“Intrigue came about from a desire to put on liquid funk nights in Bristol and showcase our sound. After a few years it developed into a record label, which was something I’d wanted to do since getting into production back in 2000.” – Ben Payne
The fifteenth installment of the blog’s “Count To Ten” series is dedicated to one of Bristol’s finest drum & bass outlets Intrigue Music. The brainchild of Ben Payne, Intrigue has been an integral part of the Bristol drum & bass landscape. Named after the successful eponymous club night in Bristol, which in turn was inspired by Fabio’s famous “Swerve” nights in London (hence Intrigue Music has been arguably considered as the natural successor of Creative Source), the label’s inaugural release saw the light of day in 2009, however its conception dates back to 2003. Continue reading
“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”
“… A haunting sci-fi lullaby that quickly escalates to the soundtrack of the worst nightmare…”
The Descent – Chapter II
“The Descent” is the discography debut of Pact Infernal, a new production outfit hidden behind a veil of anonymity and mystery. Inspired from and thematically based on the epitome of medieval literature “Divine Comedy”, written by the poet Dante Alighieri in the 14th century, the theme title (‘The Descent’) is an implicit reference to Dante’s allegoric narrative of his epic journey through the underworld, guided by the spirit of the eminent Roman poet Virgil.
Although it could qualify as a full studio album around the aforementioned theme, the release has been split into two chapters (EPs) and consists of nine tracks equivalent to the nine circles of hell, as described vividly in the “Inferno”, which is the first part of the “Divine Comedy” trilogy (the other two parts being ‘Purgatory’ and ‘Heaven’ respectively). The first chapter (Circles I to IV) was released to public and critical acclaim on April 2015, whereas the second and final chapter (Circles V to IX) is due on March 2016. Both chapters have been licensed to the exquisite outlet of experimental bass music Samurai Horo.
My friend Ricky Law @ Drumtrip UK, recorded a fine mix paying tribute to one of my all-time favourite artists Hidden Agenda, featuring a plethora of classics, as well as underrated gems like “Get Carter”, “Sirens” and “The Wall With Paintings” remixes.
Biography, discography highlights, reviews and all things Hidden Agenda are available in the blog’s archive here
You may read the original post on Drumtrip here
An older Q&A with Law, from the blog’s archives, is available here
“Ortem is a platform, which will be the home of fresh tracks, overseen by Metro. The emphasis will be stationed around drum and bass and electronic music delivered in all its innovative forms” – taken from the label’s inaugural press release
“A grid usually refers to two or more infinite sets of evenly-spaced parallel lines at particular angles to each other in a plane, or the intersections of such lines”
Metro is the primary recording alias of Scott London. I have been following his production output since day one; from his collaborative work with long-time friend and recording partner Justice for Modern Urban Jazz and its subsidiary Muj for downtempo, breaks and broken beats to his regular appearances on a wide array of affiliated record labels.
“… At Basement Records we also wanted the artists to sample as little as possible, to create pioneering and original material, hence the label title ‘Precious Material’. Some of the releases are produced in the studio and some are recorded live performances…”- Phil Wells reflects on the label’s ethos and purpose
After a long hiatus, the blog’s “Whatever happened to …?” series return with the 9th installment. This time into the limelight is Precious Material; one of the most exhilarating and pioneering drum & bass labels of the mid-90s. Though short-lived, Precious Material has been one of the finest outlets of experimental drum and bass, integrating elements from various musical genres into the drum & bass template, defying stereotypes, constraints and agendas.
Established by Phil Wells in 1994 as a Basement Records’ subsidiary, during a time when drum & bass was still in its infancy, the main driver had been to foster a creative environment for established, as well as up-and-coming artists, free from dance-floor reactions and limitations. Following the huge success of the parent label Basement Records during the early rave years and the jungle/drum & bass evolution, Phil’s aspiration and incentive had always been to spearhead a new musical direction and introduce drum & bass to wider audiences.
“… with desolate, even mournful piano notes, oscillating effortlessly between the robust and the fragile, ‘Another Silent World’ is a streamlined, almost cinematic take in a drum & bass context …”
Black Rain (album front cover)
The fifth installment of the blog’s “Tracks I Wish I’d Written” series is about an obscure track, produced in 2003 by one of my all-time favourite musicians/artists. At first glance, Black Rain might not ring any bells, as it was a cross-genre, one-off musical project, which was active in the first half of the new millennium, but regrettably stayed under the radar. Nonetheless, the members of Black Rain have been two of the most respected and celebrated drum & bass artists; Robert Haigh and Sean O’Keeffe, widely known by their primary recording aliases Omni Trio and Deep Blue respectively.
“We’re suddenly in a period when it’s de rigueur to buy records” – Alan Scholefield, Honest Jon’s Records, London
“… but those clerks are still there, still sneering at your bad choices, offering you an understated but supportive raise of the eyebrow for your good ones.” – Nick Hornby, writer
“There was always interesting music playing, but I was too timid to actually buy a record, you know, in case I bought the wrong record” – Damon Albarn, musician, singer-songwriter
Chapter 2: Record Stores
At different times in my life, I have daydreamt about owning a record store. These days however, running one seems like a first class ticket to financial disaster. Apart from the obvious incentives, including satisfaction of my vanity and intimidation of unsuspected customers (Jack Black’s portrayal of an erratic assistant in “High Fidelity” has brilliantly set the bar too high), I have very fond childhood memories from my casual visits with my dad to the local record stores in the late 80s. I still remember a particular owner slipping mix-tapes in the bag for my school parties (an early form of piracy I guess, but this is for another chapter). I was exposed at a very young age to various musical genres, which I regrettably snubbed or simply ignored, due to immaturity and stubbornness. Very late at the party, but after a long time I gradually started to appreciate and embrace various genres and styles.