Vali NME interview plus new LP Message From The Parazone [PARA 010]

Vali NME interview plus new LP Message From The Parazone [PARA 010]


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Parallax Recordings label owner, Vali NME kindly gave us an interview. Read on to learn about this Hardcore/Jungle imprint from Germany and the latest release: A massive vinyl and digital compilation featuring Tim Reaper, CoCo Bryce, Ron Wells and more….

Having read your excellent interview for Sonic Rampage, I wanted to dig deeper into the discovery phase that led you to hardcore and jungle. Where and when did it begin? What was that track that first grabbed your attention?

I grew up in a musical family, so there was not that one moment where I got in touch with music. From as long as I can remember I was interested in music and found my way to Dance music over Rap music, I was big into Hip Hop, dancing and writing Graffiti. At that time it didn’t make a difference if it was Rap, early House or Electro Funk, it was one big boiling pot of dance music.

So unconsciously tracks like ‚Out Of Space‘ by The Prodigy, Adamski’s ‚Killer‘, A Guy Called Gerald ‚Voodoo Ray‘, Nomad’s ‚Devotion‘, 2 Brothers On The Fourth Flor ‚Can´t Help Myself‘ and the likes what was I listened to a lot between 1989-1992, but all that existed in that blurry zone between Dance and Rave. Around end of 93/ early 94 at the first school break my schoolmate put me to one side and said I need to listen to this new sound called Hardcore and showed me the first release by Luna C on Kniteforce – the Luna C Project including the Edge of Madness Sublove Remix, Insanity Clause and Mind Of A Lunatic. So I’d say – because this was so consciously done, I listened to that new sound called ‘Hardcore’ – that was my entrance into the world of Hardcore and Jungle. I was hooked instantly and shortly after bought my first Hardcore and Jungle records and tried mixing on a cheap Technics and a portable CD player. Me and my mate Önder founded the ‚NME Click‘ in 1994 and learned the ropes on cheap belt drive Technics-lookalikes. It took ages until we understood the principle of mixing records together, it wasn’t common knowledge and kind of an art form.

Was there much of a Hardcore/Jungle scene in your home town back then?

Not at all, it didn’t exist. My mate and I bought two crates from the local DJ Naughty, that was the real starting point. He was one of the first DJs to play that sound in Germany, got around a fair bit and even played with Bryan Gee on his first Germany gig. But overall you have to understand the Rave scene wasn’t divided, there were no real subgenres yet and if there were DJs still played it all in one set. You could go to a club and the overall sound was ‚Techno‘ and still you would hear a bit of House, a bit of Breakbeat led tunes, a bit Trance and so on, it was a real mixture. I’m not sure how much DJ Naughty established a Hardcore scene in my hometown of Ulm, I know there were a few older ones liking the Breakbeats (as that’s how it was simply called here in Germany) and so he played bits and bobs, or 30 minutes dedicated to that style at a night, depending on if it worked that night. But he wasn’t actively trying to establish a scene on its own.

We went out a lot to Techno nights as that was all that was available. I loved going out, having the experience of loud electronic music and sharing it with others, it wasn’t alien to me that I personally liked the electronic stuff with broken beats more, I was always kind of open minded and liked a lot of the other styles too. We put on Breakbeat-nights from time to time when we found a location that gave us a chance, but it never really took off. and although we were kind of open minded towards different electronic styles, that didn’t mean that worked in return. We often got laughed at. In 1997 two more friends joined – Ikomowsa and MC Marvelous and a fifth friend – Nino ‚Reksone‘ that left the crew around the millennium. We didn’t plan this but we were in a good position. All four of us worked in clothing/ lifestyle and skateboard-shops, went out a lot, so we were known around town,

I´d say we were tastemakers and on the pulse of what’s happening and through being in the Skateboard and music scenes had a wide reach. When we played the Halloween Rave in 1997 it was talk of the town, everybody that knew us came and we played Jungle the whole night. It went off and from that night on, a real scene was born. We got a weekly residency, two radio shows a week, I wrote for two local magazines, our website guestbook turned into a virtual meeting point to check where to go for the weekend and discuss stuff. So that whole Jungle scene built around us. Soon our biggest fans became DJs and promoters too and it became so big, that kids that wanted to become DJs started mixing with Jungle – not Hip hop, House or Techno as usual in Germany – and there were sometimes 3-4 Jungle nights a weekend in our little town of Ulm, that has a population of around 200.000. Towards 2005/2006 a lot of the Hype died down.

We still promote parties and do radio, but unfortunately, the core of the scene is gone. People stopped going out, started buying houses etc, that’s part of small-town life. A lot of people wandered of in the new “Elektro“ scene, i.e. House with Basslines, that got a lot of momentum in the middle of the noughties. We are thankful to still have busy nights, but itґs more that we are part of history of club culture in our town, so the kids and old people come out and mix to hear us, but they are living no daily Junglist lifestyle (anymore) and I doubt the young generation really knows any tunes, even if they’re classics.

I’m also interested to learn more about your background in street art and who influenced you.

I always loved drawing from a kids age on. It must have been around 1989/90 when I found out about Graffiti, I think in fact through Skateboard magazines like Monster and Trasher and the adverts in there (I especially remember one character and style by ‚Gouge‘ and another character that appeared in an ad of ‚Mad Circle‘). I tried to copy them and then that naturally led to trying to write my name in Graffiti style letters.

I was also influenced by Graff-sleeves of records (like the Rocksteady Crew album) and 12“es, not to forget movies like Wildstyle and Beat Street, but I only found out about those later down the line through friends. Being into Dance music in all its facets quite early on this shifted my focus more on the Hip Hop culture in 91-94, so when a few thousand kilometres the rave scene exploded I was in Gangsta Rap…doh! Through going out a lot I met other writers, Kabir and Nino ‚Reksone’ especially, Reksone later on was also part of NME Click for some years. He knew a lot more about graff than me. He mustґve painted a few years already and had a distinctive style. He took me under his wing and we went painting together a lot, also did commissioned works for clubs, youth centres etc and from the cans we got though that we often went out bombing at nights. Other local sprayers like Ansam, Pisa, Hit, Mani2 and Richski were a big inspiration too. It was different times without internet, a lot of influences came from the people you were surrounded with or tags you saw or a bombed train passing through from another city.

We went to other cities just to take photographs of the graffitis there, went to jams and so on. Outside of that I read magazines like ‚On The Run‘ and ‚Backspin‘ if I got hold of them, but we were broke kids, hustling all the time. It seems a whole lifetime ago, but after some googling I found a lot of the names I liked back then, it seems I was more inspired by the European writers: Bates, Dare, Cemnoz, Odem, Reso, Daim, Loomit, Seak, Toast, Won and Delta for their crazy (3 D) styles or bombers like Amok, Atom and Zorn. I was more into characters than letter styles and besides Cantwo with his oldskool style the one artist that inspired me most over all the years has to be Mode 2. I saw him painting live in Berlin a few years ago, but I was too shy to say hi. Lately I like the styles of (the duo of Hera and Akut) Herakut and the poppy characters of Stereoheat and Hombre.

Apart from graffiti I always loved Dave Nords (Noise Of Art) works for Jungle labels Suburban Base, Labels Blanco and many others. When I found out that Frank Miller hugely influenced him I looked into what he did. I always collected comics and especially like the drawings of Michael Turner or Todd McFarlane. I am also inspired by vintage designs and especially like Noir stuff in 1c.

It’s fair to say that Parallax is one of the few labels that focuses on the ‘dark side’ sound. The 93 to 94 period was a very unique chapter in rave history, is the darker style your personal preference?

If I had to pick one style that I like most, then probably yes. But I like and collect a lot of styles on vinyl – from Jazz, Funk, (Northern) Soul, World music, Rare Grooves to Progrock, early Disco, even bits of Punk, Electrofunk/ Breakdance stuff, 80s Synth-Pop and New Romantic. It doesn’t stop there, I also am a sucker for the early years of electronic music, Detroit Techno and Chicago House, Acid, Bleeps, Rave up to Italo House and big piano breakbeat anthems and Hardcore. It goes on with (Ragga) Jungle, atmospheric Jungle, Drum and Bass in all facets from liquid to Neurofunk.

Although the Message From The Parazone album leads to the impression that Parallax is all dark, if you go back to the Force Fields EP – just one release before the album – you will hear a lot of high pitched vocals and pianos. One release before that it´s ‚You Better Run‘, basically 95 Raregroove Jungle with big Ragga samples. But yeah, a lot of focus lies on that ‚anything goes‘ era of 1993 and those stylistics, rather dark and mystique, crazy fast and lowfi. I can’t really say what makes a tune for Parallax, I decide by gut feeling if something fits. If I´d buy and play it myself and believe in it I will put it out.

Tell us a few of your favourite Hardcore/Jungle tunes old and new?

Ooooph, that’s impossible, there are too many. Some of my favourite labels are Legend, Reinforced, Lucky Spin, early Good Looking and Formation, Basement, Production House and of course Subbase and Moving Shadows. and that’s only the big ones. Artist Wise I adore Skanna, Chaos & Julia Set, Intense, Mega City 2, Doc Scott, Brain and Bizzy B/ D.Lux, Omni Trio, Tango, Foul Play, Hyper-On Experience, Orca…

Let’s talk about this Compilation album. It’s truly incredible, a mixture of 93 style Jungle Tekno, some brilliant darkcore and a bit of intelligent Jungle. You have people like Ron Wells, Devnull and Tim Reaper. This must have been a labour intensive effort to put together surely?

Yes, it was quite a journey. I am so chuffed that all these artist I look up to were up to giving me great music and trusting me to put it out. I guess if the scene wasn’t that small and everybody knew me briefly from being online in forums, blogs, Facebook or Discos groups and past records that I put out I would’ve had no chance. That’s actually important, it gets easier the more you have under your belt. At the start (and often still now) it was really hard to convince anybody to work with somebody unknown form Germany. Also, you guessed the brief I gave to the artists perfectly – it was pretty much ‘93 sounding, rather dark or Jungle-techno-ish with atmospheric bits, like DJ Crystl and Legend Recs meets early Good Looking meets Basement Recs.’

Speaking about the artists on this album, some of them are pretty young. What is it about this sound from the 90s that still inspires 20 somethings even now?

I don’t know, I’m 42 myself. But I’m glad the beginnings of the whole Bass music continuum gets recognition now. Techno and House always paid homage to their originators. With Jungle/ Drum & Bass it seems it only took a bit longer, but now after around 30 years, it’s coming full circle it seems.

I know you touched on this in the Sonic Rampage interview- although you don’t do represses so much now for reasons previously stated- just for fun, if you could repress any tune from the golden era, what would it be?

If I could put out whatever with the artist’s permission first and foremost it would definitely be all the unreleased Photek stuff – Feeling Up, Flavours Of a Sound, Say It 95, First Sequence VIP and many more that he wrote. Another dream would be to get access to the DAT vaults of LTJ Bukem, Fabio and Groovrider and release all those gems that only they played that got lost to the sands of time. Now that would be something..

Speaking of ‘golden eras’, I am of the opinion that we are in a low key second golden era. It’s a lot smaller in size than the prolific 90-95 era but the quality is incredible! What’s your thoughts on this?

Its hard to tell for me personally. There is sort of a “rave revival‘ going on in the overall Techno scene since a few years, Amen Breaks at 125 bpm over pumpin 4 to the floor beats and overall a lot of hoovers and rave aesthetics flooding back into electronic music in the 130 bpm range. And over the years a small scene has been built from people that have been there since the early days, people that joined later and actively pushed it and so on. If you look at the scene it’s still pretty small, but it’s growing rapidly. I have the feeling there’s more coming out and it gets harder again to sell records. I might be due to the amount of releases on offer or that there are more people doing it than people actively buying it. If everyone’s an artist that’s not healthy, you need fans that want to buy your stuff.

Read interviews with here

Label Spotlight | Parallax Recordings

Talk us through the tracks, what creative processes and obstacles went into this labour of love?

ScanOne – Horizon

I first found out about ScanOne through his ‘I’ll Be Your Eyes’ release, if you have never heard it, check it out. Its still one of my favourite new releases, you can already hear his cinematic style, all three tracks blow my mind. Jude is a talented designer and runs two labels – Yellow Machines and Modified Magic – all by himself. He is home in the Hardcore and Jungle scene as well as in the more Electro and Techno fields and is very forward thinking. He seems to always have his ear to the ground and is unearthing new artists, having colabs with legends like Meat Beat Manifesto or Jerome Hill and it doesn’t stop there as he’s big into design and motion graphics, a real one man army. When I asked him to contribute a tune and he sent me this deep tune at 170 bpm it was a no-brainer. It clocks in on over 7 minutes but never feels stale. The long intro is a pleasure to mix with and the arrangement is so clever, it builds up steadily and the dark and brooding atmosphere is just very subtle but so majestic, a proper grinder. I can see this working in sets from oldskool Jungle up to new Drum & Bass. He said it wasn’t finished and so he made changes to it. But as I loved the first version so much I asked him to change it all back to how it was. Often the first version you write in one session lead to a natural flow and I think it was the case here, too. He’s a great designer too and a versatile producer that many still sleep on..WAKE UP!

Yorobi & Tim Reaper – Rhodiola (Dead Man’s Chest Remix)

Let’s start at the beginning: Tim Reaper sent me this tune he made with Josje (Yorobi), a female DJ from Amsterdam. As he sent me so many great tunes I first went with 4 others for the Dead & Buried EP, but since I had the tunes in my running playlist and listened to them steadily, Rhodiola grew on me. And since Josje is also one of the few artists on this album that I met in person – we met in Berlin and spent a day in a dinghy on the Landwehr-Kanal and went record shopping afterwards – it was a perfect opportunity to get her on Parallax too. Although it took longer to grow on me (it´s not the typical tune I´d sign for Parallax as it has a quite modern approach and is kind of minimal) it always got great responses when I heard it played out. It came out on Tim´s Subaquatic EP and remains a special tune to many, due to being a bit different eventually also helped to shift focus towards Parallax from other audiences. To get Alex Eveson on the album was always top of my list, I always adored the music he wrote as Dead Man’s Chest and his early releases on Ingredients influenced me massively and led to my interest int the modern styles of Hardcore Jungle . But he’s very busy running his own label and doing the artwork for that, so he offered to do a remix as he had no new music to fall back on. When I sent him tracks to choose from he picked Rhodiola straight away and I’m very happy with his dubby and amen-led take on it. It got great response from all the DJs I sent it too and appeared in quite many mixes already.

InnerCore – Turbo Sound

I think this was the first track alongside FX Dark Shadows that I got sent for the album in January 2019, that’s why they both ended up on the sampler, I just felt they should be out first as I sat on them so long. When Matt sent me the first version of this it had a more ravey stab in that I wasn’t the biggest fan of (especially with rave stabs I can be a bit difficult). I asked him to replace it with a hoover to make it a bit darker. When he sent me this I was all over it, it turned into this relentless monster that’s not letting off. Hard as nails ravey Hardcore as you like, this destroys the dance. For maximum effect double up two copies. Watch out for more music by InnerCore on Parallax and check out his latest two releases on InnerCore Project (where I make the artworks for) that just came out!

FX – Dark Shadows

Nick is another one of the few people I met face to face when I visited Rupture a few years ago. I was already in touch with him as I bought all his Demonic Possession releases. We had a good chat, he’s a fantastic bloke. As soon as I decided to have new music on Parallax he was amongst my first choices, I will always play his stuff, everything he does is right up my street. When he sent Dark Shadows I just took it, another no brainer. That stabby riff and those 3D-hoovers (I call them that as they fade out and come back layered over that fade out) and the relentless beats are all so good ingredients, the arrangement is really good too and makes it a great tool to mix with. I think we had to change the mixdown and that was about it. Then I sat on it forever and Nick asked if he could put it out himself as he had a demanding job and needed a track for his Dead Beat release. Guess what? I declined, there was no way I´d not put this out on Parallax haha

Sonar’s Ghost – Future Shock (Double 0 VIP)

I got in touch with Dom Sonar’s Ghost via Dave Sector who ran the Two Hungry Ghosts blog and did an interview with me early into the third Parallax release. Sadly, the Two Hungry Ghosts blog is offline by now, I loved it. But both do the Sonar’s Ghost project together now, so Sector chooses his time wisely it seems. I was humbled Dom got back and was willing to work with me. He offered me this VIP and said he wouldn’t have anything else at the moment really. But as it was a great tune I was lucky and I knew straight away it would be the album opener with it´s musical and futuristic approach. I always wanted to open the album with calmer tunes to create an atmosphere and then move on, showing different styles like more Jungle Techno and Rave styles on the second vinyl and getting harder and darker towards the middle and junglier towards the end of the album. It´s also great to have Double 0 on the album, he’s a great producer and with his Rupture events him and Mantra did so much for our scene, he had to be on there. My good friend FD also introduced me to him when we were at Rupture, so he’s another one I met in person, even if we met only briefly for a Hello, he seemed a nice down to earth person and I am always impressed by his emceeing skills. If you read this David, thanks for the wicked shoutouts! You can hear one of them a the very start of this mix:

FFF – Bandulu

Tommy sent me another tune first with a rare groove sample many of you might have heard when you followed the streams I played over the last year. That was meant to come on the album. I don’t know why, but I asked Tommy months later if he had more music for me to listen to. He sent me a link to a SoundCloud playlist and there were around six tunes. I fell in love with ‘Bandulu‘ straight away and asked him if he would mind if I use that instead for the compilation. Tommy was up for it and it´s one of my favourite tunes on there. With its little bass notes it always reminds me on an old tune by Body Snatch ‘Eyes On The Horizon‘ that I always liked. But in reality, if you really compare them, it’s very different and original. The tune would’ve been great already as the intro is so much fun to mix with and I also think the balance of rough with the smooth is done perfectly, it´s musical but hard enough to work on a floor with the sound of the amens just perfect. Something I´d imagine Bukem would’ve absolutely rinsed if it came out in 93. But when it drops into the second break it´s all over. It´s silence for a second. Then the night falls and the madness begins. That mentasm is just pitch black and when the offbeats kick in all hell breaks loose. I’m absolutely proud to have this on Parallax!

Dwarde & Tim Reaper – London Stomp

More subtle than Tim´s usual output on Parallax, ‘London Stomp’ is the perfect blend between dark and atmospheric. It´s authentic sounding oldskool with a mystic aura, little piano sprinkles and housy handclaps. The clever arrangement allows long mixes and always creates a great vibe when you want to go a bit deeper. The familiar vocal (is it Mary J Bridge?) is the icing on the cake really and gives the tune identity. A perfect opportunity to have Dwarde on Parallax too. We don’t know so well, but every time we chat online he seems very nice and is a knowledgable dude, big ups! I sat on this since we worked on the Subaquatic EP, so for all you OCD nerds, it is basically part of that bunch of tunes.

Coco Bryce – Pirates Of The Pancreas

I knew Coco through buying his Myor releases early on through his Bandcamp, I remember he sent me free vinyl of his earlier beat maker explorations, he’s simply a nice chap. The process to find the right tune was long though. I first wanted to have another tune from him. But something was missing, he even said so himself, and we couldn’t agree what to add to get it sounding more complete. I had about 5-6 tunes to choose from, but was so fixated on the one that was my first choice and no other seemed to sound right for Parallax. I guess I’m sometimes too picky as at least one of them landed on another label and when I heard it there I kicked myself haha. Anyways, I remember that Coco said his fave out of the lot is ‘Pirates Of The Pancreas‘ and advised me to pick it, as from his view it was the one that deserves a vinyl pressing. I listened to them tunes over and over again and in the end went with it and now, after playing it out quite a lot, I’m really glad I picked it. Sometimes tunes need to grow on you and it´s always the right tune to draw for if I played for a while and need to change tonality to keep it interesting. It´s very stripped back but at the same time all elements are great and there’s always something happening when it needs to. And those harsh dark chords in the intro always work a treat when rammed into another tune. Another one that’s great if you double up two copies 😉

Jack Smooth – How We Do

I reached out to Ron Wells quite late into the project. I guess I needed to find some confidence first and I’m glad I didn’t do earlier as when he asked who else is on there I already had a strong roster and I think that helped to motivate him. With some idols, I often have the problem of being so starstruck that I turn into teenage style fanboy mode and Ron is definitely one of those calibers where that’s the case. Look at his back catalogue and how many absolute anthems he wrote. I’m so glad he joined as no cross section of our scene would be complete without him. It was a relief that I liked ‘How We Do‘ straight away too, as I wouldn’t have had the balls to turn anything down if he sent me a tune I didn’t like. But that’s rather unlikely to happen and even Ron was so happy with the tune he put up a video of it and the online response was really great too. Now everybody just had to wait more than a year until it came out haha. ‘How We Do‘ with its ‘This is how we do…JungleTechno!‘ announcement and its many switch-ups is the perfect opener tune to introduce the second vinyl of the album, as it’s a bit slower than the others and focusses more on Jungle Techno. Thanks Ron, I’m still chuffed to have you aboard!

Brute Force – Secrets

Brute Force are Physical Flex aka Henry L/ Henry 3000 (from PARADOOM 0001 fame) and myself. ‚Secrets‘ was based on another tune we were working on that we weren’t fully happy with. Henry came up with the stabby riff and the wicked pads, I loved both straight away and was especially blown away by the pads. There was still another sample in from the old tune that I found didn’t work there and some other details that we changed. I know it needed another sample, so we sat together and went through loads of film trailers until we found the “She knows my secrets, my fears“ bit from Event Horizon ( a wicked film if you haven’t seen it). We rearranged the tune to make it more DJ friendly with a long intro and outro without too much going on, we expanded the pads so they get enough shine throughout the tune and played a variation of the stabs to make it work with the pads. Since I thought the tune needed something to break it up I did some baby scratches on the mentasms of an old 2bad, the Good, and Hugly tune. I like how the tune evolves from the beautiful pads to the harsh mentasms through that “I’ve got such wonderful things to show you” sample. It comes unexpected and breaks the tune up nicely, so it sounds a bit different to everything else that’s around at the moment.

Pete Cannon – Dream Again

The tune I always get asked about, no matter where I play it. Pete delivers as usual. I first took notice of him through his track ‘Answer Me‘ on Kniteforce that I even put on my ‘Mental Atmosphere’ mix. After commissioning him to remix Lewi’s ‘You Better Run’ I had quite a clear vision of what I wanted from him – basically something dark and mental like ‘Answer Me‘ and he sent me quite a few tunes to pick from. ‘Dream Again‘ is totally different from the thing I had in my head, but I know a great tune when I hear it, so it had to be picked. With the beat-y intro and outro it mixes into everything really, it´s an absolutely treat for mixing and double drops too. All elements keep you on your toes and keep you waiting for more. The vocal is the icing on the cake. Unfortunately Pete couldn’t remember where he lifted it from (if anybody knows hit me up), but since the whole album is rather dark and instrumental, I’m glad to have this uplifting, non-cheesy vocal tune on it. Watch out for more music from Pete on Parallax!

Worldwide Epidemic – Face Melt

Dan sent me a whole bunch of tunes to pick from and I couldn’t decide on what to use first as I liked so many, so expect more from him forthcoming on Parallax. He is really on fire at the moment with releases coming from everywhere and eventually ‘Facemelt is a good example why. I’m so glad I picked ‘Facemelt‘ as it became such a signature tune in my sets over the last year. Its raw and powerful synth line really leads to the fiercest of all screwfaces. Somehow it always reminds me on early Liam Howlett, around the ‘Music For the Jilted Generation‘ era, the overall vibe it creates with the catchy synth line and the melancholic pads in the second break just do it for me. In hindsight I wish we made the intro shorter, but if you mix it from when the beat drops it works perfectly in a set. But oh well, there’s me again always trying to optimise. The filthy Jungle Techno groove of ‘Face Melt’ smoothly leads into the third vinyl.

Theory – What’s Going On

When I reached out to Theory he was a complete stranger and I’m quite sure he never heard of me. I just always liked his tunes, especially ‘Heartbreak In Paradise‘ that just came out on ‘Rupture’, so I gave it a try and wrote to him on Facebook. When he heard of my concept to put new Darkcore/ Jungle Techno on an album he said he was a big fan of the 93 era and wrote a lot of that stuff a few years ago. Due to his health condition around that time it was a slow process but when he finally got around and sent me a big folder of unfinished stuff I was in for a treat. Although I originally expected something more atmospheric or jungly from him, I knew it had to be ‘What´s Going On‘ as soon as I heard it. At that point I felt the selection missed hard and dark tracks and when I heard the evil laughter and that sinking bassline spraying in your face I was converted. There will be more music by the man on Parallax, watch this space!

DJ Mindhunter – Mind Full Of Stars

When I heard Tim Reaper play this in one of the BTTO shows I was hooked straight away – Kraftwerk meets Space Odyssey 2001, what a marriage! I had to know who it is by. As soon as I knew I reached out to DJ Mindhunter, in fact just a synonym of a well-known artist I was already in touch with. Unfortunately he had plans for it, but he offered me ‘Prisoners Of Xtasee‘ instead, another epic banger that will be the next release on Parallax after the album. I don´t remember exactly how we got to talk about it, maybe just through my usual persistence with things, but when I asked him about the tune again sometime later, he said that the tune is free now and that he has a few others that I can have for Parallax if I wanted them. It didn’t take long for me to decide, in fact it took only just a quick skip through to persuade me. I remember I was sitting on a train with headphones on and was hyperventilating when I heard them, the kind of tunes that you instantly panic about missing out on if you don´t get back to the artist instantly, within minutes, he might just change his mind or give them elsewhere. Thankfully I secured the ones I wanted, and they will be coming on the ‘Mind Trips EP‘. I decided to put ‘Mind Full Of Stars‘ on the album as it had such an impact on me that I thought it would be a good tune to introduce him first with this tune before there will be more on Parallax. There are two more hard tunes on the EP in the same vein and the other two give it a wider range of versatility, a slower, more Jungle-Techno one and one jungly tune with an 8-bit sounding female vocal. Deffo dancefloor friendly material all over to keep you folks happy. And as ‚Mind Full Of Stars‘, they all have been made on an old Atari with Octamed.

Champa B – Let’s Go

Champa Badman! I grabbed every release he was featured on: Green Bay Wax, Ruff Cut and especially the release on Modified Magic. He has the midas touch when it comes to Hardcore Jungle and this tune proves it: Relentless teeth-grinding Hardcore with wild beats, tons of reece peppered with fierce mentazms that fuck with your head till you’re off-balance, definitely nothing for the faint-hearted. That second break when your sanity falls off a cliff is just too good to be true, this is an absolute weapon in any set. Champa filmed this tune amongst a few others with his phone, capturing the screen with the sequencer playing and put it up on his Facebook wall, writing “Some tunes that I re-found and need finishing”. Although I was quick messaging him it took months of struggling and negotiating to drag this onto the album as there were other labels that wanted it too. I guess I was just the most stubborn and persistent one and pulled all the plugs to make it happen. I still feel sorry for especially one person and I’m still grateful he gave in and let me have it, you know who you are, so many thanks!!! This tune encapsulates perfectly what I want to put out on Parallax, it’s sort of in the same vein as Tim Reaper’s ‘Journey to The Moon’, pitch-black, manic and relentlessly pushing fierce Hardcore Jungle. Dead proud to have this on the label and I hope there will be more by the man!

Dev/Null – DarkPhase

I couldn’t recall how I got to know Pete anymore. It might be through the Back To The Oldskool forum or through his highly informative blog thatI found so many gems through. Or even his own label 8205 that put out so many great releases from early on in this revival momentum. In the end it might even have been through social media, commenting on the same topics. This is a small scene and if you’re half active, there’s no way around getting to know the people who operate in it. But I never took proper notice that Pete wrote beats too. That changed when I heard his mini-album ‚Pocket Selector – A Selection of Micro Jungle‘ on Justice’s label Modern Urban Jazz. All the music was solely written on a PO33 machine, the concept was to limit himself to the opportunities of only 8 slots for drums and 16 patterns, sort of the oldskool way.

The sound that the PO33 is very raw and distinctive, I fell for it instantly. I reached out to him and he came up with a tune that was a bit too repetitive or my taste. But when he sent me ‘DarkPhase’ I signed it straight away. I love how the beats sound, a pleasure to mix with and the brutal and raw bass in the intro really sets the tone. The mentasms 2/3rds into the tune are absolutely nuts and the oriental sample is very distinctive and gives it identity. I love how Pete arranged it and managed to keep the tune interesting with so few elements.

Justice & Necrotype – Refried

I reached out to Tony Justice as I liked a stream of tunes he wrote and put out lately on his Modern Urban Jazz (MJazz) label, so we knew briefly as I was a regular buyer already. He was very approachable when I told him about the album and sent me some tunes he had just finished. They were all great but since I played ‘Fried‘ on his ‘Fresh Information‘ EP quite a lot there wasn’t much to lose sleep about when I recognised ‘Re-fried‘, a remix he had done with Necrotype, in that folder. While the original was a rather percussive and trippy Amen tune, the remix expands on the pads to create an uplifting feel, the bass is switched to a more bouncy affair and gives it a warm groove. The second drop ups the intensity and introduces a fierce reece and great drum edits. I have a lot of love for this tune and it is another important tool to switch moods in my latest sets. It´s hard enough to be played with the hardest bits but creates a positive atmosphere.

Hornchurch Hardcore – Labyrinth

I was a keen follower of Hornchurch Hardcore from the first release as they are firmly rooted in the 93 styles. Their trademark dark and atmospheric tunes with hard beats just reflect my favourite era. So we’ve been in touch from early on and apart from them writing tunes, Darren (unfortunately I never spoke to Dan Smalley) is a humble guy who did me – a person he only knows online – so many favours already that I knew if I do new music on Parallax they had to be part of the roster. You can tell he’s in it for the right reasons. I’m glad he managed to send me some tunes they had been working on since it´s been a minute since their last release (there was a remix of Hired Gun’s ‘What Goes On‘ that came out not too long ago though). Amongst them was ‘Labyrinth‘ and I instantly liked it. I’m not always a fan of long, meaningful samples, but in this case, they got it just right and I’m now glad to have this on the album as it´s one of a kind. It took a few sessions to get the mixdown right and again I had to ask to go back to the first version as they sent a later version with a different female vocal, but it now is a great Amen roller with thumping bass, great pads and that distinctive “the mind is a labyrinth, ladies and gentlemen, a puzzle” sample that makes it a stand out.

Ant To Be – So Strange

Let’s be honest, I slept a bit on Ant To Be when he was already having releases on Kniteforce. I found out about him through a white label he put out. It was quite jungly, I guess that’s why he wanted to separate it from his other output. On the strength of this tune I had high expectations. He sent me three rough ideas he was working on and I decided on ‘So Strange’ straight away. But as it can be with some tunes, Alex had a hard time getting the idea into a full tune. Having the tunes on my phone and listening to them often when running (you see a pattern here? Listening to the tunes while running really help me on decisions, the blood pulse is up and your focussed, this really helps me to hear all details and fully understand tunes and get to know them better) I decided to take another tune. It was a straight-forward dark banger and asked him if we can change it into that as he was stuck with the other. But soon after it was announced on another label, that was a bummer as I thought it would’ve fitted well onto the album. So there was no choice than to get ‘So Strange‘ finished, which Alex did. I made him change a few details on it, and as it had that female “So Strange“ vocal I sent him that “This place is so strange…“ sample from ’Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ that you can now hear at the very start of the tune. I’m really happy how this came out. I like that it´s sort of a bridge tune between Hardcore and Jungle, between dark and atmospheric and at the same time can hold up with the hardest dance floor bangers.

K Super – Being Yours VIP

Kayleigh put up a ‘work-in-progress’ clip on her Facebook of this and due to the strength of the clip I instantly got in touch with her. Straight away I had a vision how it would sound when finished. When she sent me the final version it was good, but not fully what I expected. The lush pads and powerful vocals held it together, but I felt it was lacking a bit of structure. So I was a bit undecided. She sent me a second tune that had a deep Dillinja-esque bassline, so I asked her to try and add that kind of bassline to it and voilà – there it was. K told me she had the usual mental breakdown including screaming at the screen to get it nailed, but hey, it was totally worth it! The response from people mailing me about how much they love the tune was overwhelming and it´s a good closing tune to an album I´m extremely proud of. This is a heavy Jungle banger with all the right elements to make it a modern classic, test it on a big rig!

Tim Reaper – (Dead And Buried FX Remix)

After the success of the Dead & Buried EP the thought of having something remixed wasn’t far away. After talking to Tim we decided to have a remix of the title track ‘Dead & Buried’ and to have the dark lord himself, FX remix it, seemed a fitting choice. After the remix got plays through various DJs and appeared here and there for a while I now decided to give it away as a freebie with the album, since there are already two cuts by Tim on the album.

Grab it here and pay what you like:

Also there are two free Parallax mixes that come with the album: Pearsall did a mix of the back catalogue while I mixed the album and releases coming after it:

Pearsall – Memories Of The Parazone:

Vali NME Click – Message From The Parazone album mix:

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