Goldie’s Timeless – The Inspirational Album That Shaped My Life.
Everyone has an album that has influenced them in some way, a record from their teens that stands out from everything else that they have ever listened to.
Today, which is timely as it marks the date that Goldie releases his new album ‘The Journey Man’ I tell you all about the album that had the biggest impact on me growing up; Goldie’s Timeless.
The great thing about music is that it captures memories, the minute that you turn on your favourite album it can transport you right back to when you first listened to it.
It came out in 1995 when I was 13 years old. Not long before its release when I was 12 years old I remember seeing a double tape pack in HMV on a visit to the shop with my Dad, it was called ‘Sounds of the Jungle’ and I remember saying ‘Dad look at this cool new album’ and my Dad actually thought that the tapes contained sounds from the jungle! I explained to him that this wasn’t a soundtrack of wild animal noises and rainfall; it was the fresh new form of dance music.
The music was so foreign at the time I remember first hearing the syncopated rolling drums of ‘Living in Darkness’ by Top Buzz through walkman headphones on my school field, and it immediately grabbed my attention and I fell in love with the sound.
The sampled drum breaks and electronic stabs already sounded familiar to me from my sister’s 80’s Electro and my brother’s Hip Hop that I grew up listening to.
By the time that Timeless was released I was full on into Jungle music, I had got my first set of turntables and made regular trips to my local basement record shop with my Dad in tow. I used to find my trips there fascinating, standing at the counter listening to the older kids talking in amidst the sub low bass vibrations that erupted from the gigantic speaker behind the desk I was in my element.
Obviously, I was far too young to be going to raves and nightclubs but that didn’t stop me tuning into Fabio and Grooverider every Friday for their ‘One in The Jungle’ show on Radio One. I had caught the bug for Jungle music big time and then Timeless came along and just blew my mind.
From the first sweeping synth lines and haunting strings of the intro to the opening track ‘Timeless’ I was captivated by the sound that Goldie had created.
I have always been able to hone in on the emotion behind a piece of music and I felt immediately in tune with the feeling behind every note and every beat of that opening track.
Timeless also immediately opened up Jungle music to a whole sphere of opportunity and progression. As well as the sub low bass tremors, stabbing synth sounds and manipulated breaks the album featured beautifully composed string sections and soulful vocals. The way that Goldie merged these elements so flawlessly was absolutely ground-breaking.
The album moves from the militant, dark hoover sounds and heavy breaks of ‘Saint Angel’ to the sweet Piano lead and stretched out bass sounds of ‘State of Mind’.
You can hear the DJ in Goldie coming through and in many ways, the album travels just like a perfectly orchestrated DJ set; through highs, lows, from fast pace to mellowed moments it is all there.
The album has moments of serene indulgence like ‘Sea of Tears’ where you can close your eyes and shut off from the world, lost in the ambient synths and scattering breakbeats. The track then breaks into an interlude where soft acoustic guitar strings sit amongst the sound of crashing waves. Every track has a build-up and drop as any true piece of dance music does, so the familiar sub bass drops in and the break starts again; classic Goldie.
Something else I love about the album is how collectable it is. I own copies on double C.D, double tape, and vinyl. The sleeves contain graffiti produced by Goldie and the iconic Metalheadz logo. The vinyl has pride of place in a frame in our lounge.
The Man Behind The Music.
Hailing from Walsall in the Midlands Goldie was born to a Scottish mother and Jamaican father and named Clifford Joseph Price. He travelled a rocky road in his formative years which were spent in various care homes.
Other than one lone Art teacher who believed in him, he grew up with little hope or belief in himself. His Art teacher’s encouragement though leads to his flourishing interest in Art and later on Graffiti and this subsequently took him on a journey to New York in the 80’s.
Goldie’s Inspirational Ted X Talk
Goldie took on the Graffiti tag Dupe 84 and in between time spent tagging the estate he travelled up and down the country to all-dayers, breaking with Birdy and the B-Boys.
Before long Goldie had uplifted his drab looking estate with over 60 illegal paintings and it wasn’t long before he set about painting his first train, after seeing video footage of guys in New York doing it.
A chance meeting with a character called Brim Fuentes took place and Goldie was soon hanging with Brim and another writer called Bio. Not long after this Goldie’s Graffiti art featured in an exhibition in Birmingham funded by Council grants and the show featured other stalwarts on the UK scene including 3D (later to be known for his part in Massive Attack).
Seminal Graffiti Documentary ‘Bombin’
Goldie then realised his dreams when he took part in the filming of the documentary Bombin’ along with Brim and Bio. Now the youngster from the Midlands was breaking in a commercial for Ford arranged by Henry Chalfant and rubbing shoulders with his heroes.
I won’t continue to document Goldie’s early years here but I feel that it is important to understand and appreciate the backdrop that sits behind Goldie long before he was propelled to superstardom that saw him star in James Bond films and even Eastenders, and that backdrop is firmly rooted in Hip Hop culture.
Lose Yourself in the Music.
I find Timeless is best enjoyed either at high volume at home or through some decent size headphones. Listening to it through headphones I can close my eyes and every sound, every beat makes me think of the time that it was released and what it represents.
It conjures up flashing strobe lights cutting through smoke-filled clubs, my trips to that basement record shop, countless attempts at recording the perfect mix, then going back and wiping the tape to start again, the excitement as 9 o’clock on a Friday approached when I could tune into ‘One in the Jungle’ and all of the memories I have as my obsession with Jungle music progressed into me actually being booked to DJ.
The album is fearless and Goldie was breaking boundaries in producing it. I remember viewing him as an icon and feeling like he inspired me to break boundaries. Me and my friends were a brazen bunch back then, I will never forget the time that we organised and promoted our own Jungle event at a local pub only to get to the night and not be allowed in as the doormen clocked that we were under age.
So why not take a step into the world that I occupied in my teenage years and listen to Timeless; a classic and inspirational album that is just what it says on the tin; timeless.
If, like me, you are based on the South Coast be sure to check out Goldie as he brings together the fantastic Heritage Orchestra to perform his music, including tracks from the new album, at the Brighton Dome on Wednesday 22nd November 2017.