#Back of the stack, catching up with artists in the scene every few weeks and reminiscing on some of their favourite tracks from back in the day. No real rules, just sharing some musical knowledge and reflecting on the past….
After a lengthy hiatus, Back of the Stack returns! This edition plays host to a certified legend of the Drum & Bass scene in DJ Ink, who’s dark, dirty beats have been reverberating through London’s club scene since the late 90’s. If you can think of an iconic London club night, Ink has probably had a residency there; Metalheadz at Bule Note, Hardware at The End and Speed at Mars Bar were all on the list of dancefloors being torn up by Giles on a regular basis.
To this day, Ink remains a prominent and active member of the DnB scene, with a plethora of new music on the horizon. However, ahead of the upcoming re-release of a selection of Ink’s all time biggest productions, we asked him to delve deep into his musical database to draw for a few of his favourite tracks from back in the day.
Altitude (Basement Records):
A track made by ‘The Architex’ in ’97, saw great support from the likes of LTJ Bukem, Fabio and Kemistry & Storm. Originally released on landmark dance music label Basement Records, Altitude has been held in critical acclaim from its original release date until its recent vinyl and digital remaster. A lush and jazzy classic from the early era of ‘liquid’ dnb music.
Altitude was one of the first tracks we actually used a sample directly from a jazz source. The Architex have been renowned for creating all of their musical aspects from scratch, so my journey to the record shop to dig in the crates, was actually the first time I had done this in the history of The Architex music production. After shopping in the Soho area of London for most of the day, I finally found the sample that would take Altitude to another level. Those with their ear close to the ground will know what I’m talking about, as we use a vocal snippet of an infamous jazz artist within the middle breakdown of our track.
One of a four-piece EP on the infamous Metalheadz imprint, Shine appears on Loxy & Ink’s seminal work entitled ‘Twisted Third Mind’ EP. The track explores one of DJ Ink’s favourite breaks and pays homage to the likes of Clyde Stubblefield and James Brown, while keeping the razor’s edge approach to drum’n’bass, which we have all been accustomed to from Metalheadz. Held in high regard in the history of Headz sound, Shine merges light and heavy elements to produce a dancefloor classic which has been favoured by the champions of the scene.
Shine was one of the last tracks we completed for our Twisted Third Mind EP on Metalheadz. I thought it was necessary to pay tribute to the label owner, Goldie, himself and visualised him cruising on a sunny day, listening to what he considers to be ‘ruffage’ (Goldie’s concept for dnb and Metalheadz’s mission statement).
Need You (Renegade Hardware):
Need You was written at a time when Renegade Hardware (RH) was exactly what it said on the can; dark, heavy, rebellious and down-right dutty! It stood out amongst a myriad of EP’s as it focused heavily on a vocal which was not readily used on the RH imprint. Dylan & Ink combined forces to produce one of the scene’s most uplifting and iconic sounds to date. Still heavily supported after 20 years from the likes of Andy C, Grooverider & Fabio, to Voltage and Harriet Jaxxon.
Need You focused on the merging of vocals with hardcore drum’n’bass in a time that ‘heavy everything’ was all the rage. I wanted to capture a vibe that would sit well with both men and women, in a time when many women had left our scene. Big up Dylan for his constant electric vibes!
Ice Age (Renegade Hardware):
The LP that this track appeared on is still regarded as one of RH’s finest LP’s to date and will go down in history for housing such tracks as Messiah (Konflict). Ink’s offering on this project explored the dark and minimal sound which is inherent in all of drum’n’bass. DJ Ink’s love for breaks and b-boyism is showcased within this track via tight precise beats, atmospheric mysterious soundscapes and heavy afro/dub influenced bass. A favourite with the likes of Gremlinz and Loxy, Ice Age still represents with its grit, rawness and no-nonsense approach to dnb. The whole concept being that it would give the listener the feeling of returning to the ice age.
Like Water (Architecture):
In more recent times the name Ink has been associated with heavy dance floor smashers emanating from the Hardware era, however Ink found it highly appropriate to reignite his love for jazzy melodic sounds and gives fans a taste of the music he produced in his earlier career as ‘The Architex.’ Like Water touches upon the smooth sound that made Ink a favourite with the likes Good Lookin’ records and Basement records. Meditating over lush textures, Jody Lulati’s vocal completes a colourful spectrum of sound readily identified on Architecture recordings.