Roni Size & Reprazent Heroes marked a bit of a mini-watershed for me. I lucked into this one in August ’97 as a review copy and I really liked it, I do still. This was a remix 12″ featuring two mixes by Kruder & Dorfmeister, who I knew were to be trusted, a mix by someone/thing called Kitachi and a live instrumental mix by Roni Size himself. Now I owned a few drum and bass 12″s and I know I liked those beats when they were carefully mixed in with jazz trappings* and I loved the whole Bristol scene with Massive Attack, Portishead and Goldie, so when I heard there was another Bristolian beat guru emerging called Roni Size I sat up and took notice.
Beginning with a ‘Riders on the Storm’ style, umm, storm an achingly cool gentle bassline walks us through the whole song, the beats are really laid back and cleverly placed just so in the mix, so that when the vocals slink into view the overall effect is that of sitting in an impossibly cool jazz club, nursing a single drink and watching an impeccably cool torch singer, but knowing you’ll have to go back outside into the rainy night sometime soon. Or is that just me? I’ve added it below, so tell me if I’m too far off beam. And that’s just the first mix, the ‘Kruder Powercut Version’ no less. It is brilliant by the way.
The ‘Kruder Bossa’ version is more percussive and less atmospheric and the ‘Kitachi Remix’ starts off sweet but sees to end up with a Japanese monster movie Godzilla stomping all over the skyline and battling killer robots after about a minute and a half. The instrumental live mix commits the cardinal sin of being a bit boring, so we’ll gloss over that one.
Now I always kept one eye on the music press, always looking for the Next Great Thing and I took note again when Roni Size & Reprazent started to be lauded from pillar to post, winning various awards in the process and thought I’d invest in the LP, especially when I liked Heroes a lot. I never did get around to it partly for financial reasons at the time and also because when I actually looked at it the LP this was from, New Forms, had been released in a bewildering variety of versions for an LP – two CD versions as well as 4LP and a 5LP versions! When you actually looked at the different vinyl versions they were totally different – if I wanted it I ran the risk of needing 9LPs; which is too much of even a really good thing.
Basta! I shouted my defiance to the sky, possibly even shaking a fist at it too and started to realize, there and then, that I probably wouldn’t be able to collect everything, ever, that was musically good. I was 25 at the time and I’m really not sure why this only hit me then and also who/what I was trying to assemble a perfect record collection for – the 1537 Institute maybe? to leave to my kids/a grateful nation? who knows. I do distinctly remember thinking those thoughts and then wondering if I had, in that precise moment, just grown up.
. Jazz Trappings.
The above includes some other Kruder & Dorfmeister mixes – if you have time, they really are worth a listen too.
*have just immediately decided to adopt the name, Jazz Trappings for evermore!