This is the first installment of the blog’s new series “Tracks I Wish I’d Written”.
Every track that will be presented in the series has been hand-picked from my personal record collection and has had a profound impact on my musical taste. Featuring a variety of tracks across the electronic music spectrum, emphasizing mainly on drum and bass, from undisputed classics to underrated gems – all tracks I wish I’d written, as the title of the series clearly states.
The inaugural issue of the series is a track by Rupert Parkes; one of the most influential, prolific and iconic figures of drum and bass and electronic music in general. Rupert Parkes, widely recognizable by his primary recording alias Photek, is an artist, who has inspired a whole generation of producers, has been always ahead of the music trends, leaving an indelible print on the underground music map. Parkes’ biography, discography and contribution to electronic music have been unanimously acknowledged, appraised and well-documented and are beyond the purpose of this feature.
The Sentinel is one of Parkes’ countless recording guises and was adopted for his sublime trilogy for Basement Records. Toulépleu is the third and last release of the series for Basement and its title was inspired by the eponymous Ivory Coast town.
Toulépleu (with Dig Deeper on the flipside) was released in 1996, a year before Parkes emerged with his debut, paradigm-shifting album Modus Operandi on Virgin’s subsidiary Science. Toulépleu is a sublime example of Parkes’ production wizardry; intricate drum programming, glacial and spacey synth washes, beautiful and melancholic piano chords over mesmerizing, ethereal vocals. Vocalist and songwriter Susan Brice, better known by her stage name CoCo, was commissioned to contribute the stunning vocal snippets to the track. The sleeve artwork is designed by the acclaimed graphic designer Jon Black.
In 2007, Basement Records introduced a retrospective 6-part, double vinyl series entitled “The Masters Series: Canvas 1-6“, with classics from the label’s back catalogue. Toulépleu was included in the last installment of the series.
Visit the blog’s “Tracks I Wish I Had Written” series archive here.