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Get to know Foul Play, the UK dance music production duo made up of Darren Pursey and 24 Krate! With over 14 years together running their own record label and producing for a range of impressive musical artists, Foul Play’s dizzying mix of garage, jungle and breakbeat is sure to get you dancing. Having jaw-dropping production abilities, Foul Play has earned its place in music history in no time at all. Not to forget their amazing catalogue of songs featuring vocals from Shy FX or Jenna G... each perfectly crafted floorfiller with no denying. Renowned releases such as their 1996 album ‘Original sinner’ kickstarted mass career attention showcasing the skill in combining pop with drum and base. Their 'Strictly Dancehall' original stays an essential household listen whilst the ever growing offering representing both sweet sentiment and rave pressure waits for more ears. Name it…Foul Play have signed their names onto accoladed cuts seasoned throughout UK dance music culture.
Foul Play: The Underground Legends of Drum and Bass
The world of electronic music is vast and ever-evolving, but there are certain artists whose legacies continue to inspire and influence younger generations of music-makers. One such collective that laid the foundation of drum and bass music in the late 80s and early 90s is Foul Play. The British group never reached the mainstream, but their underground music still resonates with fans of the genre. In this article, we'll take a look at an overview of the group's musical biography, their music style, most iconic tracks, famous concerts, and a quick critical analysis.
Foul Play is a British drum and bass collective primarily composed of Steve Bradshaw, John Morrow, and Steve Gurley. They began producing music in the early 90s, and their sound was heavily influenced by the emerging jungle and hardcore rave scene in the UK. Their early work on labels like Moving Shadow and Tango & Ratty established them as pioneers of drum and bass, a genre that would eventually spawn various sub-genres.
Foul Play quickly found a following thanks to their unique take on drum and bass, characterized by deep atmospheres, break-beat rhythms, and melodic basslines. Their music style often incorporated soulful and jazzy samples, making their sound more groovy and accessible than other contemporary jungle artists. For instance, Open Your Mind (1993) is a favorite among fans, utilizing a hypnotic synth line that builds with the warped vocals and heavy break-beat.
Some of Foul Play's most iconic tracks include Being With You (1995), a classic dancefloor-cut with rumbling basslines and reverb-fueled beats. Survival (1997) has an ethereal quality thanks to its sweeping pads, stuttering drums, and punchy bass. Total Control (1994) is an excellent example of their impeccable use of break-beat dynamics, with intricate drum patterns that build and break throughout the track.
Foul Play didn't receive much recognition from the mainstream music industry, but they played a massive role within the UK dance music scene. Their music was often played by DJs in clubs and rave events and helped shape the sound of later drum and bass generations. One of their most famous concerts was playing at Tribal Gathering in 1995, alongside other acts like Chemical Brothers and Leftfield. Their long set at the infamous all-day outdoor festival cemented their place in the drum and bass hall of fame.
Critics enjoy referring to Foul Play's early work as the golden age of drum and bass, with their mix of break-beat and ambient textures attaining legendary status among fans of the genre. However, some critics point out that the group's reliance on repeating hooks and samples could border on being repetitive. Regardless, it's hard to deny the impact that Foul Play had on the UK underground scene during the early days of drum and bass.
Foul Play may not be a household name, but their influence on the UK dance music scene cannot be overstated. Their unique take on drum and bass music brought a more accessible and soulful sound that appealed to a broad range of audiences. With their trademark majestic pads, break-beat rhythms, and rumbling basslines, the collective became pioneers of drum and bass music. From their early works with Moving Shadow to their legendary performances at Tribal Gathering, Foul Play remains a keystones of drum and bass history - and a fascinating example of how successful underground music can be.
1 - Screwface
2 - Being With You
3 - Open Your Mind
4 - Finest Illusion
5 - Music Is the Key (Omni Trio remix)
6 - Finest Illusion (Legal mix)
7 - Open Your Mind (Tango remix)
8 - Murder Most Foul
9 - Dubbing You
10 - Total Control
11 - Stepper
12 - Finest Illusion (illegal Mix)
13 - Survival
14 - Feel The Vibe (again)
15 - Re-open Your Mind 95
16 - Ricochet
17 - Ignorance
18 - Artificial Intelligence
19 - The Stepper (remix)
20 - The Alchemist
21 - Feel The Vibe
22 - Nightmoves
23 - Cuttin' Loose (remix)
24 - The Finest
25 - Ragatere
26 - Music Is The Key
27 - Survival (remix)
28 - Ricochet (no Stopping The Remix)
29 - Dub In U (remix)
30 - Cutting Loose
31 - Open Your Mind (nookie Remix)
2020: Origins
1995: Suspected