How keenly I remember my brother rocking up to my first flatwarming party, dropping DJ Shadow’s recently released Entroducing… in the CD player and kicking back in our living room to monitor our reactions.
Time stopped as I stood motionless in the sitting room, trying to process that grandiose, bonkers and thrillingly choppy introduction before the chilling aural solace of ‘Building Steam With a Grain of Salt’ took us all away to a haunted hinterland.
Fast forward sixteen years and Shadow and his Californian cohorts are underground household names, my copy of that revolutionary rough diamond of a debut a fondly remembered but rarely replayed keepsake.
Hunting out old drum’n’bass tunes to impress my girlfriend’s little sister, I was reminded of a DJ Die remix of ‘What Does Your Soul Look Like?’ that the self-same brother borrowed and accidentally melted to a possessed storage heater. While that particular nugget still aludes me, my search lead me to Brainfreeze accomplice Cut Chemist’s extraordinary rework of Entroducing‘s Side A bruiser ‘The Number Song’.
The music gods giveth and the music gods taketh away – but mostly they giveth.
Where Shadow and Q-Bert were the technical masters, it’s always been Cut Chemist that brought the party. The original mix of ‘The Number Song’ is a brutal knuckling to the scalp, bringing the listener round sharply from the hypnotic procedural of ‘Building Steam…’, but the Chemist camoflages the hard-edge Metallica core amongst the foliage of an altogether more soulful, tuneful, worldly sample workout.
A grounded and coherent than your average cut’n’paste lesson, the simple addition of cowbells seem to make the Cut Chemist approach an altogether more funky, danceable journey that has belatedly made it a regular fixture in the Crate.