“… drawing a fine line between the sublime and the ordinary, the initial presentation criteria have been the aesthetic quality of the imagery, the nature of its production, the relationship to the music on the record and obviously my personal attachment …”
Drum & Bass Record Sleeves
Something completely different for the last post of 2016; instead of the music per se, the next installment of the blog’s ‘Count To Ten’ series is dedicated to artwork design, an essential aspect of the physical product. The size and tactile experience of the record sleeve is one of the reasons why vinyl records remain the most enjoyable way to listen to music. The recent vinyl resurgence has rekindled the art of the record layout. Whether it’s hand-made or mass-produced, meticulously arranged or spontaneously created, the cover artwork adds a literal dimension to the music that a digital thumbnail simply cannot replicate.
“A passion for music that gradually escalated over time into a controlled obsession”
It has been three years since this blog went online, although its conception goes further back, so I eventually decided it’s about time I shared some thoughts about how it all started, as well as provide a retrospective account of the events that influenced the blog’s thematic basis. At the end of the feature, there is a quick walk-through the blog’s various categories/series and a brief background story behind each one of them.
The seventh installment of the “Whatever happened to …?” series is dedicated to Foul Play; a pioneering, genre-defining and innovative electronic music act, heralding the transition from hardcore breakbeat to jungle/drum and bass. Being active almost throughout the 90s (the band’s synthesis changed twice during its activity, due to unforeseen circumstances) constantly re-inventing themselves, with dexterous, second-to-none programming and sample manipulation, their illustrious productions have marked indelibly the UK underground music map.
Undoubtedly one of the leading lights in the Drum & Bass scene, Nookie (aka Cloud 9, Freddy Fudpukker, Main Attraction, Private Productions, Second Vision, Traces Of Guilt and Windy Milla) is London Herts dj, producer, artist and remixer Gavin Cheung.
Nookie is a true veteran of the drum & bass scene, whilst at the same time one of its most forward thinking protagonists. With dozens of releases on key labels such as Reinforced, Moving Shadow, Labello Blanco, Penny Black, Good Looking and his own Strictly Digital and Phuzion, almost a hundred remixes and five albums under his belt, Nookie has been one of the most prolific drum and bass producers keeping a perfect balance between quality and quantity.
An early fan of hip-hop and electro, Gavin Cheung was a member of a break-dance crew that also recorded several sessions during the mid-’80s. After studying for several years, he began working in a record store around the time of the acid-house explosion of the late ’80s. Debuting on wax with a ragga/hip-hop remix of Ninjaman’s “Zig It Up” in 1990, Cheung was a proper player in Britain’s growing hardcore techno scene of the early ’90s. Continue reading
Looking Good Records
Looking Good Records (referred to as LGR onwards) was launched in 1995 as a sub-label of Good Looking Records. LGR has released to the time of writing 52 singles, 5 retrospective compilations under the title “Looking Back” containing tracks previously released as singles, as well as an unmixed 9-track compilation entitled “Visions” – available only in cd format – with contributions from various artists of the Good Looking Organisation roster. Focusing mainly on the atmospheric, mellower side of the drum and bass spectrum, the label has presented countless classics by some of the greatest artists in the scene including the likes of LTJ Bukem himself, Photek under his Aquarius moniker, Seba, PFM, Blu Mar Ten, ASC, Jason Greenhalgh of Total Science under the Hieroglyphix and Q Project aliases, a collaboration of Blame and Nookie under the New Balance moniker, The Invisible Man, Makoto, Artemis and Future Engineers to name a few. Many of the LGR releases have been also included in the various installments of the Progression Session series. Continue reading