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Opposites: Gratts

Opposites: Gratts

With Opposites, we show a different - opposite - side of Belgian artists as they let us in their personal bubble and showcase five of their favorite tracks, completely opposite of what they’re known for.

“Few people know this, but when I started buying records and DJing in the magical year 1999, I was heavily into drum'n'bass and jungle. Fifteen years of age, you could mostly find me blowing my money at local store JJ Records in my hometown Leuven. Drum’n’bass DJ Wontime, one of Belgium’s most known DJs in the genre, worked behind the counter. I read magazines like Belgium’s Plastiks or Muzik mag from the UK religiously, especially the drum‘n’bass review section. Often great cd samplers came with the mags.

When I heard my very first drum‘n'bass record, it had a massive impact on me. I’m guessing it was Ryme Tyme’s aptly titled We Enter (Into The Future), Optical’s remix."

"The contrast between the fast paced drums and the immense basslines, I’d never heard anything so fresh, futuristic and energetic before. By 2000, when Bad Company released its colossal ‘Inside The Machine’ album (5 x 12inch!), if my parents wouldn’t have told me off, I’d probably still be the proud owner of a )EIB( tattoo today.

So, when Elektropedia asked me to compile a few tracks for this Opposites series, I knew I had to look back to my first high school romance with drum‘n'bass for inspiration. And while I wouldn't actually call drum'n'bass the opposite to house music - in fact, I believe all of these genres are closely linked; only read up on how people like Fabio organically moved away from fast 4/4 fare into breakbeats in the early years, or discover how producers like Photek, A Guy Called Gerald, Marcus Intalex / Trevino have been prolific producers in both sides of the spectrum - this is still a nice opportunity to list some old favorites. It was really, really hard to narrow it down to five picks, but here goes.”

Aphrodite - Cross Channel

For some odd reason, I remember Aphrodite never being taken very seriously by the serious “junglist massive”. And d&b could be very serious indeed. Which is what ultimately lead me discover sunnier and lighter music territory after the genre in the early 2000s, when all that neurofunk and, yup, "darkstep" got very, very dark. This Aphrodite album was one of the first things that drew me into drum‘n'bass. It’s simple, fun jump-up stuff that proved to be an excellent introduction. ‘Cross Channel’ has the most amazing bassline, and the whole self titled Aphrodite album still makes me smile today.

Ed Rush & Optical -  Watermelon

I could have easily listed ten other tracks by Ed Rush & Optical, or from their cohorts Matrix (Optical’s brother) or Bad Company, who were all very prolific at the turn of the new millennium. Bad Company delivered the aforementioned ‘Inside The Machine’ LP, which has a few choice cuts. Then there’s their underground smashes ‘The Nine’ or ‘China Pulse’. Matrix released his album ‘Sleepwalk’ on Ed Rush & Optical’s Virus label. And the duo themselves kept a steady pace of releases coming. But to be honest: not all of their output from that era has aged quite as well. That’s why I’m going for ‘Watermelon’: with its dreamy synth line, it’s not all dark and roaring. This one still sounds fresh today.

Solid State - Just a Vision (Marcus Intalex and ST Files Remix)

“Is it love or purely fantasy? Are you just a vision?”

This is a classic vocal tune released on Renegade Recordings. While vocals always have been a part of drum‘n'bass (often sampled), it was acts like Breakbeat Era and later Kosheen who would see the appeal of original vocals. The latter would later divide the scene with their massive crossover hit “Hide You”. Admittedly, when the girls from my class started singing that one on the bus at the time, it did feel like something had gone terribly wrong in the world.

Peshay - Switch

Peshay, alongside LTJ Bukem, High Contrast, Solid State and others, was one of the purveyors of what the English press coined ‘liquid funk’: a lighter, jazzier and more melodic take on the genre. ‘Switch’, with its clever sampling and tempo changes, is one of the early examples of this style and proved to be the perfect opener for Paul Pesce’s album ‘Miles From Home’, setting the jazzy tone that characterises the whole LP.

Wots My Code - Dubplate (Total Science Remix)

Oxford duo Jason Greenhalgh and Paul Smith aka Total Science unleashed this beast of a track. Think relentless jungle drums, ragga vibes and one of the catchiest and most used samples in the breakdown: “I tell the dj what to play, ya see. Play back that tape...."