Friday, March 04, 2011

form and function


if anyone is reading this and you were a fan of electronic music in the 90's then you should probably listen to Benji b's show on radio 1 this week.

well, you should probably listen to benji b's show every week, but this week especially.

its a retrospective of photek, the legendary drum n bass soldier from the even more legendary Metalheadz crew. the first hour is all his old classics from the heyday of cut up drums and gut rattling low ends.

listen to it for nostalgia or listen to it for the tunes or listen to it because your interested in what the good stuff sounded like when the good stuff was being played and made.

i never got too into drum n bass, i was a house music fan, but that doesnt mean i couldnt appreciate a good tune. and photek made nothing but good tunes in those days. he would chop up his drums in the most clever way, being simultaneously spare while still filling every void. he used other worldy sounds that seemed to be beaming into your head from a distant galaxy where they had more colors than us and the air was always clean.

i remember i saw him at the justice league in san francisco when that club was the center of the universe and he played a set that tore off everyones ears. i left that night and the next day went to a record store and bought about five photek singles and a photek album. they all delivered and i still have them on my shelf.

but the thing to do in drum n bass was to play dubplates before they ever got released. it was very serious business. you couldnt be a drum n bass dj and just be playing the tunes that came out that week. they were already old. the crowd took this very seriously. i always wondered if this practice helped be the downfall of the genre. how can you ever be a good d n b dj without being able to just buy the tunes first. how could you ever be cool enough?

these days photek lives in los angeles instead of london and he makes house and dubstep instead of drum n bass. i dont follow him much anymore but hes still revered by electronic music standards. maybe ill check out some of his new stuff. maybe it will still move me, have me sitting in front of the speakers asking how did he do that?

check out benji b

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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.