While driving to work this morning I was listening to NPR and day-dreaming about some of my favorite atmospheric drum&bass tracks from yesteryear. Initially the list started at a top 5, but I couldn’t pair it down so I decided to make my a top 10 instead.
The list is purely subjective and my tastes may not fit with your personal preferences. Feel free to add your own top five in the comments.
Five Ten Atmospheric Tunes (in no particular order):
Fokus – On-Line
I first heard this on LTJ Bukem’s Mixmag Live! Vol. 3 CD from 1996. It was the opening tune and blew my damn mind with that bass line.
JMJ & Richie – Free La Funk (PFM Remix)
Another banger on the LTJ Mixmag CD. That haunting female vocal paired with the bass hitting before the amen kicks in is the stuff that my dreams are made of…
Adam F – Aromatherapy
I’d be willing to bet that most people have heard this track in more than a few mixes from the mid to late 90s, and had no idea it was an Adam F tune. It was featured on another LTJ Bukem mix he did for the Promised Land compilations, but also appeared on Adam’s album “Colours” from Positiva.
Blu Mar Ten – B.R.O
The track was originally released in 1999 on Bukem’s (are you seeing a trend here?!) Good Looking imprint. The rumor is that the title of this track means “Bukem Rip Off” and was BMT’s way of making fun of what atmospheric drum&bass had become by using tons of cliched elements in the production. The irony, of course, was that it was a huge hit. One of these days I’ll ask Chris from BMT about its origins.
LTJ Bukem – Demon’s Theme
This tune holds a special place in my heart. When I first started listening to atmospheric drum&bass I had my mom listen to the Logical Progression compilation. She was fascinated by Demon’s Theme and asked me to put a copy on a cassette (ha!) for her to listen to in the car. She passed away in 2000 and I played this track on repeat during my trip to Ohio for her funeral. Anytime I hear it, I can picture her face as she’s listening to it for the first time.
Blame – Cuban Lynx
Another track from a compilation I still own. The original came out on the GLR subsidiary 720 Degrees. However I first heard it on the mixed disk of Logical Progression Volume 2 by Blame and featuring Conrad and DRS, so that’s the version I’m including in the post.
Omni Trio – Trippin’ on Broken Beats (Original Mix)
Omni Trio – Trippin’ on Broken Beats (Carlito Mix)
Why did I include varying mixes of the same track in my Top 10? Because both are fucking amazing. A lot of folks would say that any remix is inferior to the original, but I’d hold this tune up to prove them wrong.
St. Etienne – The Sea (PFM Remix)
PFM and his fucking remixes are spectacular. St. Etienne are/were classified as an English alternative dance act (thanks Discogs!) that are known, primarily, for their house and downtempo efforts. PFM took their tune, The Sea (which was never released), and crafted an amazing remix that encapsulates everything about the atmospheric drum&bass genre. My only wish is that Youtube captured the depth of the bass in the track.
Seba – Planetary Funk Alert
I’ve mentioned my love of this track before…absolutely brilliant.
Jonny L – 2 of Us
Initially the track was released on the “2 Of Us” EP from XL Recordings in 1996. I bought the vinyl from a dungeon of a record store in Dallas, called Bill’s Records and Tapes sometime in 1997. If you had never been then allow me to describe it…imagine a garage sale and a porn shop had sex and out popped this gigantic mess of classic vinyl and CDs. It was run by an iron-fisted old man that had a tendency to charge whatever the fuck he felt like at any given time.
If I were doing a Top 20 these would help me fill out the list:
Aquarius (aka Photek) – Dolphin Tune
Peshay – Vocal Tune
Doc Scott – Tokyo Dawn
EZ Rollers – Retro (Guardians of D’Alliance Mix)
Hoax – Pipe Dreams
Wax Doctor – Atmospheric Funk