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I'm still awake from writing Dubai Fresh, so here's a few tunes for Memorial Day. With melodies n' all!
J Majik - Your Sound - The apotheosis of the mid-90's hardstep aesthetic. A double-layered melodic attack of sweeping strings and wobbly electronics (a sonic reproduction of the joys of cookie dough ice cream) slides sweetly over absolutely tearin' Amen drums. Simple but devastating sub-bass - this was before No U-Turn made midrange basslines that sounded killer on home stereo systems all the rage. It's incredible that this was made when J Majik was only (if I'm remembering right) 16 or 17 years old. One of my favorite things about this is the way that by simply removing and reintroducing the melody the entire feel of the track changes in an instant, like covering your eyes with both hands and then suddenly pulling them away. This is one of those tracks that reminds you of how wonderful, how truly life-affirming, the Golden Era of Jungle/Drum n' Bass was (I capitalize because that's what it deserves).
Doc Scott - Tokyo Dawn - Here's another tune along similar lines, from the first Earth compilation that LTJ Bukem. Doc Scott's output from the period is mostly remembered for darkside monsters like the alltime anthem 'Shadow Boxing' as well as a host of lesser-known but still brilliant tracks like 'Swarm' and 'March', but he also was quite handy at more melodic tracks. This is a particularly choice example of this other side of his production skills. Despite playing a major role in popularizing hyper-fast robofunk boom-bap two-step beats, Doc Scott has always been skilled at chopping up the beats, and here he provides a vintage lesson in carving up the classic Amen break. He then meshes this furiously torn-apart beat with the deep-space atmospherics that LTJ Bukem's labels became famed for (unfortunately they later descended into noodly jazz-funk nonsense, so the less said the better), overlayed with drifting pads and undergirded by a warmly funky 808 pulse bass. Lovely stuff.
Wax Doctor - Cool Breeze - Great tune off of the awesome Moving Shadow compilation cd, 'The Revolutionary Generation', which for my money was one of the great mid-90's dnb releases. Wonderful rolling breaks, that were complex enough to be engaging and fun, but simple enough to be danceably non-chinstroke. All complete with nice female vocal sample and tasty housey melody.