For the last decade UK Techno/House Paul Woolford has been DJing and producing heaters and remixes under his own name and a couple of aliases (Bobby Peru, Ford Inc.) including this summer’s phenomenal piano house banger “Untitled.”
His latest, intriguing incarnation however is Special Request.
A relatively recent experiment in updating classic Drum n Bass vibes, Woolford’s Special Request is a passionate, seemingly id-fueled expression of sonic nostalgia. The 2 disc collection of original works and remixes released as Soul Music isn’t just “back in the day” navel gazing experience though.
It’s a ratcheting up the bracket of concepts we’ve more or less left in a corner of our collective consciousness. Like a kid who goes looking for something in the attic or basement, and comes across something he’d asked for for Christmas long ago. And in finding it, realizes how important it was to him and how valuable that is.
Woolford is reminding us of the vitality of Jungle and Drum n Bass and how it exists on a different plane than Techno or House.
Like House, Jungle is Soul music, born of inner city life and engineered to express the elation and frustration of the street.
But where House works as an escape, Jungle is a frenzied delving in.
Woolford‘s intent was to capture the “illicit quality of music,” the way in which during the pre-Internet & cellphone early days of rave and Jungle, when new music and underground culture were beamed out into the world on pirated FM signals. The voice of the rebel, the outsider and the virtually forgotten, capable of giving a Lana Del Rey sample thick machine grease gravity.
Listening to Soul Music I feel the gut-rumbling thrill of listening to Mo’Wax‘s HEADZ compilations at a record shop listening station. A brilliant re-framing of something known and a chance to hear something again for the first time.