Issue 29: Emotif / Botchit & Scarper

Today’s dance music scene is a wide church, but often there’s too much segregation between the different genres and styles. It’s refreshing, then, to see two labels releasing music of differing types under the one roof.

So where did this unlikely stable come from? Old skool junglists might remember a runnin’ label called SOUR, itself responsible for a wide variety of output from the slamming hardcore of Bass Selective’s rocking ‘Blow Out’ to the high concept atmospherics of T-Power’s 40-minute epic ‘Police State’. However, the style the label became most famous for was the ragga sound, epitomised by such tracks as Shy FX & UK Apache’s chart-troubling ‘Original Nuttah’.

“It had become very typecast as a jungle label,” explains label manager and blender of our CD’s second half Vini, “and through artists like T-Power and BLIM we decided the form of music we were doing needed a new home, and Emotif was started as an experimental label. It progressed through the techstep sound and into what it is today. Botchit & Scarper was set up around the same time, the idea behind it is that it had a freeform approach.

It would take the ethos of jungle and slow it down, with the heavy bottom-end bass and the breakbeats, but it wouldn’t be restricted by tempos and genres – we would pretty much put out what we like. We’ve been fairly well typecast as a nu-skool breakbeat label, but if you look at the back catalogue and some of the music coming up you’ll find it’s more reliant on being just a breakbeat label, moving through different sorts of sounds and tempos and stuff.”

Since their inception, these labels have had more than their fair share of success with releases from BLIM, Raw Deal, Elementz Of Noize and Full Moon Scientist amongst others. Highlights include FreQ Nasty’s collaborations with MOBO award winner Phoebe One and Knowledge Magazine (yeah baby!) D&B Award winner MC Skibadee plus the massive ‘Techsteppin” LP. Emotif also partly run the weekly Movement at Bar Rhumba (where Tonic, who mixed the CD’s D&B selection, is a resident) and also the monthly Movement at Mass in Brixton.

Not content to rest on their laurels however, the label’s top bods have decided to unleash yet another label on an unsuspecting public – Double Zero. So what’s the vibe? “Double Zero is going to be more oriented towards dancefloor material. The idea is to do ten 10″ releases across the year, starting with ‘Nimrod’, the Ill Figure track. Ill Figure is Marcus Intalex & ST Files, and there will be some quite nice guest appearances from people. It’s not going to be a generic artist label, it’ll be more about Emotif people getting their mates involved.” Artists already lined up include Future Cuts and Carl (Usual Suspects) EB1 project, and what’s more, the sleeves of the first ten releases will create a complete huge image when placed together correctly!

It seems like these guys have got all their bases covered. While they continue to plan world domination why not sit back, relax, and let Tonic and Vini bombard you with a selection of cutting edge D&B and breaks? Let’s go…

1. BLIM – Glaciers (EB1 remix)
Delicate opening riffs are nearly crushed by the grinding synths and pumping breaks, but when the breakdown arrives melodic hell breaks loose and the futuristic strings evoke an almost classical feel. Once the drop arrives it’s all go go go though, and all too soon it’s time for…

2. Mr Psyke – Shell
Strident hardstepping techno action from new man Mr Psyke, who’s rough-riding beats and cybernetic synth textures combine to form a harsh piece of sci-fi drum & bass. Sounds like a Terminator on crack.

3. Ill Figure – Dupe
The flipside of the first Double Zero release sees a bouncy bassline, weird stabs and a crazy old skool sample create an unusual steppy vibe with a minimalistic flavour. The title track of the twelve can be found over on track eight.

4. X-Men – Bombin’
A future Double Zero release, this Future Cutz production features more twisted quacking sounds than a… duck abattoir? Lolloping drums and sinister atmospherics only add to the confusion, and that bass can knock down tall buildings.

5. Acetate – King Size
Not just ‘King Size’, this chunk of cheeky darkside business is larger than the entire royal family after a particularly massive dinner time round the Queen Mum’s. Listening to it is like having a huge fat bloke sit on you.

6. Elementz of Noize (Ray Keith remix) – Neon
The Ray man takes time out to add his personal funky touch to this raw-edged piece. Female vocals, ragga style bass and flavoursome drums add to the retro facade, but underneath it’s pure 21st-century technology – check that drop!

7. EB1 – Shiver
There’s nothing wrong with a little bump ‘n’ grind, but the huge amounts of bumpy and grindy bass on this mother of a tune could seriously damage your ears. Subtle background synth meanderings add depth and emotion to this bad-boy.

8. Ill Figure – Nimrod
Imagine Prince’s keyboard player has been abducted by aliens and they’ve shoved a nuclear missile up his backside. If they launched him at the earth, this is what the resulting explosion would sound like.

9. Acetate – Genetic Engineering
Manic basslines aplenty in this little corker, complete with a darkside breakdown that eventually transforms into a runnin’ old skool riff – well played fella! Prepare to hyperventilate when this one come on the stereo.

10. Collective Minds – Sahara
Sahara’s wobbly lead lines and seething background orchestrations are almost enough to convince you your senses have deserted you. However, take comfort in the fact that it’s probably its creators, DJ Kalm, Quartz & Citizen, that are insane.

11. Click ‘n’ Cycle – Trippin’ (Tonic remix)
Ruder than a Swedish porn film, Tonic’s take on this Click ‘n’ Cycle track is not one to listen to if you’re having a bad trip. As the worrying strings and distorted bass emanate from the speaker you’ll probably see huge knives coming out of your mate’s face, or something.

12. T-Power – The Mutant Revisited (DJ Trace remix)
For those not in the know this little tearer kicked off the techstep explosion. What sound like seriously buggered Amens and an edgy bass line make for extremely uneasy listening, and it’s not hard to see why this mashed up dancefloors all over the globe.

13. Ill Logic & DJ Raf – Space Walk
“Here’s what you want, here’s what you need…” If want and need bass and beats judderier than your gran after she’s missed her medication again, Ill Logic & DJ Raf have hit the nail right on the head.

Botchit & Scarper – Mixed by Vini

14. Orange Kush feat Ospery – Bring the Boogie
Funky, almost rapped female vocal antics are backed up with a rocking old skool bassline that’s guaranteed to blow the roof off. We can’t work out what the hell the lyrics are on about, but they’re so sexy we don’t really care. Nice!

15. Jason Sparks – Left to Live For (Raw Deal remix)
Those with a drum machine fetish with probably have to cross their legs upon hearing this farty piece of electro action. The introduction of saxy moments and warping synth chords make this a must-listen for everyone else too.

16. Dee-Kline – Fuct Bass
Welcome to the darkside mofo! It’s almost as if Optical and Aphrodite’s love child tried to make a mellow downtempo track but got pissed-off halfway through and decided just to deck the studio instead. Your mum will probably won’t be that keen.

17. Cosmic Jerk – Caught Jerking
Breakbeat techno musings here from the Jerkster, complete with a buzzing ‘Flat Beat’-style bassline and all the tinkly trimmings. Nice melodics adds a classy edge, and some lilting vocal loops create a hypnotic vibe.

18. Teked – Saving Grace
Oh missus, steady on. If you’re of a nervous nature you might not appreciate this tune’s insidious efforts to get inside your kecks. “Are you looking for love?” the saucy vocal teases. Steady on! I’m a married man!

19. FreQ Nasty – FreQ-A-Zoid
Vocoders at the ready, lads – we’re going in. B-movie sci-fi weirdness all the way, complete with bouncy bass that’s likely to relieve both you and your neighbours of any clogged-bowel problems you might have been suffering from.

20. BLIM – Filterzon (T-Power remix)
Put your funking trousers on, basically. After the ear-mashing intro an extremely large, extremely phallic filtered (of course) bass threatens to roger you ridged unless you make for the dancefloor. If you ever want to walk again, get over there now.

21. FreQ Nasty – Tumour
If at this point you’ve got a mysterious pain in your head at this point, there are two likely causes. Most likely you’ve been listening to this tracks pumping bass at far too loud a volume, or you’ve genuinely got a brain tumour. Commiserations if it’s the latter, by the way.

22. Vini vs. Funk Monster – Dominion
Here our DJ teams up with LA-based rock remixer Funk Monster to deliver a clanging, banging piece of noise terrorism created on just a Mac G3 laptop. Rougher than your mum’s appearance after a night of passion with yours truly.

23. Stone Drive – 2 Triple Zero
Things are rounded off with a squirmy roll-a-thon presumably dedicated to the new millennium. The breaks tick along nicely while the “Do-Do-Do Do Do Do” vocal hits threaten to drive you round the bleeding bend. Monster.