Jam City (Night Slugs / London) – 5 Sound Selections

Here at Dubspot our students are exploring the tools of sound design and production, gaining fundamentals that will hopefully lead to the discovery of their own unique sound. The journey to one’s innovative sound can differ from artist to artist, however with any artist there are influences. The exposure to the innovation of other’s breeds our own, completing the creative cycle. In this episode of Dubspot Sound Selections, we ask producers and DJs to highlight 5 tracks that are influential on their unique sound, and describe why those tracks stand out to them.

This week, we have Night Slugs artist Jam City (a.k.a. Jack Latham), whose latest EP Waterworx was released earlier this month. Of Night Slugs’ roster of innovators, of which there are many, Jam City’s sound is no doubt the most experimental. From his Night Slugs White Label debut “Ecstacy Refix”— which flipped an obscure 12” by the 1980’s R&B group Endgames—to his debut EP Magic Drops, Jam City has amazed with a penchant for drums that are as sci-fi as they are ancient and mythical, and basslines that launch from NASA.

Jam City – Aquabox

On Magic Drops’ title track, Latham constructs a drum pattern out of hydraulic machine lurches before lacing the rest of the track with a glassy synth line that seems to crescendo into impossible reaches of the galaxy. The major standout from his latest EP Waterworx is the track “Aquabox,” a more straight-ahead four-to-the-floor track that’s rolling drums recall something from the past rather than the percussive futurism of “Magic Drops.” But just as you’re settled into the bounce and sway of the track’s intro, bass and anxious, high-pitched vocal chatter foreshadows the climax of the wooziest, soaring melody drop the cosmos has ever heard.

Endgames – Ecstacy (Jam City Refix)


Jam City’s 5 Inspirational Tracks

1. Saturn V – H Sync

Raw as hell, primitive drum machine muzik. Proves most of the time all you need is a bassline and a kick…the saturation in this heard on a system makes you feel like you are drowning in a swamp. One to pound the walls and ceiling too.

2. Mtume – You Me an He

James Mtume is one of the most innovate producers of the 20th Century, this track is so minimal and has so much space and tension in it… On a good system the drum hits are just devastating, and yet there is barely anything there. The drum arrangement is kind of unconventional and full of pauses, just like some of my favourite grime instrumentals.

3. Ruff Sqwad – Pied Piper 2

Just like the Mtume track, this is bare, purposeful and deadly when played in the right club. All of these records operate inside a similar space to me so DJing and producing is always a process of tangibly sorting out and making those links between all the music I love.

4. Bernard Szajner – Welcome to Death Row

This track is an ideal example of that tension that can exist in a club track between destruction, violence and redemption. The way he introduces those triumphant piano chords over the top of that abrasive, pummeling synth arpeggio and kick is a stroke of genius.

5. Polyphonic Size – Nagasaki Mon Amour

Like alot of grime, early Wave records have this strange weightlessness/propulsion to them, the drums in this track are just blasts of white noise/space capsules releasing oxygen.

  • Michalis
  • 8/16/2011

All brilliant, brilliant tracks that I hadn’t heard before. Thanks Jam City!