Valentine’s Day, for all our cynicism, feels like the perfect day to acknowledge our favourite records inspired by love, sex and romance. To rescue you from the saccharine, hackneyed ballads that will no doubt be filling the airwaves today, we’ve put together a playlist of 30 loved-up club tracks to soundtrack this most polarising of days. Love it or hate it, this should provide the ideal Valentine’s Day backdrop and, hey, you might even find the perfect cut to send to your crush, if you can’t quite find the words.
Few artists submerge you in darkness in quite the same way as Christoph De Babalon. With engulfing ambience, depth-charge bass drones and hyperventilating breakcore and jungle beats, the Hamburg-raised, Berlin-based producer has, for over two decades now, etched an unmistakable sonic persona onto an increasingly greyscale planet.
Christoph de Babalon isn’t interested in being a spokesman for doom. He apologises more than once when conversation steers toward his dour mythology. He laughs off the idea that his music is anything more than a necessary personal pursuit, and he certainly doesn’t think the world had to hit this particularly low tide to properly appreciate the 15-minute drone dirge of ‘Opium’ or the convulsive percussion of ‘My Confession’.
Few DJs represent the spirit of UK dance music like Jack Adams does. A lifelong student of hardcore, drum & bass and grime, he is utterly devoted to the culture, obsessive in his eagerness for discovery, and passionate in his want to share his knowledge with others.
Over the past decade, he’s had it all, lost it, and rebuilt himself in such a way that he’s now more confident, more creatively minded, and more comfortable with his art than ever.
“The John Peel show is what I used to listen to when I was young, ’cause it just used to baffle me. Hearing fucking black metal, then a techno track, then a drum & bass track, then some Motown. It made no sense, but perfect sense”
In the end, Jack put a stop to the series, as it had begun to take over his life. While not planned, each show took a solid two days of prep, and having gone head-to-head with some of the world’s best DJs, figuring out how to top those names was proving difficult. Radio has always been a huge part of Jack’s life, though, and he’s certainly not disappeared from the airwaves, now hosting a monthly show on NTS instead. The back-to-backs are something he’d like to revisit, he says, but on a less regular (and less stressful) basis.
Grime quickly became a new obsession, with Jack going to see crews like Roll Deep and Ruff Sqwad perform in Brighton, before following the sound to its roots in London around 2008. There, he got involved with MC and producer Jammer, of Boy Better Know fame. “I learnt how to make grime in Jammer’s basement, so I don’t think it can get more grime than that,” Jack says. “I had a very good grime education, directly from Jammer, and working with Trim and Badness and all the people like that. I feel very lucky that I was able to learn from the source.
“I’ve always liked collaboration, I love the collision of ideas,” says Jack. “I like the fact that you do something which is the sum of two people’s parts, it’s not one person, it’s not the other.” He also admits to getting bored when left alone in the studio for too long, and being liable to “piss around with something for fucking ages and not get anything done” — an issue most can relate to.
Drum & bass DJs such as Randall and Andy C and many others have been paying tribute to stalwart DJ/producer Spirit, who has died following a cardiac arrest.
Feeding quality dancefloor tracks into the scene for over 20 years, Spirit - real name Duncan Busto — began his music career working in the Redeye Records shop in Ipswich in the East of England. This somewhat unlikely hub also spawned Photek, Klute and Paul Arnold’s Certificate 18 Records, and it was with Klute that Spirit made his first track.
If there’s one holy grail for any producer looking to make their own stamp in any genre, it’s this: to sound unique. Ridiculously easy (and pretty obvious) to say, painfully hard (and pretty frustrating) to achieve. But it seems 22-year-old west country d&b flexer Liam Ralph has definitely found his own solution to approaching this age- old conundrum.
Pendulum have dropped their debut remix album, ‘The Reworks’.
After years of silence, the five-piece announced the album back in February.
Last month, Skrillex teased his remix of 'The Island Pt. 1', which features on the album.
DJ Seinfeld, Moby and Knife Party are among the other acts who reworked Pendulum tracks for the release.
"I didn't really want to do it. Why on earth would I want to hook up with two kids?" laughs Gove Kidao. One half of the UK beat phenomenon Ivy Lab previously answering to the name Sabre, he sits in front of a mixing desk alongside Ivy Lab partner J Fogel, or Stray as he's sometimes known. Taking a moment to consider what may never have been, they both lean back in their studio chairs and pause. DJ Mag soaks up the scenario; it's late Friday afternoon, we're in Ivy Lab's lab the mood is mellow, comtemplative, unhurried.
"We like unsettling people, but doing it in a way that’s kinetic"
This Wednesday 28th March d&b’s rising star will be launching his debut album ‘Colours in Sound’ as part of DJ Mag at Work.
The Shogun Audio label showcase will also feature sets from Memtrix, Document One and Koven. The free event, which will also be streaming via DJ Mag’s YouTube channel. The party is being held in Work Bar, Angel, London and is very limited capacity so sign up for guest list quickly here.