So Damn Tuff

It seems stupid to be listening to something so damn dark on a warm sunny Spring morning, but EQ's End Of An Era EP is going down a treat right now. From '93, on Formation Records, this twelve was a bargain find at a car boot (50p) a couple of years ago. Ever since, I've pulled it out and put the needle to the grooves on a regular basis for a taste of post-rave action from that particular breakbeat era. Void Of Xtasy describes the come down of the dark ages perfectly, at a frantic, semi-d&b pace, the female vocal fades in to sing, mournfully, "There's a void where there should be ecstacy". Is this a song of addiction? A recognition of life lived without chemical enhancement? Perhaps the voice is one of an E victim in search of the fix? Another posits love as the drug, of course. The play on the word is masterful.

Whoever EQ were, they had their finger on the pulse in the way that only the most unknown, hardcore producers could have. They came from nowhere and, as far I know, stayed there. Yet this EP defies time and notions of success. The brains behind the beats were programmed to make sense of casual pioneering in the studios of those days. Arrangements are complex, rather than mere layers of sound over a consistent beat. What Dubplate Style lacks in imaginative naming, it makes up for in it's extended working of the terminator sounds.

Robin Tomens

Read the next part of Robin's 'All The Time In The World' series here.