Album Reviews

Shimon Presents Ram Raiders – Various

(compilation) UK release date: 12 July 2004

The brainchild of Hornchurch based Ant Miles and Andy C, Ram Records was formed over 10 years ago and since then has become one of the most influential drum and bass labels in the world. Ram has nurtured new talent, promoting more diverse dnb forms, as well as developing collectives and holds regular and now legendary parties at London’s The End.

The Ram Raiders series, with the first instalment released in 2001 and mixed by Andy C, has always been by way of vinyl EP. This hour long collection however, mixed by fellow Ram stalwart, Shimon, is a collection of the best of the EPs so far, as well as other recently released and soon to be released tracks. It certainly offers the listener some of the best and most inventive dnb on the scene at present.

The LP starts supremely with the classic Cold Killa by Shimon & Sparfunk. It enters with a sample of Carmina Burana that is then hit with the funkiest and dirtiest of hooks, grabbing the listener into the glorious depths of dark dnb. It edges along with sampled vocal until all hell is let loose with the onset of mayhemed beats, that propel and induce the listener to merge into the music without wish or hope for release.

There is no brake of pace either as metal dnb’ers, Night Breed‘s Pack Of Wolves hits it beautifully hard. The guitar riff assaults and the vocals, nasty and fuzzed to the max (and strangely reminiscent of Jello Biafra), mesh with the propelling tune. This is followed by the crazed Now’s The Time by Moving Fusion & Fierce which adds another dimension of lopped up madness.

Fresh‘s Signal heralds an semi ambient chill out in the middle of the mayhem, the mood of which is then picked up and punched by Shimon & Andy C‘s Pimp Slap which is hook incarnate. Gorgeous. Serious psychosis incurs however, with Sub Focus‘s Acid Test, and as the mist of madness envelops with crazed beats and laughing loops, the listener is again lost to a drug free ether, pulled again to another high with their beautiful Get On Up, funk, deep, stunning.

Shimon’s mixing is impeccable throughout and this Ram Raiders CD shows again that Ram is without a doubt central to innovative dnb. The highest of standards are set with the first few tunes on the LP and as well as hearing purest dance, the glory of dnb’s mix with punk, jazz and any and all other musical forms can be heard in most tracks on offer in this supreme collection. There are a couple of tracks that move slightly away from the concentrated inventiveness, but overwhelmingly, this is pretty much as good as you’re going to get. Glory be.

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Shimon Presents Ram Raiders – Various