In this month’s issue of Dazed, we ran a short piece on Zomby, the ‘morbid dubstepper raising rave from the grave’ with his spankingly brilliant rewiring of rave on his “Where Were U in 92?” LP, out on Werk Discs. The label’s head honcho is Darren Cunningham – a man so underground that even his own friends doubt his existence, and so militant that one of his abstract techno 12”s once declared sovereignty, we’ve nevertheless known him since he was kicking around south London with baby dreads and a naff DJ pseudonym. As such, we leant on him to provide us with an exclusive-to-Dazed-Digital super-cheery festive Zomby ‘Where Were U in 92?’ retro-‘ardcore MP3 mixtape that should make cooking the turkey that bit more fun than usual. Click here to download the mix or stream it from below.
“This year, Werk’s 2008 winter/autumn collection delivered four equally impressive and stylistically diverse albums, each of which stand as defining releases in their respective genres,” he proclaimed, with disarming modesty. “OK, so Disrupt’s CD was a summer reissue, but what’s a little bent truth among friends when ‘Foundation Bit’ almost single-handedly created the dub-drenched 8-bit sound? In the latter part of the year, Zomby’s release hogged the headlines, while ‘Hazyville’ by Actress set new standards in techno abstraction. ‘Foma’, the second album from blunted beat constructor Lukid, finally arrived in all its deeply textured glory in late December.” So, with all that in mind, pour yourself a small sherry, warm up a mince pie, and enjoy.
Due to incessant reader requests for a tracklist, and after much persuasion, Zomby, Darren and SBlair finally emerge from a bedroom full of smoke to provide you with their personal commentary for Zomby's "Where Were U in 92" mixtape – enjoy. Or as Robbie Dee puts it, 'Are you still fucking mental out there yet?'
I never heard these tracks in a rave – I didn’t reach my first rave until 1993 – these were tunes that I first heard on the tapes being passed around at the time either recorded in raves or mixed by the older kids in my school who were ahead of the game – ahead of us anyway. A few of the tracks I came to later as I dug around in second hand shops. No point even starting to list the tunes that aren’t on here…
Ridiculous that this tune isn’t played in full – but the mix is only made up of tracks that I have on vinyl and I missed this one so was grabbed from youtube as it had to be on there one way or another, BODYSNATCH – EUPHONY, AKA ‘Just 4 U London’. If ever London needs its own anthem look no further – makes me ache with pride – but you don’t hear that vocal here, or the beat, just this sound from the intro.
Over that you have Robbie Dee mc’ing at a Fantazia rave in ’92. Used to sit around smoking weed at an Olympic level, twisting our half-formed, adolescent minds listening to tapes like this. It always made you feel like you had come into the scene too late. And moments of mc’ing could become biblical.
Then straight into MANIX – SPECIAL REQUEST. First bought the record for ‘Feel Real Good’, but this track is the killer for me and I wanted to avoid the whole piano thing and keep the mix darker and tougher but still with that rave sound to connect it to the Zomby album.
Out of that into STRUCTURAL DAMAGE – REALLY LIVING which was on a Fantazia tape we used to listen to. The sounds of those stabs do something strange to me – fuck, I’m back in Duffy’s bedroom!
Again, I bought 2 BAD MICE – 2 BAD MICE (REMIX) for its more famous a-side ‘Bombscare’ but it was a toss up between this and ‘Waremouse’ for pride of place on the mix. For some reason this won.
CODE 071 – A LONDON SUMTIN is another track to get the cockney pride rising, and has to be one of my favourites on here even though I came to it late during a Reinforced crate digging session. Incredible.
Could have chosen almost any of Goldie’s early releases, but went for RUFIGE KRU – MENACE. How many ideas are there in this tune? When I first started listening to this stuff Goldie was a complete mystery, almost a myth, the guy that made ‘Terminator’ which was the tune that really opened me up to hardcore.
He features again on 4HERO – THE ELEMENTS (FIRE AND WATER REMIX), credited alongside Marc Mac and Dego. Came to this tune late too – my giddy teenage mind wasn’t ready for this shit.
Next up, time to get the rave started, DMS – VENGENCE, produced by Acen, another hardcore legend who helped really define the sound. Good times.
CRIMINAL MINDS – BAPTISED BY DUB made perfect sense to my stoned 15 year-old mind with its reggae flavoured build up and jump into frenetic e’d up mayhem. I’m getting sentimental now.
Time to take it back down with 4HERO – STUDENTS OF THE FUTURE (THE 4TH DIMENSION 4HERO REMIX), though I’m now wondering if it’s the (NOSTRADAMUS: REVELATION RUGIGE KRU REMIX), the picture disc is confusing. Either way it’s bad.
After the pirate radio clip ¬we drop into STUDIO 2 – DIRTY GAMES, the ultimate floppy bass monster. What the fuck is this music?
JOHNNY JUNGLE – FLAMMABLE is from ’93. Hardcore? Jungle? Somewhere in between I guess.
Then a clip of MC GQ – ‘look at the crowd’ from a World Dance rave I was at, and a snippet from a Kaotic Chemistry track ‘Space Cakes’ which would have been on here if I could have found the record in my collection, and then into INTA WARRIORS – YOUR LOVE IS YOURS, produced by Grooverider.
Back to Robbie Dee pushing the boundaries of the English language with his ‘Are you still fucking mental out there yet?’ question. Then into DUB II – BADMAN (TUFFNESS MIX). It doesn’t get much more hardcore than this track. Brash, incessant, relentless and contributed to a generation of English kids talking in patois.
Last up is DJ TRACE – LOST ENTITY, another from ’93, just felt like putting on a heavy Amen tune.
And that is that. Too many tunes that aren’t on here. Too many tunes I don’t have, or lost over the years. Here’s a select few:
Fuck it… I’m going to bed.
Zomby - Where Were U in 92? Mixtape