So back in 1995 I started hearing what I would later find out was ‘atmospheric drum & bass’, on the one decent radio show we had down here (Underground Show, Friday nights on WVUM). At the time I couldn’t tell the difference between Carl Cox and Photek, but within a few weeks I started to catch on and it culminated with the purchase of Logical Progression, and soon after any other LTJ associated stuff I could find. Eventually I started to delve more into the harder and darker side of atmospheric stuff with Photek and the like. Then on a roadtrip in 1998 I was fortunate enough to stumble upon No U-Turn’s Torque (2xcd). Now quite frankly I don’t want to compare the two head to head, but Torque and Logical Progression are easily the most influential DnB cds ever. Torque blew me the fuck away, it was drum n bass meets my metal tendencies of pre-electronica days. The 2nd CD Ed Rush mix is easily one of the greatest DnB mixes ever. This cd showed me a whole different side of DnB that wasn’t jazzy, cheesy, or loungey. Instead it was forbodaing, in your face, dark, and grimey. From then on I gravitated more and more towards the dark and heavy stuff. Eventually moving into the heaviest shit at the time, stuff like Panacea, Twisted Anger, and my favorite DnB artist of all time Dom & Roland. I shunned most of the new jump-up and more pop sounding DnB crap that was coming out, even going so far as being quoted in a 200something issue of Xlr8r as saying “Dom & Roland is the only one doing anything interesting in DnB anymore.” or something like that.
Flash forward a few years, spring 2007, my good friend Rob/Multilink sends me a link to a mix by Marcus Intalex (runs the label Soul:r) from his Red Bull Music Academy radio show called Soulution radio. I loved it. It captured that early atmospheric sound, contemporized it, and even included nods and elements from the darker and harder stuff that I couldn’t get away from. Since then I’ve tracked down all the radio shows, and for the most part they are my favorite thing I’ve heard in the genre in years. Not all of them are slam dunks, but the quality control is top notch, not overtly promotional. He just plays shit he likes, if its on his label, so be it, if not then he mans up to say he wishes it was (reminds me of myself). He does a get bit chatty on the mic sometimes, but its generally more quaint than annoying. So, you can either check out the stream versions of the mixes over at www.rbmaradio.com, but their site is kinda trapped in 2003, so I recommend you grab the pirated mp3 grabs of them over at breaksblog.biz. Either way if you’re into contemporary DnB at all, and had any appreciation for the early 90′s stuff, you should definitely check these things out. Some highlights include: Dec. 05 & June/July 06 versions (pre-RBMA status), Vol. 3 (Clarendon into Rufige Kru, so perfect), the guest mix from Seba in Volume 4 (amazingly dark and awesome for someone I previously thought was weak), Volume 6 (first one I heard), Volume 9 (good variety of stuff), Volume 11 (lots of good new stuff). p.s. haven’t felt the last two shows that much, but deff grab Vol. 11.