Drum 'n' bass was always an underground phenomenon.
Explicitly, intricately British, it's skeletal framework - shattered breaks, dubbed out basslines - offered an entire universe of sonic possibilities.
Released in 1997, 'New Forms' by Roni Size and Reprazent took drum 'n' bass into the mainstream. A loose, jazz-infused concoction, it was a heady, atmospheric brew, one that absorbed all manner of facets of the UK underground while adding countless more.
Fighting off competition from Radiohead's 'OK Computer' to win that year's Mercury, 'New Forms' went on to become one of the era's defining albums, selling more than 300,000 copies through Gilles Peterson's Talkin' Loud label in the process.
With a 20th anniversary edition of 'New Forms' out now, Clash invited a fresh generation of producers to discuss the album's lingering influence.
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A tune that fully takes us back to the good days of 'The End' where every DJ under the sun used to drop this riddim. Pure game changer and a tune that would still sound good in raves today. Roni always knew how to switch up the game and this tune is proof of that. What a legend and true inspiration to us.
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Rene La Vice
Everyone has a personal favourite that does something special for them. 'Morse Code' is that tune for me. I can't explain what the feeling is exactly, but when I hear the bittersweet strings and the delicate intensity of the intro it immediately tugs at my heart strings and makes me clutch my chest.
The track is a perfectly seamless journey which always puts me in a trance, only to realize I've lost where I am in the track, and then realize it's still the same track... I love that. I love music that takes you somewhere beyond your control. It's mystifying in that way.
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Pete Technimatic: I actually first heard 'Share The Fall' at Gilles Peterson's old night That's How It Is at Bar Rhumba in London, and it stood out a mile from everything else played on the night.
The lyric "Can you see what I can see, the future..." is just the perfect opening, as at the time it really did sound like nothing else around. And that chord sequence in the breakdown still gives me shivers. Genuine fast soul music.
Andy Technimatic: It's that beat that got me the first time I heard it. I remember being at a mates house listening to rave tape packs. I'd heard loads of people mention the album was up for the Mercury Music Prize (which I knew nothing about), but I remember thinking it must be a half decent album if people outside of the scene were interested in it.
We hit shuffle on the CD player and this track came on first. I'd never heard anything like it that managed to fuse a live vocal so well with a beat (even though based on a recorded break) that sounded so live. Stunning tune.
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Tom De Mac
I distinctly remember seeing the video for Brown Paper bag on MTV for the first time, I'd never heard anything like it before. Being an early teen into heavy metal and making a racket in a terrible band in my mum's garage, I can credit 'New Forms' for leading me into electronic music. Thankfully! A true classic, energy, soul and so many memorable moments throughout the album. I can't believe it's been 20 years since I first saw that music video!
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Pola & Bryson
B: 'Brown Paper Bag', as I'm sure everyone agrees, is an absolute classic. Listing to it now brings me back to my early teens and was one of the anthems that got me into drum 'n' bass in the first place.
P: 'Trust Me' has always been a firm favourite of mine. There's nothing better than hearing a familiar bassline mid set, and Roni has plenty of those under his belt.
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For me, 'New Forms' has always been a record I can reliably stick on in any mood or at any time. There's something inspiring about drums from 'Matter Of Fact', though. It's my favourite part of all the record - the shuffling jungle beats combine so well with the slow, pulsating ambience behind. Having recently moved to Bristol, it's wicked revisiting the record where it was produced and trying to gain a bit more insight into the culture (and man) that created it.
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The New Forms 20th Anniversary Deluxe Re-issue is out now.
Catch Roni Size at the following shows:
22 Bristol The Marble Factory
23 London O2 Forum
24 Birmingham Institute 2
25 Leeds Belgrave Music Hall
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