UPDATE – As of December 28, 2011 the Phillip D Kick Footwork Jungle edits are no longer available from Soundcloud, either on the PDK account or Rhythm Incursions’ account. The mediafire links located in this article are still active at the time of writing and will continue to be until they are removed. Volume 3 is not on mediafire. If you missed it, you missed it. The Remark ‘RIP’ edit is still downloadable at the bottom of this post for now.
The â€œPhillip D Kickâ€ experiment
By Om Unit
The Phillip D Kick experiment was originally conceived as an anonymous alias project of mine. However being useless at keeping secrets I let the cat out of the bag to close friends and musical compadrÃ©s shortly after starting it. As it would only be a matter of time before rumours become eye-rolling fact I have decided to end the project 8 months after starting it with volume 3 thus ending my work under this alias on what is, at least to me, a high note.
Phillip D Kick is an idea I had at the beginning of 2011 during a discussion about how fun it had been to mix Juke and Jungle tracks together at shows. The idea, very simply put, was that both genres were basically the same thing – frenetic syncopation at 160bpm or thereabouts.
Taking this idea a little further, I came up with a simple concept: take classic Jungle tracks and make edits of them with a footwork aesthetic. But rather than do this under my own name I would release them anonymously as a social experiment. The â€˜storyâ€™ would be that Phillip D Kick was in fact an old jungle producer mate of mine who had fallen in love with footwork beats and had sent me the edits to put out.
For those unaware, the name Phillip D Kick is a flip on Phillip K Dick, a highly influential science fiction author whose work has been the basis of many classic sci fi movies such as Blade Runner (based on his “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” short story).
Something worth noting at this point is the principle of a â€œShared Social Consciousnessâ€, or put more simply: no idea is original. The theory goes that if youâ€™re having an idea someone else is either having the same idea at the same time or has already completed that process.
Ergo the same day that I started working on the first volume of PDK edits back in February I saw Machinedrum mention on Twitter that he was making Jungle edits. In my excitement I contacted him asking if he was making footwork edits of Jungle tracks. His response: â€œyep!â€ â€“ Machinedrumâ€™s edits can be found on his Ecstasy Boom EP which was given away for free to people who bought his recent â€˜Roomsâ€™ LP on Planet Mu.
This really highlights to me the concept of a shared social consciousness, especially as this particular idea of blending footwork and Jungle together is likely quite obvious to any DJ who enjoys both genres. As far as I know however Machinedrum and I were the first to actually bring this idea into the real world.
Rough drafts of the first edits were sent out to great response and support came almost immediately from footwork and Jungle enthusiasts such as Mark Pritchard, Kode 9 and Machinedrum himself. In the weeks before and after Footwork Jungle vol.1 was released in March the edits had been played to audiences in Europe, America and Japan.
With assistance from Laurent Fintoni the idea and music was spread further. It was even picked up on by Mike Paradinas from Planet Mu who in turn sent them to Simon Reynolds (author of the book “Retromania”). Reynolds then posted volume 1 on his blog referencing a comment made by Marcus from Hyperdub that footwork was in a way the “son of ardkore”.
The tracks were initially released as a download by Laurent Fintoni via Rhythm Incursionsâ€™ Soundcloud with a limit of 100 downloads. Rumours spread about the edits, and some of the more astute blogs began to pick up on the idea, with a few sharing some of the work on their own sites.
Within a few weeks of finishing volume 1 I had already completed volume 2, helping to solidify the idea further in my head. As I prepared to release volume 2 I decided to create a Soundcloud for Phillip feeling the need to centralize the work. I also created a twitter account and began posting links. Volume 2 was released on both Phillipâ€™s and Rhythm Incursionsâ€™ Soundcloud pages.
The Adam F edit from volume 2 is a personal favourite.
At this point the buzz around the edits grew bigger, inevitably attracting disgust from Jungle and drum n bass purists over at the Dogs On Acid forum.
This forum thread shows the love/hate potential of such an idea, especially when it is so perpendicular to what people â€œknowâ€. One of the reasons I chose anonymity originally was to solidify the idea before exposing myself and potentially attracting negative attention from the purists. This was always inevitable though, and so be it.
My younger self would have never wanted to hear someone man-handle my precious anthems but being a slightly less precious 31 years old I feel that life is too short to hold the past as a precious, unchangeable artifact. I had also said from the start that these would remain 100% free to download, take it or leave it, being conscious that not doing so would potentially involve some nasty encounters with the jungle police. They have remained as such despite having had several offers to release them on white label.
One of the initial principles I had employed to create a buzz around the releases was to limit them to 100 downloads. Iâ€™d hoped that by doing so people might watch closely for further new material. However cunning this might have seemed at the time I soon realised that ultimately it was limiting in terms of access and would only serve to frustrate those that might want to actually play and enjoy the music. I therefore uploaded both volumes to mediafire and included links in the comments section of the tracks to allow the music to continue being shared and enjoyed.
Following volume 2, further support began to come in from various radio stations and blogs. Via Soundcloud the response was in fact incredible. Various drum n bass and dance luminaries began to get in touch asking for the tracks post the 100 download max-out. Thanks to those who did get in touch for the support!
Enter Grace Wood from Lilac PR. Grace had been a regular listener of the Ustream show “Maisonette Electronique” Laurent and I had started in late 2010 and where the first edits were aired and tested to a small and curious audience. She got in touch asking about PDK and after meeting in person I shared the story with her. From this meeting came the opportunity to remix a London-based rapper called Louis Blaze as PDK. This in turn put me in touch with Lemon D who happened to be the mix engineer for Louis and who was very much into the sound.
I have since done another two official remixes as PDK, one for Kuhn – forthcoming on an EP for Civil Music – and one for the hotly-tipped producer Cadenza on Dummy Magazine’s label. The latter is available on Dummyâ€™s website here.
Interest also began to come in from people asking for original and exclusive tracks, something I turned down immediately as my goal with Phillip was purely one thing: edits/remixes in a set style. I am however grateful for the interest and thank those that did get in touch.
The PDK project was only ever meant to be fun. I wanted to see this idea through, share it and play it out. In addition I do not see myself as a part of footwork culture. One thing I learned about being a hip-hop DJ desperately trying to “keep it real” back around the turn of the millennium is that UK culture isnâ€™t suited to rap culture. Rap culture is ultimately an American cultural product and I didnâ€™t want to waste my time trying to become part of a culture I know little about.
Recently Iâ€™ve had offers to DJ as Phillip and when this happened I realised that the idea had run its course. I probably could have charged good money straight off the bat, maybe even made a completely new career off the back of this but that would have gone against the purpose of the idea. Rather than to give over to some small but welcome industry demand, I am calling it quits. That isnâ€™t to say that having an idea and following it through right to the point of making a career is bad, it was just never my intention with Phillip.
Phillip D Kick is a small demonstration of how an idea can become something of worth. I hope that you find the story behind it informative and perhaps useful, even if you don’t like the music.
And so I leave you with Footwork Jungle volume 3, which contains an edit of Remarcâ€™s â€œR.I.Pâ€, an apt way to finish this project.
J. Coles (Om Unit)
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