It’s hard to say whether Signs, the trio of producers from Toulouse, France, identify more with dubstep, halftime or drum and bass but the D&B scene has certainly claimed them as one of their own. After busting onto the scene about four years ago with a D&B EP on Optiv’s Red Light Records, they have subsequently released on every heavy label imaginable including Eatbrain, Methlab, RAM, Blackout and Division.
With their latest EP Bandulu making a huge halftime splash on Othercide, it’s no wonder Signs have been through so many labels with their extremely diverse and generally mindblowing style. Even so, it was surprising to find out that Signs’s next stop was on Phace and Misanthrop’s new label NËU after seeming to carve a solid niche in the more experimental side of the genre over the course of the past year. Proving they’ve still got what it takes for the dancefloor, Signs more than stepped up to the challenge for NËU004, delivering two fast and tight bangers in the form of “The Curse” and the b-side “Warthog.”
Even on an “upfront” release such as this one, the trio are able to bring lots of surprises, especially when it comes to beat production and sound design. With drum sequences so tight and fast they could switch on a 16th count (and often do), the one thing that can always categorize Signs is the weird and strange elements which always appear in their music and their ability to shock and amaze at least once in every track. This is why Bassrush asked Signs to put together a playlist that truly shows their inspirations and how they think of their own style, not inclusive of any particular genre. They definitely delivered, with Nico, Julien and Lionel each picking five favorites that span across a wide range of genres and commentary on their top cuts below.
King Tubby & Johnny Clarke – None Shall Escape His Judgement
By making a mistake when recording a track, King Tubby invented dub music and defined so many new music genres which would come after. He not only opened the door with that “upfront bass“ mix but explored instrumental versions by using multiple effects and following no rules. This is where techno/ jungle and so many other of our favorite sub-genres take their roots from.
Josh Wink – Are You There…
We are big fans of acid house, acid techno and this track is incredible. The groove of the 303 bassline is fantastic . When you come to the breakdown of this track and the amen break arrives with the TB- 303 going totally mad — it’s fucking over. You get crazy! This track inspired us a lot.
Nas – Nas is Like
Not much to say about this tune, other than it’s a dope tune. In general, hip hop is a big love and influence for the three of us. When this style appeared, it took our attention straight away and changed the way we approached music. It gave street music a really different vibe that speaks to the three of us.
Origin Unknown – Valley of Shadows
One of the early jungle anthems, when this new sound dropped in the early nineties everything changed. It marked a new era and showed a new way of experimenting with samples in electronic music with a different BPM and a predominant bass mixdown. Jungle was born and his little brother dubstep wouldn’t be too far behind; you know the story. Bass Music was born here.
Berurier Noir – Porcherie
All the discography of this band is sick but we love this tune a lot because of the powerful message behind it. They often sing against racial discrimination or discrimination in any form but in ‘Porcherie’ the singer is specifically calling on the youth to say, “Fuck the French nationalist political party.”
Gravediggaz – Diary of A Madman
We love the dark underground vibe on this one. Add in the female vocal sampled from two tunes written by Johnny Mathis and it’s game over.