Cybotron Records

Sup, G here. Apologies for the delay. Life gets in the way sometimes.

This is the first Dillinja post on this blog. I feel slightly ashamed about that as Dillinja is undoubtedly up there with the greatest of all time jungle producers – possibly THE greatest. But I let others decide on that. Stab in the dark for fave D tune? Got to be any of the three tracks off of Angels Fell but that’s just me. Maybe Silver Blade? Or Threshold? Too many to count…

I’m going to assume anyone reading this already has a working knowledge of Dillinja’s body of work, so if not, I can only apologise, uber-geek wanky shit is ahead.

cybotronAnyway, back in the period 1993-95 Dillinja was at his most prolific, putting out track after track, week after week, on many different labels under numerous pseudonyms. I’m led to believe he was literally living in his studio at this point in time, if he wasn’t out delivering stacks of his own wax around London-town. Compared to Dillinja’s output on Deadly Vinyl, Logic Productions, Conqueror, Philly Blunt and Lionheart (among others) from around the same era, the Cybotron tunes strike me as being much more on the experimental side. Influences abound, from straight up hardcore and darkside jungle, to hip hop, sci-fi films, and ragga. I guess not entirely surprising as Dillinja was still learning the craft here. In this post, I’m mixing every tune that was put out on the label.

It is sad to see that these records have now become quite scarce. If you’re looking on Discogs you’ll probably see that many are up for sale only very infrequently. Those that do come up are often price-gouged. That’s a pity because the Cybotron tunes are some of Dillinja’s most interesting from a purely ‘listening’ perspective as opposed to straightforward dancefloor tracks, but at the same time I’m not aware of much, if any, availability on digital formats. Supply and demand, hey?

Cybotron Records cat numbers are fairly confusing as some were pressed on other labels. My take on the complete output is as follows, going strictly by DILL cat numbers which to me form the full Cybotron canon.

  • DILL 01 – Steal the Way / Forever Fierce
  • DILL 02 – Lock Me Out / Dark Influence
  • DILL 03 – From Beyond / Ride it Hard
  • DILL 04 – Sinewave / Dark Science
  • DILL 05 – Black Wax EP (on Target Records)
  • DILL 06 – Majestic B-Line EP (On Deadly Vinyl)
  • DILL 07 – Imperial Stix EP
  • DILL 08 – Test 2 EP (On Wave Form Records)

The only addition to this list is the second release on Target Records, Underworld – The Rising, which I’ve included in the mix for completeness as DILL 05 was also a Target release… the only other Target release, as it eventuated. The Rising features the cat number KARL 001 which is interesting to those who cling nerdfully to this kind of trivia – Dillinja’s real name being Karl Francis of course. Underworld was comprised of Dillinja and Defender (of Feel It fame), whom I’ve talked about previously in an older post. I was considering including the Digital Cloning EP in the mix too, which is another Dillinja release from around the same time on Tough Toonz, but I thought that would be a bit of a stretch so I left it off. And even though the Majestic B Line EP, DILL 06, was out on Deadly Vinyl, I haven’t included the other Deadly Vinyl releases. There are other mixes on the internets with those tunes though if you want to go deeper. Here’s a smashing Dillinja retrospective mix too.

More trivia:

  • The first four Cybotron releases were all pressed with both tunes on the A side. Not sure why that happened but it means that whenever I’m searching for a record with a blank side these are the ones I know to reach for.
  • The name ‘Cybotron’ was later resurrected by Dillinja as the title of his mammoth debut LP in 2001. The sound had moved on from jungle but D was keepin’ it close to his roots. You’ll still hear classic tunes from this like All Aboard and Go Dillinja played out out at raves today.

Even from the very first release, Steal the Way / Forever Fierce, the Cybotron tracks are all distinctly Dillinja. Although those two tunes sound quite contemporary with their rave strings and stabs and chip-monked vocals to match, you still get the rough basslines and rap vocal fills that became synonymous with Dillinja’s productions later on. Things get a little darker with Lock Me Out and Dark Influence, but with From Beyond, a seething, breathing amen roller, and the funky mule-sampling Ride It Hard, Dillinja is properly in the zone. Dark Science is a fantastic 93-style dark jungle bleeps tune with similar atmospherics to the earlier From Beyond. On the flip to Dark Science is one of the more unusual tunes on Cybotron, Sinewave, which has some fairly intense stabs and weird beats that I find difficult to mix. Still quality though.

The later releases – Black Wax EP, Majestic B Line EP, Imperial Stix EP, and Test 2 EP – are all 4 trackers, except for Test 2 which is 3 tracks. It’s almost like Dillinja established the formula on the early tunes and then when into experimental overdrive once his confidence was up. It’s hard to separate the music on these EPs as they are all of very high quality, all extremely interesting, and all completely smash up the dance. It’s a dense body of work. Dillinja re-uses samples and breaks on many of these tracks which is actually quite cool as you can spot the style immediately. They may not be as technically proficient as Dillinja’s later work, particularly his tracks on Logic or Metalheadz, but it’s interesting to see the progression even just in the short year or so that these were made across. I get the feeling that Dillinja’s progress was driven as much by gear and tech upgrades through the 90s which went hand-in-hand-with intense bursts of creativity.

In spite of a notable lack of recent releases, Dillinja is still about, still in the scene, DJing at gigs quite frequently. And why not? If anyone has the right to trade on a legendary reputation it’s Dillinja. There have been noises for a while now that he is working on new tracks that harken back to the jungle days, albeit brought up-to-date with new-school production techniques. I have no idea whether or not this is still happening, but in interviews over the past few years Dillinja has made it very clear that there isn’t a lot in the music scene that truly enthuses him these days. There’s a real “over it” undertone in most of the exchanges that I’ve read, which is a shame, but totally understadable. Obviously it’s over 20 years ago now, but the rapid output and progress on Cybotron shows you what Dillinja was (and no doubt ‘is’) capable of when motivated. Here’s hoping the releases resume at some point. Luckily, we only ever look back in time on this blog so we don’t have to worry about any of this ‘future music’ nonsense.

Tracklist

Dillinja – Steal The Way
Majestic B Line A2
Dillinja – Forever Fierce
Capone + Clarky – Dark Science
Majestic B Line A1
Capone – Lock Me Out
Capone + Clarky – Sinewave
Dillinja – Ride It Hard
Capone – Dark Influence
Majestic B Line B1
Dillinja – From Beyond
Black Wax EP A1
Imperial Stix EP A2
Black Wax EP A2
Imperial Stix EP A1
Underworld – Maximum Pleasure
Imperial Stix EP B1
Dillinger – Test 2 B2
Black Wax EP B1
Dillinger – Test 2 B1
Underworld – The Rising
Majestic B Line B2
Underworld – Love Cant Turn Around
Imperial Stix EP B2
Black Wax EP B2
Dillinger – Test 2 A

Download MP3 320kbps 83 mins

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Legend Records

GFT here. This is a big post for me. Legend Records is my number one favourite jungle label of all time, so it is a somewhat daunting task to do justice to it. And so the mix has proven! It took me literally months of effort, chipping away at it week after week. Is this how GRRM feels slogging through new chapters of A Song of Ice and Fire? Call it the Legend Records Knot, or some such. Fuck me I’m nerdy…

legendLegend Records was founded in 1993 by the Oxfordshire trio of DJ Gwange, Spinback and Q Project, and continued to release until 1996. Legend is one of the defining labels of the so-called ‘intelligent jungle’ sound of the mid-90s, although I can’t be the only one who has always hated that term. In effect (lol), the bulk of the label’s output can be summarised as deep, rolling jungle tunes, predominantly featuring that classic and simple combination of big subs, hypnotising breaks, and spacey, ethereal pads and strings.

If LTJ Bukem perfected the formula on masterpieces like Music, or Horizons, then the Legend crew can certainly lay claim to their own defining classics in the same space with the likes of AirtightMotionless, or Deep Concentration. Add to that several more hard-edged, but no less impactful darkside excursions like In Effect, Champion Sound, and Adrenalin and you can see why Legend is just plain sex for jungle lovers.

Legend wound up shortly after DJ Gwange quit the label in ’94/’95. Spinback and Q Project went on to even greater success as Total Science with too many releases to possibly list on Timeless, Metalheadz, their own label C.I.A, and many others, and are still putting out tracks to this day. Here’s a short excerpt from a RollDaBeats thread, with jungle old-skooler The Invisible Man chiming in on his associations with the running of Legend, and engineering many of its notable tracks:

“With Legend Records it was often Gwange and myself who would do a lot of the general running around to distro’s and cutting houses as I already knew the industry from having several releases under my belt, and besides we were ones with transport.. however sometime during 94 both myself and Simon had to go AWOL for a while – him for personal reasons, and me ’cause I had quite literally burnt myself out.. no, not too many drugs.. – more from doing too many tunes and not sleeping or eating properly etc. mind you, working with Quiff and Smithy is quite possibly enough to give anyone a nervous breakdown… 😉 the speech from my tune “The End” seemed to have become a freaky prophecy.. very spooky. It was at that point that I let Brillo (who used to work at Vinyl Distribution in Reading) take over my Timeless label and DJ Hood went on to finance a small studio setup for Quiff and Smithy so they could continue Legend Records without me, the last track I did with them was LEG-013 – by this point they had both spent a lot of time with me and had a pretty good idea of how to go about things, so after a short stop gap to re-assess the situation and learn the equipment they continued Legend for a few releases and finally wound it up at release number 16.”

There are so many great tunes on here it’s difficult to know where to start. Some of the early standouts are the aforementioned darkside efforts In Effect, and Champion Sound. Champion Sound in particular is a classic that has been remixed many times through the years although the Alliance Remix is probably the most famous. Adrenalin is a huge, pulsing monster of a tune. It has an ominous-sounding synth breakdown near the end that gets me every time. Deep Concentration is another standout with its spine-tingling intro into the drop. And Airtight, again, is an atmospheric classic – an epic tune that builds and builds towards a blissed-out pads breakdown before dropping back in with booming subs. Too many to choose from.

If you’re looking to track these records down on wax you had better hurry as a lot of the early releases on Legend are seemingly becoming hard to come by/expensive. Not surprising given the quality of the tuneage, but still.

legendrecs

Tracklist

Q Project & Spinback – Sinister Connection
> Q Project – Impact (Mix 2)
Spinback & Windmill – In Effect
Q Project – It’s Time
DJ Gwange – New Creation
Q Project – Night Moves
Q Project & Spinback – Lively Connection
DJ Gwange – Motionless
Gwange & Spinback – The Execution
Q Project – Champion Sound
Q Project – Champion Sound (Aliiance Remix)
Simon Bassline Smith – Mine
DJ Gwange – Vinyl Paradise (Remix)
DJ Gwange – Vinyl Paradise
Q Project – Beyond This World
Q Project & Spinback – Bongos
Simon Bassline Smith – Distinction
DJ Gwange – Adrenalin
> Spinback & Windmill – Divine Inspiration
DJ Gwange – New Creation (Remix)
Q Project – Deep Concentration
Q Project – Night Moves (Alliance Remix)
Lee and Gwange – 2 Deep
The Alliance – Virtual Heaven
Spinback – In Effect (Remix)
> Q Project & Spinback – Mellow Riff
Lee and Tango – Solutions
DJ Gwange – Adrenalin (Tango Remix)
> The Funky Technicians – You Gotta Believe
The Invisible Man – Skyliner (95 VIP Rmx)
The Funky Technicians – On The Case
Moul’e & Lucida – Aquarium
Spinback & Q Project – Riker’s Island (On The Run Mix)
> DJ Windmill- Out of Mind (Original Mix)
Q Project – Champion Sound (Doc Scott Remix)
Q Project – Guitar Thing
The Funky Technicians – Airtight
> The Funky Technicians – Airtight Remix
Moul’e & Lucida – City In The Clouds
Spinback and Gwange – Open Mind
The Funky Technicians – No Mystery
Spinback & Q Project – Riker’s Island (Dream Mix)
Magnetics – Breakthrough
> The Funky Technicians – Outland
The Funky Technicians – Puerto Rico
The Funky Technicians – Sound Track
Magnetics – Ultrasonic
Q Project – Freestyle Fanatic
> DJ Windmill – Skunk Funk
The Invisible Man – Beginning (Inner Space Remix)
> Q Project – Champion Sound (95 Unofficial Bootleg)

Bonus features

  • Q Project & Spinback – CODE001 The first release on Legend is interesting as it bears the CODE001 cat number, as opposed to the LEG cat numbers that subsequently followed. The tracks themselves are all excellent and definitely set a high standard for the label from the outset. Sinister Connection is another candidate for my favourite tune on Legend. If anyone knows where the spoken sample at the beginning is from please inform me! “There must be a place in all creation…”
  • CODE001/Alliance Remixes – The ever-excellent old-skool revival label Sublogic Recordings put this release out in 2009, repressing 2 tracks from CODE001 as well as two unreleased mixes of New Creation and Vinyl Paradise. It is a true marvel of modern music fandom that stuff like this can still be brought to light!
  • Code-001 Records – this being the Legend Records sub-label that put out three releases in its brief run. All tracks from these are in the mix. I must say that all three 12″s are absolutely brilliant… these include Aquarium/City in the Clouds by atmospheric jungle duo Moul’e & Lucida. Both tracks are of very high quality and if you’ve heard their other stuff on Timeless, these are just as good. In fact there is an excellent article on this duo up on GodIsNoLongerADJ… check it out. The second release features remixes of Invisible Man tracks – the Top Buzz remix of Skyliner and the Inner Space remix of The Beginning. Both are top ’95 jungle efforts that still get plays from me. And the third release is Breakthrough / Ultrasonic by Magnetics, on whom I could not find any info – this is their only release ever (EDIT – JJ from DeepInsideTheOldskool reckons this is a Funky Technicians release). Basically, the story on this one is that this is a £1 record which should be £20. I love both of these tunes so much.
  • Sublogic Dubplate Vol. 4 – Sublogic Recordings again, this time with a from-scratch recreation/edit of a bootleg remix of Q Project’s mega-anthem Champion Sound… the bootleg itself only ever appeared on some obscure (or not so obscure?) jungle mixtape. Think for a second about just how awesome that concept is 😉 The track itself is insanely pitched up which actually came in quite handy because The Beginning Remix is something like 175bpm and I desperately needed something to mix it with.
  • Q Project – Freestyle Fanatic EPVery early release by Q Project from 1992, potentially even his first? I’ve mixed in Freestyle Fanatic as well as Impact (Mix 2) into proceedings, because it’s fun to mix things in.
  • DJ Windmill – Out of Mind EP – the mysterious DJ Windmill has only two releases credited to him, the first being Divine Inspiration which is the flip to In Effect (LEG002). Divine Inspiration must be one of the most grimy tunes put out on Legend, I can never tolerate it for long and mix out as quickly as possible (your mileage may vary). Nonetheless DJ Windmill’s other credit is this more old-skool sounding 1993 release on Paradox Records. Two of these tracks are in the mix.
  • Q Project – Guitar Thing – yeah, so in 2018 (!) this ‘long lost only ever on dubplate’ track finally came out on the Modern Urban Jazz label. Digging for unreleased old jungle tunes is so hot right now. Originally circulating in ’94, it’s yet more brilliant work from Q Project on the jazzier end of the Legend canon. Btw, it’s hard work for me to get these new tunes into this mix, so labels, not too many more of these please. I’ll buy them anyway but a man can rant.

So let’s go… every single tune ever released on Legend, plus its sub-label Code-001, and some other relevant bits and pieces. 100% crusty vinyls, if that’s something anyone still cares about. Enjoy!

Download MP3 320kbps 138mins

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