Jonny Faith - On Lock [Standard edition]
Available: 14th April 2021
*Standard edition in plain white sleeve*
With music from Jonny Faith's recent Night Lights EP appearing in Grand Theft Auto and best of 2020 lists including Gilles Peterson's, you might think Jonny would continue to mine his take on hip hop and broken beat. Well, all in good time. He's been ready to enter the jungle for 20 years, and he's not waiting any longer.
Now based in Melbourne, Jonny first got involved in music in Edinburgh as a DJ and turntablist in the 90s, getting hooked on jungle, drum & bass, hip hop and the hybrids of these championed by the Mo'Wax label. Formative experiences included hearing DJ Hype spinning in Newcastle, seeing the Roni Size/Reprazent live show with two drummers and hanging out at cult Edinburgh club night Manga, where residents G-Mac and DJ Kid hosted the likes of Marky, Grooverider and J Majik.
Jonny was keen to start making his own sounds, signing up for an electronic music production course. But it wasn't quite what he was after.
'The course turned out to be more house-oriented,' Jonny recalls. 'Sampling wasn't on the curriculum, and the students weren't allowed to touch the Akai S900, the sampler used in lots of the early jungle classics.'
When Jonny did start releasing his own productions a few years later, he was starting to explore the experimental beat scene around the time Flying Lotus and Hudson Mohawke (another Scottish turntablist) were starting to make their mark.
Jonny continued to widen his sonic palette, adding elements of dub, jazz, funk, electronica and broken beat, and picking up fans like Radio Nova Paris, KCRW, Vice and Clash Magazine along the way. But he's never been more than one degree of separation from his jungle/D&B roots. He continued to buy and play the music, did the odd D&B remix and snuck sonic elements and techniques into his tracks at various tempos. Over the years his releases have shared labels with the likes of Peshay, Om Unit, Drumagick, Reso, Kid Drama and Danny Scrilla.
Now, more than 20 years after those early experiences in Edinburgh, Jonny unveils his first jungle/D&B EP, On Lock. And it sounds like he's been making this music the whole time. In a way, he has.
The single 'Open My Eyes' bursts out the gate, chopping not only the breaks and the soul for a tune that sounds like Amerie's '1 Thing', or some Just Blaze chipmunk soul, reimagined for the 174 BPM crew. Jonny started this one as a hip hop beat for a live routine on his MPC, but it only really came together when he reframed the groove around a D&B rhythm. Next up, Jonny tries a similar trick on his own boom bap tune 'Stay in Your Lane' from the 'Night Lights' EP. His new Step Off Mix totally recontextualises US MC Lady K's slinky soulful rap and hooks with a tough and funky junglist groove. One for fans of the old Roni Size/Bahamadia collab. 'Create' then spaces things out just a touch, with atmospheric but propulsive drumfunk. Vinyl bonus track 'Nuthin' But a Jungle Thang' layers cascading amen breaks, timestretched vocals and a massive double bass-line over the wah guitars and synth whistling of a G-funk era classic.
a1. Open My Eyes
a2. Stay in Your Lane feat. Lady K (Jonny Faith Step Off Mix)
b2. Nuthin' But a Jungle Thang