Throwback: Alias (MJ Cole & NBN) – Da Journey

In this review, Nextup Throwback offers you a relatively unknown garage gem produced by one of our favourite old school garage producers – MJ Cole. Alongside NBN under the name Alias, the duo released ‘Da Journey’ and two other tracks on ‘Who’s Story’ EP via Very Important Plastic (V.I.P). ‘Da Journey’ is definitely the stand-out on the vinyl, offering smooth, mellow vibes perfect to wind down and chill out to.

Knowing the usual more boisterous and bouncy nature of MJ Cole’s productions it is interesting to hear something by him that carries a much deeper edge to it. Beginning with long drawn out vocals and a rigidly raw percussive backing the intro sets you up nicely and builds with heavily delayed trademark MJ chordal stabs. The use and array of vocals in ‘Da Journey’ is amazing: Multiple samples appear at various different points, all of them carrying eerie and mesmerising qualities that help keep the song fresh as the chords and drums continue to lay the foundations. Particularly eerie is the female vocal development around the 4 minute mark that suddenly emerges, momentarily engulfing the song before fading off into the distance, much like a jet flying towards and past you overhead. Once that vocal has passed there is a bliss introduction of a high pitched piano melody that pierces above the vocals and percussion, almost sounding like water drops as the melody jumps from note to note.

It appears MJ Cole can do anything when it comes to garage, though not made in his usual style, this definitely stands up there as one of his best productions.

Release date: 1998



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