The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Aides-Memoires: Ben UFO Selects 13 Favourite Records
Rory Gibb , December 4th, 2013 05:35

Ahead of Hessle Audio's three-room takeover of Fabric this Friday, the DJ and Hessle Audio co-founder rifles through his record collection and discusses thirteen particular favourites with Rory Gibb


Alaska/Paradox - 'Rare Earth'/'I Get A Kick Back'

This just arrived in the post today. It's an old drum & bass 12" on a label called Offshore. It's one of many old Paradox records, but it's one of my favourites. I never got it at the time, but this stuff isn't particularly fashionable now, so it's easier to get hold of than it was. One side's by Paradox, and one side is by Alaska, which is his alias that tended to be associated with his more tuneful, melodic tracks. The drums are all sourced from one particular drum break, 'Get Ready' by Rare Earth, which the tune is named after.

I'd like to chat about this one, I think, because it's not the sort of record that many people would include in any top 10 drum & bass records lists, but it was hugely important to me. I started listening to drum & bass through hearing Bailey's show on 1Xtra, and he played a real variety of stuff. I was 16 - it would have been 2001/2002 - and he’d be playing new techstep stuff, and harder stuff on labels like Renegade Hardware, but he also really heavily represented music like this. Not necessarily this track, but drum focused, breakbeat-oriented records. Paradox was a real figurehead for that music.

Did this particular style have a name?

It did, it had a terrible one, people would talk about 'edits' or 'choppage' - chopping up breakbeats and reassembling them. I think it was often used as a slur actually. I don't think anyone was really into the name, but I remember trying to defend it on the basis that we just needed a way to talk about it that recognised how different the music was to the dominant sounds in drum & bass at the time. It had a little scene which was mainly focused around a night called Technicality, which was run by a guy called Chris who ran a label called Inperspective. That label was putting out stuff by people like Breakage, Equinox and Fracture & Neptune. That was really what got me excited about the music - the fact that there was something more than the music there, that there was a club night to go down to and something to get involved with. I'm still in touch with a few people I met down there – some are making really great music.

Paradox is doing what he's always done, but he was always quite an esoteric figure - one of his labels is actually called Esoteric. But a lot of the other people involved have gone in other directions, the scene kind of fizzled out a bit. I think a lot of the things that happen to particularly inward looking scenes happened here, and it just seemed to kind of implode. But I loved it for a long time.