Remember 1996? The DVD was launched in Japan, Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey risked a lethal loss of focus whilst rutting somewhat inappropriately in racial thriller A Time To Kill and rapper 2Pac faked his own death, reinventing himself as a children’s ballet teacher in Moscow.
Also in 1996, a lot of awesome music happened. As mentioned in last month’s review of Adam Port’s “Changes,” the mighty Freerange Records started life in ’96, as did Compost, BBE and quite a few others. In the same year, a former skateboarder from the north of England released his first ever EP.
The story of Atjazz aka Martin Iveson is actually quite a difficult one to tell. His music is frankly quite unlike anyone else’s. His jazzy, syncopated style undoubtedly informed the much hyped Broken Beat boom and bust of the early 2000s, yet his compositions resisted being consigned to the very genre-box they had helped to inspire. Why? Because while the “brand” of Broken Beat turned out a flash in the pan, the music of Atjazz is made to last.
Evidence, if required, can be found in his 1998 debut album That Something. Re-issued to celebrate his 20 years in music, the album has been remastered and is to be released during his 21st. But that’s far from the whole story. Two new discs have been tacked onto the original LP (which has been remastered and re-edited by the artist himself), which include previously unreleased studio tapes and brand new remixes.
As you can imagine there’s far too much here to even attempt to tackle the project track by track, but suffice it to say there are some absolute gems just waiting to be discovered. From hypnotic, downtempo numbers that sound like Zero 7 bought themselves a bong, to driving House workouts and Disco groovers, this project encompasses the full breadth of Martin’s musical palette. As if that’s not enough, Atjazz called on friends and cohorts Nacho Marco, Charles Webster, Trueself and Si Tew to remix selected cuts, as well as adding a rework of his own.
An artist who proves that real musicianship, composition and arrangement abilities can add entirely new dimensions to dance music, Atjazz is one of a handful of modern day artists I know I’ll still be listening to in another 20 years. In fact I’d urge all aspiring producers to forgo the latest YouTube music tech tutorial in favour of downloading this album, putting on some headphones and taking a long walk. Guaranteed you’ll be inspired. Guaranteed you won’t be able to make music that sounds quite like Atjazz. But as Brian Eno said, “Imitation is a very good start, so long as you fail.”
Support #RealHouseMusic! This post was originally published in 5 Magazine Issue 145 featuring Joeski, Ricardo Miranda, WildPitch and more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full Access to Real House Music for only $2 per month!