Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dillinja - Cybotron

FFRR: 2001

When darkside jungle emerged, Dillinja was a king among the other players. His army of bassbin demolishing tracks fuelled by sci-fi funk made sure few could stand against. Thus, like all breakout acts of those mid-90s heroes, he left his fans waiting anxiously for a proper full-length debut to complement his EP legacy, already rich with classics like The Angels Fell, Threshold, and Silver Blade.

Figures he wouldn’t release one until the new millennium, well after darkside was practically deceased from the drum n’ bass consciousness. Does this mean he tried jumping on trendier bandwagons that were occurring in the year of two-thousand and one? Nah, mate, he kept it old-school, producing an album that would have been deemed a classic by many had he released it five years prior. Instead, all that tardiness and refusal to change with the jungle scene left Cybotron overlooked by all but the faithful. I mean, have you heard what Hospital Records are releasing? Or that John B guy? That’s the future, right? Ah, man, fuck that future, Karl Francis is staying true to his sound, and that’s punishing, grimey bass anthems.

I don’t know if Cybotron really was slept on back then, but I sure didn’t know he had an album out, and I kept as close of tabs on all those classic darkside artists as I could while stuck in the hinterlands of Canada. I can’t recall much press, talk of acts like High Contrast and Bad Company getting most of the d’n’b publicity. For all intents, this album passed by and was forgotten, lacking any sort of classic like his previous productions or follow-up hits like Grimey and Twist ‘Em Out. Correct me if I’m wrong, jungle mahsive, but that’s just how I recall it in my corner of the world.

So is this a poor album? Not at all, as it delivers exactly what darkside fans want. Of course, that would come off dated in 2001, but over a decade later, the sound has become favorably vintage, context be damned. If you fancy the aforementioned sci-fi funk and bass that comes pre-distorted, this is the album for you. Mind, it does get a bit tedious towards the end, a few tracks coming off like B-Sides. Guess Dillinja couldn’t quite kick that EP habit even in long-player form.

And don’t worry, fans of variety, it’s not all darkside all the time. Mixing things up are a few soulful numbers with guest female vocalists. Also of interesting note is the track Human B Bop, using what sounds like a beatboxer to create a pure street-funk workout.

If you’re new to this whole jungle thing, I wouldn’t call Cybotron an essential listen, as there’s far better collections of darkside out there (including Dillinja’s retrospective My Sound (1993-2004), of which no Cybotron tracks made it on, incidentally). If you’ve already dipped your toes, however, and need more of that darkside fix, then definitely scope this album out.



ACE TRACKS:
Nasty Ways
All Aboard
Cybotron

2 comments:

Thomas Hayes said...

I think John B was still a year away from the Trancestep sound in 2001 - but I could be wrong, I wasn't listening to much DnB back then.

Sykonee said...

John B did have an album out in 2001, Future Reference, plus a mix CD for Knowledge Magazine. But yeah, American Girls came a year later, then the hype around him really took off.

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