Whenever I used to visit Dom, I used to look forward to three things. A good catch up and hearing what he and the others had been up to in the studio. A cup of tea with soya milk and perhaps an imitation piece of “bacon”. The bag of swag I would leave with. At the start this consisted of cassette tapes featuring new productions and mixes but would later progress to white labels, full release records, CD’s, CDR’s and cast off promos that were either replaced with full artwork copies or Dom didn’t like that much in the first place.
I recently rediscovered one of those original cassette tapes containing demos from 1996-97. Dominic and Jaimie emailed me their thoughts on these previously lost recordings. They are presented here raw and uncut just as I received them.
Dominic – I can instantly tell this is 1996 or maybe early 1997. So equipment and location wise we must have moved to my house at my mum and dad’s in the spare room from the time in Jaimie’s sister’s old little room just before. I think we moved it back and forth a few times so we would spend more time in the evenings on our own learning and tinkering. The next time it would move back to Jaimie’s mum’s bedroom when 4 Deep Connection – Twisted Future would be made. The next time it came back to mine would cause the split with Matty Leeson from the 3 of us to two of us as he felt he was being excluded. But I thought it was important to come to mine to keep momentum as Matty was wanting to learn engineering from scratch. Looking back that was selfish, but hey nothing I can do except say sorry about how that turned out. Static Imprints – Catch 20 had come out on Reinforced, and by now we were up to speed programming on the Akai S-950 with 2 1/4 meg memory and an Atari ST with Cubase. With the advance from Catch 20 I think we bought some basics like a mixing desk, a controller keyboard and a Yamaha DX21 but nothing flash. I don’t think we had a DAT so we would borrow that from the school Jaimie’s mum worked at. These tracks were intended as possible follow ups to Catch 20, but none of them caught Dego’s attention, a feeling of wasting so much time and energy I would get used to over time, but was obviously very crushing as I was 18/19.
Wow 46 minutes and just SIX tracks. Insane. Still, different times eh!
Track 1 “Tell Me Your Dreams”
Dominic – Why is it nearly 9 minutes long? There is enough idea for about 4 at the most. It’s component parts that are there are ok enough, the drums in particular are good, and the flute is only a tiny bit out of tune. I think this may have been made at mine with no or very little input from Jaimie. The two step revolution we had wanted from tunes like Deep Blue – Thursday or Justice – Acquisse with the Techno programmed 909 drums had not turned out exactly as we had hoped, but the Fabio ‘Jazz’ influence was obviously still prevelant, as was the Bukem floatyness, which is more expressed in the next track.
Jaimie – We were big into woodblocks for fleeting few weeks, but on reflection it had an annoying metronomic quality to it, which really grates after about 90 seconds. There is so little to this track of any real value, but it has quite a crisp sound to it. We were so focused on trying to crack the repetitive, slow builder, which has innate value purely from its simplicity, but not sure we succeeded on any fronts really.
Track 2 “Relax”
Dominic – Possibly the most complete of the demos on this side. The pads, drums, bass notes and are all quite original and well executed in my opinion. I feel it is probably the most co-operative of the tracks, finding parts Jaimie and I both find interesting. But it again goes on a bit, not realising that brevity could have saved most of these demos. So really our naivity was mainly in arrangement.
Jaimie – I agree that this is one of the more musical sounding and atmospheric of the tracks from this side, but could just have easily been a two minute contemplation. Has B-side demo written all over it!
Track 3 “Untitled”
Dominic – is my blatent J Majik/Source Direct/Digital on Metalheadz rip off. It’s decent enough if not lacking in sounds as was our most obvious pitfall at this time. If you think Jah Know Ya Big had already been made on an Akai S3200 or something, our sound and espcially filters were so old sounding, we couldn’t possibly hope to get a release again until we reinvested a bit in the studio. Strange breakdown and takes far long to come back in to a second drop that is a bit meh. Interesting idea with the Amen bark pitch bending. Love the way lots of these just end. I can hear a bit of Desired State – Goes around in here now…I was so blatent sometimes!
Jaimie – Nice creative amen chopping, triggering from some interesting places in the break. I actually quite like this, especially the middle section where the bass line and breaks follow each other rhythmically. Very thin, atonal synth sample. So much creative chopping and so many drops, but runs out of steam a bit towards the end.
Track 4 “Catch 20” (Alternative Version Or Remix)
Dominic – A definite Jaimie conga programming festivale. Love the filters on this…and the drop is so angry. Could it have been my input? I really don’t recall this mix. It’s very Alex Reece at the start, someone I hadn’t realised we copied so much, but obviously he was the main hope in this alternate Techno programming movement away from Amens etc. Another classic ending denoting it’s sketchiness.
Jaimie – This is totally new to me, don’t recall ever hearing this before! Definitely a Catch 20 remix, I suspect by Dom because I never really tinkered with filtering, but I may be wrong. So much of what goes on throughout this demo is like an A level art project; trying to say something profound, but never really sure quite what!
Track 5 “Untitled”
Dominic – Swirly pad and funky mule stabs. A long drawn out drop…the pad is doing the back and forth loop on the 950. The pad just before the drop and the bassline style make me think this is a Jaimie track I had input in, but fairly minimal. Wow it never drops! Ah there it is, wow what a marathon! But it’s a solid steppy groove, just again LONG!
Jaimie – Fairly sure that this was my brainchild. Lots of little key and synth snippets, cut out of bizarre garage/house records. A little bit steppy for my liking, but we were a product of our environment. Remember being quite proud of how I used Funky Mule as an accent here. Hands in the air breakdown has me all over it! Could have been quite good if it took on new purpose/direction after the breakdown, but instead it just continues in the same vein for a very long time. One drop too many! Not a bad effort. C+
Track 6 “Buddle Duddle Sax Appeal”
Dominic – I know Jaimie borrowed his now wife’s tape of Sting – Englishman In New York for that Sax sample. I wroted buddle duddle sax appeal on the disk as I remember being a bit dismisive of this track, but was actually a bit jealous of the musicallity as is seemed a step up from our earlier offerings. The drop acually has a great lift of energy and utilises the Reinforced kinf of triplet feel Dego liked at that time. I doubt he heard this track though as I don’t think it ever made it to DAT. I think it is probably the second best complete track on the tape. And a THIRD drop! Unprecedented to pull that off for us in those days. Definitely a Peshay on Basement/Headz feel.
Jaimie – I’m not sure whether this is brazen naivety or brazen stupidity, to try and re-engineer such a familiar sample? We (probably more I) were just desperate for sax breaks, so you took them where you could find them. I love the drop on this track and think it came from the same place as the drop on Bass Flip. A definite piece of teamwork in my opinion, has both our stamps all over it. Agree that this is quite a complete track and think this could easily have been released. Maybe Reinforced didn’t want a fight with Sting, although I imagine him to be quite a gentle soul and not really a fighting man… anyway I digress…
Next month we will feature Side B that features the original 1997 version of Golden Vampires, later recorded as Sonar’s Ghost featuring The Hungry Ghosts.