• Bizzy B - Science EP Volumes III + IV

    Reviewed by drip*drop*drap

    <b> Bizzy B </b> - Science EP Volumes III + IV

    i suppose that part of the reason that drum 'n' bass abandoned the
    sampled breakbeat was that the junglists themselves were too programmed to
    constant progression. like the model for a drum 'n' bass dj set (each track
    stepping up a gear from the last, each drop surpassing the previous
    in dancefloor potency) or the competitive energy of a 'scene' (each track
    produced trying to be the one that all the others copy; cliche= 'going to
    the next level'. how many times have we heard that phrase and been faced
    with complete crap?) the emphasis is always on pioneering and taking the
    rest with you. Many of the biggest players in drum 'n' bass had been rare
    groove and early house dj's (fabio, grooverider, dj hype) and then been
    through breakbeat hardcore into jungle, and so when faced with where to go
    next chose the strand of jungle that had most response on dancefloors at the
    time, which, handily, took in techniques and themes of technological
    progression. the two step bosh even sounds like forward momentum hence the
    oft-used chase-scene analogy, and it's full and sometimes fetishistic use of
    the late nineties studio advances must have sounded so futuristic and
    visionary compared to the dusty antique breaks in use since the beginning of
    drum sampling. Listening to something like johnny l's 'piper' the snare
    sounds more like air escaping from a compression chamber or a pod door
    opening or any other sound effect you care to mention from a tacky
    sci-fi/action blockbuster, anything apart from a drum (johnny l carried on
    his progression into making UK garage with truesteppers it should be
    remembered). Breakbeats were too weighted down by funk and the original
    player's sense of groove, and so could never be as controllable as separate
    hits.

    But once the forward momentum of this beat had been established it became
    hard to supplant. Two-step is too infectious for it's own good, a mediocre
    standard stifling the flights of fancy and inspiration possible with the
    cut-up breakbeat. But their now remains a disparate underground of producers
    and fans with no connection to what jungle has become, who unlike the big
    d'n'b hitters of today, cannot resolve the music of now with that of ten
    years ago. Bizzy B is probably one such person, abandoned by jungle as an
    anacronism despite his obvious skill as an engineer. He avoids the
    kid-in-a-sweet-shop attitude to engineering on an advanced set-up,
    preferring to use his craft to distill the perfect essence of rave.
    the amen-break on this ep sounds unbelievably heavy. where on some jungle
    it's the bass drum that puntuates, fitting in edgeways around snare
    acrobatics, while the hazily defined bass rumbles along in your chest with
    little high end to get in the way of the snare and cymbal assualt, here the
    bass is the detonating epi-centre with the snares thrown off in every
    direction. 'Afraid of the dark' uses the mentasm synth as devastating
    three-octave bludgeon riff, with a 4/4 bass drum and screeching tyre
    sounds. The psychotic compulsion of gabba with natural body moving effect of
    jungle. This shares it's bass heavyness with current d'n'b, but it's so much
    more precise and directed than huge bassline over two-step bosh combination,
    bass and drums working as one unit rather than across each
    other. 'darkside' has a huge sub-bass rumble but begins with a beautiful
    tingly melodic wash intro; think the shimmering flourishes of the beginning
    of 'dred bass', it gradually lets the hardness disintigrate into wistful
    keyboard voices. my favourite, though is 'bad boy sound', bouncing rubbery
    bass, snares tripping over each other, but just managing to stay grooving
    and upright. all these tracks are so well structured, each drop expertly
    timed, and the changes from light to heavy seem logical rather than jarring.
    these are obviously elements that I've heard before, but not in such a
    perfect balance, never outstaying their welcome, working so well together.

    Maybe the most encouraging thing about this ep is that it's not an excercise
    in retro-ism, like soundmurderer or the remarc reissues (a recent remarc dj
    set was just a load of current d'n'b; why? what's the point? it won't bring
    you any current cred or please the old skool fans), or an IDM 'reimagining'
    of jungle like lots of other stuff on planet-mu (shitmat? venetian snares?
    please...), bizzy b sees this ep as the vanguard of a new jungle movement, a
    return to twisted, stretched, distorted drums deployed to move the massive
    rather than just be mad for madness' sake. He writes a manifesto on the back
    of this ep, saying how he spends '12 hours a day on the beats' and
    can see 'with today's technology we can rekindle the legendary sound of
    hardcore/jungle into a new wave of global beats'. this may sound far
    fetched, but with paradox, breakage and that recent offshore records
    compilation getting plaudits for their twisted beats there is some
    momentum growing. I for one would fucking love it if he was right.

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