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  Roni Size
 

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The man most responsible for raising the profile of drum and bass, the very popular Size continues to challenge the boundaries.  His debut, New Forms, startled people with its jazzy elements and strong production.  It won a bunch of major awards, including the top prize in London and it was assumed that he would return with more of the same.  Instead, In the Mode went to hip hop for its base, lining up Method Man and Zack De La Rocha for guest vocals.

Roni Size's Deepest Grooves

New Forms (Talking Loud, 1997)
A landmark album, and one of the first stops in your drum and bass education.  Size once called this a jazz album rather than drum and bass, and the arrangements on "Hi-Potent" and "Jazz" will give credence to that statement.  The title track with Bahamadia's chopped up flow was one of the first attempts at creating a transatlantic urban music and is an acknowledged classic.  "Watching Windows," "Share the Fall," and "Brown Paper Bag" are just a few of the propulsive tracks on the double disc. 

In the Mode (Talking Loud, 2000)
Was he trying too hard to cross over or was he genuinely hoping to bridge the worlds of drum and bass and rap together?  The jury is still out.   The Hype Williams-directed video doesn't speak well for his intentions, but Mode does benefit greatly from the improved skills of MC Dynamite, who can now carry a track by himself.  One wishes there were more vocal numbers, and the US-UK collaboration thing still doesn't sound natural, but at least half the disc is slamming and that's a pretty good percentage in today's market.

Copyright 2001 B. Graff.  All rights reserved.

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