Clas­sic Al­bum: Wookie

S2S Record­ings, 2000

Future Music - - FILTER -

This is a man who has got his own sound. As one of the key pro­duc­ers of his gen­er­a­tion, Wookie fear­lessly joined the dots be­tween the crisp new UK garage son­ics of the dawn­ing mil­le­nium, and the fierce chops and bass drops of the un­der­ground jun­gle scene. He took the cut­ting-edge sound­track of the clubs, and wove in cel­lists and live mu­si­cians, touch­ing on Latin flavours and jazz, be­fore al­low­ing his right-hand vo­cal­ist, Lain, to ride these in­tox­i­cat­ing rhythms with the com­mand of a Gospel preacher, and the ef­fort­less swag­ger of a slick R&B video star.

Wookie, and his pro­duc­tions, oozed con­fi­dence – thanks in no small part to the world they came from. His stu­dio was lo­cated in dance mu­sic le­gends Soul II Soul’s Cam­den record­ing com­plex, hav­ing worked for them since the mid-nineties, run­ning the boards and remix­ing tracks. He was sur­rounded by great­ness, daily, and had ac­cess to all of Jazzie B’s vast ar­ray of synths, drum ma­chines and in­stru­ments, as well as a treasure trove of DATs and master tapes to plun­der for his own pro­duc­tions.

“I was so lucky to be in Soul II Soul’s stu­dios when I was mak­ing this al­bum,” says Wookie.” Back then, in the garage scene, there weren’t many guys that came from such a stu­dio com­plex.

“It helped me do what no­body else was do­ing in garage – hav­ing live in­stru­ments play­ing, or mesh­ing the elec­tric sounds with the ana­logue. We had acous­tic gui­tars and live strings, but with breaks and fil­ters and all them type of things go­ing on over the top. It was se­ri­ous mu­sic.”

Look­ing back, Wookie’s sound gets called garage, but it was so much more. “It doesn’t sound like garage,” says Wookie. “Put on some MJ Cole next to me, or any of the other guys out at the time who had that real 2-step garagey sound. I didn’t have that. I joined all this dif­fer­ent mu­sic to­gether, and came up with my own style.

“Jazzie said to me, ‘In or­der for you to have some sort of suc­cess, you have to have your own in­di­vid­ual sound’. Luck­ily for me I achieved that.”

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