Simon Bassline Smith – Palomino / Sty-Le
Simon Bassline Smith – Palomino / Sty-Le (Front Cover)
LABEL:Absolute 2 Records
STREET DATE:August 4, 2017
ARTISTS: Drumsound & Bassline Smith  
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1. Simon Bassline Smith (Smith Inc) – Palomino (Give It To Me)
2. Simon Bassline Smith (Smith Inc) – Sty-Le

Time for some history. We’re going back before Technique Recordings, before the team-up with Drumsound, even before drum ‘n’ bass existed as a genre. We’re going back to 1991, when Simon Bassline Smith made an indelible mark on the on the rave scene with his label Absolute 2. Those were the days when his imprint brought us the early work of soon-to-be-legends like Doc Scott and Nookie. Now, with newly remastered versions of some Absolute 2 classics, Mr Smith’s reminding us why he’s been big in the game since day.

First up is Palomino. Right from the opening chords with the subtle droplets of scene-setting percussion we’re transported back to those early nineties rave-days. Arguments about sub-genre boundaries and commercial versus underground are for the future, now it’s all about just catching a vibe. Even so, as harmonic elements layer and build, and the first hints of bass appear, it’s clear that this music is anything but naïve. The “Give it to me” vocal sample leading us into the breakbeat drop, accentuated by panning slices of drum-machine hits build this into a deep, rich and powerful piece of dance music.

Sty-Le takes things a touch more melodic. Filtered chords underpin a piano progression which is given weight and intensity as high-end strings and the chopped-up beat come in to support it. But, then, this tune goes somewhere that you couldn’t have predicted. A drop-out, then the breakbeat comes back, apparently flanged, reversed and then layered back in with the unprocessed version. These kind of production flourishes prove just how much this music was about freedom to explore without limitation. But still amongst all of that, the pump of bass, driving rhythms and those emotive breakdowns aim this straight at the dancefloor.

Whether you were there at the time or experiencing these vibes fresh for the first time now, you can’t help being drawn in by this music. These aren’t worn and dusty historical documents, the excitement and forward-thinking experimentalism shines through as brightly as it ever did. This music captured the imagination of a generation, and now it can do it all over again.

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