11) DEEP DISH - THE DREAM (1994)
In many ways I really think that I went to university at possibly the best time for house music. In the week I could be going to see someone like Masters at Work or Todd Terry on a Wednesday night, then my weekends were divided between Cream (Liverpool) and Shindig (Newcastle). My tastes in house music were swaying more towards the us sound championed by the likes of Roger Sanchez, Junior Vasquez and Danny Tenaglia, and lablels like Tribal. This track was my favorite by emerging talents, Deep Dish, was before they hit it big. Lush and atmospheric house music.
12) SIZE 9 - I AM READY (1995)
Now by 1995 I had managed to blag myself a residency at Newcastle Uni's (and arguably at that point, Newcastle's biggest and best house night, 'Arcane'. A 3000 capacity all building, end of term event which started in 1992 and still takes place to this day. (I would play drum and bass at Arcane over the next few years - see below). The day I finished my exams also happened to be the same day as Arcane, so I was more than up for it.
Ironically, that night was the CREAM tour at Arcane- lol.
I played alongside Paul Bleasedale, as well as Digit, Efx and Rasoul from San Fransisco. Size 9 by Josh Wink had just come out and was my ultimate record of 1995 - it got 2 spins from me that night. Check the ridicuolus breakdown - Josh Wink was on fire at this time - 'Dont Laugh', 'Higher State of Consciousness'- the boy could do no wrong.
13) ALEX REECE - PULP FICTION (1995)
Its strange how I fell into drum and bass. I had come back from uni, got a few djing gigs in bars playing house and/or hip hop. Someone played me this at 33rpm (?) saying that it was a 'jungle' record on this new shit hot label called Metalheadz, and that a lot of djs were playing it at 33rpm. This was actually true - but when I played it at its proper speed something clicked inside me - the beats were crisp, the snare was tight, and what the hell was going on with that bassline?! A few more trips to buy up anything on Metalheadz and a few other labels and drum and bass had me.
The sub bass on this track has to be heard on a decent system - its barely audible here!
14) PHOTEK - THE WATER WARGIN (1996)
By 1996 I was well and truly obsessed by drum and bass. I hooked up with Brendan Collins, who had just had his first record signed as 'Futurebound', and I would buy basically every drum and bass record on the shelf worth having at the shop he worked in, Unity Records on Bold St, Liverpool. I then started what was Liverpool's first ever regular drum and bass club, called 'Brake', in the autumn of 1996 at The Mardi Gras in Liverpool on a Sunday night 7pm-12am. Guests included Kemistry and Storm, Peshay and Doc Scott.
Photek was the ultimate in drum and bass at this time - scientific, precise beats. Water Margin was one of many bombs.
15) HIDDEN AGENDA - DISPATCH TWO (1997)
In 1997 I revisited Arcane in Newcastle and played in the drum and bass room with the other residents, Hidden Agenda. These boys were freakin awesome - and Geordies to boot. This is a relationship that would continue for the next few years. Any of their releases on Metalheadz are classics. Here is just one .......
16) DAFT PUNK - BURNIN (1997)
In amongst all this drum and bass, there was no way anyone could ignore the impact Daft Punk had. An album out of nowhere in the shape of Homework. No need to explain - this is my favourite track, and it soundtracked my last visits to Cream before it went downhill for a while (in my opinion).
17) PESHAY - MILES FROM HOME (1998)
Peshay was the absolute fucking daddy as far as I was concerned. By now, I was pretty much an established name locally in drum and bass, and even got a couple of bookings on the Metalheadz Label tour outside Liverpool, as well slots opening for Coldcut, Tricky etc. I was resident at Chrome between 1997 - 2000, arguably Liverpool's greatest ever drum and bass club. I played jazzier than the other residents, and this track was one of the reasons why. How could you not play this?
(Also check DJ Krust's - Warhead from around this time, and anything else on V Recordings)
Click here to listen (embedding disabled on this one)
18) KOSHEEN - HIDE U (1999)
Decoder was one of the darkest drum and bass talents out there. So I was was surprised when he made this. He played this at the end of his set at Chrome one night and I was in awe on first listen. A great hook, and almost a chant. It was no surprise, although a little disappointing, that it got remixed and reworked to death to the point were most dint even know that it was originally a drum and bass record! Fare play to him though - it was his breakthrough record and got him into the top ten, even through a dodgy 'prog house' version :)
19) MARCUS INTALEX AND ST FILES - HOW YOU MAKE ME FEEL (2000)
By 2000, the politics and bullshit in drum and bass in Liverpool left me completely disillusioned with the scene. Chrome ended amidst a flurry on in-fighting and eventual low attendances, and I had had enough. My drum and bass purchases slowed to a crawl, and I lost interest.
This record however, is one of my favourites! The best 'rolling' drum and bass track ever as far as I am concerened - from top bloke Marcus Intalex straight out of Manchester, Uk.
20) LOOSE ENDS - HANGING ON A STRING (1985)
I had djed 'eclectic' sets in bars and clubs since 1992, but it wasnt until 1999/2000 that it became my main focus, with my moving away from drum and bass and clubs, and into the vip set. I played at baby blue in Liverpool, as well as many other places, and could basically get away with anything.
I was finding myself discovering records I had missed, or was too young for, first time around. Loose Ends was a staple of these sets.
21) RICK JAMES - MARY JANE (1978)
Another example of the kind of track I was playing around 2000/2001. My favourite djs then were Rae and Christian, Aim (and the rest of the Fat City crew) and Gilles Peterson, and I think that was reflected big time on the dancefloor.
22) STEINSKI - LESSON 2 (1983)
Another big influence on my djing style was Liverpool dj, and ex-Cream resident, Robin Jackson. Robin played all night at Mello Mello every Friday, and I can safely say that I went nearly every week for two years! This was one of his staples (along with Carly Simon - Why) , and it quickly became one of mine.
23) MJ COLE - SINCERE (2000)
Speeed Garage was massive in UK between 1999-2001 but most of it was totally crap. MJ Cole was the exception and this track is pure gold. It may even be my favourite of all time. Great bassline, velvet vocals - awesome.
24) GWEN MCRAE - FUNKY SENSATION (MAW REMIX) (2002)
The original was great, but MAW turned this track into a dancefloor with that intro. Cheryl Lynn (Encore/To Be Real) also deserves a mention here.
25) JAMIE LIDELL - MULTIPLY (2005)
And one from more recent times. Jamie Lidell is the bomb, of that there is no question. And this cover is a work of genius. He even makes it sound cool with Jools Holland on piano here :)
26) MAXWELL - ASCENSION (1996)
During 2000 through to June 2008, I played rnb every week as well as house (as a resident for Cream). Rnb gets a bad press, and quite deservedly so most of the time so, but it is also the most creative and forward thinking genre as well. Timbaland, The Neptunes, Kanye West, Dr Dre - they are all super producers in my mind.
At Vibin in Liverpool, Id like to think we played something different from the mainstream, and we enjoyed a great 6 years doing it. A little more soulful - this was the ultimate Vibin anthem.