This post is about It Begins / Malice Afterthought, a dark dark drum n bass 12-inch vinyl record on Killing Sheep Records. Its catalogue number is KSHEEPV001 to use ‘traditional’ vinyl record nomenclature.
Before I get any further, though, I’d like to share some background on this record and why I’m posting about it…
First and foremost, apologies for the poor quality photos. I’m currently using my phone to snap photos because I was recently burgled.
Now then. I don’t rate myself as an expert, let alone someone who is reasonably knowledgeable when it comes to heavy drum n’ bass or similar dark electronic music. I bought this vinyl record five or six years ago from Noise-X-Change because I really liked its dark, brooding, menacing vibe.
As far as I can tell, Killing Sheep Records is a now-seemingly-retired Australian electronic music record label that specialised in dark and heavy drum n’ bass. It had its origins in
Newcastle, NSW, operated for a large part out of (please correct
me if I’m wrong on this one), and while releasing some excellent dark and heavy
drum n’ bass, was notorious for its tongue-in-cheek attitude. For example, I
distinctly recall its founder operating a website that posted loads of emails
(and the hillarious responses) from people trying to scam free records in
return for “promotion”. Melbourne
KSHEEPV001 was the label’s first ever vinyl record. Released in 2004 with full cover art, this 12-inch record contains two drum and bass tracks: It Begins by DJ Hidden, one half of the famous drum n bass duo that is The Outside Agency; and Malice Afterthought, a co-operative track by The Enemy (of Evol Intent fame) and Kid Kryptic, two more American drum and bass artists from the Unites States.
The B-side is what I rate as ‘ambient’ of the two tracks — in a sicko kind of way I mean.
It’s got a meandering, minimal but still kind of disconcerting synth and rapid-fire beat that gets my head nodding in no time, although it’s more than six minutes long and takes a while to get going. In fact, I much prefer the more minimal and haunting second half that leads out of Malice Afterthought. It’s got a cool and creepy vibe that’s less in your face, given that there’s a bit less going on.
Side A is where all the action is.
Side A would have to be the one with (dare I say), ‘dance floor’ appeal, for lack of a better term. It has a quiet, ambient intro that samples a line that goes “It begins” and some other dialogue. I will give you a cookie if you can tell me where this sample came from.
This is followed by what I reckon is the highlight on this record: some terrifyingly dark, deep, hard, distorted bass sounds. I honestly rated this brief sequence of noises as one of my favourite electronic intros of all time. I thought it was so good that I would often try and mix in just the intro when playing this record in my bedroom (all the while fantasizing that I was mixing drum and bass tracks to a packed warehouse full of freaks going bonkers, as bedroom DJs are inclined to do). It’s creepy as hell, just the way dark drum n bass should be, and it’s the part of a track you want to time so that it plays just when someone walks past and you seriously want them to notice.
The intro is followed by a balls-out, in your face expulsion of beats and distorted heavy bass. I imagine it’s nothing too out of the ordinary for heavy and dark drum n bass tracks, but I’m sure it would have no trouble causing sonic mayhem when played in a dark warehouse.
Check out KSHEEPV001 (and buy the damn track if you can) on the Killing Sheep Bandcamp page.
Killing Sheep Records
I own about half a dozen or so Killing Sheep Records vinyl records. While I feel there are better tracks on the label’s roster, this one rates right up there for me simply for the brilliant intro on DJ Hidden’s It Begins.
Yes, I'm a music nerd.
There are bass music record labels and then there are bass music record labels. Whatever that type of low-end, distorted, nasty electronic music means to you, this release contains one of the nastiest, darkest, best electronic music intros (let alone one of the best drum n bass intros) I’ve ever come across.
As an added note, the KSHEEPV001 vinyl record is now more than 10 years old. Many a young producer out there producing drum n bass, ‘bass music’ or pretty much any other form of dark, heavy, underground or subversive electronic music could learn a thing or two from this.