My Top 5 Reissues of 2014
How or where do you put the legacy of a record label like Suburban Base into it's proper perspective?
I started buying records by Suburban Base in the early nineties. The hardcore scene was in full swing and this record label produced quality music which also embraced an urban aesthetic. The hardcore scene eventually fractured into different sub-genres, and for a while Suburban Base was at the cutting edge of the fledgling jungle, and later drum n bass scene. The tracklisting of this Suburban Base compilation is a map how the music progressed and mutated within such a relatively small amount of time, and where Suburban Base was at the forefront of this movement. What I liked about Sub Base was that whenever I would get to see and hear their new releases there would be an original version, that was later accompanied by an excellent remix. The vinyl was packaged with a creative record sleeves designs that reflected the urban-graffiti hip hop origins of the label. There are some absolute classic tracks amongst the Suburban Base discography that has come to define the scene over a relatively small amount of time.
The jungle and drum n bass scene has continuously evolved, and eventually other record labels emerged that featured artists and deejays who developed their own ideas and took the scene into new directions. Dan Donnelly, the owner of Suburban Base rightly or wrongly decided to embrace the dark garage scene at the expense of drum n bass, and Sub Base itself went the way of many other labels that got left behind in the wake of an ever changing UK drum n bass scene.
There are some classic tracks in this compilation. If I had to pick a few of my own favourites, I'd choose Sonz Of A Loop Da Loop Era, with the evergreen breakbeat classic, Far Out. DJ Hype's dark tinged, A Shot in The Dark and The Chopper. The caustic breaks of Flammable by Johnny Jungle, and possibly one of the watershed tracks in the history of Suburban Base, the Origin Unknown remix of The Dark Stranger, originally by Boogie Times Tribe. But there are many more tunes in this compilation that highlight the contribution that Suburban Base has made to a uniquely British urban dance music scene.
- Om Unit Remix
- Re-Mastered Original Mix
- The Passage
- Mind Changes
- Vessels In Distress
I first bought this EP back in 1992. Back in the day it was released on Network Records and was called 'The True Techno EP' which I took as a slight by Juan Atkins, the godfather of techno on all the pretenders using the name 'techno' as a brand to sell a mish mash of various contemporary music offerings. My favourite track was The Passage.
I've been waiting patiently for quite a few years for this track to be reissued. So imagine my delight when I discovered that The Passage was going to be remastered and reissued in all of it's sumptuous glory on Apollo in September of 2014.
1. Boards of Canada: Hi Scores EP (Skam Records)
- Hi Scores
- Turquoise Hexagon Sun
- June 9th
- Seeya Later
- Everything You Do Is A Balloon
Back in 1998 the album, Music Has The Right To Children was released by Warp Records, in conjunction with Skam. What unsuspecting fans may not have know at the time was that Boards of Canada had a huge back catalogue of previous material. One such item was the Hi Scores EP, that was originally released in 1996 on Skam. It was announced in 2014 that the Hi Scores EP was going to be remastered and reissued in October, much to the delight of fans like myself. What I liked about Boards of Canada was their ability to create music with hip hop breaks and heavy basslines, but which were contrasted with electronic music that was subtle and melodic. Possibly the greatest example of Boards of Canada's design and execution is the seminal Everything You Do Is A Balloon, which is over 7 minutes worth of bass driven surreal bliss.