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Take Ten: Goldie selects jungle and drum & bass classics from his collection

The drum & bass pioneer talks us through ten tracks on his new ‘Drum & Bass Life’ comp

Goldie’s name has been synonymous with UK jungle and drum & bass practically since their inception. After a difficult childhood in and out of foster and care homes, he was first ‘saved’ by art — becoming an amazing, self-taught graffiti artist — and then music, getting into the “darker sounds” of Rage at Heaven where Fabio & Grooverider were effectively blueprinting drum & bass in the early nineties. Falling in love with the scene, he began producing under various aliases and founded the legendary Metalheadz label in 1994, alongside Kemistry & Storm. 

After his ’Timeless’ album sent him — and d&b — supernova, he followed it up with ‘Saturnz Return’, which included the hour-long track ‘Mother’ that sonically explored his childhood experiences. The critics gave it a lukewarm reception, but it’s recently been reappraised into an ahead-of-its-time neo-classical masterpiece that’s getting a re-release this month. Since the album, Goldie has undergone therapy and the Hoffman Process and currently regularly practises bikram yoga, all of which he says have helped save his life.

Also out this month is a new Goldie comp via Universal, ‘Goldie: Drum & Bass Life’, compiled of tracks he considers some of the all-time jungle and drum & bass greats. DJ Mag caught up with the G-Man to discuss ten tracks from the compilation, which is available now. 

A Guy Called Gerald ‘Like A Drug’

“At the time of this track, I’d met Gerald a few times and said, ‘Look, mate, you’ve got to come to Rage. They’re playing your music’. He’d already had that experience, but this underground music, that Fabio coined as ‘urban jungle’, was very animalistic and very raw. When I took him to Rage he lost his mind. This guy was just ahead of his curves. This music hadn’t even arrived yet.”

Alex Reece ‘Pulp Fiction’

“‘Pulp Fiction’, for me, was the beginning of two-step. It was very eclectic for the time, and drum orientated from a sampling point of view. Alex was always influenced by techno, he was outside of drum & bass and taking a look inside. I heard the track played by Fabio at Speed and I knew the relevance of it straight away. I drove to Alex’s house and said, ‘This track has got to be on Metalheadz’.”

Fresh ‘Signal’

“I think Fresh is probably one of the most underrated producers who actually got to do it right. He mastered this music. Where do you go when you master music? I heard Grooverider playing ‘Signal’ in Stoke-On-Trent, and he said ‘I’ve got a Fresh track — it’s going to burn you, man’. And of course, it did. A seminal piece of music in terms of rave culture, breakbeat and programming.”

Baron ‘Drive In, Drive By’

“Another waypoint tune. ‘Drive In, Drive By’ used a style of disco-funk loops that just gave a different aspect to this music, that could be in the same vein as D. Kay & Epsilon’s ‘Barcelona’ or any of those kind of tracks that came from the tree of drum & bass. This tune is on that side of the fence. A great track that was a great party tune that just worked, but the main appeal is that it was integral. It had integrity without trying too hard.”

Krust ‘Soul In Motion’

“From one end of the scale, Baron, to this really dark, minimal, stripped-back tune — ‘Soul In Motion’. This became an anthem for people who feared the overground and wanted something more integral, a little bit darker and more mysterious, a bit more Miles Davis than Al Jarreau, if you like.”

Dragon Fly ‘Visions Of Rage’

“This track takes me back to my early days at Rage. That’s where this tune was seminal. It was essentially a four-to-the-floor rave track, but it had breakbeat in it. There’s a certain set of those tunes, including ‘Rage’ by Doc Scott, which had the same elements. This song vocalised, without any vocal content, where this country was at and how powerful this rave culture was and is.”

Total Science, Digital & Spirit ‘Rumble’

“This one is a more modern tune, it’s a modern take on what jungle represents for me. I’ve been mixing it with ‘I Adore You’ for the last year, and it turns the track into a dubby version of itself which I really like. It’s in the compilation purely because it works so great in a mix, and I only now appreciate the idea of a great mix, because I’ve never really been a DJ in that respect.”

Benny L ‘Low Blow’

“The man who’s grown into an amazing producer across the board is Benny L. He was the first guy to be number one on all platforms across Beatport on all genres, with stuff like ‘Police In Helicopter’. I saw him very early on with two EPs on Metalheadz. This is just such an underrated tune, and new kids should be looking up to this young man. I’m an old boy, he’s killing it.”

John B ‘Up All Night’

“I don’t need to put any eyeliner or nail varnish on this one. John B is a world unto himself, he’s a very great friend and associate of Metalheadz and always supported us from day one. ‘Up All Night’ was just another seminal track — before people made seminal tracks. It created a whole genre in itself and inspired so many people moving forwards.”

Omni Trio ‘Renegade Snares’

“One of these men is sadly no longer with us, God rest his soul. I heard Andy C pounding this at Morning After club in Covent Garden, I just remember hearing this track and thinking ‘Wow’. The impact of this, coupled with the mixes Andy C used to pull off... well...”