- Source Direct—originally a duo, now just Jim Baker—is one of the most celebrated acts of jungle's mid-'90s heyday. They're spoken of in reverent tones by today's generation of UK producers, and they're immensely important beyond that. The Source Direct discography, particularly the peak years of 1995 through 1998, helps to trace the development of jungle into drum & bass, before it went to a darker place. But with no retrospective compilations or digital releases, younger listeners are probably more familiar with the interview snippet used in Joy Orbison's "Ellipsis" ("we just used to, like") than any Source Direct track. NonPlus is out to fix that with a comprehensive reissue series, which begins with a handful of 12-inches that feature classic tracks alongside new versions from younger producers.
The first 12-inch, featuring "Black Rose," actually isn't a Source Direct track by name. It's taken from a 1996 12-inch under the alias Hokusai, one of the duo's many projects. The original is among the most nerve-wracking jungle tracks out there, built on eerie chords that drape the backdrop in unease (and hinting at the paranoia that would later grip the genre through artists like Ed Rush & Optical). Aside from the dextrous drum break, which somersaults into new shapes with every consecutive bar, the other elements are few and far between. Some cascading bird squawks, a vocal snippet and the sound of someone clomping down on a piano all add to the atmosphere, but otherwise it's a banner Source Direct track—minimalist yet thundering.
Blawan remixes "Black Rose," and he keeps that core tenet in mind. Straightforward and steely, it's in line with the techno producer's recent work, but like the original it never quite erupts, favouring gradual build and release instead. The little shards of Amen break that splinter off the kick drum add a bit of extra pizazz, making it one of the more charismatic tracks he's released in a while. The remix completes an excellent 12-inch that'll probably create Source Direct fans in addition to pleasing the diehards.
A1 Source Direct - Black Rose
B1 Source Direct - Black Rose (Blawan Remix)