TOTD: DJ Mayhem – Inesse

FaceIf you read Drumtrip frequently, the chances are you know all about today’s Tune Of The Day. It might not have appeared on all the major label licenced Jungle compilations back in the day, but this is definitely one for the heads.

To the best of my knowledge DJ Mayhem started out in 1992 on the influential Basement Records, a label that bridged the gap nicely between the hardcore sound of the time, and the more european techno styles.
The label eventually moved into the more uniformed, deep drum and bass sounds from 1994 onwards, with label owner Phil Wells (of Vinyl Distribution and Nu-Urban) launching sub-labels like Street Beats and Precious Material as an outlet for the new drum and bass style.

Inesse appeared in late 1993 on Sponge and Pascal’s ‘Face Records‘ label. In my opinion, late 1993 was a peak time in the hardcore / jungle scene.
The year before, Darkcore was in full effect, but by this point new ‘drum and bass’ style was already infiltrating the scene as an alternative to the all out ragga-jungle tracks which would become so popular in 1994. As such, you often got a kind of crossover track with a more regimented jungle / D&B style of beats, but with dark and often uplifting hardcore elements. Inesse straddles this line perfectly.

The track starts off with some real sinister sounding strings before the bass and chopped amens come rolling in after the one minute mark. The track rolls out with machine gun amen snares in full effect before a wonderful breakdown arrives.
The breakdown samples both the vocals and strings from a 1990 downtempo soul track by Innocence, entitled ‘Natural Thing‘. The vocals and strings are really uplifting, and as the sample is pitched up a bit, it gives that classic hardcore ‘chipmunk’ quality to the vocal. The drums return and the sample rolls out for a few bars. It’s incredibly simple, but hugely effective, a bit of a hands in the air moment.

Ray Keith along with Nookie produced an excellent remix in 1994 with a beefed up bassline, but it doesn’t quite reach the euphoric heights of the original mix in my eyes.

The second half of 1993 really produced some stunning hardcore / jungle tracks; a sound pioneered by the links of DJ Crystl, Q-Project, Invisible Man, Skanna, Gwange et al. It really didn’t last too long, but for me it was the true golden age – An amazing sound that never really did return in the same way.

About Law

Main author and creator of Drumtrip. I have been listening to and mixing drum and bass in its various forms since 1998. Drumtrip was designed to celebrate the glory years between 1991 and 1997.