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Today's show is dedicated to the work of Mr Rupert parks, AKA Code of practice, Truper, Sentinel, and so on. With all these kinds of artist showcases, it's always tricky to know what to put in and what to leave out. So I've decided that I will cover a few of his aliases from records that I own.
Photek went through several aliases during his career, with different styles for each one to some extent, but always underpinned by his unique ability to craft the almost perfect breakbeat.
First off, we have Can We Change the Future by Code of Practice from 1993, still with one foot in the hardcore scene but giving us a glimpse into what came to be known as jungle or drum and bass.
Another alias from around this time, Studio Pressure with Jump MKII, which was also released on Certificate 18 in 1993. A little more challenging, perhaps but an absolute classic of the era.
Photek released several tracks under his Studio Pressure alias, all of them coming between 93 and 95. Here's one called Touching Down...Planet Photek, on his own label that he founded around this time. Another classic; the structures on this tune are so unique, really intricate and well put together. We also see him moving away from the early hardcore influences and into what he would become most known for, these incredibly complex beat structures.
As an aside, there's a fascinating documentary on YouTube that was done around this time. He talks about how he creates these incredibly intricate breakbeats. Even more remarkable when you think of the available equipment at the time. Using old samplers with absolutely minute memory to make this kind of stuff is really quite impressive.
So we will stay with Studio Pressure releases for a little bit and do two more. The next one is called Relics,. also on Certificate 18 and also from 1994. A little bit different to the previous track, but again another beautiful, sublime piece of jungle. I suggest you do not go and look at how much this costs on Discogs because the pricing is absolutely ridiculous.
So I'm going to play one more studio pressure track, my favourite, and that is The Water Margin. This came out in 1995 again on Photek's own label, the Water Margin on the A-side and Fusion on the B-side.
At the risk of repeating myself, my favourite Studio Pressure track, and one of my favourite Photek tracks, just generally incredible construction there, layered using two of THE famous jungle breaks, Amen by the Winston Brothers and the think break from Think About It by Lynn Collins, a 1972 funk track.
So that covers our foray into Photel tracks under the Studio Pressure alias. Now we're going to move into something slightly different from Photek, and that's another alias he used - Aquarius. The Aquarius releases were on LTJ Bukem's Good Looking and Looking Good records.
We're going to start off with one from 94, and this obviously has much more similarities to the kind of style that we hear on Good Looking and Looking Good records. This is a track called Aquatic. This is one of my favourite records of all time, not just drum and bass or jungle or whatever. It just sustains things forever. Interestingly that "Ooh, Yeah, Aha" sample that we hear here throughout the track is Whitney Houston from I Want To Dance With Somebody Who Loves Me, one of the all-time joyous records and Photek makes it sound so eerie and otherworldly that final touch that lifts it out of just another record into something quite remarkable.
Next, we have Aquarius with Drift To The Centre from 1995. This is another fantastic, fantastic record. A flawless track - that intro that comes in, and then you hear this heavy bass while the rest is relatively minimal. The B-side is as good.
Moving on to another of Photek's aliases - The Sentinel. He released three 12 inches on Basement Records between 1994 and 1996, under the Sentinel alias - Heavy Vibes/Pulse of Life, Awakening/Genesis, and Digging Deeper/Tolepleu.
That's three tracks from the Sentinel alias. The first one is Heavy Vibes that came out in 94. The second one is Awakenings, which came out in 95, and the last one is Tolepleu, which came out in 1996, as I mentioned all on Basement Records. Absolutely some of my favourites, the still incredibly intricate drumbeat, quite heavy in places, but beautiful melodies underpinning them, with have these deep atmospheric moments and heavy base.
So I've left the tracks that Photek did under as Photek name until last. I've had to leave out a bunch. Still, we will do them in chronological order, starting with a Photek release from 95, which is called a UFO from the UFO/Rings Around Saturn 12 inch.
The next one by Photek is called consciousness, from his Metalheadz release, Natural Born Killa that came out in 1995. Funnily enough, the only Photek record released on Metalheadz. He had a couple of tracks on some of the Platinum Breakz compilations and remixes on Razor's Edge, the Metalheadz offshoot. But as far as I know, this was really his only release on the label, which seems quite strange to me because his sound seems like a perfect fit. Anyway, so this release has three tracks - Consciousness,
The next track, T'Raenon and it came out on Kirk DiGiorgio's Op Art label. DiGiorgio is a well-known techno producer and label owner. I've mentioned him before in previous shows. There's a strong connection between Photek and techno, who talks about techno being a significant influence on how he structured his work. If you listen to the melodies, they have quite a lot in common with Detroit techno.
Now I'm going to play three tracks, which I guess you could say are from Photek's later drum and bass period for want of a better term, between 95 and 97. You see his sound getting a little bit darker; the melodies and melodic structures of the earlier tracks are slightly removed. Whether this has anything to do with the primacy of techstep at this time, I'm not really sure, but you can hear a definite difference in the sound.
We're going to start with a track from 1995 called Ni Ten Ichi Ryu that really shows Photek's programming abilities. He creates these fantastic, and utterly unique breaks, again on this primitive equipment. This is definitely some of his best work. Also, listen to the B side, The Fifth Column, another amazing, amazing record.
Here's another one from around this time: The Hidden Camera from the 12 inch of the same name. This track sounds deceptively simple, but it has one of the most complex beats I've ever heard. If you like this kind of thing and you like Photek, The Hidden Camera is an essential item in your collection.
That was released on the Science label, as was Photek's debut album, Modus Operandi. It was tricky to select a track from this because they're all so amazing, but I decided to go with Smoke Rings.
And there we have it - a bunch of Photek records from my collection. I hope you enjoyed them.
Times We Used To Spend is a two hour ramble through my record collection making connections between eras, genres, melodies and rhythms.
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