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Artist of the Week: Basement Jaxx. Blow the roof off


In the 90s groups like Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, and Daft Punk were dominating the airwaves, appearing in games and movies. House was king. Everyone was experimenting with it in their music, Bjork, Jackson, Madonna, and more. it was during this time that two UK producers, Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton were forming Basement Jaxx. Typically when you think of house music you think electronica, djs, keyboards, computers, and turntables. Basement Jaxx has that, of course, but Ratcliffe and Buxton also had history in different styles of music beforehand. Buxton having grown up being forced to listen to Austrian and Japanese music rather than standard radio pop, as well as singing in a church choir. Later in life Buxton would find love in latin, funk, and disco, as well as just perusing record stores. Ratcliffe, however, went to an American international school in his teens and while there he studied everything he could get his hands on, from Bowie to Deep Purple, KRS-One to Neil Young. Both would find common ground in their interest in underground US house music.

Ratcliffe had been releasing small projects under the name "Tic Tac Toe" in the early 90s, after setting up a small studio in his basement he was introduced to a Felix through a mutual friend. The two recorded their first EP on the Wall of Sound label while still working and in college. In 1995 they released their second EP and found the singer, and almost member of the band, Corrina Joseph. The single, Samba Magic, was a successful underground hit, attracting the attention of many legendary DJs and influences to the band, such as Tony Humphries, who had given accolades "Da Underground" from their first EP, and Louie Vega who praised the track and regularly played it in sets. This love would extend in the future to collaborative efforts with Vega recently being a warm up act for them as an example.

In 1996, the track was distributed by Virgin. The added exposure grew attention to the band and began work as producers, remixing tracks for many large acts like The Pet Shop Boys. They released their third EP in 1996 which would become a top 20 hit in 1997. Shortly after this the band would be signed to XL Recordings, an independant label, though one who has had some seriously huge names work with them.

Three years later the band would release Remedy, which featured the single "Red Alert," that would be featured in advertisements and the film Bend it like Beckham. The album was a success and charted at #4 in the UK.

The followup album in 2001 "Rooty", blew everyone way. "Where's Your Head At", opened the door for the band outside of the UK and appeared in the Angelina Jolie film "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider", as well as on the soundtrack for SSX3. Hopefully the video doesn't give you nightmares. I'll give you an adorable Bollywood inspired video to help wash it out. Basement Jaxx has some great music videos.

While Rooty and Remedy were successes, the awards finally came out for them with the 2003 album "Kish Kash." Like all of their work, it featured numerous collaborative efforts, including appearances by hip hop artist Dizzee Rascal and Rock and Roll Legend Siouxsie Sioux. The track "Good Luck" featuring Lisa Kekuala was used in the Euro 2004 soccer coverage as their theme, it also makes an appearance on the soundtrack for Appleseed. The 47th annual grammys netted Kish Kash the win for the very first "Best Electronic/Dance Album."

In 2005, while at the Glastonbury Festival, Kylie Minogue was forced to cancel her headline performance after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Basement Jaxx performed in her place, despite the rain and raining insults of Bobby "Steven Van Zandt Said I'm a Waste of Space" Gillespie. Gillespie had been inciting controversy the entire event. Defacing signs against poverty, promoting anti-semitism, and calling Jaxx "A bunch of cocksuckers, no disprespect to cocksuckers." Jaxx showed him by absolutely fucking CRUSHING it. Performing their album with a full live band, yes, an houseband that plays instruments! They actually have a permanent drummer, not just drum machines. They even performed a mix of Motorhead's Ace of Spades (sorry for shit quality)

In 2008 the band wrote and produced the song "Rocking Chair" for Cyndi Lauper's album "Bring You to The Break

 In 2009 the album Scars was released featuring collaborations with artists as broad as Yoko Ono and Santigold, continuing Basement Jaxx's interest in multiculturalism. The album Zephyr, intended to be part of a double album with Scars, was also released that year. It's a much different more experimental sounding album, likely why they decided to break it off of the more easily digested Scars.

2011 saw an interesting concept for the band, and another unexpected collaboration. Basement Jaxx vs Metropole Orket is an album of Basement Jaxx songs being performed by a 70 piece orchestra, not exactly what you'd picture from either side of the equation.

Attack the Block the 2011 teens vs aliens flick, was scored by Basement Jaxx Originally intended to only be brought in to score one scene the band ended up scoring the entire film along side future acamedy winner Steven Price, who was only now scoring his first movie.

2014, 5 years after Scars/Zypher, their last full commercial album of new material, Basement Jaxx released Junto. The album's single "Never Say Never" features a group of scientists developing a twerking robot. I think that the amount of butts in this will make this whole read worthwhile.

Now, I've only had a few hours of sleep and I'm tired. I'm heading back to my bed, wish me good luck.

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About Khalid Eternal Nighone of us since 12:52 AM on 06.15.2015

Every time I think I know what I'm doing with my life, I forget.