‘Biggabush Freevisited’ – with Album Mix Commentary
Glyn “Bigga” Bush gives a brief rundown of the thinking behind each of the 12 tracks on his newly-revised album ‘Biggabush Freevisited’, a more cohesive version of its precursor, which began with a desire to break out of his usual routines, habits and ways of writing music
During the lockdown of 2021 Glyn “Bigga” Bush decided to revisit an album he released in 2004: BiggaBush Free. At that time he was looking for ways to break away from his regular working methods, find new grooves and styles and perhaps to draw a line under his previous work with Rockers Hi Fi.
“Freevisited” sees him come full circle on this concept, further developing those ideas with the benefit of more years experience at the mixing desk and a wider range of influences to draw from. The dub effects and techniques he championed during the 90s with Rockers are still there, if anything more widescreen and epic than ever before. Beats are crisper and tougher, the pads are deeper and lusher and the overall effect is of ideas taken to the next level.
Going back to the old album ‘Biggabush Free’ Glyn felt that the compositions were strong but that he could seriously improve on everything else: sound, arrangements, production – and so many of the songs were rebuilt from the ground up, utilising the skills, studio experience and better technology gained in the interim – rejigging the running order and bringing in some other cuts that didn’t get a proper release first time around, and re-uniting with some of his former Rockers Hi Fi collaborators.
“It started with me wanting to rework some of the music and gradually took on a life of its own… I ended up re-producing virtually the whole album, adding a live brass section, new vocalists and arrangements. Kind of a remaster plus, plus…” Glyn explains.
Here Glyn gives a brief rundown of the thinking behind each of the 12 tracks:
Black Swan Revival – featuring Farda P and Jackie Walters
A recently unearthed demo from the 1997 “Overproof” sessions contained this embryonic Rockers Hi Fi track in surprisingly near-finished form. The basic groove, bassline, keys, wah wah horn and vocal “woo” were all there, so it was really just a matter of adding a Farda P vocal with a repurposed backing vocal from Jackie sorting out the arrangement.
This was the very first track I completed in Dorset in a newly installed bedroom set-up back in 97, the idea being to literally flex the mouse and see if everything was working properly. Having not quite got the speakers positioned correctly the bass almost blew up the Rockers system back in Birmingham when I first shared it with Dick at HQ. But apart from a little tweaking to sort that, this is exactly as it was recorded back in the day.
A tighter, funkier version of the OG BiggaBush Free track, with a vestigial bassline brought to the fore on Latin-esque piano and the 303 line slightly pared back to allow the rest of the track to groove. Bigger horn blasts also added courtesy the Blackjack Horns…
…who also drive this phatter and phunkier version with added scratches and cuts from DJay Rees, mixmaster extraordinaire.
A half time dub intro with baritone sax stabs and library-style harpsichord figures is left hanging before a relentless drum machine groove rolls over a 3-note bass riff with filtered hats and pizzicato strings. Farda P urges things along vocally.
A long-standing obsession with irregular time-signatures informs the bulk of this track, ticking along comfortably in 15/8 up to the newly-added end section which enters soundtrack territory with dirty fuzz bass over an echoed drum workout. DJay Rees once again provides the cuts.
Referencing early Rockers ambient dub stylings, this cut imagines the sands of time merging with lush pads, gorgeous guitar and a one-drop bassline.
Completely reworked from the OG album this replaces the sampled stabs with warm Juno keys and also moves the bass guitar figure onto synth, all the better to convert this into a 106bpm chugger in a repeated cycle you never want to end.
This track stays true to its original harp figure and Cuban percussion but adds a string bass and live percussion.
Real & Regal
The story of this track starts with a BiggaBush remix of Swayzak featuring Benjamin Zephaniah, made in 2000 and one of Bigga’s most popular tracks down the years. Here we see the backing stripped right back, the boingy sample dropped an octave, and Farda P stepping in to gravel up Professor Z’s lyrics.
A big old horn section is again to the fore in this piece which lays a strangely shifting bass loop over a raw funk break, with interludes of bubbling electronics and vibraphone flourishes.
This River featuring Jackie Walters
Extensively reworked from the old album version, with a loping Brazilian feel on the first half underpinning an ethereal 12-string guitar. The second part explodes into an early breakbeat/d&b vibe with live bass and overwrought synth arpeggios – all held together by Jackie’s commanding vocals.
Check out the album and the continuous Album Mix on Mixcloud HERE