I started this article backwards, with the intention of finding no more than 8 of Rennie’s best tracks on youtube to put in at the end. What a mistake that was. It’s like picking an amateur football team out of a whole league of professionals. How the hell do you pick the best works of a producer who’s been in the frontline of a scene for so long..?!
This is why Rennie is hailed as ‘The Godfather of Breaks,’ because he’s been there since the start (even before) and dominated ever since, right through till today. Having set up the legendary Thursday Club Recordings (TCR) in 1993 after playing raves with Ellis Dee alongside some of the biggest names of that time (Prodigy, Moby, Altern 8, Shades Of Rhythm etc.) he was one of the dominating forces, alongside Adam Freeland, that gave us the NuSkool Breaks genre. Beyond the well known, he was getting chart hits and being chased by major labels before he started drafting soldiers for the TCR army, with Florida style breaks coming out on his label in the mid 90s through productions from himself and Arthur Baker amongst many others. Heading into the 2000′s the TCR takeover was well and truly in place, as he nurtured so many amazing artists you’d be familiar with today; Koma & Bones, BLIM, Uberzone, Chris Carter, General Midi, Smithmonger, Meat Katie, Elite Force, Dopamine, JDS – The list is endless. Over 15 years and 100+ releases, plus a bunch of albums, and this doesn’t even highlight the magnitude of how largely his own productions have impacted the scene. He himself has remixed a wide range of artists from The Fresh Prince & Jazzy Jeff at one end of the spectrum to Freq Nasty in his own home court, and released material on some of the biggest labels of his time in Perfecto Breaks, Mob, Rat Records, Functional Breaks & Renaissance, not to mention making the soundtrack theme song to the cult UK classic football hooliganism movie, The Football Factory. As I said before, I tried to handpick an even spread of tracks that show his impact over the years, picking a gem from every few years, but there’s just too many. Listen to the clips below to get an introduction, but do some research and you’ll find so much more…
Besides his tracks, he has been a heavy player in keeping the scene strong. From the late 90s to late 2000′s you can bet that he’s put out a monumental DJ mix CD that will be timeless, Perfecto Beraks in 03 instantly comes to mind, as does TCR100 in 2005, arguably the height of breaks and TCR’s reign. He’s well known for putting together bands of some of the best producers and MCs – big collaborator with the awesome MC Chickaboo – and smashing festivals such as Glade with live adaptations of his productions. He would have toured the globe for at lest 20 years, playing festivals and clubs with DJ sets as well, and has been constantly quoted as saying Australia is his favourite place to play cause we get down with the breaks so much more than most parts of the world. I’ve been lucky enough to see him a few times, in a few different countries, and what his said is reflected by my experiences. One of the best nights I’ve had was seeing his long awaited return to Melbourne in 2008 at Brown Alley to an absolutely heaving downstairs, people lined up around the block to get in, and swinging from the rafters when they did. Anyone that was there would attest (if they were sober enough to remember – it was a rowdy night!) that that was one of the best nights of breaks in Melbourne’s club history. A man with that much experience, that much control over the world’s most quality breakbeats, does not disappoint when he gets on the decks.
‘The Godfather’ title is more than apt.
Recently, as breaks’ popularity faded in the late 2000′s as a result of so many emerging genres, the sound has changed. ‘NuSkool breaks’ no longer seems appropriate for a lot of releases, and a growing trend amongst breaks heads has been the rise of the 140 beats per minute style. Rennie, like most of his time is the scene, has been an ambassador for this, and has moved with the times to make some of the biggest tunes of this genre he has dubbed ‘future jungle’ arriving on the scene with a collaborative remix with Pyramid of the massive Australian TCR Anthem – Hold You by Dopamine. Other notable tunes that have been getting rinsed out of my crate in this vain are the heavy Emalkay-esque ‘Erica’s Fix‘ and his remix of Jurassik & Codec – Hit Dat. Having seen him reinvent his sound and come out with some of these fresh releases that have been doing the rounds, it was extremely surprising to get mail in from our Brisbane breaks contingent that this would be his last Australian tour. Looking into it further, I found an article on themusic.com.au quoting the following;“I normally go to Australia every couple of years but, being realistic, I’m not sure I’ll be doing the same thing in a couple of year’s time, as in still traveling around so much and DJing or whatever.
I think the [last tour] thing is not some bullshit on a press release – it’s the last time. Unfortunately I chose the winter to come instead of summer,”
Read the full article here.
So, unlike normal gigs that are promoted as the ‘must see gig of the year’ or ‘last show ever’ blah blah blah, this one is really gonna be something special. I’m not even going to try and convince people, cause it’s simple, if you miss this, and you’ve found love in breaks at some point of the last 15 years, you oughta be disappointed.
Rock Like This and Darkbeat Present.. The Sounds of Future Breaks and Tech Funk- Acid with Rennie Pilgrem (UK) + Lee Coombs (UK)
Friday 20th July @ Royal Melbourne Hotel (RMH The Venue)
Direct Moshtix Link: http://www.moshtix.com.au/event.aspx?id=58306
Rennie Pilgrim – Future Jungle DJ Mix (June 2012)
RENNIE PILGRIM – 140 Mix (2011)