“Creativity shouldn't be following radio; it should be the other way around”
With a solid back catalogue and a fiercely independent ethos, over 15 years on and Justice and Metro’s pioneering MJazz label is still leading the war on unimaginative, disposable drum and bass. The label is currently preparing to unleash ‘The Modernists 2’, the second installment in it’s ltd CD LP series. The physical release is strictly limited to 100 copies, each one hand finished and uniquely numbered making them all the more attractive listeners and serious collectors alike.
Musically, The Modernists 2 is a collection of tracks that showcases minimal, downbeat, halftime and experimental drum & bass and electronica, bringing together some of the today’s finest exponents of the sound.
The record opens purposefully with Cuelock’s ‘Lypes’, a techy, drumstep-esque offering that pulses angrily and over the course of the album explores a startling variety of timbres and rhythms whose only defining characteristic is their experimental nature. Some tracks display rich musicality and elements of traditional composition; others harness minimal dynamics or stuttering beats and complex evolving structures. Particular album highlights include Felix K’s moody roller Reklas, Diamond Eye’s reverb soaked Temple Dub
Example Mag caught up with label boss Tony Justice to find out more about MJazz and The Modernists 2
Example :For uninitiated, how did MJazz come about?
Justice : Initially the label was set up as an outlet for our more experimental offerings, I guess that was around 95-95, and also really as an imprint that could be built and molded into what it needed to be, somewhere for quality drum and bass/music to have an appropriate arena.
Example : What inspired The Modernists series?
Justice: Basically my right hand man Scott Metro, started to get together a few like minded individuals who are exponents of the MJAZZ sound as he felt, and started to hit them up for tracks to submit. He told them to do their thing, experiment a bit, push it out there, don't play it safe, so that started it running. It was a case really of gathering together some really good drum and bass and putting it together as a whole package.
Example : What about the exclusive and DIY nature of the release?
We had done the previous Modernists LP as a hand finished item also, so the whole ltd, hand finshed run has become what the Modernists series is all about. It's all about putting quality music and special/quality packaging together and giving something nice to music buyer.
Example : Jazz has long been an influence on drum & bass music but a lot of the tracks seem lack traditional jazz characteristics, was this an intentional move?
Justice: With the whole JAZZ thing, it's funny because when we started the label, there were a lot of "cod" d and b jazz numbers doing the rounds. Tracks that had some ripped off sax sample and it was "jungle jazz" or whatever. So really when the Modern Urban Jazz named came about it was more about music that was created in a freeform, expressionistic manner that was akin to jazz and operated in the same ways. It was also I guess a sly dig at all the shit that was professing to be jazzy.
Example : Where do you feel this output fits within dnb and perhaps the wider arena of electronic music?
Justice : I think MJAZZ kind of inhabits it own little place, its experimental , it puts out good music, it likes to give a platform to new artists/music and work with a core of artists, some well known others not. The point is the music and keeping the labels legacy going.
MJazz ‘The Modernists’ is out on Feb 14th on strictly limited CD LP
You can pre order via: email@example.com and at Redeye Records
For more info check out modernurbanjazz.com