Outcaste :: New Breed UK
So back in 1998 as a DJ at Ministry of Sound, I only had a copy of Anokha,, Sitar Funk and my dad's old records to mix up with the standard Drum 'n Bass fare I was spinning. CD mixing was only just hitting clubs but not popular, so dub plating your own stuff was the only (very expensive) option. And then out of no where New Breed UK dropped and I was ecstatic. I couldn't actually afford a copy so I nicked mine on vinyl (don't ask me how!). But I compensated when I bought the CD for my friend's birthdays that year.
It still remains one of my favourite albums to this day. Ges-E and Mo Magic had appeared before on the first Swaraj compilation in 1997 and Niraj Chag had appeared on Outcaste Too Untouchable, but this was the first time they were showcased properly. The three artist's approaches are different but all carry the same theme. Ges-E and Usman are on a tabla fused Drum n Bass angle (which has continued in Ges-E's latest project Nasha - Eastern Drum n Breaks). Uber-producer Niraj Chag takes the layered classical approach which still sends shivers down the spine (a difference to the more commercial stuff he does with Dum Dum Project). Mo-Magic takes the sampler overdrive route, with a definite old school jungle feel.
The album kicks off on a down tempo vibe, almost like an opening prayer, and then moves on to the favourite track, "Flute Song." Now I don't mean to get all gushy on this but this track is wicked. A complete badboy of a track. After that monster of a tune, it's no real surprise that "Funksta" lacks punch. The cheesy sitar samples don't help but the tune still grooves (somewhat). Onto Niraj's slice of layered beauty "Sanatan," coming off like a younger Brit-Cheb-i-Sabbah. Then onto another personal favourite "Redemption." The choral drop is simply breathtaking. After Niraj's offerings Ges-E and Usman continue the beauty with "Field of Dreams" which grows into a beast of a tabla tune. Mo-Magic drops a nice funky Rhodes-fuelled Drum n Bass track, with the pressure being kept up by "Talking Tablas." The album finishes in fine style with" Feelings" and "Ye Zameen." There are simply too many great tracks on this album so I've picked just 2 as the ethnotechno 'picks.' Just buy this album, you won't regret it.
Nerm is host of BBC's Electro East bringing the noise to Londontown.
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