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ARTIST – Breakbeat Era
ALBUM – Ultra-Obscene
YEAR – 1999

Roni Size – notable for his awarded and brilliant album NEW FORMS – teamed up with DJ Die, a.k.a Scorpio, and Leonie Laws on this project. It’s an adventurous album, well produced and with heavy hitting drum n’ bass beats. I picked this up while in London, back in ’99, along with some singles and remixes. I had been doing a little DJing back then – I tried!!!

This is not the best drum n’ bass album out there, but it is a very decent one. One of my personal favourites. I really like the mood and tone it sets. It’s gloomy and envolving. The force behind it, I reckon, are Laws’ cool raspy voice and the duo behind the decks’ beats. I’ve always enjoyed Roni Size and DJ Die; they’ve always developed music with expressive beats. Die, in particular, has always been a popular figure among my vinyls; he’s got the simplest beats, but they are so heavy and round and tight. Really good stuff.

This trio, however, did not last long. Oh well, probably for the best. I haven’t kept up with the drum n’ bass movement – it’s been a while actually. But, now and then, I pull out some old stuff to listen to, like this one. This CD has been lying around for a while now. Seems like a cyclical affair. Every year or so I get around to it, burn it to iTunes and drag it into my iPod library. A live performance link, here.

To the tracks. I really love “Rancid”, number 2. The bass is crazy, all big and distorted, plus the broken beats. Nice! “Ultra-Obscene” is the title track, the popular single. Not my favourite, but a good tune. I like Leonie’s moans and groans and the fast-paced cymbals. If “Bullitproof” is my favourite, then I can’t choose another?! This is my favourite, but I have another one, too. This is a wicked track. “Electrify, electrify…” Again, beats all over, cool distortions and sweet vocals. Ok, my next favourite is “Breakbeat Era”. Really, listen to this bass. It’s a simple bassline, granted, perhaps not the most inventive either, but it does it for me. Her voice with the booming bass is awesome!!! “Anti-Everything” is also definitely worth a listen. It’s angry, mad with a sort of slap bass and mean, mean drums – a delight. And, speaking of basslines – like I mentioned before, this album I like due to the mood it sets; it carries it throught -, try “Animal Machine”. “Max” – just listen, it’s short, but nasty. Last one is “Sex Change”. Talk about ambience. Your woofers will take a beating! Again, sort of an agry song, so much going on. Really cool vibe.


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