The original 2014 BC9 title track “Going On” derives from an actual need to go on after the artist’s near-fatal accident that nearly left him paralyzed for life. He had to keep going on. He had to keep making music and changing our lives, because that’s what an artist does - they keep the show going no matter what the rest of the world thinks or says - in order to not overcome, but to expose that which needs to be overcome.
Fast forward to 2017 with the remastered version of Aquasonica on the horizon. The album that started it all is back and renewed for new audiences and old alike - but does it have the same feel as the original? Let’s break it down and see what we can find.
Let’s start with the original Aquasonica. In its own right this track had a great introduction with a bass guitar line underlying the vocals calling out the “baddest DJ in the land” BC9 before dropping right into synthesizer and drum. The song takes off running and uses dissonant waves of synthesizer concurrent with staccato breaks of drum. We hear this now in most modern drum and bass, but for its time, this was pretty original. About half-way into the song the synthesizer drops an octave and the breaks in the drums are more sporadic, creating a more dynamic shift that is quickly followed up by keyboards that now serve as the base melody.
Jumping to the remastered version we lose the intro, which is fine, we know who BC9 is by now or we wouldn’t be picking this up. Straight music right out the gate with the familiar quick drum and cymbal, but then there’s a sound that’s new: a single drop of synthesizer that sends out reverberating waves, almost as if BC9 is rewinding the same section of a tape over and over. It’s that moment, that singular moment, when this album changed the sound of his life. The sound is cleaner, but it almost echoes instead of leading, which provides the listener both a crisp retake of what we already know with some new sounds subtly entered in to keep us on our toes and wanting more.
Something for your mind, body, and soul is what the next track, “Jungle Music,” promises. Immediately the song dives into a bongo thuddy sound with a synthesizer warp fading in an out. About a minute in we get a break with a little bit of tin tinging before the bongo and warp are joined by a more subtle snare drum that grabs and pulls you in deeper. The layering is superb, subtle, and just enough to hold you until the keyboard kicks in and seals the deal. A great track that brings the South African roots of drum and bass to the concrete jungle that houses raves and mixes for a new kind of wild animal.
One of my favorite pieces in the entire album has got to be Plat-Numb-Night Crawler. There’s this subtle faded crescendo-decrescendo in the beginning that leads to a single drop of synthesizer like in Aquasonica. Only this time that drop doesn’t send out waves that reverberate throughout the song - it signals the end of a tape that must be rewound and played again. The next set of synthesizers sound like a VHS tape being rewound while the TV is turned on. For those millennial out there, VHS tapes are those thick enclosures that housed film that you could record movies and TV shows onto. I know, archaic, but that’s what it was like back in the day before digital, and I think that’s the point of this song: as we rewind the old the new tinny snare continues right over it and creates something new. Finally our VHS gets to where it needs to be and we hear the sound of an old organ behind our snare drums. This doesn’t last long before an old recording comes on and warns the listener they should hang up and try again. The past is gone. The “try again” is a newer, cleaner, keyboard-drum mixture that leads in a break with a synthesizer that is much more clear. We have lost the echo of the past and now have a rich new sound. This is not a palimpsest of something old; this is the sound of a new night with new memories waiting to be found.
For now I’m going to conclude this portion of the review, as most of you are probably already thinking, “Damn this guy writes a lot!” And you would be right. I do. It’s my thing. But there is more to come in part two of this review, so keep listening for that heartbeat.
Welcome back. I’m glad you found us again. Did you rest well after our last session? I hope you did, because you’re going to need it because it’s time to talk dirty. There are two versions of BC9’s “Talk Dirty,” and while both may at first glance seem to be the same. I assure you, if you are truly turned on by this music, you need both of these sounds in your life.
To say these are hot and steamy would be underrating the performance in this title. There’s an epic feeling when the first keyboard stroke is hit. It reminds me of the old THX ba-BA-BUM-BUM! - only it never gets beyond the first note. Then there’s what sounds like something dropping, a thud, and the epic note tries again. It’s like watching a man with bravado trying to hit on a woman and her slapping him down with each one-liner until finally he gets it right as she says, “So you like it when the bass growls?” Hell yeah we do! I mean… Yes, ma’am, we do.
The main difference between these two versions, the original and the new remastered, is the amount of hot and steamy dirty talk. There’s mention of removing clothes, the beating of drums, coming inside, and other adult innuendos - but that’s not what you really wanted to hear about, right? You’re here for the music, not the sultry voices and heavy breathing. But the truth is that is what this song is in its heart of hearts; the beats don’t really change much. There’s the continual epic rise and fall from the beginning, some snare drums to keep up the atmosphere, and the occasional angelic-like synthesizer to remind the listener that this is not a song about sex as much as it is foreplay, so don’t expect the tune to change into porno music. The second version of the song does have clearer beats, but they aren’t overpowering the vocal narration, so there is better atmosphere to illuminate what we really want to know about: talking dirty about music.
Out of all of the songs on this album “Going On” is the one I would recommend reading up on before you read this review. I could go into detail about the history of the song, but I think it’s better than you jump on that one yourself so this review isn’t horribly longer than it should be. I briefly mentioned this piece in the beginning of the first review, but I want to get into it more here. I said that the music revealed what needed to be changed, what needed to be adjusted, in order for us to move on. The first time I heard this work I didn’t think it was too special honestly. I thought it sounded good, sure, but it was the same thing over and over again without much variation. And then I heard this version, which is much richer and clearer, and I realized I had missed the point.
I feel that the point to Going On is that life is a series of repetitions and mundane dissonance from everything and everyone. We are always moving and moving like the snare drum, repeating the mantra that gets us through the day, whatever what may be. We are always on the go, but not going on. That’s the great fallacy that this song reveals: to live your life thinking that there’s no changes and you are just going through the motions means you are not moving on - not going on - and you are not surviving. That is what this song is about. There’s a video you can watch of the original version that I believe is essential to the overall experience. Go find it, buy this remastered version, and listen to the difference. Perhaps it will speak to you, too.
Liquid Blue is exactly what you would expect from its title: it’s a calming liquid drum and base sound with little variation. I would say that if going on is about revealing the dissonance we have as human beings within a busy world, Liquid Blue is the mantra title. There’s a little jazz mixed in, some cool breaks with drums and keyboard, a little syncopation here and there, but ultimately the same notes repeat to remind us of where we stand in the world. This is the meditation tune.
My favorite song in the entire album though has to be the last one, Night Stalker. This thing is so good that it could be the title song to any many television show. It’s so layered and the tune is perfect for anything from medical drama to Marvel Comics. My biggest complaint about drum and bass is that so much of it sounds the same and variation is so hard to come by, and even if you do get it, it just repeats over and over. I love the fact that this sound is drum and bass without being generic. This to me is the track that breaks the mold and shows what a true musician BC9 really is.
While the world goes on, BC9 is going on, and the fractured parts of the world are being exposed in every new title. While some may not be as lackluster as others, each one serves it purpose in the grand scheme of things. Each one a new détournement of the music industry without being a palimpsest. You should look up those words if you don’t know them, because buddy, I promise you, those are the way of the world. BC9 is the way of the world. And we are just getting started.
JUNGLE MUSIC . Jungle music is a rare blend of Jungle and drum and bass. I love both genres so much that I wanted to create a song that incorporated both style within this track that debuted on BC#9’s 2014 release “Aquasonica”.The little known fact is that the title track off that album Aquasonica was such a hit when it dropped that I remixed it and released it as a single named “Jungle Music”. Not many people realized that and when they bought the album after the fact were disappointed that Jungle music did not appear on Aquasonica originally. So here is my brand new video and the link to iTunes if you wish to support the artist and buy it. Cheers ☆ DJ🤖BC№9☆📻 itunes.apple.com/us/album/jungle-music-single/id906014397
This Liquid Blue is a more uptempo, head bobbing track that instantly makes you want to get up and dance around the room. I challenge anyone to listening to this song and not smile as its foot tapping drum pattern starts to make your limbs and body become automatically influenced by the song and its emotion. With some thoughtful and suggestion synths in place but leaving the drum pattern as the main element, this track is one of my PERSONAL favorites from the album. Dj MalcolmMx dnbasslines.comdnb #liquid dnbbc#9 #DNB◉UNITED RECORDS