Aquasky have been around for time, a long time. Way back when Moving Shadow was at it’s peak in the mid nineties, Aquasky had many a release on the ground breaking label. Now 20 years on they are re-releasing their back catalog: Aquasky – Shadow Era.
We caught up with Brent from Aquasky to find out what his top 5 tunes from Moving Shadow are:
1: Blame ‘Music Takes You (Seal Version)’ – I first heard this when it came out on promo in ’91. Then the lawyers got involved regarding the Seal sample, so it was redone without it. So you can only get this on the promo version. This was a period when I was going to a lot of raves before Aquasky was even a thought in our minds and before I had ever started to DJ or make music. I’d have to say this tune inspired a lot of the music I have made over the years.
2: Goldie & Rob ‘The Shadow’ – This track had a big influence on me and the music we were making. ‘Shadowboxing’ and tracks by Tech Itch as well added to the influences and this was the period that Aquasky made the transition from ambient to dark & heavy! I have the gatefold gold vinyl version as we were always given bags of vinyl when we made the trip to Soho Square to the Shadow Offices. Rob was Rob Playford who started and still owns Moving Shadow, This guy was miles ahead of all the overpaid record execs at the majors at the time and did things that they all copied. Rob was such a nice, grounded person in an industry full of sharks and he always looked out for us.
3: Cloud Nine ‘Snow/Jazzmin’ – Both sides of this release are scorchers produced by Nookie under an alias. I have the white vinyl version of this and it was released about the same time as our first release on the label so I think I probably got finished copies of this and our first release on the same day. Really good combination of old school jungle and amens with the mid-era d&b jazzy vibes.
4: Technical Itch ‘Relic’ – OMG! Mark gave me this on DAT ages before it came out and I still have the dubplate in my collection. I use to start my set in 99/00 with this tune when we were still only playing d&b and jesus it fucked peoples heads up. Firstly because Aquasky was playing music like this that sounded like the devil going past in a Bugatti. But Mark was the first person I ever knew who was making music 100% digitally with a laptop and I was really inspired by what he could achieve and how amazing his filters, sweeps, reeces, drums etc sounded compared to ours and basically everyone else in the world at that time. Even now you can hear inspirations for people like Noisia etc when you hear the whole EP.
5: Aquasky ‘Spectre’ – This was part of our 4 track MSX EP that came out in 2000 and was kind of our d&b swansong. In five years we had gone from making intelligent d&b to proper hard tracks (that’s the Moving Shadow/Reinforced influence for ya). But Spectre was more a roller and was used on GTA 3 as part of the Moving Shadow radio station that you could tune into when driving the car! That tune did very well for us and when I first met Lincoln (High Contrast) he said that tune was what inspired him to make d&b which I thought was a great accolade from someone who carried on the deeper sound after our generation of Shadow producers had stopped making it.
BONUS TRACK: JMJ & Ritchie ‘Free The Funk / Universal Horn’ – IMO one of the best liquidy 12”s from that era. Great use of samples, great vibes and great memories. PFM who was signed to Good Looking at the time also delivered a mighty remix later that year. If you were at any of the clubs I was going to around ‘96 then you would of heard this… it was also a big tune when you went to any coffee shop in Germany or Holland around that time too. Classic World Domination!
AQUASKY – SHADOW ERA
Bournemouth trio Brent Newitt, Dave Wallace and Kieron Bailey have played by their own rules and stamped with their style since day one. 20 years deep into their game and the indelible Aquasky legacy is sprayed colourfully, thoughtfully and, at points, antagonistically over all shades and styles of electronic music since they started exploring the new wave of early 90s rave: drum & bass.
Over the years, Aquasky have been signed to a major record label, worked with everyone from Noisia to Orbital, remixed Diplo & Wiley (as Black Noise), racked up a gold selling single in the UK & topped the charts in Australia (to name just a few achievements)
In their 20th year in the game, the guys are proud to present you with their early work on seminal label Moving Shadow in the form of ‘Shadow Era’ parts 1 & 2.
Signing to the label in 1995, the two albums showcase the music the guys were making in the era in the form of original tracks, remixes for the likes of The Art Of Noise, Omni Trio & Sneaker Pimps & a healthy dose of never heard before Dubplates.