“The most important thing about any version of ‘I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun’ is the fact that it’s a great, incredible song at the heart. The energy of Charles Stepney’s arrangement will inspire anyone who does a version of that song” – Marc Mac
Reinforced Records celebrate their 30th anniversary this year; a remarkable feat for an independent label, which has always been at the forefront of new and ground-breaking developments. Charter Road, Dollis Hill has been a melting pot for UK’s most innovative underground music: home to 4hero’s famous attic, FSOL’s ‘Earthbeat Studio’ was in the same building and even Suede, before reaching stardom, used to rehearse downstairs (as Goldie vaguely recalls in his memoirs). The list of collaborators and/or producers who were mentored and kick-started their recording career with Reinforced is impressive and quite long: Goldie, Doc Scott, Kemistry, Storm, Grooverider, Photek, Roni Size, Krust, Die, Randall, J Majik, Peshay to name a few.
4hero came to prominence in the late 80s. Embracing the dynamics of populist rave culture, they spearheaded the transition from breakbeat/hardcore to drum & bass via their own label Reinforced and maintained an avant-garde status as innovative and experimental producers. The label’s ethos and vision reaches well beyond the musical sphere. A community with strong allusions to their cultural roots and a creative hub, Reinforced has garnered praise across the electronic music spectrum, as well as a dedicated fan base.
In the words of co-founder Marc Mac: “Reinforced Records will always be known for their experimental ground-breaking and pioneering style of Jungle/DnB pushing the whole scene to be more creative”.
It would be at least naïve to try and capture 4hero’s musical contribution and legacy in a single post. Instead, I will attempt a closer view into one of their finest musical moments. Words like classic, timeless, iconic or legendary, once reserved to laud people and exceptional gravitas, conveyed far more merit and accomplishment than they do these days. I’d style argue though that this edition of the series is a track which encapsulates all those terms in a literal sense; a cross-genre remix staple if ever there was one.
Continue reading “Tracks I Wish I’d Written (issue #21): Nuyorican Soul feat. Jocelyn Brown – I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun (4hero Remix)”