If you like your dance music stripped back to a raw drum and bass beat, with a pretty vocal floating on top, then try this.
I reacquainted myself with this track last week, when I was writing about a brilliant compilation series of CDs in the 1990s called “The Rebirth of Cool”. There were seven volumes between 1991 and 1998. The underpinning philosophy was expressed in the sleeve notes of volume “Phive”:
We don’t know what to call this music. This isn’t Acid Jazz. This isn’t Trip Hop. This isn’t the Blues. And this isn’t Retro-rural Sixties-soul-tinged-guitar-heavy plot-recovered rock-revivalism either. Although all of the above are on here somewhere – hidden between the soundtrack music, the industrial noise, the post-rave beats and the pseudo easy-listening.
But try and find a label to define the music on this album as a whole and you’re lost. This is Clint Eastwood music. This is the Music with no name.
Underpinning the whole series was a sense of jazz, either in the sounds, or the philosophy. A philosophy of innovation and fusion.
By volume seven, in 1998, the jazz element – in the sounds – had faded. But it was still there in the attitude. “Chemical Imbalance” is pushing the boundaries. The drum and bass pioneers – DJ Die who remixed this track is one of them – were totally redefining dance music.
And the great thing about pop music is that everything gets absorbed. Drum and bass is now, in many respects, mainstream. To take one example, it’s incorporated in Tinie Tempah’s massive 2010 hit “Pass Out”.
Well, having mentioned it, here’s that song. Totally brilliant – not just the drum and bass, but the reggae dub and the cheeky lyrics. Love it.