DJ DB Presents
The Higher Education Drum n’ Bass Session
Ever since its inception, UK drum n’ bass heads have kind of viewed the American d n’ b scene as its inexperienced, “wannabe” little brother, always trying to keep up with the big boys, but eventually falling short. As of late, though, thanks to some amazing and innovative domestic crews (California’s Phunkatek, NY’s sadly defunct Jungle Sky imprint, and even Florida’s own Stateside Collective/Force Recordings), US jungle has been getting more of the respect it deserves, to some extent, although it still isn’t considered an equal. These condescending attitudes towards domestic drum n’ bass have really fueled a fire, and set a perfect backdrop for the inception of this album, which truly bridges the gap.
The Higher Education Drum n’ Bass series is mixed by NYC resident and Breakbeat Science co-owner DB, a British DJ who came to the States ten years ago to push the drum n’ bass sound. With a couple of exceptions, all eighteen of the tracks found on this disc are produced by US talent, but are remixed by UK artists – thereby appealing to both sides of the pond. The disc opens on a mellowed out note with “Memories” by Kazmir, with vocals by Carol C, but soon moves into more dangerous territory with Pieter K’s “Pendulum,” the Origin Unknown remix of Amar’s “Red Sky,” and Karl K’s “Synapse.” Rob and Dom’s remix of Control Freq’s remix of “Satellite” is absolutely wicked – bringing things to a funky level, before coming down hard with a very memorable bassline, while Trade Secrets give’s Eric B and Rakim’s classic “I Know You Got Soul” a flanged out, hyperspeed drum n’ bass workout. Acen’s “Black Dawn” is a mind-blowing, hardcore jungle track with frantic drum programming and dark, blasting synth stabs, while “The Message” by Phunkatek’s Abstract blends an old-school amen break with more techstep style sounds. The album ends with the classic afro-funk song “Tough at the Top” by the E-Z Rollers, bringing things to a nice, if not abrupt, closure.
Although this disc does get a bit monotonous at times, as most of the tracks on here are techstep, which seems to have become very redundant lately, there are some really great tracks on here (and a couple of utter failures – see Grooverider’s remix of Soul Coughing’s “Rolling” and Optical’s remix of Static-X’s “Love Dump”), and DB’s mixing skills are on point and mainly as usual. This is a great addition to any hardcore junglist’s collection.
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