adam f – colours [classic]

Adam F - Colours coverSince music is timeless and quality does not deteriorate throughout the years, let’s shed some light on albums that we consider classic now and then. Starting with the drum & bass crossover Colours album by Adam F.

 

Although the album is classified as drum & bass (intelligent if you want to box it), it’s way more than that. When put next to the regular dnb albums of that time, “Colours” stands out by taking every aspect of composition and arrangement two steps higher. Whereas most tracks back then were just beats accompanied by some pads and a little bit of melody, Adam F goes all out on his debut album by serving us extensive arrangements where the breakbeat is only a pillar on which the music is built and not the entire foundation.

 

This becomes instantly clear at the intro track which is a 70’s chase-scene funk fueled short with fast hi-hats and a wah-wah guitar. Before starting off the first full-length track on the album, the intro seamlessly blends into a breakbeat-driven prelude which includes a little live trumpet solo.

 

 

After showing off his talents with the 2 short intro tracks Adam brings us an angsty futuristic dnb track that’s based around a single drumloop, a constant pad and a bombastic orchestral hit. By adding other drum excerpts, effects and a filthy heavy bassline, Metropolis becomes more and more interesting while maintaining it’s subtle composure.

 

For a cooling down, the next track offers sweet pads and chords, jazzy guitars and is topped with a crispy vocoder. Music In My Mind is a perfect example of how to match dance music with the structure of smooth-jazz composition.  The guitar, trumpets and lead-synth are the main features here, while a thick short bass-hit keeps punching through to keep the pace up. It’s back to the Metropolis vibe after that, with Jaxx being another heavy but atmospheric dark track.

 

Having shown that he’s capable of doing hard dnb party-tracks, F goes on to show that he’s more than just a dance producer. Starting with Mother Earth he explores extensive drum-programming and general atmosphere before going on to the more melodic The Tree Knows Everything, which is a dnb driven ballad with vocals by Tracey Thorn (of Everything But The Girl). The lyrics take you back to childhood times and the accompanying piano and synths compliment that feeling sublimely.

 

Centre of the release is the commercially viable hit Circles. Upbeat drums and sunny pads drift alongside a steady and really present bassline. The only thing drum & bass about Dirty Harry (Grooverider Remix) are the choice in drums. Apart from those it’s just a straight 70’s blaxploitation funk track, reminiscing of scores Isaac Hayes did. Hard but liquid basslines are key to this track and they’re accompanied by flutes and, ofcourse, the wah-wah guitar again.

 

F-Jam featuring MC Conrad goes back to straight intelligent: simple beats, chilled pads, trumpet solo’s and the deep full voice of Conrad. The not-so-unusual-but-still-surprising guest star Ronny Jordan drops in for the title track Colours. Adam easily adapts his style to Ronny’s guitar solo’s while maintaining his own sound which became so apparent in the previous track. This track is just straight-up smooth jazz: guitar, rhodes, saxophone and recurring themes. An unexpected but real nice twist at the end of a dnb album.

 

Finishing off with another ‘intelligent’ track, Aromatherapy is a perfect outro track for this release. Although we’re more than 15 years down the road since the release of Adam F’s debut album, it’s a timeless classic that still sounds fresh now. It’s also clear that this album pushed the limits and upped the bar for regular drum and bass producers.

 

Below you’ll find 4 clips displaying the diversity of the album. Whether you’ll have to pay full price or find it in the discount bin, it’s well worth your hard-earned cash.