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How LTJ Bukem’s ‘Logical Progression’ expressed his unique vision for drum & bass

ByVinod

Nov 23, 2022

Bukem and his cohorts were also among the first producers to introduce jazz to drum & bass, and there is a strong jazz theme running through ‘Logical Progression’. Ils & Solo’s ‘Solutions’ has a haunting sax riff at its heart, while Photek’s ‘Pharaoh’, which would later be known as ‘Rings Around Saturn’, slinks artfully around a sample from the late Pharoah Sanders’ cosmic-jazz classic ‘Astral Traveling’. 

Bukem himself is a big fan of jazz. In a rare interview with Drum & Bass Arena, he spoke of Herbie Hancock, Lonnie Liston Smith, and Curtis Mayfield as “real legends” who inspired “the whole electronic music scene.” Bukem also had musical training, learning drums and piano from an early age. A lot of early jungle and hardcore was all about putting together elements that really shouldn’t fit together, in sound and key, and revelling in the unique results; it’s one of the things that makes the music so exciting. Bukem’s instrumental background meant that the various elements of his music did tend to fit together melodically, which made it a bit easier on the ear than a lot of drum & bass at the time. 

Nonetheless, for all of the elegance of the music on ‘Logical Progression’, for all of its gilded edges and jazzy refinement, it’s rarely soft and never bland. The percussion in drum & bass is, logically, a key element to the music, and Bukem’s drums — in songs like the classics ‘Music’ and ‘Horizons’ — have an incredible snap to them. His own rhythms tend to be fairly straightforward, at least in drum & bass terms, but Photek’s two appearances on the release — ‘Pharaoh’ and ‘Bringing Me Down’ (as Aquarius, with Tayla) — go right to the other edge of the spectrum, the breaks almost impossibly complex in their radical recomposition. 

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