Dillinja aka Capone aka Trinity aka Cybotrone, is widely regarded as one of the most influential and prolific drum and bass producers on the scene. Described by Goldie as “the bass explorer of the nineties” and heralded by DJ Brian Gee as 30-40% responsible for how dnb sounds today, his influence has been vast. More specifically, Dillinja is reputed to be one of the key players responsible for the use of the distorted analogue bass hooks now used as standard in drum and bass.
Born Karl Francis in Brixton, his early influences included jazz, funk, rare grooves and reggae which developed into the love of all things electronica, hip hop and dub and he started to DJ at the tender age of 15. His precocious talent led him to building his own PA systems, at first to use at parties, then later to play his own music through, and this became the Valve System which now tours, blasting eardrums and vibrating bones on the way.
This 14 track CD is a retrospective and begins with the recently released Forsaken Dreams, as a fair introduction to the man’s music. The vocal is a gorgeously slanted and flanged hook, off kilter and grabbing, that morphs into the hardest of dnb. The wobbly bass and fattest beats come thick and fast with 1996’s Friday as the tune meshes forward, sub-nasty, and grinding. All The Things takes the bass to another level however. The sickly vocal that begins the tracks soon melts behind hammering vibrations so fast you’ll fall.
The seminal early release Sovereign Melody is recognizable to all. It has a beauty and unassuming jazz cool class. Acid Track is filth incarnate and he keeps that classics coming thick and fast with In The Grind. Hear this tune through the Valve system and you know you’re alive, with every muscle twitching to the throb. The low frequency is bigged to the ultimate max and it’s a full body experience.
Angels Fell is the sampled Blade Runner theme tune and has an ethereal quality to chill out to and take stock of the damage done to your speakers and Mutha F*cka and Tutor Rose are memorable tunes of memorable nights.
As much as one much must applaud Dillinja’s undoubted influence however, he himself admits that it’s the bass that drives him in production: it’s what he feels and what he offers to us. For all of that, there is, on occasion, a sameness to the sound, and little musical progression. He knows what works with a crowd so why change what’s not broken? However, dnb has to be about experimentation and progression or stagnation is inevitable.
Nevertheless, this retrospective is enjoyable for the full on, uncomplicated dnb effect. Whether the listener is a novice to or an aficionado of, this collection is a must – to listen to, dance to and of course, feel.