Clas­sic Al­bum: 2 Bad Mice, Kaotic Chem­istry

Sm:)e Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, 1995

Future Music - - CONTENTS -

Pic­ture the scene: we’re at an end-of-ter­race house in Steve­nage – 55 Conifer Walk, to be ex­act. A cu­ri­ous mu­sic rum­bles the top left win­dow, as it would most nights in the early ’90s. It’s a bed­room stu­dio, owned by Rob Play­ford (be­hind the leg­endary Mov­ing Shadow la­bel), and in­side, a seis­mic shift in un­der­ground mu­sic is hap­pen­ing.

Rob, along­side Sean O’Ke­effe and Si­mon Cole­brooke, are tin­ker­ing with the mu­si­cal mech­a­nisms that would arm dance­floor dy­na­mite. They brought vinyl to sam­ple, and had riffs from last night’s rave run­ning around their heads as Rob, chan­nelling their in­spi­ra­tions and en­thu­si­asm, is in­ter­pret­ing their vi­sion – heavy on the fast, chopped, break­beats, and awash with the pads, bleeps, and sine waves of hard­core.

“We’d say, ‘We love this Joey Bel­tram bassline', and Rob would play the Yamaha DX un­til he had some­thing close,” says Sean. “Then we’d speed all the breaks up – I don’t know why. Things just got faster. DJs would pitch up tracks on their turnta­bles any­way, so we’d make the next ones so they didn’t have to.”

It was proto-jun­gle – a new for­mula for dance mu­sic that would cause shock­waves still felt to­day.

“We pushed the sounds of breaks,” says Sean. “It came from an in­abil­ity to play in­stru­ments. You didn’t have to have to know mu­sic the­ory. You just had to have some rhythm and know what was gonna sound good on a sys­tem.”

Un­der the aliases 2 Bad Mice and Kaotic Chem­istry, this three-man bomb squad would be re­spon­si­ble for some of the most in­cen­di­ary sin­gles and EPs to hit the scene at the time. The best of these were com­piled to­gether as the artist al­bum, 2 Bad Mice – Kaotic Chem­istry. “That al­bum was a few years in the mak­ing in that stu­dio,” says Si­mon. “It was very much a col­lec­tion of sin­gles, right from the first one that we did in 1991 which was 2 Bad Mice/No Re­spect, right through to the darker and more ex­per­i­men­tal Un­der­world EP. “Look­ing back, it’s a real chrono­log­i­cal pro­gres­sion of our style... A lot of magic hap­pened in Rob’s lit­tle house.”

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