Chances are when you were 19, you weren’t dropping an anthem on your generation. Whether he cares to admit it or not, Bomb the Bass helped fire-start the acid rave scene in the late 1980′s alongside fellow UK producers like Coldcut and Simon Harris. BTB’s 1988 incendiary missive “Beat Dis” typified his technique, persona and the times: a popping electro bass-line bombed with synthesizer squelches and allegedly 72 rapid-fire scratches, loops and samples. “Just-just-just feel it! Keep this frequency clear! Everybody in the street, Get-get-get down to the funky beat!” The 12″ wore BTB’s bravado and mystique on its sleeve in the form of the dystopian Watchmen comics’ bloody smiley. It was all Scottish-Asian Tim Simenon’s cocky stab at creating b-boy inspired house beats and buzz. It worked. After “Beat Dis” became a crossover hit, and Simenon caught the ear of everyone from Steinski to Massive Attack, he co-produced Neneh Cherry’s breakthrough “Buffalo Stance” (1988), Seal’s “Krazy” (1991) and Depeche Mode’s Ultra album (1997). He worked hard, partied harder and hit the wall hardest. Burnt out, in 2000 he left London for Amsterdam where he launched the second act of his life as that most contemporary of creatures – the mobile musician. After producing a few singles as BTB and a Thai band called Futon, he presented 2008′s enthusiastically received Future Chaos, a brooding slice of dark new wave featuring Fujiya & Miyagi, Mark Lanegan (Queens of the Stone Age) and Paul Conboy. It was his first original album since 1995′s dubby William Burroughs-inspired Clear. In March 2010, a reinvigorated Simenon released Back to Light, an uptempo companion to Chaos, featuring production by Gui Boratto, vocals by Kelley Polar, Paul Conboy and others–plus a special holdover from old trench-mate Depeche Mode’s Martin L. Gore. We rang up Simenon in his new home in Thailand to sneak a peak at the man behind the smiley.
Released by !K7
My first experience with the music of Bomb the Bass (also known as Tim Simenon) was through Kruder & Dorfmeister’s masterful compilation, The K&D Sessions (1998), on a dub version of the track “Bug Powder Dust” with Justin Warfield (originally released on the magnificent and genre-defining 1995 album Clear). The work on Clear has a quality reminiscent of the musique concrète stylings of Pierre Schaeffer, which made it a remarkable and highly noteworthy album. His subsequent albums have always represented an evolution and departure from the preceding work, as if done by a completely different artists, and this explains how Simenon’s work has always found a superb depth through his varied musical interests--it’s probably because he spends a lot of time actually thinking through the music. Currently we find ourselves with the new Bomb the Bass project, Back to Light, a quick follow-up installment to his 2008 release Future Chaos. From the get-go the album announces itself through insidious emotive aural effects, which through a blistering barrage of time-travel sounds, encompass the listener in a feeling that although intense, evaporates rather instantly.
Released by Renaissance
When one of electronic music’s most respected staples, Renaissance, and Brazilian DJ and producer Gui Boratto teamed up for the first time, the result can surely be compared to a spacey sound journey through an atmospheric rainforest. Boratto gets in the mix with this groovy third release for the Renaissance name, following the likes of M.A.N.D.Y, Dave Seaman and James Zabiella. For the mix, Boratto picked tracks by some of his favorite artists and producers of the moment—Tricky, Josh Wink, Martin Buttrich, Lusine, Christian Smith, Mathew Jonson, and Bomb the Base, to name a few—as well as his own material, including four never heard before productions. While one might get locked in from song two, which is a John Tejada remix of Boratto’s 2009 “Take My Breath Away,” almost every song is a trip of its own, including Tricky’s “Past Mistake” making for a surprisingly eerie, yet beautiful ending.