DJ Offbeat and Chris Galvan end the decade by taking a look back at some of the Labels and Artists that have influenced us, inspired us, and led us to where we are today.
We've taken a look at Compost Records, Jazzanova, and Schema Records so far. This week we focus on Dollis Hill's 4 Hero.
Marc Mac and Dego started making waves in 1989 and haven't stopped since. Beginning in the Drum & Bass world, the pair created the Reinforced label and quickly became a major force in the underground. With tracks like Mr Kirk (Mr Kirk's Nightmare) in 1990, they pulled more attention than anyone previous to the Drum & Bass scene. Keep in mind that this was a full 4 years before we would see Goldie's 'Inner City Life' and a couple more years before the likes of Roni Size and Grooverider would break the 'new jazz' sound into the mainstream's conscious.
By this time, 4 Hero had already released 'Parallel Universe' and were preparing to unleash the album 'Two Pages' on Talkin' Loud Records. This double album would combine the organic, jazz-improvised, live sound with a dark, electronic side to present a fully realized journey through two competing, yet complimentary, perspectives. Not only did this album find 4 Hero at their most orchestrated and soulful pinnacle to date, it also earned the duo a Mercury Prize nomination and a whole new audience. Many would argue that 'Two Pages' layed the groundwork for the entire Brokenbeat scene that would soon take West London by frenzy, much as Drum & Bass had just a few years prior.
2001's 'Creating Patterns' expanded on the lush, complex arrangements, including a massive recreation of Minnie Ripperton's 'Les Fleur'. 4 Hero created a new label, Raw Canvas, to release 'Play With The Changes' in 2006. This allowed them the opportunity to control the way in which the album was produced and presented from start to finish. Collaborations with the legendary Larry Mizell (Mizell Brothers) seemed effortless and a take on Stevie Wonder's 'Superwoman' showed their innate ability to be true to a classic while still pushing forward.
Perhaps this is the precise quality that speaks to so many through 4 Hero's music. Whether it be through drum & bass, nujazz, brokenbeat, techno, hip hop, and beyond, 4 Hero has pioneered an amazingly diverse selection of sounds and birthed multiple genres in the process. An adoration of the soul, funk, and jazz classics pushed to new heights through dizzying creativity and an unwavering ability to constantly remain at the forefront of both the modern dancefloor and headphone soul.
1. John Coltrane - Naima (4 Hero Version)
2. 4 Hero - Golden Age Of Life
3. Nuyorican Soul - I Am the Black Gold Of The Sun (4 Hero Remix edit)
4. 4 Hero - Something In The Way ft Bembe Segue & Kaidi Tatham
5. 4 Hero - Look Inside ft Face
6. 4 Hero - Third Stream
7. 4 Hero - Morning Child
8. 4 Hero - Won't You Open Up Your Senses
9. 4 Hero - 9X9
10. Ralfi Pagan - Didn't Want To Have To Do It (4 Hero Remix)
11. 4 Hero & Patricia Marx - Submerso
12. Azymuth - Vera Cruz (4 Hero Remix)
13. Grupo Batuque - E Ruim (4 Hero Remix)
14. Allen Hoist - Inner City Blues (4 Hero Remix)
15. Reel People - Outta Love (4 Hero Remix)
16. 4 Hero presents Nature's Plan - Broken Samba
17. Innerzone Orchestra - Bug In The Bassbin (4 Hero Mix)
18. 4 Hero - 2000 Black ft Roy Ayers
19. 4 Hero - Starchasers (Masters At Work Main Mix)
20. 4 Hero - Escape That
21. 4 Hero - Spirits In Transit
22. 4 Hero - Les Fleur
Stayed tuned for the Especial Records Special presented by FutureHistoryOfHouse, Music Is Everything, and oddiofile!