Waaaay back in May, I did the online mp3 “release” of Grievous Angel Vs Niney The Observer: Blood and Fire (Twist-Up Dub Mix). The idea was to produce some banging jungle to bounce about to in the summer nights, and more especially to worship at the shrine of Niney. I’d wanted to do a jungle version of this tune for years: it’s something of an icon for me and John Eden (as no doubt it is for most reggae fans). It was a labour of love as these mash-up tracks always are — though not a po-faced one. My Grievous Angel persona is, well, stooooopid but fun.
Anyway, here we are on July 23rd — traditionally the day when the Dog Days start, when Sirius rises, as pre-celebrated with the last breakbeat mix — and I get a call from a somewhat excited John Eden. Leafing through his freshly delivered copy of the August edition of the Wire — which is as we all know virtually the house magazine of this parish, among the other bloggers at least — he finds, on the Steve Barker’s Dub review page, a surprising entry.
For there, in all its newsprint finery, was — indeed is — a whole, quivering, pulsating paragraph of text dedicated to this very track! And it’s, like, a GOOD REVIEW!!! There I am, sandwiched between reviews of Mikey Dread’s “African Anthem” album — which is personally significant, since it was largely Dread’s inspiration of and production of The Clash which originally brought me to that dark spiritual contentment which is reggae — and King Tubby’s “In Fine Style”, whose influence on me is as great as for any white boy dub fan. Great company!
And of course the review is by Steve Barker, On-U associate, famous for his “On The Wire” radio show, and by virtue of his involvement with Sherwood, a figure of huge significance to me, On-U being the very touchstone of my music. Needless to say I’ve always regarded his judgement as impeccable, so to get a thumbs-up from him leaves me positively luminous with pride.
Other signifiers of import on the page include reviews of DJ Spooky, who IIRC did a cracking version of Throbbing Gristle’s “Persuasion” on that old Trance Europe Express CD-book compilation, and of Manasseh’s new LP. I don’t know if he’s involved in this release, but I’ve met Nick Manasseh and his sound played at my mate Dan’s “leaving Brixton and moving to Hackney” party. He’s a nice man. I helped load the system back into the van in the morning.
Pleasingly Barker gets the way I tried to feed the momentum of the late arrivals of post-Ardkore continuum (Garage etc.) back into the jungle blueprint. Better, he describes the result as “a frenetic shower of shots to Babylon’s head”. DJ Aphasic would be proud of me! Listening back to the track now, I’m pleased that it captures the stop-start urgency of Niney’s original while giving it a good solid slug of bass malevolence.
How Barker obtained the track I don’t know. I do zero promotion of these things other than writing them up on this blog and telling a couple of online forums. But just to know that he’d heard the track would have been a buzz. To know he liked it enough to review it in The Wire leaves me positively vibrating with happiness. All my adult life I’ve read record reviews and wondered what it would feel like to read one of my own music in the national press. Now I know and all I can say is it fucking rocks. Thanks Steve!
You can buy the original track here and lots of other places. Respect the originator.
Meanwhile, here’s the “More Fire Remix” which I knocked out a couple of months back. Seems a good time to get it out there!