Ed Rush & Optical presents :: Virus Vaults (Virus, 2CD)

1170 image 1
(11.30.05) Over the years, Ed Rush and Optical have been renowned for their leading role in producing some of the darkest drum’n’bass, but also for regularly losing the DATs of their studio productions. Back in 1998-’99 there was also a site dedicated to all the unreleased Virus stuff, called The Place To Be (allegedly coming back very soon), and i remember spending hours of internet connection at my high school listening to all those dubplates on crap speakers with my friends, addicted to distorted bass. So it’s kinda strange listening to Virus Vaults now; I do remember with nostalgia tracks like “Vendetta,” “Zoner” and “Side Effect” and finally after something like seven years I can appreciate them in full effect on my stereo. It’s really what I always wanted, plus the big surprise when listening to unheard tunes that sound fresh and fat, showing no sign of time.

Still, it’s not enough. There are two major faults in this release that prevent Virus Vaults from reaching the absolute masterpiece status while scoring nonetheless a really superb album. First, the inclusion of a track like “Flute,” dated 2005, shows sadly that the creative vein of the duo nowadays seems to be gone. It’s not far from all the so-called new jump-up stuff going on these days, that only means a scarce production in favour of a (supposed) dancefloor effect, but to me it’s plain boring material, repeating itself over and over. Second, there’s a mix CD, which is indeed a good idea, since not all the unreleased tracks could have been recovered from dusty DATs or crackling warped dubplates, and it would have been nice to get all the remaining dubs mixed together. The problem is that it’s mixed in a fast as you can fashion, a good thing when you see Andy C or DJ Friction live, but it’s complete nonsense when you want to hear the perfection of sick tunes like “Slip Thru Rmx (Amenizer),” “Sonar VIP” or “Rigmasher,” the Holy Grails of drum’n’bass. A couple of minutes don’t do justice to such beautiful works.

So, the only solution is to focus on CD one and rinse to death the mysterious “Vendetta,” the Hancock inspired twisted funk of “Headhunters,” the heavy distortions and the massive beats of “Can U?” and “Side Effect,” or the ominous darkness of “Big Slick.” Not to talk about the absolutely incredible “K-Wire” and “Zoner,” the first is a relentless assault of menacing alien bass driven by infinite layers of breaks and percussions, the latter is an unstoppable crescendo from a quite stepper to a growling technoid monster. And obviously you can’t forget the nice addition of “Gro-Bag,” heard in the Wormhole mix and now in complete form, and “Hitek Dreams,” previously published on the glorious Prototype and always a classic. In the end, I really love this record despite the aforementioned flaws, but the best work from the duo will always be Wormhole. We must thank the guys for remembering how good drum’n’bass was in 1997 (ok, now I’ll wipe my tears).

Virus Vaults is out now on Virus Recordings.

  • ((( Buy it at Amazon.com )))
  • Virus

    You can be the first one to leave a comment.

    Leave a Comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.