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Dimension, Culture Shock, 1991

Events

Dec 20 Thu
Dimension, Culture Shock, 199111:30 PM
Knitting Factory - BrooklynBrooklyn, NY
All Ages
Tickets $15.00 - $20.00

Culture Shock

Since the significant passing of an unmarked demo, the soundtrack to James Pountney’s

journey is one which is well known. The boundaries pushed by his sonic artwork, under the

now revered guise Culture Shock, have created a varied and diverse discography t

hat’s

symbolic within one of the UK’s most withstanding genres. Creating tracks that attest both

time and production standards, there’s no denying that his alias has become a household

name not only across drum & bass, but also the daytime radio airwaves.

With Beats1 mogul

Zane Lowe already comparing Culture Shock’s music to Pink Floyd’s album ‘Dark Side of

the Moon’, his future endeavours are about to lift him to the anticipated next gear of his

burgeoning career.

With a classically trained background and

finding a natural talent in writing music, it was only

a matter of time before he refined his interests. Percussion and drums became a passion.

Alongside mentorship from one of the most technically adept producers in the scene, namely

Dom & Roland, James

honed in on both his creativity and aptitude to become a figure in his

own right:

“I first discovered jungle on pirate radio stations, it sounded totally alien

and futuristic...Pirate radio was the first thing to get me really interested in the scene.

I wa

nted to know who was making this stuff and how.”

Dissecting his signature sound, it’s easy to see how he’s drawn from the early days of

picking up Steve Reich’s records from his parent’s collection. Steve Reich’s minimalist

approach, with a focus on text

ure and chords rather than a melody lines or hooks had a

colossal impact on James’ compositions. Combining that with the experience of Notting Hill’s

notorious carnival party, notably the CMC sound system, his appetite in those early years

became fully nur

tured. From his rickety radio, to the booming streets of London, James

became hooked on electronic music and increasingly obsessed with drum & bass:

“I got a

computer capable of doing basic music stuff (Cubase vst, 8 audio channels) when I

was about 16

. B

efore that I was using whatever I could get my hands on...

And some

basic stuff at school

. I had a tacky keyboard at home which I really pushed to the

absolute limit

. To be honest, it’s always been about pushing the current technology to

its limit”

Afte

r being showcased on the 'Vega EP’ released by Moving Shadow (owned by Rob

Playford) as well as the signing of his first independent EP to RAM Records, his early

potential was widely recognised. As a result, he was exclusively signed to RAM and neither

par

ty have looked back since. His soundscapes stretch widely across the dance spectrum

clearly demonstrated from underground, driving cut ‘Troglodyte’ to synth laddered, prime

-

time club record ‘I Remember’. Smashing solo

-

hits ‘Ohrwurm’ and ‘Vice Chase’ added

to the

excitement of Culture Shock’s incredibly explosive first few years on the label. Progressively

electro, ‘Ohrwurm’ particularly stands as the perfect musical synonym for a melody that

implants itself in your aural synapses and was a pivotal track to

cement him as the highly

regarded producer he is respected as today.

Collaborations with some of the scene’s most successful producers added exciting layers to

Culture Shock’s repertoire. The Brookes Brothers and Culture Shock’s 2007 release of

‘Rework’,

which featured on ‘The Third Stage’ EP, showed everyone how the trio’s similarly

smooth textures and highly intricate composition would stand as a turning point in each

other’s discographies.

James also paired up with the chart

-

topping, long

-

standing fri

end Sub Focus on tracks ‘Move

Higher’ (2005) and ‘You Make it Feel Better’ (2013). ‘You Make it Feel Better’ was taken

from Sub Focus’ second studio album ‘Torus’, released jointly on Ram Records and Virgin

EMI. Whilst pushing his name into the more commer

cial spotlight, it proved he could still

retain his underground credibility, something key to the success of so many electronic artists

releasing music today.

All this groundwork would eventually lead to the release of ‘City Lights’, undeniably one of

the

most anticipated drum & bass tracks to hit the scene in the past few years. With a fabled

instrumental making the club circuit rounds, it remained ambiguous throughout the last few

years, but it’s a record that has raised its head in some of the most prom

inent and

memorable sets to date, from performances at Las Vegas’ notorious EDC, to the legendary

fabric nightclub in London, to Privilege, Ibiza

-

the world’s biggest club. It’s unsurprising then,

that ‘City Lights’ was featured as Radio 1’s ‘Track of the

Day’ and also reached Beatport’s

Top 100 Number 1 spot, since it was premiered by Annie Mac as her ‘Special Delivery’ on

her prime time Radio 1 slot. The leading UK tastemaker went onto describe Culture Shock

as “one of the most innovative d&b producers o

ut there, delivering quality time and time

again”.

On top of delivering monumental remixes for the likes of Nero, Netsky, Rita Ora and Seinabo

Sey, his momentum continues to grow as an international touring DJ, with visits to Australia,

USA, South Africa

and multiple European dates in the last 6 months alone. With ‘City Lights’

successor soon to follow, it seems like we are just starting to see what Culture Shock is

really capable of.

 

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