Friday, 30 April 2010

DLT Mix 002 - DJ Para (DEA Project)

Our second Days Like That mix drops from DLT resident DJ Para, who just about any true two-step head will know as one of the driving forces, alongside Richard Laleye and Lloyd E Holder, within legendary underground garage outfit DEA Project.

To say that the DEA Project are a fundamental reason as to why Days Like That even exists is a total understatement. Between 1997 and 2000, the South London outfit wrote what were in our opinion some of the best, most forward-thinking and unique two-step tunes ever laid to wax and the idea of hearing those tracks, back-to-back, at our own rave were the very reason we started up the pre-cursor to Days Like That (called - slightly naffly - Sounds Of Our Youth) last February and asked Para to come down to play. It was a dream booking. A bit of nostalgic indulgence to hark back to the days when we'd puff weed as clueless teenagers in our parent's sheds and mix red-eyed through DEA's arsenal, getting blown back by every beat. And DEA Project classics sets were not something we'd ever seen done at any other rave. So why not do it ourselves, eh?

In fact, it's always struck as a bit odd that DEA Project never really got the recognition they deserved for such groundbreaking two-step sounds. We all know just how many props the likes of Groove Chronicles and Zed Bias (quite rightly) collected for taking the two-step funk of UK garage down the darker direction that fed into the birth of dubstep, but DEA Project's legendary discography seemed to get forgotten about a bit by all but the most voracious two-step hounds.

Odd, also, because they had a sound totally of their own. Whether we're talking the bleep funk badness, sub booms and natty shuffle of 'So High', the jazzy future-soul of 'Circles Of My Life' or the cheeky cut-up funk of 'Nasty Bitch' you can tell a DEA Project beat from the second it drops. And boy do their tracks drop. If there's one thing, DEA tracks had above all others pushing that darker, minimalist two-step sound, it was the drops... find us one dance that doesn't go batshit when 'Come & Get It Girl' flips into that boomerang funk bassline and skankin' drum shuffle. Nope, didn't think so.

Luckily for you, that very track is included on this mix but, other than that, Para hasn't gone on the producer's ego trip that some might. But then Para's always been a DJ first and foremost and this is most definitely a DJ's DJ mix, sharing the sounds that have inspired him and taking us on a proper journey through UK garage and its many underground evolutions. First going right back to the soulful 4/4 garage sound that ruled the London Sunday scene and nights like Spreadlove Project back in the mid-90s, Para pushes it up into the bumpier Tuff Jam-styled sound that followed (Tuff Jam's killer remix of Soul II Soul's 'Pleasure Dome' features), before dropping into two-step with Groove Chronicles's beautifully light remix of Conner Reeves blue-eyed soul nugget 'Read My Mind', Dem 2's 'Baby You're So Sexy' and even working right into some proper proto dubstep badness. It's ruff.

Don't just take our word for how absolutely rude the selection is, though. Download the link below and work it out for yourself. Oh and come down Days Like That tonight to see the badman bust it out in the flesh. Nicely.

Days Like That Mix 002 - DJ Para (DEA Project) by Days Like That

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