This month sees Rene LaVice and Future Cut release three heavyweight shredders on the mighty Metalheadz.
One of the most powerful D&B units to come out of the late 90s / early 2000s and go on to inflict the pop world with their jungle mentality and Radio1’s premiership drum & bass ambassador / top ranking Canadian bangersmith: No one saw these coming…
But we’re glad they’ve arrived. From the early-00s style deep rolling flavours and disgusting mid-way switch up of Eyes to the outrageous rolling juggernaut Deeandbee via the equally disarming and malevolent Nine Strings, the EP is a striking statement from all concerned: Future Cut have delivered on their promise to return to D&B with heavy artillery, Rene LaVice has blessed us with his deadliest tunes since Headlock and Metalheadz continue to remain one of the most uncompromising, forward-thinking, pure D&B labels in the genre.
For a reminder of just how uncompromising and forward-thinking Goldie’s label has always been, we asked Rene to give us just 10 of his favourite releases. No mean feat.
“I have a LOT of favourite Headz tunes,” he tells us. “So this list is just the ones on my mind today, maybe the list I give you tomorrow would be totally different. However, there’s a bit of a variety here, and you should get an idea of some of the elements that characterize my favourite aspects of the Metalheadz sound from these.”
With selections ranging from Hidden Agenda to Dillinja via remixes from the likes of TeeBee and Original Sin, Rene’s dug out some stone-cold examples of Headz sounds right here. Enjoy.
Rufige Kru – Angel (Teebee Remix) (2003)
“The original mix of Angel is absolute fire, but this is the mix when I feel amped up and want to tear everything to shreds. It’s masterfully produced, and those demonic stabs hit like a tonne of bricks. I love how agile and emotive this tune is, while at the same time possessing incredible brute force. The drum switch-up at 3:22 is a great example of this.”
D Kay & Lee – Tuning (Original Mix) (2005)
“The VIP of this tune is an ice-cold killer, but the original has a special place in my heart as well. This is the perfect soundtrack for rolling across the Gardener Expressway at midnight in Toronto as the city’s skyscrapers wrap around you in futuristic fashion. None of the midrange elements stand out too abrasively, even the lead riff is a tad settled back in the mix which lets the vibe, for lack of a better way to put it, feel intense but cool and mellow at the same time. Sort of like there’s chaos on all sides yet your ability to see in slow motion keeps you calm. There are a whole bunch of percussive layers for your ear to latch onto as the track progresses, and the transitions in and out of musical elements make it a near perfect cross between roller and melodic anthem.”
Commix – Talk To Frank (2007)
“Most good drum and bass tracks have a combination of a vibe or emotional element (the ‘oh this track makes me feel things’ element) combined with an incredible approach to how it was produced (the: ‘how the fuck did they do that?!’ element) This track blew my mind when it came out. It didn’t conform to any of the popular sub genres of D&B at the time and felt totally true to whatever hazy emotional futuristic vision it was expressing. The track always made me feel like I was being submerged in a sub sonic ocean of sound as subterranean life forms flow around me. I love it when music can conjure feelings of otherworldliness without doing it with direct references.IE: flying saucer sounds and generally being corny as fuck.”
Rufige Kru – Monkey Boy (Original Sin Remix) (2008)
“There’s something about this tune that releases dopamine in my brain ridiculously quickly. Maybe it’s the way the bassline doesn’t mess around and just wallops you with a nicely in tune chunk of buzzing sub bass, maybe it’s the shimmering filter sweeps on the drum fills, maybe it’s the wicked otherworldly sound design on the incidental sounds, or maybe all of the above. I love how it’s all weaving and crashing all over itself yet somehow totally works.”
Hidden Agenda – The Flute Tune (1995)
“If I ever need to relax and clear my head, this track is the perfect companion. The thing I love about this track is that many of the elements are very fluttery and whimsical, but that sub bass that comes in on the drop just sounds so gangster and cool. The groove is also really sick, there’s tonnes of space.”
Doc Scott – Blue Skies (1995)
Speaking of therapeutic sounds… Need I say more?
Source Direct – A Made Up Sound (1995)
“I haven’t seen this track talked about much. Along with The Flute Tune, Blue Skies and others like that, it’s one of the ones I discovered years and years after it was released. Mainly because I was so young and also because I dug up most of these records myself, not having older siblings or friends who knew about any of this stuff. Listening to this track for the first time gave me a deep feeling of inner nostalgia. But how could I have nostalgia for something I was hearing only for the first time? It was like looking through a window into a past that I never experienced and feeling heart wrenchingly attached to it. I used to lie on my floor and watch the sun rays move across the ceiling while I thought about it. Now when I listen to it, the memory of that experience comes back to me. A window within a window within something that was entirely made up by sound.”
Goldie – Inner City Life (1994)
“Ever notice how slow this track is? I didn’t for a long time. That’s the sign of a well-crafted groove. It’s so easy to sink into this song. The vocals are utterly incredible as well. Nothing else like it. Well… barring a few other tunes by Goldie.”
Dillinja – The Angels Fell (1995)
“Sheeeeesh. I’ve spent years lying in bed listening to this one as a teenager, and then had the pleasure of seeing the dancefloor completely erupt when this track was dropped at a club night in London years later. This track is a serious bar setter, up there with Metropolis when it comes to tracks that can be deep headphone listening material, but also completely bring down the house when pumped through a big soundsystem.”
S.P.Y – Till Dawn (2007)
“Yep, S.P.Y’s tunes were sick even way back in 2007. I love the chaotic energy in the drums, it’s got so much forward momentum. Producers don’t really make drums that sound like that anymore. Gritty, thumping and frenetic. It’s hypnotically energetic.”