Rob Playford

Rob Playford

Real Name:
Robert Playford
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Rob Playford has been referred to as "the busiest man in jungle," and has probably had his hands in more aspects of the business, art, and culture of hardcore and drum'n'bass than any other single person. A DJ, recording artist (2Bad Mice, Kaotic Chemistry, Metalheads), label owner (Moving Shadow), and ultra-visible dance music proponent, Playford, like Goldie, Grooverider, and DJ Hype, has been a staple on the hardcore scene since it traded its helium-shrill vocal samples and rave whistles for chopped-up breaks and thunderous basslines in the early part of the '90s. An important catalyst of jungle's post-rave growth spurt, Playford's 2Bad Mice project helped push breakbeat beyond its rave trappings, and, with Moving Shadow as his engine, has played a crucial role in supporting jungle's growth as an autonomous art form.

A native of Watton-At-Stone, Hertfordshire (just north of London), Playford DJed house and techno through the late-'80s height of the acid house movement, following the music into its harder element at decade's turn. He self-released his own track, "Orbital Madness," and became a touch point for young artists and bedroom producers seeking advice on how to break into the scene. Rather than continuing to funnel talent to other labels, however, Playford formed Moving Shadow in 1990 (assisted by a "how-to" book on running a small business), both to release his own material and those of up-and-coming hardcore artists such as Blame, Mixrace, Flytronix, and Earth Leakage Trip. Initially selling records out of the trunk of his car, the steady growth of the hardcore and jungle scenes, as well as the consistent quality of the music finding its way to Moving Shadow, meant the label quickly became a full-time commitment.

Moving Shadow's early catalog was dominated by Playford-related projects, including 2Bad Mice, the influential trio Playford formed in 1991 with Sean O'Keefe and Simon Colebrooke. They released a number of club hits through the early '90s (including "Waremouse"), and are widely credited with releasing the first serious glimpse of drum'n'bass in 1992's massive "Bombscare." One of Moving Shadow's first chart successes, "Bombscare" charted in both the U.K. (#43) and the U.S. (#23) and has sold through a number of pressings, reissues, and remixes. Playford's other main musical venture -- Metalheads (the artist, not the label), together with Goldie -- have released a number of singles, including the massive hit "Inner City Life," arguably one of the most crucial moments in jungle's crossover to widespread acceptance. The pair also worked together on Moving Shadow's much-hyped 100th release, titled simply "The Shadow" and billed to Playford, Goldie, and Dominic Angus (of MS's Dom & Roland). The Metalheads tag has also been attached to a number of remixes, including post-Happy Mondays group Black Grape and the soundtrack for Mission: Impossible. Playford also engineered on Goldie's full-length debut, Timeless.

Moving Shadow's incessant drum'n'bass P.R. extended in the mid-'90s to a series of regional compilations (including Storm from the East and Transcentral Connection), and the label has increasingly pushed the full-length format, with albums by Omni Trio, Foul Play, and E-Z Rollers all appearing. The label's stable has also grown to one of the most solid and acclaimed on the current scene, with new-crop artists such as Ed Rush, Dom & Roland, and Technical Itch all signing on. A reissue label, Re-Animate, was established in 1996, and MS's publishing arm has handled licensing for such popular U.K. TV shows as Eastenders and Father Ted. In addition to the success of his label and recording projects, Playford was also the recipient of a special award for outstanding industry contributions at the 1996 U.K. hardcore awards. -- Sean Cooper
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Rob Playford Discography

Singles & EPs

JOINT LP FREE Dan Donnelly / Dave Noddings / Rob Playford / Sean O'Keeffe Dan Donnelly / Dave Noddings / Rob Playford / Sean O'Keeffe - The Joint(12", S/Sided, Promo) Suburban Base Records, Moving Shadow JOINT LP FREE UK 1993 Sell This Version
SHADOW 100 R2 Rob* / Goldie Rob* / Goldie - The Shadow (Rick Smith Remixes) Moving Shadow SHADOW 100 R2 UK 1997 Sell This Version
RRCD-85196 Dom* / Rob* / Goldie Dom* / Rob* / Goldie - The Shadow / Distorted Dreams (Maxi) DanceNet RRCD-85196 Japan 1997 Sell This Version
SHADOW 100 R1 Dom* / Rob* / Goldie Dom* / Rob* / Goldie - Distorted Dreams / The Shadow (Remixes By Desired State & Grooverider) Moving Shadow SHADOW 100 R1 UK 1997 Sell This Version
SHADOW 100 Dom* & Rob* / Rob* & Goldie Dom* & Rob* / Rob* & Goldie - Shadow 100 Moving Shadow SHADOW 100 UK 1997 Sell This Version
SHADOW 100 LTD Rob* & Dom* / Rob* & Goldie Rob* & Dom* / Rob* & Goldie - Distorted Dreams / The Shadow Moving Shadow SHADOW 100 LTD UK 1997 Sell This Version
SHADOW 100 Z Dom*Rob* & Goldie Dom*Rob* & Goldie - Drones / The Shadow Moving Shadow SHADOW 100 Z UK 1997 Sell This Version
828 952-1 Rob* & Goldie / Technical Itch Rob* & Goldie / Technical Itch - Blueprint(12") FFRR 828 952-1 UK 1997 Sell This Version

Compilations

none Rob Playford Wax And Moving Shadow Audio Couture Present - A Deeper Shade Of Drum 'n' Bass(Cass, Comp) Wax Magazine none UK Unknown Sell This Version

DJ Mixes

ASHADOW VHCD Rob Playford 98.1 Moving Shadow, Audio Couture ASHADOW VHCD UK 1998 Sell This Version

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mediumwaveradio

mediumwaveradio

May 29, 2016
Rob Playford absolute legend. His creativity and contribution to the UK drum and bass scene is the equal of Dennis Bovell to the UK reggae scene. As laughing gor states if you don't have a handful of tunes with Playfords name on them then you need a long hard talking to!
laughing-gor

laughing-gor

September 6, 2015
Am I really the first to comment on one of the most important hardcore/jungle/d'n'b producers ever??

While I will be the first to admit that d'n'b has meant little to me since about 1998-99 (by that time, I was firmly entrenched in London's hard trance/acid techno/psytrance scene, which has had the longest-lasting influence on me of any music I have ever been into), breakbeat hardcore/jungle/d'n'b meant a lot to me up until that point.

Either way, if you claimed to be into what could loosely be called the "rave" scene up until about 1996, and didn't have at least half a dozen tunes with this man's name (or aliases) on somewhere, then it's highly likely that your record-buying habits needed a serious review :)

If you don't know, then get to know ;)

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