i recently read a thread on djhistory regarding the nostalgia that swirls around good old physical media that covered the buoying and healthy dance music scene of the mid 1990s in the UK (and everywhere for that matter). some years ago for the purpose of finishing a M.A. thesis on techno music in the US, i purchased a good chunk of muzik and jockey slut mags from that era. I hoarded the first 34 issues of muzik and almost every jockey slut on ebay i came across.
now they are just shelved, but i read carefully the many single/album/compilation reviews and they are pure class. great journalistic writing that was both fun and educating to read.
both muzik and jockey slut are out of print and nowhere on the web to be found. since they are very hard to find i will be reproducing some of the best of pieces that shaped my taste in music almost twenty years ago.
if you are interested in anything that appeared in these two mags, and i have that particular issue, contact me and will do my best to scan it/picture it for you.
freezone 2 (variations on a chill) is one of my favorite compilation of ambient/downtempo music. i am trying hard to avoid the terms ‘chill-out’ or ‘trip-hop’ that end up killing the genre itself. freezone was a gust of fresh air and a setting stone in the drug induced party fever of the mid 1990s. a compilation that you could well listen anywhere before or after the party. encompassing not only downtempo productions but also under the radar deep house and drum ‘n’ bass future classics.
it was full of unique tracks by unknown producers from around the world juxtaposed by others that were already earning its place on these underground magazines record charts.
compiled by dj morpheus, every instalment in these series was highly anticipated and desired until it died a slow death with number seven. by then, the ideas were well exhausted and dance music was under the control of the mega clubs, and major record labels.
i include a little taster here courtesy of the mighty bop, the french mob arising from the seminal yellow productions label which brought us up maestros like dimitri from paris, or at some point the ubiquitous (and annoying) bob sinclar. the mighty bop was always a slow french affair full of sensuality, superb samples and loads of electronic soul. all of it drenched with cinematic landscapes. good ole times.
va. freezone 2 – variations on a chill (crammed discs, 1995)
reviewed by Calvin Bush in Muzik (issue 1, june 1995)
placing ambient music under the microscope, freezone 2 uncovers a wider world of mutating microbes and chill-out chromosomes than anybody thought existed. fatheads who dimissed the very idea of ‘ambient’ confused sound with structure. it’s not about strung-out monotones and industrial drones. i mean, does anyone actually listen to all that isolationist stuff for pleasure?
no, the best home-listening tracks out there right now infuse the singular spirit of the ‘groove’ to truly move – ask ballistic brothers, solid doctor and nuron – and freezone 2 works because it’s one of the first compilations to recognise this. it even goes so far as to include the sublime deep house of abacus, spiritually divine jungle from ltj bukem and rupert, along with a top-heavy leaning on trip-hop and dope jazz-beat. there are also exclusive 4 hero and josh wink cuts. it’s a faultless selection and a perfect education, and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your sofa to receive it. top gear.
the mighty bop – freestyle linguistique (yellow productions, 1995)