That Moving Shadow ethos lives on with Over/Shadow.

I don’t want to say the drum & bass game has been trash (far from it), but I’d be lying if I didn’t think the dnb scene has been missing “something” since the legendary Moving Shadow imprint stopped releasing material since the year Obama won his first term.

You’re familiar with Moving Shadow, right?

For those who are unaware, Moving Shadow (which was founded by Rob Playford—you know, the guy who worked with Goldie on a lot of his early material—back in 1990) helped lay the groundwork for what we now know as drum & bass today. Everyone from Calyx and Omni Trio to Dom & Roland and EZ Rollers (among many, many others) made magic among that storied institution. They even brought drum & bass to Liberty City.

Labels come and go…so what?

I’d argue that in the days since Moving Shadow stopped dropping material, there’s been an overabundance of drum & bass out there. Many imprints dropping many tunes that many don’t even hear. There are institutions out there—shouts to Critical Music and that lot—who have a style and sense of quality control about what they are putting out, but a lot of the time, these are bits being thrust into the ether, with hopes of latching on. And none of these releases are touching tunes like Dom & Roland’s “Can’t Punish Me.”

Maybe that’s just me, but it’s hard to talk about drum & bass and not name Moving Shadow releases as vital parts of the scene’s creation, and having that imprint lay dormant has left a void in many of us. That’s set to be corrected with Over/Shadow, a recently-announced imprint that Si from 2 Bad Mice—a group who were a vital part of the nucleus of the Moving Shadow team (both on wax and behind the scenes)—has been teasing since at least the summer.

The Over/Shadow community

I first saw this information via DJ Ollie, who essentially has the entire Over/Shadow mission statement posted over on LoveThatBass. The sense of “community” I think is key—the launch featured everyone from AK1200 to Tech Itch supporting the Over/Shadow movement, as was Blame, a legend in his own right who will be blessing Over/Shadow with two tunes for the first release.

Over/Shadow begins in earnest with a release from Conrad Shafie aka Blame. It’s a perfect start. After all, Blame’s “Music Takes You” was one of MS’s foundational releases back in 1992, and its overpowering ecstatic energy makes it a tune that still gets plays to this day around the world. And of all producers, Blame represents a continuity that runs through the subsequent generations of rave music and through MS’s output.

His two tracks for the first Over/Shadow release are quite different from one another – “Lift Off” is powered by fearsome jungle breaks, while “Star Traveller” is an altogether more elegant roller – and are crisp and modernist. But they are also unmistakeably full of the warmth, euphoria and sense of possibility that has fired him and the wider musical family up consistently since the glory days of 1990/91 when they first came together. As a statement of intent, it takes quite some beating.

Over/Shadow press release, Nov. 2020

The Moving Shadow Instagram page has been steadily hyping this moment with footage of Blame’s release getting cut to vinyl hitting a few weeks back.

And while I was never a DJ, I’ve always been a nerd about catalog numbers and how releases are presented, so it was refreshing that the X-side/Y-side staple of the Moving Shadow vinyl releases are in tact with Over/Shadow.

So when does Blame’s Over/Shadow release drop?

“Soon” is what I keep seeing. I’d say hold tight to this site and the 3810984092 others who are chomping at the bit to get in on this, but you already know that. The future is NOW. #HRD

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