum'n'bass played at the wrong speed).

Of course the use of digital equipment partly explains the difference between Jamaican and UK productions. But maybe the bleak vibe of UK dub owes as much to the fact that the tunes were recorded and/or mixed in the monochrome grey of English cities. To my ears this music sounds very urbane and even borderline-dystopian at times. Its eerieness and slightly creepy sense of alienation reminds me more of a band like Joy Division than any Jamaican dub. I don't know too much about the UK dub scene, but I think that maybe this similiarity in feel to a certain strain of post-punk has more to do with a specific sense of place rather than just some personal ties to punk and post-punk (Adrian Sherwood and some of the On-U Sound posse, Small Axe who evolved out of sub-Clash band The Ruts...). Dread music straight outta the grey heart of Babylon...


Palais Schaumburg - Wir bauen eine neue Stadt

This one's for Not Rock On, Dorfdisco Braunsfeld and Mein Walkman ist kaputt ;-)


Chrome - 3rd from the Sun

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The classic Helios Creed/Damon Edge-led version of Chrome is one of the most hilariously cartoonish bands ever (and I mean that as a compliment): the most obvious and sensationalist aspects of Hawkwind, The Stooges, sixties psych-garage, punk rock and early industrial thrown in a blender to create a kind of pulp trashy, totally over the top pseudo-sci fi punk psychedelia. If Roger Corman had hired Kim Fowley to record a punk/industrial/acid rock-exploitation soundtrack for a Mad Max-rip off about a bunch of acid-fried, mutant fighting, post-apocalyptic motorcycle warriors, it would probably have sounded similiar to this.
Compared to Alien Soundtracks or Half Machine Lip Moves, 3rd from the Sun is definitely a more conventional rock record. But I'd say that it's also a lot more cohesive and less uneven. Also, though many of their fans obviously love the lo-fi production of early Chrome, I always felt that the tinny, muffled sound seriously impaired their music. So it's nice that 3rd from the Sun sounds relatively full-bodied and punchy. Of all the Chrome records I've heard so far, this is the one were they almost live up to their promise of a wild ride through a seedy, surreal, psycho-delic rock'n'roll phantasmagoria.


My Bloody Valentine - Soon

Back in the day I had a bit of a crush on Bilinda Butcher. Still think that the combination of bedroom eyes and breathy, barely-there vocals is quite something...

My Bloody Valentine - 4 EPs and a single

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For the ancient Greeks and Romans a genius was a kind of benevolent, but somewhat capricious daemon responsible for artistic or philosophical inspiration. Which means that a human being cannot be a genius, he or she can only be possessed by one. And unfortunately this daemon comes and goes at his own whim. Maybe this explains how Kevin Shields, a second-rate indie rocker, managed to come up with two of the greatest lps ever - and then completely lost it again.

All that said, I can't even begin to say how much I love Isn't Anything and
Loveless. But I never got hold of the four eps from My Bloody Valentine's heyday while they were still widely available. About a year ago, a friend hooked me up with rips he downloaded from various sources and, boy, I sure did miss something! So, thanks to my man Martin and the internet, here's Feed Me With Your Kiss, You Made Me Realise, Tremolo, Glider and the promo single Only Shallow. Bitrate varies, but nothing's under 192 kbps. This really is essential listening!

Pluramon - Render Bandits

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Pluramon is essentially the project of Markus Schmickler. This is his second album and it's a far cry from the My Bloody Valentine/Ride/Slowdive inspired sound of his last record Dreams Top Rock, a collaboration with Julee Cruise (she of Twin Peaks fame). Like on his debut Pickup Canyon, Schmickler teamed up with a group of collaborators, most notably Mouse On Mars/Microstoria-member Jan St. Werner and Jaki Liebezeit, to record some loosely structured jams, using everything from glockenspiel to analogue and digital electronics to tapes. Schmickler then edited, remixed and sound processed the recordings and came up with this sublime and immensely listenable album. Mostly propulsed by Liebezeit's sturdy grooves, Render Bandits' hypnotic, circular melodies and thick layers of electronic ambience culminate in a kind of trippy nocturnal psychedelia with an elegant, cinematic sweep. (The cover has to be one of the ulgiest in the history of recorded music though.)


Gramm - Personal Rock

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Jan Jelinek is taking his cues from the micro house sound of labels like Kompakt, Force Tracks or Playhouse - especially its more ambient-leanings strains - as well as from the clicks & cuts and glitch techno approaches pioneered by the likes of Oval, Pole and Vladislav Delay and there's also more than a shade of Basic Channel/Chain Reaction/
~scape-like dubbiness. It's a case of innovation through adaptation: Jelinek doesn't so much invent a new musical vocabulary. Rather, he combines his influences in a highly idiosyncratic fashion and distills a distinct and fascinating sound from them.

In a way, Jelinek's releases as Gramm are halfway between his more abstract output under his real name and his relatively dancefloor friendly work as Farben. Personal Rock - Jelinek's first full length album - is tranquil, gentle and melancholy. It's full of skippy, fluttering micro rhythms composed of tiny glitches, clicks and static, the basslines are deep and droning, but house is constantly and explicitly present - not so much through four-to-the-floor beats, but more through the structures of hooks and riffs or typical filter effects. But it's a weirdly spectral and ghostly presence. Personal Rock mirrors the feeling of the rave-comedown: it's like coming home from a club just before it starts to dawn, the rush of dancefloor euphoria slowly ebbing to become a fading, yet still present memory, and you can still feel the basslines and the thumping beats pulsing through your body.


Deleted links

I noticed today that quite a lot of my older download-links have been deleted due to download inactivity. If you missed out on something and want a re-up, just leave a comment which record you're interested in and I'll put it up again as soon as possible.

Ambush Records 12inches

(I know the picture is kinda corny, but it made me smile anyway...)

This one comes from a fellow blogger: muse1453 of Autres Grooves and A Closet Of Curiosities fame kindly hooked me up with the tracks he downloaded from the homepage of DJ Scud's and Aphasic's now defunct breakcore/raggacore label Ambush Records. There's one track missing from Ambush 04 and two tracks from Ambush 08, but other than that this is a complete collection of the first dozen Ambush releases. Since these 12inches are long sold out and the mp3s are no longer available for download, I guess they're somewhat rare by now. I'm a bit lazy today, so instead of a review here are some excerpts of a conversation about Ambush muse and I had at Autres Grooves:

"square dancer:
Usually I'm not that much into breakcore/raggacore etc, but there's something about a lot of that DJ Scud/Panacea/Ambush Rec. related stuff, though I can't really put my finger on it.

muse 1453: What appeals to me about the Ambush label is that most of the tracks are not just hardcore tracks utilizing rapidfire percussion, but how the tracks are created with free-improv and musique concrete influences. That's what makes these tracks listenable for many repeats. Most of the stuff in this genre really gets boring after awhile and are not worth listening to again because a few artists in this area actually attempt to be creative.

square dancer: I think you're pretty right about the peculiar qualities of their releases. Obviously a vast knowledge about different kinds of music went into the making of their tracks. I'd probably add that another factor may be that those people actually seem to be knee-deep into rave, jungle, hiphop, dancehall etc. They're loving this stuff and know it well. Whereas a lot of other breakcore artists (especially from the "artsy" side of the spectrum) merely seem to cannibalize it."

Not each and every track here is up to the same standards of course. To the outside listener some of them are "merely" solid genre stuff, though if you're really into breakcore you will find them pretty outstanding, I guess. But there are more than enough gems to be found that are nothing short of amazing.

Well, enough babble. Below's the tracklist. Click on the picture above and download the whole batch in one file.

Jackal & Hide - Escape From South London (Ambush 01)

In Bed With Hanin 5:26
Post Industrial Funk 3:38 Coldharbour Lane 4:41 The Jackal 4:35

Aphasic & DJ Scud - Welcome to the Warren EP (Ambush 02)

Aphasic & DJ Scud - Justify My Hate 4:28 Aphasic - Comparative Vandalism 5:23 DJ Scud - MTV Generation 5:29 Aphasic & DJ Scud - I Hear a New World

Shizuo - Give Up (Ambush 03)

Moshi-Moshi 4:55 Brain Dead (remix) 3:43 Trouble 3:53 To Shizuo 1:49 Give Up 3:23

Aphasic & DJ Scud - Snipers At Work (Ambush 04)

DJ Scud - Mash the Place Up 4:50 DJ Scud - Scud Missle 4:04 Aphasic - You Only Happen Once 3:14 Aphasic - Despair In the Community 3:44 Aphasic & DJ Scud - Belief is the Enemy

muse1453 said: sorry track 3 "Skatebored" is missing. I couldn't find it on my hard drive. It was mediocre anyway which is possible that I deleted it.

Mwarf - Sex With a Machine (Ambush 05)

Brockbeat 4:21 Fat Boy 6:21 Is It Safe? 7:35 Pillar 4:08

DJ Scud & Christoph Fringeli - Bodysnatcher EP (Ambush 06)

Bodysnatcher 6:27 Ruled By the Mob 3:56 XXX 3:42

Din S.T. - In the Case of... (Ambush 07)

Search 4:44 Classic Case 4:12 About to Go Down 4:31 Stay Calm 4:38 Street Urchin 3:25

DJ Scud & I-Sound - Mortal Clash EP (Ambush 08)

DJ Scud - VIP Pressure 3:50 I-Sound - Sufferers 3:25 I-Sound - Trauma 4:55 I-Sound - Short Sharp Shock (version) 4:20

muse1453 said: sorry there are a couple of tracks by DJ Scud missing; these two files are corrupt and won't play

Aphasic - Bass & Superstructure (Ambush 09)

Anthem For Doomed Youth 3:21 Dirty Face 3:19 Superstructure I 3:22 Bloody Nora 4:00 Superstructure II 2:57

Rich Kid/DJ Scud - untitled 12" (Ambush 10)

Rich Kid - Rude Bimmer 4:03 DJ Scud - Badman Time 3:00 DJ Scud - Put Up Your Lighters 3:57

Slepcy - And Again (Ambush 11)

And Again 6:33 untitled 02 3:46 Form (Play) 3:13

Noize Creator - Deferred Media (Ambush 12)

Per Thousand 2:49 Deferred Media 3:57 Have a Piss 2:43 Broken Bar 5:50 Hate Cops 5:15


Ennio Morricone - Danger, Diabolik

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One of the most fascinating and unique things about Italian pop culture is the popularity of the fumetti neri: crime, mystery or spy comic books in black and white aimed primarily at young adults and characterized by dark atmospheres, a lot of casual violence and twisted (anti-)heroes. One of the most popular fumetti neri-characters is the black clad super criminal Diabolik, a ruthless and totally amoral sociopath. (Oddly, sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani, who created Diabolik in 1962 and wrote the series for over twenty years, look like harmless, slightly spinsterish elementary school teachers).

In 1968 the adventures of the glamorous and stylish super villain were turned into a feature film directed by b-movie auteur Mario Bava. I haven't been able to see the movie yet, but this sounds like a very promising combination. Though he lost it somewhat by the seventies, Bava was one of the most astonishing European directors, especially considering the constraints of the Euro-exploitation movie industry he was working in, and he created at least one true masterpiece of formally radical modernist film making
with his early giallo thriller Sei donne per l'assessino (Blood And Black Lace).

Ennio Morricone's Diabolik soundtrack is a lushly textured, highly enjoyable slice of vintage spy twang with a slightly psychedelic bent and those soft female vocals typical for his work of the time. Not necessarily essential Morricone, but definitely a fun listen and the main theme Deep Deep Down is really quite beguiling. The source for this rip is a sort of semi-legit cd recorded from either the DVD or the Laser Disc of the English dubbed version (hence the dialogue snippets and a few sound effects). Danger, Diabolik was never officially released on lp or cd and the master tapes were allegedly destroyed in a fire years ago.

I can't remember where I got this rip (most likely some torrent download), but whoever the original uploader was - mad props to him/her!



This is the heavy heavy monster sound! Relentlessly blaring, layered bass riffs, ear-splitting distortion, disorienting, splintering drums, pounding cyborg warrior-two step stomps - all the indgredients of classic techstep are firmly in place on No U-Turns first label compilation. It wouldn't be long before techstep turned into its own parody, full of clich├ęs and corny angstiness. On this release from 1997 the sound was still fresh though and the trio of Ed Rush, Nico and DJ Trace handled it with malicious, skunked-out imagination. For better or for worse, No U-Turn proved to be hugely influential on the direction d'n'b would take in the following years (and don't even get me started on techstep's ugly children hard step and dark step). But this double-disc is the real deal: dirty, poisonous, corrosive alien-funk.

Disc 1
Disc 2

World Of Twist - Quality Street

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I have to admit that I had never heard of World Of Twist prior to the news of ormer frontman Tony Ogden's death about a month ago. But these three post on Simon Reynold's blog peaked my interest and I decided to try and track down the band's only album from 1991. Not only is Mr. Reynolds one of my favourite music writers whose recommandations are usually at least worth checking out. Also, a self-consciously stylized and artificial band with a post-acid house sensibility taking its cues from the baroque end of sixties-psychedelia, Joe Meek, Hawkwind, early Roxy Music, Motown stompers and krautrock - well, sir, that sounds like it's right up my alley!

It would be stretching things a bit to say that Quality Street is a lost masterpiece. Some songs sound rather like a slightly more sophisticated and artsier version of the baggy dance rock of their Manchester contemporaries and that's hardly something to write home about. There really is the occasional dash of greatness to be found here though, most notably on the amazing singles The Storm, Sons Of The Stage and Sweets and their fabulous version of Sly Stone's Life And Death. When they lived up to their promise of a groovy, plastic fantastic glam psychedelia, World Of Twist really were unique. It's a shame that they never released another record and remain so obscure. A second album for Creation Records was never finished as the band fell apart, not least because of massive substance abuse (those were the pill-popping days of rave after all). The details of World Of Twist's short and convoluted band history can be found on their official homepage.

(This is not my rip, by the way, it comes from a friendly slsk user. Sorry, can't remember the name, but thanks a lot!)


Blog recommendations

Have to give the linkbar its long due overhaul in the next couple of days. Until then, here are some relatively newish blogs that I heartily recommend:

On Spreading The Word man like Crybo posts some of his fine and eclectic dj-mixes. Among other things there's a superb Basic Channel-mix, a sweet selection of old skool rave and techno (ah, nostalgia!) and what must be the awesomest wedding party-mix tape ever (just check that tracklist)! Also, be sure to get his classy unmixed compilation of Detroit style techno!

The 12inch record is still the most important medium for dance music. But unless you're a dj, promoter or journalist (or are in the fortunate position to have lots of money to spend on records), it's not that easy to keep up with the latest releases. Emusic World has a lot of recent vinyl rips, including Dominik Eulberg, Joey Beltram, Oliver Huntemann, Ellen Allien & Apparat and some releases on Richie Hawtin's label M_nus. Check out those Alter Ego remixes, they're amazing!

Power, Corruption & Lies is dedicated to out-of-print rave classics, which I think is a wonderful idea. Updates seem to be quite sporadic, but the selection so far is pretty good. Download that first Hardfloor album if you want to know what can be achieved with some Roland TB 303s.

Judging from the number of downloads of my grime and dubstep shares, I'd say that those genres are not exactly that most popular on the sharity blogosphere. Anyway, there's a Russian blog called Grime.ru (sic) keeping all the grime headz and dubsteppas happy with lots of mixtapes and 12inch rips.


Fripp/Eno - Evening Star

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What a gorgeous record! It's much calmer than the first Fripp/Eno-collaboration No Pussyfooting, in fact it sounds much more eno-ish than fripp-ish to my ears. One track, Wind On Wind, is actually Eno solo and an basically a condensed version of the title track of Discreet Music (as son of icongneato kindly pointed out in the comments). The overall mood is languid and meditative, dissonance is for the most part kept to a minimum until the final 30 minute track An Index Of Metals. But even there the noise and guitar distortions have a rather calming and blissful effect.

Another BitTorrent find,
so thanks a ton to the original uploader calling him/herself (?) resistir!

Galaxy 2 Galaxy - Galaxy 2 Galaxy

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The last part in my series of Detroit techno posts for the time being: Galaxy 2 Galaxy is the alias "Mad Mike" Banks uses when he finds himself in the mood for some lush cosmic grooves. This eponymous ep is an early Underground Resistance-release from 1993. Arguably more house than techno, these eight tracks represent the more ethereal side of Underground Resistance, completely forsaking the in your face-aggressivness the group and label are often associated with. Titles like Hi-Tech Jazz, Journey Of The Dragons, Star Sailing or Deep Space 9 (A Brother Runs This Ship) already give it away: this is a sublime piece of black sf, heavily inspired by the spaced out, trippy side of seventies electric jazz , fusion and jazz funk. Think Alice Coltrane's most medidative albums, some of Herbie Hancock's early seventies output, electric Miles at his most relaxed, very early Weather Report, Roy Ayers or Donald Byrd.

To my knowledge, this classic is currently not available. It was ripped from vinyl (thanks a lot to the original uploader, by the way!) and there's a bit of static to be heard at the beginning of each track, but to my ears the sound quality is very good. There's a full tracklist and some additional info right here on Discogs.



True Spirit: Tresor Compilation Vol. 10

This three cd-box was released to celebrate the tenth anniverary of the legendary Berlin based label and (now defunct) club Tresor in 2002. Classics and exclusive tracks by the likes of Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Maurizio, Drexciya, Blake Baxter, 3MB (aka Maurizio/Moritz von Owald and Thomas Fehlmann), Eddie Flashin' Fowlkes and Juan Atkins showcasing the label's trademark sound of slightly sinister machine funk noir. Go here for more information and a full tracklist.

Download CD 1
Download CD 2
Download CD 3


Vangelis - Blade Runner bootlegs

After listening to Vangelis' Blade Runner album for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I developed a bit of an obsession for the music of Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic. As you probably know, the original soundtrack never gained an official release. For reasons much speculated over Vangelis obviously refused to participate in a soundtrack album back in 1982. So what saw the light of day after the film's opening were de facto-cover versions of some themes from the soundtrack: A bunch of studio musos were hired to record orchestral arrangements of Vangelis' electronic music. The result is a kind of James Last-ization of the wonderful original score and should be avoided by all means.

Finally, Vangelis released a Blade Runner album in 1994, twelve years after the movie. This isn't a soundtrack album, but rather a concept album based on the film. Like Vangelis said in interviews, the record consists of music that was composed during his work on the Blade Runner score. So what you get is music from the film that's for the most part edited and/or has new intros and endings attached to it. There's also four tracks which where obviously intended for the soundtack and ultimately not used. Some of the tracks also have snippets of dialogue at the beginning, none of which correspond with the placement of the music in the actual movie. It's a great record, sort of Vangelis' personal evocation of the film, but a far shot from being any kind of soundtrack album.

All this information was new to me and I decided to track down some of the bootlegs on the net which actually proved to be quite easy. So here is my Blade Runner-mega post with two versions of the soundtrack (the best ones available from what I've heard) and one very special goodie.

First up, there's the Gongo Edition, purportedly a Romanian bootleg. It also contains the short cue Ladd Company Logo by John Williams, composed when Vangelis' involvement in the score wasn't sure, and Bicycle Riders (Harps Of The Ancient Temple) by Gail Laughton. It's a music-only version, so there's no dialogue or ambience, and I guess it's your best choice if you want the main themes without most of the reprises and incidental music.

The second version is the two disc ESPER Edition, generally considered to be the definite representation of the score. It contains virtually the complete underscore including incidental music and various reprises. Occasionally, there's also some ambience and dialogue from the film, though in contrast to the official Vangelis release it actually matches with the underscore. I think both versions have their merits: while I personally find that the shorter Gongo Edition works better as an album of music per se, the ESPER bootleg is a unique and hauntingly beautiful evocation of the film. So get them both, after all they're for free!

Los Angeles, November 2019 was also produced by the people wh
o did the ESPER edition. It's actually not another bootleg version of the soundtrack. Instead, it uses ambience and sound effects from the film (and, according to some sources, also from the Blade Runner video game) along with some of the music low in the mix to recreate the atmosphere of Blade Runner's world. It's a kind of aural travelogue through the film's near future L.A., a somnambulic drift through a seedy, bustling, rain soaked moloch of a city. To give you an idea, think of a brooding, nocturnal urbane counterpart to KLF's Chill Out album. Btw, all the tracks segue into each other, so if you want to burn this to cd you should do so without pauses.

All three bootlegs are bit torrent downloads, so once again big up the original uploaders!


Dub Syndicate - One Way System

(Click on the picture to download.)

Here's a slice of trippy dub psychedelia with sharply accentuated, heavily treated drum sounds, incredibly deep bass lines and keyboards, guitars, sound effects and the occasional vocals hazily sliding in and out of the mix. Released in 1983, this second album by avant dub collective Dub Syndicate still stands as a prime example of early On U-Sound productions and a testament to the genius of both producer Adrian Sherwood and Dub Syndicate's head honcho Style Scott, also drummer for Jamaica's finest session band Roots Radics. And it's also the perfect soundtrack for the glaring sunlight and the dizzying heat weighing down on Vienna at the moment.


Main Source - Breaking Atoms

(Link expired.)

This is a record I truly cherish. Though easily on par with other hiphop records released at the time, like De La Soul Is Dead, Black Sheep's A Wolf in Sheeps Clothing, A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory or Step In The Arena by Gang Starr, it seems to me that it's virtually unknown outside of hiphop circles. Full of sonic trickery and inventivness, it is also proof that Large Professor is one of the great hiphop producers. The intricate layers of samples combined with a raw funkyness make Breaking Atoms a sheer pleasure to listen to. Take my word for it, after the first few bars your head will be a-boppin' and your feet a-stompin'! Also, I bought this cd in July 1992 in New York, so it brings back fond memories of three weeks spent in a very hot and humid city, with a daily routine of sleeping until noon, hanging around until evening and staying up all night.


Jammer - N.A.S.T.Y. Mix

(Click on the picture to download.)

Some more griminess, this time courtesy of ex-N.A.S.T.Y. Crew member Jammer. This mix was also a cover cd of Deuce Magazine in 2003 and it's basically a showcase of Jammer's then-recent production work. Now I can't really claim to be an expert on the genre, but this is still one of the best grime-cds I've ever listened to, be it mixtapes, dj mixes or regular albums. The quality of the tracks is conistently high, and though I guess most people will prefer the first half with the vocal versions of classics like Kano's Boys Love Girls and Davinche's Grimey, I especially love the all instrumental second half.

It's without an MC to guide you through the tracks and provide vocal hooks that you realize how odd a lot of this music really is: all sparse, hyper-syncopated, spastic rhythms, blaring and squelching synth noises and eruptous bass lines, quite abrasive, yet weirdly catchy. There's a strange dichotomy between the roughness and sparseness of the sounds and the often bombastic arrangements, resulting in a kind of minimalist maximalism. Best of all are the parts where those pseudo-oriental, plinkety-plonkety synth strings come in, of which Jammer was obviously quite fond at the time. Fantastic stuff, this.


Roll Deep - Creeper Vol. 1 & 2

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I don't really understand why this mixtape never got officially released. Most people seem to think it was because Roll Deep's label Relentless didn't want it to detract from the crew's proper debut album "In At The Deep End". But then again, that record came out last year and - at least according to various sources on the net - Creeper 1 was already recorded in 2003??? I'm confused.

Anyway, a couple of months ago renowned grime dj Logan Sama got the thumbs up from Roll Deep's Wiley to make the first two Creeper-mixtapes available for download on his MySpace-site. Seems that the download-links have been taken down, so I thought I'd share them.

Each of the two Creeper-volumes is a lot better than the disappointing and compromised "In At The Deep End". There are no weird attempts at pop-rap (which they're obviously not good at) and accessability for a wider demographic. Instead, these mixtapes feature uncompromised in-yer-face grime tracks (and a few hiphop tunes) with lots of freestyling that have the same kind of raw energy as Roll Deep's best live radio shows.


Donnacha Costello - Together Is The New Alone

This album was released on Mille Plateaux in 2001 and currently out of print. It will, however, be reissued on Donnacha Costello's own Minimise imprint early next year (see comments). So I took down the link, not just because the artist asked for it, but also because it's the purpose of this blog to post music that's rare, out of print, insanely pricy or otherwise not readily available.

"Together Is The New Alone" is an incredibly beautiful, lovingly crafted record of melodic, ambienty electronica, so be sure to get it upon its rerelease! In the meantime you can download a fine little dj-mix by Donnacha Costello on the Minimise-homepage (scroll down for a tracklist and the mp3).


N.E.R.D. - In Search Of... (original version)

(Click on the picture to download.)

This record has a somewhat dodgy release history. If I remember correctly, the first version of this album was never given an official US release and was only available in Europe for a couple of months. But obviously promo cds of this version were sent out to US media, because there were a couple of reviews. Most of them were less than positive (though in Europe the record was quite acclaimed), and at the end of 2001 N.E.R.D. decided to re-record the whole album. This new version with different arrangements, added live instrumentation by funk rockers Spymob and a slightly different track order eventually got a worldwide release in 2002.

While some critics hailed the second version as a masterpiece, others deemed it a failure. And of course, there was much discussion weather the purely electronic version was superior to the final product. Well, now you can make up your own mind, because here are both versions. Personally, I'd say that both records are neither masterpieces nor failures. There's enough intruiging and inventive music to be found on either version, but I think they're both also seriously flawed. First of all, Pharrell simply isn't the greatest vocalist out there (and though in the meantime he's considerably grown as an mc, I still find his strained falsetto singing a bit unpleasant). Also, the smugness of the Pharrell-persona tends to be quite grating, especially when he thinks he has something smart to say. I'd actually advise you to utterly ignore the often quite cringeworthy lyrics.

I tend to prefer the first version though, simply because I find Spymob's approach to funk rock quite hamfisted. On the harder, funkier tracks they tend to sound like some sub-Limp Bizkits band, often ruining a fine contemporary update of Prince's shiny, sleazily slick Parade-era avant-funk. On the other hand, the slower tracks are actually helped by the live instrumentation, gaining a nice late seventies/early eighties funk ballad-feel. Still, both versions also contain their fair amount of filler as well as a some of the best work the Neptunes ever did.


Junglism: Sound Of The Underground Vol. 2

Alright, so this still isn't the promised Best Of Jungle-set, but that will be up in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, I give you Junglism: Sounds Of The Underground Vol. 2, released on the S.O.U.R. label in 1995. I wonder how many jungle compilations back then had similear titles, there must at least have been a good dozen.

The first four tracks- a remix of Ini Kamoze's Hot Stepper, Simple Things by Shy FX, Ghetto Youth by Booyaka Crew feat. Sluggy Ranks and Court Case by The Hempaholics with Gunsmoke - are especially great: wicked, ragga-tinged rude bwoy stuff with blazin' sound effects. After that things are starting to veer off towards the chilled out and tastefully jazzy, which isn't so much to my liking. But T-Power's Mutant Jazz is still a great tune and Call Of The Drum by G-Flex is ruffing things up a bit towards the end.

All in all, a pretty decent collection that's worth downloading for the first few tracks and Mutant Jazz alone. I always prefered the first volume though (Original Nuttah! Gangsta Kid!) which was almost exclusively ragga jungle bizniz. But, alas, I don't have that one anymore...

Booyaka! (Dead link)

Bernard Herrmann - The Day The Earth Stood Still

(Click on the picture to download.)

Lucky me! I downloaded this via bit torrent and was quite surprised that there are two bonus tracks which are not on the Arista-release still in print (though a bit hard to come by). So I did a quick research on the net and this is what Soundtrack Collector tells me:

"A 24K Gold CD, part of a limited 2500-copies LaserDisc box, contains additional 18 minutes of alternate Theremin mixes, studio rehersals and outtakes."

So this is obviously a real rarity. The bonus tracks are not really essential, but it's nice to have them anyway when, like me, you are 1. a somewhat anally retarded music geek, 2. a major fan of Bernard Herrmann's film scores and 3. a complete sucker for the theremin. In any case, "The Day The Earth Stood Still" is not only one of the best sci-fi scores ever, it is also simply a great record in its own right. So treat yourself to some theremin-drenched otherworldly eerieness!


Routes From The Jungle

(Click on the picture to download.)

So here we go, kicking things off with one of the best compilations ever. Compiled by the mighty Kodwo Eshun, Routes From The Jungle is a seminal two disc-set documenting the evolution from proto-jungle styles like breakbeat techno, darkside and UK hardcore to jungle proper. The only criticism one could make is that the most overtly hiphop and dancehall influenced end of the spectrum gets left out of the picture. (The Shut Up And Dance crew is only represented by Nicolette's "Waking Up" and there's no Ibiza Rec. or Rebel MC/Congo Natty and none of the countless dancehall remixes.) But the concept was obviously to focus on the post-acid house and rave lineage of jungle's evolution and in this regard Routes From The Jungle really is the definitive collection.

Packed with classics by Doc Scott, Ed Rush, A Guy Called Gerald, 4 Hero, DJ Krust or Boogie Times Tribe this is really all killer no filler. And since it was released in '95, all the later tracks are fantastic peak-period jungle. So grab this incredible two discs of breakbeat mayhem and junglistic madness! Booyaka!