The DJ Hidden track Times Like These rates as one of the best drum and bass tracks in my collection. Or would it be fair to say it’s one of the best hardcore tracks?
Released in 2006 on Australian dark drum and bass label Killing Sheep Records (catalogue number KSHEEPV004), this record apparently represents, in the words of one commentator on its Discogs page, “A piece of crossbreed history!”
Not that comments on Discogs or YouTube or anywhere else for that matter tend to amount to much — but it’s clearly a drum and bass track that happens to be highly regarded.
The term “crossbreed” refers to the name given to the style of music pioneered by The Outside Agency, the Dutch drum and bass artist duo comprised (when performing solo) by DJ Hidden and Eye-D). Personally, I’m not a fan of hard-tech-three-core-nu-bass-plop-step or any of the other myriad of names dreamed up to describe recently released music. For the sake of simplicity, ‘crossbreed’ refers to electronic music that merges hardcore techno with drum n’ bass. This drum and bass track by DJ Hidden is definition of that style of electronic music.
DJ Hidden: Times Like These
For such a noisy and in-your-face track, Times Like These has a surprisingly ambient and quiet start. It starts with a few minutes of ‘light’ and slightly creepy ambience with some piano thrown in for good measure.
Before the fun starts it throws in the following processed and down-tuned vocal sample: “If we are to survive, a new balance must be found. In normal times, evil would be fought by good. But in times like these, it should be fought by another kind of evil.” That’s a line by none other than Dame Judi Dench from the sci-fi epic Chronicles of Riddick. She’s referring to Vin Diesel doing what Vin Diesel does best: kicking an awful lot of ass to the tune of a teeth-jarringly corny script and regular lack of good acting. Actually, if you can bring yourself to see beyond the cringe-inducing dialogue then you may find it’s actually an excellent space opera with a truly epic scope and sense ofd adventure. This may derive from the fact that (no idea if there’s any truth to the following story) Vin Diesel allegedly made the other members of the cast play Dungeons and Dragons with him (not sure which edition) in order to thoroughly get into the spirit of things. Plus, Necromongers make for pretty awesome villains.
Dark drum and bass
So there are two things I love about Times Like These. Firstly, I trainspotted a sample from a geeky science fiction film in an otherwise nasty and dark drum n bass track. Secondly, when I bought this record it was the first time I’d ever heard drum n’ bass music incorporating distorted, hardcore techno (gabber) beats. Not only had I never heard anything like it but when it came out in 2006 it predated the time when every man and his dog was producing and playing ‘bass music’ or dubstep or brostep or whatever it is the kids call it these days.
It’s an absolute ball-tearer of a track that merges intricate cut up breakbeats with stomping hardcore kicks. It’s the sort of music that’s designed specifically to be crazily jumped around to, preferably in a dark warehouse or basement next to a criminally loud sound rig.
The second track, Organic Dub, is by a Hungarian drum and bass artist call Numek. I’d call it a dark dub or nasty ambient, except that it happens to contain full-on breakcore-like beats over its dark choral atmosphere. It melds this with occasional screams and some excellent drum sequences.
Creepy atmosphere meets breakcore in this track and while the beats component of the equation do strike me as a little bit excessive and self-indulgent, it does have some superb moments. It’s an interesting track at the very least and the mere fact that it’s difficult to describe is to its credit.
Check out: DJ Hidden / Numek – Times Like These / Organic Dub on Killing Sheep Records.
Go to the link to find out what it’s all about, legitimately buy both tracks, and support record labels that put out killer music.