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Recently I’ve been piling through a gargantuan pile of old DAT tapes in an attempt to archive them onto hard disc and ultimately for posting up on my blog as a reminder of some old and forgotten works. I’ve also found some ‘unreleased’ rarities, demos and DJ sets and radio mixes too. Just for the helluvit, and to maybe spread a few smiles of dance hall days gone by, the first post in this series is a one hour excerpt of my very first Ministry of Sound set back in 1996.
Your Name’s Not Down
For me, for ages, the MoS was a pretty closed shop. The main room, called ‘The Box’, seemed like a hallowed ground of tribal worship, continuously occupied by American jocks and those of a ‘deeper’ playing style than perhaps mine. The MoS DJ booking team were however becoming more aware of yours truly and the style and technical aspect of my DJ sets (using technology to enhance the up ’til then, standard two deck experience).
With enough tongues wagging then, they finally took notice and dived straight in with a main room set offer, though laced with a kind of ‘come on then, show us what you can do‘ attitude – I had, therefore, to make it special. Thankfully, the club was opening its musical style to the more techy (and trancey) tunes surfacing in the mid-90s, a situation mirrored by their then burgeoning CD licensing compilations moving from the darker, underground vibes to a more energised flavour of content – and that’s exactly where my style sat.
The icing on the cake for my debut set was the use of a new piece of DJ sampling technology, the Akai Remix 16 sampler. It was capable of triggering and manipulating 16 pads of loops and singe-hit samples, at a quality of audio that made it virtually indistinguishable from the actual running vinyl. Sure, by today’s standards, it might appear somewhat archaic, but in ’96, it was a ground-breaker. I prepared a basic sample content set and for the first time ever, partly rehearsed my initial hour’s performance in my studio. I couldn’t go into that kind of live scenario, with that kind of technology (oh, and various Akai head-honchos and the Ministry management team watching my every move), without some prep!
Anyway, the set came, and passed and, thankfully, all went well (shortly after the performance, I got a call from the MoS management team, and accepted their offer to come on board for the London club and International tour gigs – the rest, as they say, is history). Back to the live recording below however, sure, with no sequenced MIDI or computer triggering of the Remix 16, all being solely down to the accuracy of my fingers, there were a few (er-hum) ‘moments’ – But, warts and all, I’ve popped the whole unedited section onto Soundcloud (available for 12 months only). For what this minor piece of my personal history is worth, I hope you at least enjoy listening to it.