To shed some light on the artists you are going to read about, Instra:Mental, Boddika, Jon Convex, initially it will be helpful to point out that you´ll be reading about just two men working under three different alter egos, well, until now.
Alex Green is one, Damon Kirkham the other half of the London based producer- & dj-duo Instra:mental. Alex Green again is also known as Al Bleek. On the other hand he works as a solo artist under his newest moniker: Boddika.
Damon Kirkham better known as Kid Drama, the other half of Instra:mental, as well started producing material on his own as: Jon Convex. This pseudonym is actually a derivative of Barry Convex, who´s a character in “Videodrome”, a classic “Cronenberg” movie made in 1983. Jon – no, it´s actually John – is the middle name of Damon John Kirkham.
Let´s start with Instra:Mental, for sure – at least at present – the best-known, highly acclaimed and definately longest existing project driven by the two thoroughbred producers. Instra:mental managed to form a basis for an unique sound with which they have always had an immediate impact on drum & bass in recent years from their early stages in 2000 on.
Their characteristic sound should develop further and further during the past decade. The profilic duo – it turned out – have always signalled a new course for others to follow due to their very own interpretations of electronic dance music from the first releases on. And so they do nowadays. It may be helpful to mention that they earned their reputation as forward thinking Drum & Bass-producers in case you don´t know them since their first steps within the industry back in the days. They really broke through with their stripped-back, atmospheric, soulful drum’n’bass. The huge number of releases, remixes (e.g. for Mount Kimbie, Commix, Jimmy Edgar) and colaborations with artists of the highest calibre such as breakbeat scientists Source Direct or Jonny L, Skream, Burial, Drkstr or long-term-companion dBridge, is quite impressive and speaks for itself.
Well, looking back 11 years there was enough time to push the sound to the vibe, tempo and aesthetic property it stands for nowadays. The Instra:mental productions are to the greatest possible extent unrestricted by tempo, they cross all genre-borders, are carefully arranged, sound like a fusion of Detroit-Techno and Neo-Jungle with a touch of acid here and there, with minimal textures and old school references. The beats are unquestionably based upon 80´s Hip-Hop, Techno and Jungle. Hence their style reach out to a wide range of listeners due to the mentioned and the following reasons. They produce tunes being rich in variety with subtly engineered and well-chosen sounds. They´re fresh though they sound kind of vintage-old-skoolish. Characteristic for their tunes is that they capture again and again the listener´s attention by dubbing layers in and out very smoothly or roughly – just as appropriate for the prevailing part of the tunes.
Consequently the next steps for Al Bleek and Kid Drama were pretty much predestined and meet the Editrequirements of the music industry. In 2009 they started their own imprint, NonPlus Records, with a huge number of high quality output (Discogs). The label is, as Instra:mental isn´t as well, not very restricted with regard to a specific style or genre. This is quite well shown by the different handwriting and working methods of all artists releasing tunes on NonPlus Records such as dBridge, ASC, Actress, Kassem Mosse, Vaccine, Jimmy Edgar, Lowtec, Skream, LOL and – of course – Instra:mental themselves. As you will have remarked there are only top-notch producers in the list which emphasizes the reputation of the still young independent record label.
The DJ Magazine UK awarded the act as “Best-Breakthrough-Producers 2009” – well before the release of their debut-LP. Please read on to learn more.
In 2010 the duo really gathered momentum with their long overdue Debut-LP, the Resolution653-Sampler, which is – since the release – on high rotation all over clubland and was charted by so various artists like Glimpse, Roman Flügel, Peter Van Hoesen, Ryan Elliott, Erol Alkan, Adam Marshall, Seuil, Ryan Elliott, Adam Marshall, Ripperton, Darko Esser, Agoria, Commix, Manuel Tur, Commix, Martyn just to name a few. I spare myself and you another review as there are enough on the internet. Anyways you should give an ear to the LP if not done already. And if you´re up for a review feel free to check a good one here: Resident Advisor´s Review Of Resolution.653 .
A statement on their style by themselves: “There was no space in drum & bass, it was just running twenty breaks on top of each other, so we thought about what we could do, because what we were making was quite minimalistic in some ways; we decided to not fill the gaps.”
I love this statement!
Back in 2009. 2009 has been a busy year for them – from the beginning on. In early 2009, in January 2009 to state that more precisely they installed an epic podcast series in cooperation with dBridge – who´s always close to the two-man-group. The Autonomic Podcast is already cult and a must-hear for all heads. The single sessions are partitioned into layers and do feature a bandwidth of artists, styles and no-styles. Who is keen to know how pop-close Experimental can sound, what D&B sounds like after the Dubstep-invasion over the last few years, or even just wants to carry loads of great music for free from his ears, should urgently go to the related website Club Autonomic. You should see the bunch of Autonomic in full effect, I mean live. With appearances all over UK , e.g @ Fabric London, and on the international dancefloors, the Autonomic-crew is quite around and you can catch them everywhere you´d expect global players to play. Lend them your ears and you´ll state that their sets incorporate a lot of different tempos and genres and – most important – they rock!
As the world famous club Fabric – near the centre of dance music´s mekka London – and it´s promoters are and have long since been very active and up-to-date players of the electronic dance music playground it´s not very far-fetched that Instra:mental have been asked to do the #50 of the state-of-the-art-mix-series fabriclive. For this reputation gaining project – not that this was their goal – they teamed up with Exit Records-label-boss, Drum & Bass-don and like-minded fella dBridge again.
With this compilation they are in good company as the fabriclive-series already featured mixes by legends like e.g. Goldie, LTJ Bukem, Freq Nasty, Commix. You can say that they are now at eye level with those – well deserved in my honest oppinion. If you are interested in fabriclive´s back-stock and upcomig fabriclive-mix-series you´ve got to go here: fabriclive-series.
Back to the fabriclive.50-compilation, dBridge & Instra:mental present Autonomic. You can expect if you didn´t manage to listen to it yourself an excellent mix compilation, which skillfully bridges the gap between modern Drum & Bass, contemporary Dubstep, Dubstep-related tunes and Experimental/Electronica. In addition to tracks by Instra: mental and dBridge they also make use of tunes from Dubstep-artists such as Skream, Distance and Scuba, which have all produced in the BPM range usually used in Drum & Bass.
Darren White aka dBridge on the release: “We wanted to deliver the best mix CD, which we have ever done, that was our goal. We focused our attention to the artists whose music we love and asked them whether they can produce something special to the mix, including Distance, Scuba and Genotype. Of course we have also produced new material ourselves. It has become a great collection of music, harmoniously, but highly variable in terms of musical styles. You’ll be surprised how well that fits. We wanted to present a showcase of what we do and show what our sound is capable of. ”
No more words necessary because that´s what they really didn´t fail. I really enjoyed this showcase of independent futuristic dance music as me, myself, I am not a friend of one fixed tempo in a dj-set. That can make a dj-set a dj-set besides the doubtless necessary skills you have to have to do a mix which differs from other mixes. They have the skills! Once again they inspired me extraordinarily as you´ll be able to hear when the related mix will see the light of day – tomorrow!
Following this link you´ll find the full back catalogue of Instra:mental including releases on profilic labels such as Demonic, Darkestral Recordings, Exit Records UK, Apple Pips, [Naked:Lunch], Disfigured Dubz and more : Instra:mental´s discography.
All in all I have to say that I am really grateful for artists like Instra:mental as they work forward-thinking in an open-minded, non-limited way without forgetting about the good things tried and tested in the past. That in mind together with their outstanding abilities form a basis for being successful in the future. I´ll be up for everything the duo and/or the releases under their solo-monikers could throw at me now and then.
To worship the work of the dynamic duo I´ve lumped together a mix which features all three projects and much more. The result will be available tomorrow. So keep your eyes peeled and make sure to get back to Sweet Headache.
To turn you on a bit already here´s the selection you´ll hear in there:
TRACKLISTING SWEET HEADACHE 069: AUDIO SAFARI VI by BSSLN feat. INSTRA:MENTAL, BODDIKA & JON CONVEX (duration: 02:22:23):
- INSTRA:MENTAL – MEMORY IMPLANT
- JUBEI – ALIGNMENT – BODDIKA REMIX
- ANSTAM – CARMICHAEL
- INSTRA:MENTAL – USER
- BODDIKA – RUBBA
- JON CONVEX – ORDER INTO CHAOS
- PHOTEK – CECCONI
- INSTRA:MENTAL – ARC
- ANSTAM – BALDWIN
- JACKBEATS – ELEVATOR MUSIC
- SBTRKT – WILDFIRE
- COSMIN TRG – IZOLAT
- B. DAMAGE & DOC DANEEKA – CREEPER
- BENGA – FAITHLESS
- PHONO – IL62
- MOUNT KIMBIE – CARBONATED – AIRHEAD REMIX
- eLAN – BLEEP BLOOP BRRRRMMP – LAZER SWORD REMIX
- JON CONVEX – CONVEXTATIONS
- BODDIKA – BODDIKA´S HOUSE
- BENGA – ACID LIE
- BODDIKA – SOMETIMES
- BODDIKA – YOU TELL ME
- DISTAL – AFRICA TO MARS
- COSMIN TRG – DE DANS
- INSTRA:MENTAL – TALKIN´ MONO
- 2562 – BRASIL DEADWALKER
- B. DAMAGE & DOC DANEEKA – INFAMOUS
- BOK BOK – REMINDER
- JACK SPARROW – THE CHASE
- BODDIKA – 2727
- COSMIN TRG – SEPERAT
- INSTRA:MENTAL – AGGRO ACID
- INSTRA:MENTAL – 8
- ANSTAM – ALBERT
See you tomorrow, readers!