Welcome to Two Hungry Ghosts, a blog that concentrates on 90’s drum and bass plus the different musical styles that helped influence and mould its creation. Learn more about rare or unreleased tracks from the original producers, listen to previously unheard mixes from the early days of hardcore and drum and bass plus discover new music (in an old style) via free downloads and exclusive streams.
Each month we post a series of interviews and articles exploring old tracks, producers and DJ’s. We also talk to modern artists that are inspired by that golden era or share those same core values of expression, community and experimental music production.
This month we talk to Blame about his Moving Shadow releases and his unique sci-fi style, DJ Stretch reveals more info on his forthcoming Unreleased Slates on Reinforced and updates us on his label AKO Beats, DJ Junk discusses his Junk Hardcore mixtape series and early white labels plus Dominic Stanton reveals his thoughts on more unreleased 96/97 Static Imprints demos.
We also premiere a forthcoming release on Detrimental Audio and DJ Extreme tells us about one of the rarest drum and bass releases by LTJ Bukem “Atmospherical Jubilancy”.
More posts will follow throughout the month…
Rare DNB LTJ Bukem Atmospherical Jubilancy
“Atmospherical Jubilancy” shows LTJ Bukem at his best and Good Looking Records at its most frustrating. Scheduled for a promo picture disc then a full release on standard black vinyl neither of these officially saw the light of day due to a series of set backs and delays. Depending on what version of the story you believe the twelve was either held up due to a font on the promo or simple label politics. Either way it is the jewel in the Good Looking crown that has had drum and bass fans excited ever since it was announced for release in 2009 since first being played on dubplate in 1993.
The track itself shows Danny in great form, using only a handful of elements he crafts an 8 minute opus based on vocals from a Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir, beats from Sway and King Tech and an infectious Rhodes riff. The end result is one of the simplest yet most effective experiments into ambient drum and bass and undoubtedly one of the most uplifting.
Back in 2009 Nu-Urban announced the vinyl release with a competition to win one of ten test presses. Mystery still surrounds the Press Release that declared “Atmospherical Jubilancy” was due for release quoting the title incorrectly as “Atmospheric Jubilancy” and stating it had been available on CD even though it hadn’t. Promises of future GLR releases were advertised at the same time none of which came to fruition.
Drum and Bass collector DJ Extreme won the test press and eight years on it remains a highly sought after Holy Grail vinyl release. We spoke to him about the track and what other songs from that era he would like to own or ID.
There are only ten copies of this in existence, how did you come to have it in your collection?
I won it in the Nu-Urban (distributors) competition back in 2009, I cant remember if there was a question or you just put your name in the hat! At this time the full release picture disc & black vinyl was only a month away so it was a nice up-front exclusive, only as the months passed and the full release didn’t arrive it started to become the rarity it is today.
What’s the cut like and do the label and disco bag have any markings or writing, anything in the run out groove?
The cut and sound is really good, AJ takes up a full side almost right up to the centre label (just over 8 minutes). It has the standard MPO ‘Test Pressing’ label, it didn’t come with any promo / information sheets, just in a white paper sleeve. No official track names with it either. Etchings – it has GLR075 A/B & MPO.
Have you had many offers from people to buy it? If so, how much?
In the first year I had quite a few emails and messages, half of them were requesting I record an MP3, but the serious buyers were keeping their cards close to their chests and just putting out a little enquiry rather than going straight in with offers. A couple of years after I had a £250 offer from a Discogs PM, that’s the one that stands out.
Can you put a value on such a holy grail of pivotal 90’s drum and bass?
There have been some crazy prices paid for records in recent years, if a copy came up for auction with enough promotion to build a bit of extra hype… who knows? For me I never like to judge records by their financial value, once a record is in the collection it will just be judged on how good the tracks are.
This track was LTJ Bukem at its finest, how do you think it compares to his other releases?
I think it would have fit perfectly on the GLR label. If it had been released in 1994 it would of held classic status along side his other tracks from the time.
There’s not too many artists that have a catalogue of unreleased tracks that match up to the quality of their releases.
What are your most wanted unreleased tracks from that era?
There’s just so many, I have three listed here that are still unknown from various LTJ Bukem sets, very possible that ‘Equinox’ & ‘Club Dreamscape’ tracks are by Bukem himself (or early PFM – Club Dreamscape?) the Yaman 13 clip has been around a long time and so far no information on it has surfaced. At one stage it was said to be by Danny Breaks but he confirmed it wasn’t him.
One of my other most wanted is DJ Krust “Metamorphosisms” from around April 1993.
Can you think of another drum and bass record that’s rarer than Atmospherical Jubilancy?
Difficult to think of something else that is as well know but also with such a wide ‘got / need’ ratio. There’s so many obscure white labels out there selling for big money but if you wait your time and have the cash to spend you have a chance of getting a copy.
The B Side is a track by Calibre that has since been released on his Shelflife 4 compilation, knowing the history of Atmospherical Jubilancy do you think it will ever come out in some shape or form?
If Good Looking make a comeback then its possible, I’m not up to date on the history of the labels last few years but appears 2014 was the last release from them. If they came back for a couple of Ltd Edition style releases you could imagine this tune being one of them.
Do you think you’ll ever sell it!?
Haha! No! Cant see it ever happening!!
DJ Extreme runs hardscore.com and you can check two of his mixes containing Atmospherical Jubilancy here:
During the early to mid nineties Blame released an impressive collection of genre defining singles on Moving Shadow that ranged from big room anthems to groundbreaking experimental excursions into techno influenced drum and bass. In 1991 he launched onto the scene with “Music Takes You”, an instant classic with its euphoric chords, in your face beats and Seal vocal samples. In the years that followed he adopted a more pioneering approach to production, still learning his craft yet fuelled with a creative desire to push boundaries he went on to record groundbreaking titles like “Essence” with long time friend Justice and “Transitions” with fellow Moving Shadow artist and graphic designer Deep Blue. It’s no small feat that Goldie heralds “Essence” as the greatest Moving Shadow release of all time.
We caught up with Blame to discuss this period and the years that followed at GLR and beyond.
It seems to be a common theme that people from a design or art background end up producing music, how did you make that transition?
I’ve always seen a lot of similarities between design and making music. Placing sounds in the right place, leaving space where it’s needed, having taste for style. Having contrast between colours or sounds. It was a really natural transition for me having that design background. It just felt right.
Tell us about that first time in the studio with Justice….
That day blew my mind. I realised you could go into a studio and come out with a record a few hours later! That was a dream for me. I started saving my money up and booking the studio whenever I could after that first day. We loaded up our favourite drum samples like apache, our favourite hip hop vocal snippets and it all just came together. We made a track called Death Row that day which was released on Chill Records.
Tony (Justice) told me about those Tuesday night studio sessions, what was that like for you?
They were amazing times, but quite frustrating in certain ways for me. I used to have ideas in my head that I couldn’t get out because I wasn’t skilled enough musically. It took me years of practice and persistence to be able to get what was in my head out onto tape.
How do you feel about those early productions? Any you still like??
I like them all for what they represent, they are all steps in the musical journey! Sometimes when I listen back I can’t even remember making certain songs, it’s like I’m listening to music someone else made, and then I realise it’s one of my tracks. That’s quite a mad experience!
In another interview Windmill told me about the first time he heard Music Takes You played at the Camden Palais. Were you there? How did that make you feel..?
I don’t know if I was there that night, but that is where I heard it first too! It blew my mind seeing all the hands in the air when my track came on. It was probably the most incredible experience I have ever had hearing one of my tracks out live. The other amazing experience you get is when you hear your songs coming out of the radio!
Were you surprised by its success?
Yeah definitely. But I knew it had the magic because I was the lucky guy to hear it first in the studio! That’s the real magic about making music for me, when you’re lucky enough to stumble upon an incredible idea, you’re the first person to get those goosebumps!
How did you hook up with Moving Shadow?
Well I’d been seeing this weird black and white logo of a man dancing whenever I watched DJ’s play in the local clubs. I went to the record shop… found the record… wrote down the number on the label… called up for the address… sent the tape… and the rest is history!
What did your studio consist of during your time with Moving Shadow?
I didn’t have a studio. I used to hire one that had an Atari ST computer, Cubase software, a Soundcraft mixing desk, a Juno 106 synth and a Casio sampler… that’s it!
How old were you around that time? One thing that strikes me is everyone was so young but coming out with these amazing experiments of sound. How did it feel?
I was 17 at the time, at college and loving the new music that was growing in the UK. It was exciting. They were groundbreaking times.
The scene around that time was wild and anarchic in terms of parties and music production, what freedoms did you have creatively?
Well there was an ‘anything goes’ approach to making music. If you liked pianos then throw them in there, if you liked reggae then get that in there. If you liked pianos and reggae then throw them both in there! You brought whatever influences you loved to this new emerging sound and it all worked.
I always felt your sound had an intergalactic sound, especially with the launch of 720 much later, what message were you trying to deliver and what influenced you?
I don’t think I was trying to deliver a message as such, I’ve always made what feels right to me at the time. I think I really became inspired with futuristic sounds and it just seemed to click musically in the studio. It also connected on the dance floors which was great to see.
Personally 1994 was a momentous year for me in drum and bass and your work with Justice on the Moving Shadow releases still remain some of my favourites today. Tell us the story behind those EP’s….
For me I seem to remember It was a really simple process back then; call up Justice. Book a studio. Listen to whatever samples we both had and make some music! We were always trying to be new and exciting but we didn’t overthink it too much. Maybe that’s why they had that freeness about them.
Those EP’s with Justice had such a distinctive sound that no-one else was really doing at the time. Techno was at the forefront of your style and it seemed the BPM was often slower. The way you made such full songs with so few elements was always an inspiration for me, they had character with each part having its own place and sitting perfectly with the next and perfect arrangements. You followed this up with Neptune which featured two complete contrasts in sound. Tell us about that… where was your head at then?
Same thing really, it was all about just making what felt right. I remember I wanted Neptune to be great for Fabio to play at the Speed nights and planet Neptune to be great for the Metalheadz nights. I’ve always liked listening to and making contrasting styles of music, and this 12″ was all about that.
There was another landmark release on Moving Shadow, your collaboration with Deep Blue. Your styles merged perfectly, how did that track happen?
We all used to go to the Speed club together on a Thursday night to hear Fabio, and Deep Blue and I decided to make Fridays a time to make some music we wanted to hear the next week. It was good fun and a great combination of styles. Deep Blue was a monster with the drum programming.
Tell us what it was like at Speed…
It was probably the most important drum and bass club night for me. On the first couple of nights there were only a handful of people propping up the bar, and they were all artists! You would have Photek, Goldie, Wax Doctor, Deep Blue, Doc Scott and everyone else from that era just hanging about checking out the freshest new tracks. It was a magical time in music history for me.
After your time with Moving Shadow you released one of the most iconic pieces of sci-fi and techno inspired drum and bass, Visions of Mars/Centuries on Good Looking Records. Can you tell us about this early time with Good Looking Records?
My musicality was all starting to click at that point. Meaning that I could create exactly what was in my head. This was exciting for me and that’s when I made Visions of Mars, it really cemented that sci-fi influence.
Your time with GLR was very prolific with multiple mix CD’s, your own nights, releases, the launch of 720 Records and Into The Void but ultimately it all turned sour. Looking back several years later how do you see that time and how do you feel about it now?
I don’t feel great about it to be honest. There was a lot of stress and bullshit that had nothing to do with the music. I’ve closed that chapter in my life.
The years following Good Looking your drum and bass production style changed quite a bit and set your career off on a new path. Was this a rejection of the years before or a natural progression of your sound taking in fresh inspiration?
Good question. It wasn’t a deliberate rejection, but that sound had a lot of bad memories tied up into it for me, so I think I was naturally guided into new sounds. Also all of my favourite music growing up was vocal based, and I came to a point where I wanted to write songs and emulate my heroes. Once I started working with singers I realised that being a ‘record producer’ in the traditional sense was my true calling. Discovering new singers, creating music to fit their voice, working with them to get the best delivery in the vocal booth. All this just feels like what I have been put on this planet to do!
Completely understand that, it’s a shame though that other stuff got in the way of the music. It seemed as it got more popular the mechanics behind the scene got more complex and took away the vibrancy and excitement. To me, the music represented hope for the future which like a lot of things ultimately got ruined by politics. What about the much sought after Visions of Alpha 7, will it ever be released?
No, I don’t own the rights so it’s not up to me.
Same with Neptune VIP?
Same thing with the rights I think. Anyway, I believe it’s nice to keep some tracks remembered in that mystical never came out way!
I do find it unfortunate though that great pieces of music and fragments of the history of drum and bass’s development will never be available for the people that are and still are so passionate about the scene twenty plus years later. Do you think you will ever return to that style of production? I think if anything the world is more in need of hope than it ever was before!
I will always draw on influences from the old days, but I like to look at making music a bit like turning a page in a book so I always keep moving forward on to the next sound.
What does the future hold for Blame?
I’m currently producing hip hop in the USA which is a great experience. I’m developing some new artists for labels so nothing finalised yet mate. Watch this space…
Kid Drama – Brutal D (Metalheads)
Excellent 12″ from Kid Drama on Headz. Reminds me of Dillinja, Optical and D Bridge all rolled into one. 12″ of the year for me so far. 2814 – Rain Temple (Dream Catalogue)
Love this LP. Almost like an alternative Blade Runner soundtrack. Deep, dark, uplifting and inspirational. DJ Trace – Coffee (Lucky Spin)
One of many classic tracks from Lucky Spin. This one is a personal favourite, when the stabs come in I get instant hairs on end. Shogun – Nautalis (Renegade Recordings)
Another classic that I have been playing a lot in my sets. This has everything for me, dark and light emotion and excellent use of the amen break. Virginia – Fierce For The Night (Ostgut Ton)
Great album from Virginia, sounds like a modern take on Inner City. Engineered by Steffi and Martyn this one. Empty Set – Recur (Rasta Notton)
This album is hard and brutal, needs to be listened to loud and on a good system. Djinn – Dark Reference EP (Foundation X)
Djinn Smashed it with this EP, Nine Grounds will tear up any dance floor! UB40 – One In Ten (Grooverider Remix)
One one one one!!! What a tune this is. When Rider and Optical where making killer remixes for a range of high profile artists in the 90s. Ragu & Stalker – Love Comes N Go’s (Vinyl Addiction)
Bought this recently after having it in my want list for ages. Killer jungle 12″ engineered by Dillinja at Deadly Studios! Orca – Intalect (Lucky Spin)
Amazing tune from Orca AKA Decoder. Always building this tunes big pads and rolling amens take you on a journey.
Chris Inperspective (Inperspective Records)
Bass:is – Hurt You (Dub)
Chris Inperspective – Knocked Up (Dub)
Antidote – State Response [Riot Mix] (Dub)
Phuture-T – Boom Town Jazz (Dub)
Profane – Drughmada (Dub)
Fanu – Spooks (Dub)
Chris Inperspective – Four Yeses (Dub)
Profane – Laundromat Bees (Dub)
Seba – No One Dies (Dub)
Nic Tvg – Its Fine Until Its Not (Dub)
Silent Dust (none60)
Silent Dust – Myths (Dub)
Oliver Yorke – The Gift (Dub)
The Corpus – Cult X [Sinistarr Remix] (none60)
Wagz – Exile (none60)
Silent Dust Featuring Zilla Rocca – November (Dub)
Ethos – Reality (none60)
Transient – Scripture (Lossless Music)
Dissident & Marginal – Supreme Adobe (Kos.Mos.Music)
Dexta & Crypticz – Together [Danny Scrilla Reflop] (Diffrent Music)
Conduct – Out of The Blue (Blu Mar Ten Music)
DJ Junk (Junk Hardcore)
Disco Biscuits – Disco Biscuits (Echo)
K.A.O.S. – I Can’t Stop (Atmosphere Records)
Major Problems – The Rush (Nu Groove Records)
Open Mind – Body Force (Dance Wax Recordings)
One Tribe – Get Hype (Dance Wax Recordings)
Mental Mayhem – Joey’s Riot (Atmosphere Records)
A.Z.T. – Choice Of A New Generation (Azuli Records)
The Black Dog – Virtual (Black Dog Productions)
78th Street Project – Base Line Dimension (Sue Records Inc)
Jeanette Thomas & Rhythm Controll – Dub Your Body (RL Records)