Profile:
Audio visions of the future, whether galloping day-glo space odysseys or crumbling Philip K Dick-esque dystopian nightmares, have been front and centre within electronic music since near its origins. And although recent years have seen artists from multiple genres looking misty-eyed to halcyon years, mawkishly imagining the 'death of rave' or piecing together second hand memories beneath eighth hand Amen breaks, in suburban St Albans in the mid 1990s it was a wildly different story. Two young teenagers, Jim Baker and Phil Aslett, rigged up cheap synths and rudimentary samplers and started making the most future-facing electronic music around.

Forming close artistic allegiances with fellow St Albans drum & bass maestro Photek, Source Direct focused on sweeping pads, haunting melodies, chest-crushing subs and the most twisted breakbeat work imaginable. They quickly found their tracks being played regularly by LTJ Bukem and, a year or so later, the whole family of DJ's that surrounded the Metalheadz stable. Although the pair only released a few 12"s on 'headz itself, their style of production was intrinsically bound up with the whole 'scene within a scene' that surrounded that iconic label. DJs like Kemistry & Storm, Loxy, Doc Scott and, of course, Goldie regularly played the duo's work at the Sunday Blue Note sessions and also the countless label tours that were undertaken all over the world at the time.

This was music steeped in dark romance; brooding, foreboding and cold, unbearably tense. Check 'Stonekiller' – a colossus of clammy-backed fear, like being stalked through the twisting, flicker-lit basement alleyways of Hong Kong's dilapidated Chungking Mansions by machete-wielding gangsters, through the kitchens with the live hens, past the gambling dens and barbers. Truth be told it's a bloody nightmare of a track, and one that illustrates the fact that, though often black as night, Source Direct never gave into the base nosebleed aesthetics that came to dominate drum & bass just a few years later. Their music was beautiful and, as they scarcely left the studio and were uninterested in pursuing the breakneck DJ schedule of many of their contemporaries, they had the time they needed to craft it to perfection.

But although Source Direct were, and remain, unsurpassed in their ability to conjure dark audio visions, their sound was not one-dimensional. 1996's 'Secret Liaison'/'Complexities' 12", for example, remains one of the most beautifully powerful explorations of time-stretched amen bliss put to vinyl. This was music that took time. It is rare to find a Source Direct tune below six minutes; most surpass eight.

The 12"s rolled on through the late 90s, alongside genre-defining music from like-minded compadres Hidden Agenda, Digital, Ed Rush & Optical, the No U Turn crew and Dillinja. But, as is so often the case with young partnerships, things turned sour once major label pressure and money entered the equation - and in those days the majors were taking a big interest in drum & bass. Tensions came to a head over a deal with Virgin, Aslett and Baker eventually parted ways in 2000.

With a back catalogue such as theirs however, interest has only grown since. A new generation of drum & bass producers, including Blocks and Escher, Ulterior Motive and Om Unit, to name but a few, have drawn audible inspiration from the beauty, cinematic power and ambition of the original Source Direct sound. Outside of that genre, many other artists have also been vocal in their appreciation of the duo's work, not least those affiliated to the Blackest Ever Black stable, such as Raime.

Jim Baker has recently started DJing again as Source Direct and, as anybody who has seen him play in recent years will attest, it is an absolute riot, drawing on classic era jungle, hardcore and all manner else, succinctly joining the dots between styles and eras. However, this is no nostalgia trip - Jim has also recently begun making music again after a near decade-long hiatus.
Sites:
Aliases:
Members:

Source Direct Discography Tracks

Source Direct - Future London / Shimmer album art Source Direct Source Direct - Future London / Shimmer Odysee Records UK 1994 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Snake Style / Exit- 9 album art Source Direct Source Direct - Snake Style / Exit- 9 Source Direct Recordings UK 1995 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Different Groove / Stars album art Source Direct Source Direct - Different Groove / Stars Odysee Records UK 1995 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Fabric Of Space / Bliss album art Source Direct Source Direct - Fabric Of Space / Bliss Source Direct Recordings UK 1995 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Approach & Identify / Modem album art Source Direct Source Direct - Approach & Identify / Modem Source Direct Recordings UK 1995 Sell This Version
MET H 016 Source Direct - A Made Up Sound / The Cult album art Source Direct Source Direct - A Made Up Sound / The Cult(12") Metalheadz MET H 016 UK 1995 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Metalheadz Platinum Breakz album art Various A Made Up Sound Various - Metalheadz Platinum Breakz (Comp) FFRR, Metalheadz US 1996 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Black Rose / 12 Till 4 album art Hokusai Hokusai - Black Rose / 12 Till 4 Source Direct Recordings UK 1996 Sell This Version
BRSS55 Source Direct - The X-Files Volume 2 album art Intensity (2) Intensity (2) - The X-Files Volume 2(12") Basement Records BRSS55 UK 1996 Sell This Version
RAZORS 003 Source Direct - This Is A Baad / The Cult (Remixes) album art Goldie / Source Direct The Cult Remix (The Initiation Test) Goldie / Source Direct - This Is A Baad / The Cult (Remixes)(12") Razors Edge RAZORS 003 UK 1996 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Metalheadz : : Full Metal Jacket album art Various A Made Up Sound Various - Metalheadz : : Full Metal Jacket (Comp) Avex Trax Japan 1996 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Red Lights / Crystal House album art Hokusai Hokusai - Red Lights / Crystal House Source Direct Recordings UK 1996 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Secret Liaison / Complexities album art Source Direct Source Direct - Secret Liaison / Complexities Good Looking Records UK 1996 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Mixmag Live! Volume 22 - Breakbeat Experiments album art Doc Scott Red Lights Doc Scott - Mixmag Live! Volume 22 - Breakbeat Experiments DMC Publishing Ltd., DMC Publishing Ltd. UK 1996 Sell This Version
SBEATS 9 Source Direct - Volume 2 album art Oblivion Oblivion - Volume 2(12") Street Beats SBEATS 9 UK 1996 Sell This Version
Source Direct - The Crane / Artificial Barriers album art Source Direct Source Direct - The Crane / Artificial Barriers Source Direct Recordings UK 1996 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Wipeout 2097: The Soundtrack album art Various 2097 Various - Wipeout 2097: The Soundtrack (Comp) Astralwerks US 1996 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Stonekiller / Web Of Sin album art Source Direct Source Direct - Stonekiller / Web Of Sin Metalheadz UK 1996 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Headz 2B album art Various The Silent Witness Various - Headz 2B (Comp) Mo Wax UK 1996 Sell This Version
IPCZIK004 Source Direct - Goldie Presents... The Metalheadz Sessions album art Various A Made Up Sound Various - Goldie Presents... The Metalheadz Sessions(Cass, Comp) Muzik Magazine IPCZIK004 UK 1996 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Call & Response / Computer State album art Source Direct Source Direct - Call & Response / Computer State (Single) Science, Virgin UK 1997 Sell This Version
ASW 6225 Source Direct - Controlled Developments album art Source Direct Source Direct - Controlled Developments(CD, Comp) Astralwerks, Science ASW 6225 US 1997 Sell This Version
Source Direct - Two Masks / Black Domina album art Source Direct Source Direct - Two Masks / Black Domina (Maxi, Single) Science, Virgin Records Ltd. UK 1996 Sell This Version
QEDT5 Source Direct - Capital D. / Enemy Lines album art Source Direct Source Direct - Capital D. / Enemy Lines(12") Science QEDT5 UK 1997 Sell This Version
ZYX 81122-2 Source Direct - Drum'N'Bass album art Various Call & Response Various - Drum'N'Bass(2xCD, Comp) ZYX Music ZYX 81122-2 Germany 1997 Sell This Version

Reviews Show All 6 Reviews

Add Review

Mergi

Mergi

March 15, 2016
Absolutely ravenous human beings these fellows! The 90s would've been absolutely DULL without 'em, let me tell you.
theskyisfalling

theskyisfalling

June 22, 2015
I'm sure Goldie referred to them as some sort of Cell that mutated from Photek, anyway their releases got cained by anyone and everyone back in the day and I still enjoy playing them.
The thing about SD was the breadth of styles they produced with in D&B, whatever sound they took on they made it their own and surpassed their peers in quality of execution, from dark amen heavy tunes to melodic pad laden chill they nailed it.
eklausmeyer

eklausmeyer

July 12, 2013
Under Rupert Parkes expert tutelage, these gents took jungle to a whole new place. Prior to the Source Direct/Photek (and a little bit Doc Scott as well, though not as much), there was a strict dance-ethic. I feel that many of the Source Direct tunes are not (and really never were) dance floor friendly. But that's ok. They are true works of art. They took programming, editing and sequencing to new heights. And when you compare production in any EDM style circa 1995, there was no one creating sequences as complex and precise as Source Direct (and Photek). It really boggles my mind to imagine these complex patterns being made on hardware samplers! Hours and hours and hours of pushing little buttons. Respect.
ceejaycraig

ceejaycraig

October 2, 2006
edited over 11 years ago
The kings of editing an "Amen Break" Had a totaly unique sound meaning there tunes were both hard but had depth and musical input. Had releases on all the big labels at the time aswell as there own labels. Would recomend everything they did between 94-96 however be ready to pay as there stuff can be pretty expensive to pick up.
Komakino

Komakino

May 28, 2004
The sleeve notes to Platinum Breakz III as well as the artist profile on allmusic.com indicate that Phil Aslett left Source Direct towards the end of 1999, leaving Jim Baker to run proceedings alone. Evolving from Photek's shadow both musically and geographically, Source Direct took drum & bass somewhere dark (darker than No U-Turn's take on the world) with almost disturbing productions combining ill-boding atmospherics with non-standard time beats, breaks, and bass. One of a small number of drum & bass artists to record a full-length album (1999's 'Exorcise The Demons') their standout tracks include 'Capital D' and 'Stonekiller' - the latter comparable to a musical journey though Dante's Inferno.

Videos (55) Edit