There have been a lot of anniversaries of major labels and artists in 2017, but it’s possible that none of them are as epic as the re-release of Roni Size’s New Forms, the double album released in 1997 which not only defined jungle and drum & bass but set the bar really, really high.
In 1997, drum & bass was still in its infancy, but a number of artists were making headway in defining their own personal styles as well as what the genre would come to be. DnB was even splitting up into subgenres like hardstep, darkstep and liquid,but there were a few massive records that year which not only helped define what drum & bass was, but transcended the burgeoning subgenres and immediately went to classic status. New Forms was one of them.
New Forms blew the roof off of whatever anyone else was working on at the time in drum & bass with its cohesive composition and a production quality which was light years ahead of its time. The other remarkable thing was that it was recorded and performed almost entirely on analog instruments. In a time where digital production methods like the 808 and MIDI controllers were taking over the genre, Roni Size excavated the jazz roots of jungle and drum & bass and put them right back on center stage, literally. To this day Roni Size’s live shows are considered a thing of rare beauty, and are some of the most coveted concerts in breakbeat music at large, not just DnB.
The reboot of New Forms sees multiple remixes, VIPs and alternate versions of each track on the album as well as a re-master of each of the original tracks, now making the double album a box set. Big hits like “Brown Paper Bag,” “Watching Windows,” and “Share the Fall” even have more than one remix, some done by Roni himself and others done by big names and Size contemporaries like Grooverider, Photek and Krust.
It really cannot be overstated how big of an anthology this collection is, but the re-release of New Forms is not even the biggest news coming from the Size camp: he’s touring as well. The US leg of Size’s tour starts on December 6 in Cambridge, MA and will be crisscrossing the US until December 16 before he heads back to the UK. While there are several shows, only a few cities will have the huge privilege of seeing the live concert with full band, so check the tour schedule for details. No matter how he’s presenting the show, it will be huge and an absolute must for anyone who claims to love drum & bass. Meanwhile, the New Forms 20-year anthology was released on November 10 and can be purchased digitally or in a huge four-disc box set by clicking here.