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PROFILE

Urban Sunrise Collaborative [established by Alex Romane]:

Arkhenatan Lyrics, Rap Vocals
Nicholas Guillermo Writing, Drum and Synth Programming, Engineering
Si Writing, Guitar
Alex Romane Writing, Lyrics, Vocals, Drum and Synth Programming, Engineering, Co-Production
Ranjita Toor Co-Production, Executive Production

Delirious - world's first Jungle/Drum and Bass album

Since 1986, Alex Romane has worked with Electro Hip Hop, Folk, Thrash Metal, House, Techno, Acid, Hardcore and then Punk Rock fusions when later engineering and producing for Punk Rock and Thrash Metal bands on the live scene in London. During 1989/90, he also worked intermittently at Chrysalis Records in London as a trainee music producer under Stuart Slater's publishing department where the focus was on Acid and Acid Jazz with producer Evil Evan [20 Seconds to Comply - Silver Bullet].

The inter-play between layering processed drums with acoustic rhythms, synthesis, and sound engineering were Alex's passions and not wanting to be famous, he turned-down a publishing and recording contract with Chrysalis [who wanted him to front and promote his own music] and instead set out to establish himself within the industry as a freelance dance music producer and drum and synth programmer, writing and producing for others.

During 1990/91, Alex was sampling various drum loops, drum sounds and then James Brown and Schooly-D drum rhythms into a friend's borrowed Boss DSD-2 Delay Sampler guitar pedal so as to provide a Breakbeat feel to back-up his Alesis drum machine in his Acid, House and Hardcore music.

Urban Sunrise - DnB History Urban Sunrise - DnB History Urban Sunrise - DnB History Urban Sunrise - DnB History

The Breakbeat genre itself was created by early 1970's New York Funk and Soul DJs who started to mix only the drum break parts of tracks back-to-back instead of mixing whole tracks back-to-back and, the Breakbeat genre itself may also be the world's first genre of music created without using any musical instruments. Today's Drum and Bass intelligentsia [Wikipedians, the BBC and music 'journalists' who were never involved with Progressive Hardcore or the creation of Jungle/Drum and Bass music] will tell you that "UK producers sampling these break beats into complex samplers like the affordable Akai S3000 led to the creation of Jungle and Drum and Bass." but, this is all very far from the truth and the truth can only come from musicians who can actually prove their direct involvement with Progressive Hardcore and the creation of Jungle/Drum and Bass as a genre. For example; you will not get the truth from Wikipedia when every time anyone adds any information about Alex into related Wikipedia pages, it is always removed by non-Wikipedia 'editors'.

To the intelligentsia and non-musicians, musical genres will always appear to evolve but, these people are simply not aware that there is by default, a progressive front within every genre [whether it be Folk, Rock, Reggae or Hardcore etc] and, the intentional and very obvious jump in BPM was one of the 3 defining elements of Jungle/Drum and Bass music. Only nature evolves - anything else is a creation [such as musical genres and, they are creations and not inventions] so, those who publicly deride Alex while asking; "What's Progressive Hardcore?" confirm their lack of knowledge and make it obvious that spite is their only motive.

The main reasons as for why no one has yet been able to establish the true roots of Jungle/Drum and Bass [and for why establishing this has been a contentious issue] is because Alex Romane didn't publish the following information until late 2013 and, because Jungle/Drum and Bass did not evolve naturally from any current genre. It was instead, the result of a conscious effort during 1990/91 to create a new urban dance genre and, although Alex was on his own during the moment when he first sampled and dissected the James Brown drum loop using the pedal sampler, other artists who he worked with during 1990/91 who have spoken about this over the years have been ignored by the intelligentsia. There are also many people across London who weren't directly involved in any productions but who heard the new music during 1990/91 and they have also been ignored. The reasons as for why Alex has now chosen to disclose his involvement with the creation of Jungle/Drum and Bass music in 2013 are because in 2013, Alex had his first chance to complete an album since Delirious [while signed-up] and as with most other artists, Alex's history is now relevant and, the new album is intended to be used to raise awareness of the UK's potential for direct democracy [which Alex feels is an urgent issue] and, this was the single initial reason for producing and releasing a new album in 2014 and, in his name.

Firstly, as every sound engineer and producer already knows, samplers are not responsible for the character of rhythms or their complexities [these aspects are managed by sequencers] and during 1990/91, Jungle/Drum and Bass [known at the time as Progressive Hardcore] was happening in London without Akai samplers. Akai samplers have been around since 1985 and models such as the S3000 costs around £3000 even in 1991 [which was hardly "affordable" for the average underground producer] so with all of this in mind, it is obvious that it took far more than just a sampler [of any kind] to create Jungle/Drum and Bass music.

The Delirious album was produced during 1991/92 using only an EMU sampler, an Alesis HR16 drum machine and an Alesis MMT8 sequencer. No Akai samplers were used and, the reason for why there wasn't a follow-up album or for why no further units were distributed was because while the first run of the album was selling [92/93], the associated record company and studio collapsed. By this time, Alex had also sold or lost most of his own studio and so without a record company and after moving away from the Bristol area in 1994, Alex had to start from scratch and so was hiring recording studios in Birmingham up until 1998.

Alex says; "During this time and up until sometime after 94, various friends like Darren from Kosheen kept me going by giving me access to their private studios. I met Darren via my family years before he established Kosheen and was sharing advanced ideas on engineering, psycho acoustics and track structure within minutes but after 96 and while living in Birmingham, I lost touch with most people that I had known or worked with since 1988 and with no studio or record company, I had to start again - including going to work PAYE.

It wasn't until around 99 that I had a studio again and about 6 months into production of a new Drum and Bass album [some of it featuring MC Robbie D], something happened in my personal life and outside of music that absolutely devastated me. I became deeply affected and extremely ill and, it is this event that led me into political activism. I made a choice to not turn away and to instead fight those behind what had happened and so anything to do with music production was suddenly not part of my life but, I had no idea that it would mean fighting 3 concurrent court cases [one lasting for 2 years and which also involved over-turning a police conspiracy], the establishment of a political movement and, the authoring of a book [published by the British Library]. Now I just want to get back to what's left of my life and my music."

Secondly, WE ARE i.e. by Lennie De Ice [mentioned for years by the BBC and others as being the first ever Jungle/Drum and Bass track] did consist of a dissected sample of The Winston's Amen, Brother break beat but, it had a flat-beat bass drum rhythm and ran at 136 bmp and, it is only by using retrospective revision that people wrongly assume that this track is even a Jungle/Drum and Bass track in the first place. Lennie himself confirms that he produced the track in 1987 but didn't release it until 1991 and even now, he denies that it is a Jungle/Drum and Bass track or even a proto-Jungle track, stating instead that it is a hybrid Acid track.

If any track from 1991 was ever to be the first Jungle/Drum and Bass track to be produced, then the Jungle/Drum and Bass tracks that Alex Romane was producing in London during 1990/91 must have happened in another dimension and if so, it goes without saying that at that time, another producer would have become known for creating Jungle/Drum and Bass [just as with Steve Silk Hurley and Jack music, Africa Bambata with definitive Hip Hop music etc]. The first ever Jungle/Drum and Bass tracks were never signed-up or published and Alex still has possession of some of the first Jungle/Drum and Bass ideas and tracks from 1990/91 and although Alex did send material to various labels, nothing [even including the Delirious album] was signed-up or published by any record company until 1992.

During 2014, Alex will be releasing some of the Jungle/Drum and Bass ideas that he produced during 1990/91 and, he believes that the reason for why nothing he produced during 1990/91 was signed was because his first Progressive Hardcore/Jungle/Drum and Bass tracks were literally just drum parts and bass lines only [due to limited sequencing ability]. He says that he was also working on other potential new genres during 1990/91 and that he promoted only his Progressive Hardcore because it was the only genre that was developed and, he adds that the reason for why the BPM of Jungle/Drum and Bass was a lot faster than other genres at the time was because it broke into the scene within 8-12 weeks of him promoting it [sooner than the anticipated 6 to 12 months which is the reason for why Alex actually chose to increase the BPM].

Although produced in 1992, Empathy [from the Delirious album] is typical of the Progressive Hardcore that Alex Romane was producing during 1990/91 and Delirious actually does contain Punk Rock and Hip Hop-influenced drum parts that were produced in 1990 using the Alesis.

It is also wrongly assumed by some non-Black people that the aggression expressed by the drum rhythm styles in Jungle/Drum and Bass music relates to oppressed aggression within the Black community in the UK and therefore that Jungle/Drum and Bass must have been created by Black producers but, this is nothing more than pure racism and generalisation of the Black cultures on the part of non-Blacks who again, were not involved during 1990/91. Whilst the orientation of Electro Hip Hop, House, Hardcore and many other related genres does stem from the Black cultures, the aggression in Jungle/Drum and Bass music comes from the influence of Punk Rock music and, Alex Romane is of mixed-Mediterranean race.

This means that despite the music of Black origins being half of the influence in the creation of Jungle/Drum and Bass music [via Breakbeat, Hip Hop and Hardcore], Jungle/Drum and Bass music is itself not a music of either Black or White origin. It is a music of British origin influenced by music of both Black [Breakbeat, Hip Hop and Hardcore] and White [Punk Rock] origins but, it is not a sub-genre or fusion form [initially, there were no Hip Hop or Punk Rock elements within Jungle/Drum and Bass music] and, it is also an art form and an expression and so is a creation - not an invention [as those such as Pete Waterman who have previously lied about 'inventing' Jungle/Drum and Bass music have never realised]. All of this is just one more reason for why the true origins of Jungle/Drum and Bass has been repressed by the mainstream media and intelligentsia.

As mentioned previously, Jungle/Drum and Bass did not evolve naturally from any current genre and neither is it a fusion form or sub-genre. If Jungle/Drum and Bass had evolved from either Hardcore or Raggamuffin Hip Hop [as some believe], the occurrence of Jungle/Drum and Bass would have changed the direction of both of these timelines and the timeline that hosts the Happy Hardcore sub-genre [for example] probably wouldn't exist because, Jungle/Drum and Bass did not go on to evolve into Happy Hardcore. Also, if Jungle/Drum and Bass had evolved from Hardcore or Raggamuffin Hip Hop, all of the existing sub-genres of Jungle/Drum and Bass [such as Dub Step] would be known as forms of either Hardcore or Raggamuffin [and not forms of Jungle/Drum and Bass].

As well as providing the influence for the aggression regarding drum rhythms, the influence from Punk Rock music is also why it is no coincidence that when musicians add distorted guitars, wind instruments, organs and other non-electronic instruments to Drum and Bass drum rhythms, the music will then sound like a Pop/Big Band/Cabaret sub-genre of Punk Rock and, acts such as Rudimental and Chase and Status come very close to this and, it is also no coincidence that Pete Waterman is behind much of this highly commercial form of pseudo-Drum and Bass. At the same time, eliminating the Cabaret aspects simply leaves electronic Punk Rock.

Why do you think it is that Kerrang! Radio [a strictly Rock and Punk Rock network] plays music from Pendulum [a Drum and Bass band]?

Why do you think it is that various Thrash Metal bands are now falsely claiming to have 'invented' Jungle/Drum and Bass and even Deb Step?

Finally, during 1990/91, no other artists anywhere produced tracks consisting of dissected break beats running faster than 140 BPM with irregular [not flat-beat] bass drum rhythms and it is the presence of these 3 components that initially defined Jungle/Drum and Bass music and, it is also no coincidence that Alex co-wrote and co-produced the first ever Jungle/Drum and Bass album. If others were also doing this during or before 1990, they've had over 20 years to prove it and you would already know of the true history of Jungle/Drum and Bass music and, it was during this time that Alex was actually saying to other producers that in his opinion, the opportunity to create a new genre had never been so obvious.

With some of Alex's 'friends' and with some members of his more-distant family even ridiculing him for anything to do with his music around this time, he learned fast to stop mentioning his links with his own creation and even when working with Nathan Robinson on the Delirious album, all Alex said at the time to Nathan was that if they produced a Progressive Hardcore/Jungle cross-over album right then, that it would be the first of its kind and, as with many people that Alex has met and worked with since late 1991 [in any capacity], not even Nathan knew.

When those close to Alex did start to make connections between him and the roots of Jungle/Drum and Bass music, he would simply 'admit' that he was "Just one of the guys involved in developing it in the beginning." He Says; "I did also consider throughout all of these years, that it could have been possible that others were working along similar lines and that I just never knew about them. I never had any guarantees that this wasn't the case and it's only possible now and by using the web, to see that no one was producing similar material during 1990/91. I knew even before experimenting with Progressive Hardcore what it feels like to see others claim your music as their own and I didn't want to risk doing this to someone else and, I also had no specific reason or desire to be disclosing my full history with Jungle/Drum and Bass music until now."

While still at school, one of Alex's younger sisters came to him asking if she could use a piece of his unpublished music in her music class. After performing the piece, the music teacher told his sister that she knew that it wasn't her music and when Alex's sister protested, reiterating that it was 'in fact' written by her, the teacher told her that she knew that it wasn't written by her - because she herself had written it! Alex didn't even attend the same school as his sister and had never even met this so-called 'teacher' and so had never given her any music and, the argument only ended when his sister eventually confessed and was honest about where this piece had actually come from, threatening to tell Alex about her attempt to steal his already-copyrighted music.

At his own school and only after completing his GCSE Music course, was Alex then told that his exam result would be marked-down by a whole grade - simply because he was using electronic equipment. The implications of this meant that Alex would no longer be able to study music anywhere at any level and so he protested on the grounds of discrimination and after hearing just a few seconds of just one of his pieces of his music during an appeal hearing at his new college [incidentally, the same piece of music that his sister's music 'teacher' had claimed to have written and also, Alex's first ever fully-completed composition], the college confirmed that he could choose any course on the curriculum and so, instead of studying A-Level Music, he chose Psycho Acoustic Music Production.

Alex is used to others trying to claim his work as their own and used to others trying to hold him back and so he perceives the attitude form the BBC [for example] and others in the industry who are aware of him to be just more of the same and, knowing that the intelligentsia and BBC etc. were omitting anything about Alex Romane in their Jungle/Drum and Bass write-ups meant that Alex knew that their conclusions would be inaccurate and contradictory. With this in mind, Alex decided that if he was ever to disclose his history with Jungle/Drum and Bass music, that he would wait until this had happened so that he could fill-in the missing gaps and correct the contradictions, guess-work, lies and 'coincidences' about the roots of Jungle/Drum and Bass music and, it is no coincidence that no other Jungle/Drum and Bass pioneer has ever claimed to have created this music.

We believe that all of this information does confirm that Alex Romane did create the Jungle/Drum and Bass genre while experimenting with Progressive Hardcore and as such, we have always been very interested to hear from anyone regarding the existence of any track produced by another artist during 1990/91 that contains the 3 fundamental components that initially defined Jungle/Drum and Bass music:

1. Dissected break beat
2. Irregular [not flat-beat] bass drum rhythm
3. 140+ BPM

In a UK music industry now largely ran by the pro-government BBC working along-side pro-government corporates and banks and, with the de-politicalisation of Hip Hop music [via the emergence of Hip Pop acts such as Jay-Z, Kanye West and others] and, now with the watering-down of Drum and Bass music [via the BBC, Pete Waterman, other producers and mainstream music 'journalists'], did you really expect them to tell you the truth? As with Hip Hop music, Jungle/Drum and Bass was a highly politically-charged music that was never about self-promotion, sex, good nights-out, cars, jewellery or wealth expressed through material status on any level and was always only about social politics - as is true Hip Hop and Drum and Bass today.

Do you think it's just a coincidence that the families who own the retail banks, gold bullion banks, Hollywood, Bollywood, oil cartels and all of the remaining major record companies [the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds] also own Jay-Z, Kanye West and legalised child porn pushers Rihanna and Miley Cyrus? Jay-Z even named his record company after the Rockefellers and Beyoncé openly confirms that her hand gestures on stage are symbols of respect to the Rockefeller family. Their backers are the same people who own the banks that stole the homes of hundreds of thousands of Blacks in the Southern states of North America by deceiving them into believing that they had viable mortgages on their homes when all along, these banks knew that their customers would default - leaving them to take their homes. This was the biggest lawful confiscation of Black wealth since slavery and it contributed to the financial collapse of 2008 and thanks to Obama [who was given to Black America so as to subdue them in preparation for harsh social policy implementation] and Cameron, America and Europe's poorest people are now subsidising these banks for their 'losses' in the form of austerity measures [another form of wealth redistribution that sees money moving from the poorest to the richest], and all of this corruption continues while the sheeple buy into Hip Pop 'artists' such as Jay-Z and Kanye West and, while using their existing freedom to empower a minority to run our so-called 'democracies'.

Bred by Disney, puppeteered by Rockefellers - where is Black America's voice now?

For decades, a war has been raging in the background. It remains hidden behind a mirage of propaganda created by the mainstream news agencies and, hidden from humans who have over-dosed on TV soaps, X Factor, Hip Pop, BBC and tabloid news, alcohol, celebrity sex, and themselves. It is a global war between finance and true democracy and the outcome will result in either more 'representative' politics, dictatorships, war and environmental catastrophe or, direct democracy, peace, fair economics and a chance to save our species.

It was aspects relating to this war that enabled for the event that pulled Alex out of is career and into political activism in 1999 and as mentioned previously, his new album [to be released in 2014] was produced specifically to promote his solution [direct democracy] for winning this war and, to re-launch his career.

Alex says; "I believe that all musicians have a duty to get politically and socially active and I believe in this so strongly that in my view, a musician is not a musician if they don't also fight against political and social corruption. I believe that all musicians are obliged to do this because as musicians, we have a natural ability that most listeners don't have, that enables us to automatically strip-down musical structures as we listen - we hear all of the tracks, instruments and notes working individually and as a whole and, this ability can also be applied to political and social structures. There is a common phrase that says that when good men do nothing, evil prevails but, good men never do nothing!"

PA direct democracy video: Professor Griff - Miley Cyrus and musical porn
PA direct democracy video: Chuck D; 'Political musicians are public enemy'
PA direct democracy video: Chuck D; 'Major artists sold social ethics for cash'
PA direct democracy media: UK-relevant news that the BBC kept from you
Independent article: Warner Bros, AoL, Fox, Sony running agenda via artists

In 1973, DJ Kool Herc was the first DJ to loop a break beat by running it from 2 records back-to-back and so therefore, Kool Herc created Breakbeat as a music form and, he was also the world's first Hip Hop DJ. Late 1970's Funk/Soul-Electro fusions [roots in early 1970's Electro and Techno initially created by Kraftwerk and Yellow in Europe] led to the creation of the world's first definitive Hip Hop track Planet Rock [Africa Bambata - New York 1982].

In 1986, Coldcut had released Say Kids, what Time is It? which featured a James Brown break beat which later appeared again in Fresh 4's Wishing On A Star in 1989 and so in 1990, Alex also started to experiment with this particular James Brown drum rhythm along with rhythms from Schooly-D's Somewhere In The Land of No Rap album.

The James Brown break beat was originally recorded by Clyde Stubblefield in Funky Drummer [1969] and was released as a single in 1970 but, it was not widely known until the release of James Brown's In The Jungle Groove album [1986].

The pedal sampler had a memory of around 1 second so, only the first 2-3 beats of any bar of the James Brown break beat were able to be captured and replayed. To perform a full bar [4 beats] of drum music, the sample would be repeatedly re-triggered. To eliminate the resulting rigid flat-beat feel of the re-triggered 1 bar sequence, Alex re-triggered the sample at irregular intervals throughout the bar and, mostly before the sample itself had ended. Doing this over the length of 1 or more bars provided a dissected and chopped feel to the Breakbeat rhythm and also intermittently threw the snare drum away from its original position on the regular 'up' beat.

With the same principals applied, another sample of the same James Brown break beat was taken but, starting from the 2nd beat in the bar [the 'up' beat/snare hit] and the 2 samples were then layered, alternated and crafted together through multi-tracking. It very strictly was not [as many now say], a case of alternating the roles of the bass drum ['down' beat] and snare drum ['up' beat] strikes.

If Alex had access to bigger sampling devices, the need to re-trigger the sample would never have arisen and, Alex feels that this, combined with consciously speeding-up Hardcore and replacing the flat-beat bass drum rhythm with irregular off-beat rhythms, is why no one else was doing it before 1990 and, it was also not common for underground dance music producers to be working with aggressive Punk Rock or Thrash Metal bands.

These producers mostly replayed drum parts as they were sampled and argued with Alex that doing so was by way of a compliment to the artist responsible for creating the original rhythm. Alex argued that to just rip-off other artists was in no way a compliment, but was just a lazy way of 'beefing-up' tracks. He instead believed that the best way to compliment an artist was to create something original based upon the inspiration of what was sampled.

The typical underground home studio would consist of midi or combined midi-analogue equipment. Atari computers with 64 track sequencing software [Notator and Creator] were the norm and so for Acid heads working underground and from home, there was no need and more importantly, no will for re-triggering and dissecting samples and, there was no exposure to analogue guitar effects units or, exposure to the aggression of Punk Rock and Thrash Metal either for these programmers and producers and, owning a sampler of any type was still rare.

Generally, not being musicians, Acid heads were not interested in working with conventional forms and conventional musicians were not interested in working with highly processed music but, Alex was fortunate enough to be able to find conventional artists who were interested - hence Alex's relationship with Punk Rock, Thrash Metal, Reggae and Folk.

As there were no time-stretch facilities on the sampler pedal, the pitch control was increased so as to speed up the BPM of the sampled drum loop and this also naturally changed the tone of the drums making them sound a bit more 'techy'.

The 'line out' signal taken from the sampler was then routed directly into additional Boss guitar Phaser PH1R and Chorus CE-2 pedal effects units to act as intermittent fill-ins at the end of 4 and 8 bar sequences so as to regularly refresh the feel without using additional sounds. Again, using these effects on whole drum parts was unheard of at the time but eventually, it became such an influence that whole track parts [not just the drums] across other genres soon started conforming to the use of these effects in this particular way also.

After routing the sample through the Phaser and Chorus units, a Boss guitar Overdrive OD3 pedal effect unit would then be used to industrialise the dry James Brown drum sounds into something bigger and more metallic. The Overdrive effect also provided an edge that was common in Punk Rock and Thrash Metal and so the aggressive drum styles that Alex loved working with at the time carried through.

Finally, the signal was then fed directly into a Boss RPS-10 Digital Pitch Shifter Delay [Echo] Modular effects unit. With the Feedback setting on medium and the Rate setting on maximum with a medium volume ratio output for the Delay effect, the sample was able to ricochet off into the distance when applied to the final quarter-beat [1/4th] or the final snare strike in any 1,2,4,8 or 16 bar sequences.

At the end of the effects daisy chain, the Pitch Shift effect from the RPS-10 enabled snares [particularly] to 'spring' up or down a pitched scale adding even more character if activated after the Delay.

The Alesis drum machine that Alex was using was at the time, the only drum machine in the world that used acoustic drum samples instead of processed/synthetic sounds. As the Alesis was specifically a Human Rhythm Machine, drum parts could be altered in ways that other drum machines couldn't do. For example; timings could be manipulated to mimic the looseness of a real human drummer and, the pitch of every instrument within the unit could be altered independently - even independent of other incidences of the same drum used within the same bars.

As the Alesis was designed specifically with psycho acoustics in mind and, as Alex had previously completed a diploma course in the study of the science of psycho acoustics whilst at college, it was natural that some heavy experimentation in drum music would ensue - even before introducing samples.

During 1989 and in his Electro Hip Hop, Acid and Hardcore music, Alex started to use these facilities and he would commonly re-pitch dry acoustic snare strikes within tracks. He continued to use this effect in his Progressive Hardcore more and more and snares soon started flying up and down the scale to act as intermittent fill-ins whilst a dissected break beat ran on top.

All of the effects units were set up to be used independently and 'on the fly', meaning that more personality could be expressed throughout the entire track length as opposed to just within sub sequences - therefore giving more personality to the entire track itself.

Alex was also studying the patterns in the current Hardcore scene and noticing that in London, the tempo of Hardcore was gradually increasing from around 130 BPM - particularly at events held by Orange Club [1990-91]. In a conscious attempt to create a new form of underground dance music, he used his new dissected aggressive drum rhythm style at 140 - 150 BPM with Hardcore, Techno and even Trance [known at the time as LRTTT music - Li'l Louis French Kiss being the originator in 1989] and continued to develop this music [as a form of Progressive Hardcore] with others.

He sent demo's of various Progressive Hardcore projects to a handful of the major labels and publishers in London throughout 1990/91 and worked on new projects with friends in London and the South West but, the new music was not received positively by the majors who at the time had a policy of not working with underground producers - despite John Peel playing related tracks by Alex on BBC Radio 1 at the time. The last A&R manager who Alex spoke with regarding his Progressive Hardcore actually said to him when explaining why he wasn't interested; "What it is?" and while Alex tried to explain how him questioning this demonstrated that it was at least something new, he instead chose to play it safe.

Alex never believed in holding a monopoly on ideas within the studio and generally shared his latest experiments, ideas and resources with others around him at any time. Whether sharing newly-created engineering techniques, advising upon psycho acoustics, or simply trying to secure recording and publishing deals for friends, he has always encouraged new developments in music directly and through others.

The hope was that by the time any tracks were released, they would naturally be in sync with a faster Hardcore movement but, with the addition of a new aggressive and dissected Breakbeat drum rhythm style and therefore, potentially have more success in launching a new music form.

Conventional string and piano pads and samples from the House scene and general synth and guitar parts were largely eliminated as they often made Progressive Hardcore sound tacky at higher speeds. This aspect later got together with fast-paced House and Techno-oriented flat-beat tracks and unfortunately, this gave birth to Happy Hardcore.

It was mid-1991 when the major labels started to realise that they would have to shift their outlook but, only because Pop tracks released by rival independents were now starting to feature aspects from the underground Acid, House and Hardcore scene.

Alex believes that this wouldn't have happened without The Prodigy's Charlie hitting the UK number 1 spot in August. Now, managers working with the major labels and the independents were starting to hire producers from the underground to make their pop productions more trendy and so the major's eventually sold-out to the underground - it was never the other way around.

Alex explains; "This is why those who maliciously accused acts such as The Prodigy and The Shaman of 'selling-out' got it completely wrong. If the masses outside of the underground scene also appreciated their music, then isn't that a massive achievement? How pretentious and elitist would it have been if The Prodigy had intentionally pulled units from shop shelves to stop them charting simply to satisfy the music intelligentsia and more importantly, what is so wrong with artists from any scene making as much money as they can if people are happy to pay for their music?

The intelligentsia will always to some extent, consist of non-musicians and failed DJs who sit around the edges judging the artists and conditioning the audiences and they are also regular inhabitants of A&R departments within both major and independent labels. They have nothing to do with music creation or with music as a language and everything to do with revenue generation and, the internet was their enemy until monetary decisions forced them to get friendly with it - especially the majors."

Since 1994, Alex was experimenting and learning about on-line PR mechanisms and by 1997 he was already working on viral marketing concepts and so it shocked him when he was threatened with legal action upon merely suggesting to one particular record company that they upload some tracks to the web for free so as to use piracy as a form of viral marketing and promotion.

In Alex's opinion, the whole argument about 'selling-out' is false because once an artist has made the decision to sell their music for monetary gain at any level - they have already sold out. He believes that we have all sold out from the day we are born because this is when we accept a life that revolves primarily around money-making [especially in the West]. Alex believes that an underground movement will always exist in any scene whilst there are musicians and producers who do not seek fame and, whilst musicians and producers are not recognised by promoters and labels [recognition from the wider public is not required in order for underground producers to maintain a viable career].

Up until the change in attitude of the major labels, the underground scene was dominated by regular Acid, House and Hardcore and Progressive Hardcore releases into a purely 12 inch, DJ-based market from forward-thinking independents [such as Profile Records in London - who were also largely responsible for doing the same in New York with Electro Hip Hop during the 1980's] and, it was after this shift that Alex soon started hearing his fast-paced, dissected Progressive Hardcore drum rhythm styles being re-branded and duplicated by others as Jungle. The addition of Reggae-oriented rhythm parts and Ragga vocals after 1991 fuelled various further developments followed by claims from within the Ragga scene that Jamaican toasters and rappers created this new music [some claims made even as late as in 1994] so Alex decided to look for a fresh start away from London but, to continue to work with Progressive Hardcore/Jungle fusions, Electro Dub forms and Electro Hip Hop, but separately. Incidentally, it was during 1994 that prominent UK Jungle DJs [such as Fabio and Groove Rider] decided to rename Jungle in an attempt to filter-out the negative aspects of the Ragga scene - hence the term Drum and Bass.

Alex still has possession of some of his very first recordings made in 1990 of him using the process described above with Clyde Stubblefield's Funky Drummer rhythm to create the origins [1990] of what would soon become known in London as Jungle music [1991] and then later known as Drum and Bass music [1994].

Progressive Hardcore backing track - home studio 1990:

[MP3]

No instruments were used, no drum machines were used, no Akai samplers were used and no computers were used - just a cassette deck, a James Brown tape and an array of guitar pedal effects processors being played live as instruments.

Drum sample performed by Clyde Stubblefield [James Brown Funky Drummer].

Demo project - Decoder's [Kosheen] studio 1990:

[MP3]

Within Alex's Progressive Hardcore/Jungle/Drum and Bass, the Clyde Stubblefield 'backbone' precedes the use of the Amen break [Gregory C. Coleman - Amen, Brother, The Winstons 1969] which Alex and others were also using throughout 1987-91 but in Hardcore and - not dissected.

Drum sample performed by Gregory C. Coleman [The Winstons Amen, brother]

Progressive Hardcore backing track - home studio 1991:

[MP3]

Later using a sampler with a reverse facility, the rhythms are multi-layered with effects applied pre-sampling.

Drum sample performed by Clyde Stubblefield [James Brown Funky Drummer]

Progressive Hardcore backing track - home studio 1991:

[MP3]

Using the same sample with a House vocal effect and an additional snare on the up-beat but, with the sample being triggered from the second 16th.

Drum sample performed by Clyde Stubblefield [James Brown Funky Drummer]

Progressive Hardcore backing track - home studio 1992:

[MP3]

Further experiments with multi-layering.

Drum sample performed by Clyde Stubblefield [James Brown Funky Drummer]

FULL TRACK [Apache - Holocaust] home studio - 1992:

[MP3]

Individual drum sounds from Schooly-D's Somewhere In The Land of No Rap album were sampled routinely by Alex since 1987, with Schooly-D's rhythms then being dissected in 1990.

Drum sample performed by Schooly-D [Gucci Time]

Moving Hardcore forward in this direction was an intentional attempt at progressing the underground music scene in 1990/91 by a specialist Dance music drum programmer who was heavily influenced by the aggression of Punk Rock music and it worked. In Alex's opinion, Progressive Hardcore/Jungle/Drum and Bass didn't though become a well established global music form until the unleashing of New Forms [Roni Size and DJ Die - Reprazent/Full Cycle - 1997].

Delirious World's first non-compilation Jungle/Drum and Bass album

During 1991/92, Alex worked and lived in both London and the South West traveling between them every two weeks before settling on the outskirts of Bristol where in collaboration with Nathan Robinson, he released his first Progressive Hardcore/Jungle/Drum and Bass album Delirious under the name Apache through Big Music Records.

Up until 1992, Bristol dance music culture was still mostly influenced by House and Hardcore with break beats [un-dissected Knuckles and Bones] backing-up drum machines and so Delirious with its dissected James Brown, Schooly-D break beats [among others] and even human beat box and scratch dissections, was new and even months after its release, tracks were played during the opening night at Mallorca's 10,000-capacity BCM club [Europe's 2nd largest night club].

Apache were diverse and experimental and so Delirious is wide-ranging in its scope and because of this, it contains ideas that later re-emerge as two of the various Drum and Bass sub-genres; Ambient/Intelligent and Darkcore. At the time though, all of this music was perceived by Alex and Nathan as Progressive Hardcore and Jungle only.

By mid 1992, Delirious was stocked by both Virgin and Our Price [cassette format] as well as by many independent record shops throughout Bristol and the South West and Jungle music had established itself throughout the UK.

 
FREE Full MP3 downloads: Delirious [1992]

 

Urban Sunrise: Apache 'Delirious'[Side A]
1. Reachin'
2. Circus 7
3. Delirious
4. True Guidance
5. Holocaust [Darkcore]

[Side B]
1. Empathy [Ambient/Intelligent]
2. Dwell in This House
3. Do Something to Me
4. Reachin' [Reprise Mix]

Since 1986 and within various urban genres and in various roles and capacities and under different aliases, Alex Romane has worked with:

Daddy Freddy [4 times world's fastest rapper + creator of Raggamuffin Hip Hop]
Lorna Harris [Goldie/Metalheadz]
Decoder [kosheen]
Evil Evan [20 Seconds To Comply - Silver Bullet]
Gilbert Gabriel [Dream Academy]
Reggae Revolution
Macka-B
Vivian Jones
Sylvia Tella
Prince Malachi
The Jellyfish
Alex Newman
DJ Reason

Alex has also worked with sound engineers and producers such as:

Howard Boulevard [producer to PJ Harvey and Alex's mentor]
Arthur Anderson [Rolling Stones]
Chris Hardcastle [ABC Studios/Monitor Music]

Since 2007 and the re-release of War with Daddy Freddy [original mix produced in 2002], Alex has been focusing on promoting his own productions through Urban Sunrise, a collaborative of people from various backgrounds.

Experimental music: Tech Beat

Urban-oriented Electro/Acid fusion with an Industrial feel and a tempo range of 150 - 155 BPM.

Labelled by DJs as progressive and new, Alex developed it, eventually creating the term Tech Beat as most of the sounds and styles used are electronic and oriented in Electro Hip Hop and Acid and, because of the hard-edged drums and dark sounds in the bass and atmosphere with various sound effects adding an Industrial feel which finalise its identity. Essential to Tech Beat is the BPM range - in sync with that of the average human heart rate, while Tech Beat structures are influenced by Psy Trance and Classical music structures.

Tech Beat is strictly:

150 - 155 BPM
1980's and new Acid and Electro sounds
Dark heavy bass sounds
Industrial ambience and sound effects
Classical/evolving structures

Urban Sunrise's first Tech Beat experiments were produced in 2007 and played by Urban Sunrise in Bora Bora [North Africa's largest nightclub] in 2007. From there, CD's were copied and played in many other venues across Tunisia by Urban Sunrise and other DJs with some bringing copies back into Europe.

In 2009, Urban Sunrise headlined the Birmingham Artsfest after party [Europe's largest free arts festival with an attendance of over 1/4 million] with a live mixed performance of Tech Beat and Electro Dub. Tracks were also performed on the Victoria Square main stage in the centre of Birmingham during the event itself and Alex has since been working to establish Urban Sunrise as a live urban dance collaborative via EMP.

 

All info:

MCPS/PRS
Kerrang Magazine
BCC
EMP
Alex Romane
British Library
BBC

 

Alex Romane would like to give special thanks and full respect to:

- Si, Mark Jackson and Ranjita [love, guidance, encouragement and life support]
- The Jellyfish, Ian and Mel [mass exposure to Punk Rock music, support]
- All the girls at BCC Artsfest 2009
- Paul Mercier [equipment sourcing and supply - studio and live performances]
- Panos Polimatidis and Craig Evans [artist and label management at Believe Digital]
- Howard Boulevard [advice, guidance, support, training and technical tuition]
- Evil Evan and the guys at Chrysalis [advice, support, training and technical tuition]
- My guardian angel [for your sacrifice in choosing to be with me without conditions since before this incarnation, for your comfort, support and friendship and for showing me the great lie of the religions. I love you x]

To my haters in the Drum and Bass intelligentsia; For you, Drum and Bass and music is just part of your job or not even that much. For me, Drum and Bass and music is my life.

 

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