We like anyone that gets up off that thing and makes you dance till you feel better. Or actually, we like people that get up and get it moving themselves. Russell Forman is also known as DJ Dribbler (we should really find out where the name came from). He has been Djing for the last 30 years and was one DJ part of Pure in Edinburgh (legendary Scottish techno club) and a tour DJ for Orbital during the mid to late 90s. He was also a long-term DJ on Red Light Radio and is part of the Pikes family in Ibiza. We asked him for his top ten records from the Orbital tour as that 90s sound is currently tickling our fancy so we wanted to see what this turned up. Over to Russell.
Plez – I Can’t Stop (Acid Rain Forest Mix) (Plezure Records)
I always played this as my last track before the band came on. It was like an alarm call for Paul and Phil to get ready to hit the stage. A huge track which focused the audience and made them pay full attention. Raw wild jungle noises with thunder and rainfall samples. Immense..
2AM (Lenny Dee) – New Grooves Volume 2 (Nu Groove)
This rolling rhythm section track was stolen from Wave, sister Saturday night club to Pure. Wave was more eclectic and featured multi-deck acid based sounds, which inspired many artists and attendees, including Neil Landstrumm who listed it as a major influence and where he cut his clubbing teeth. Fresh.
Slam – Positive Education (Soma)
A nod to the Glasgow roots I had at the time. I had a flat on Ruskin Terrace which was next door to the Slam/Soma offices. Positive Education’s sounds reminded me and many others of Ron Trent’s seminal tune, “Altered States.” This track lifted the roof off in every venue we played. It united the room and showed them we were there to party. It never failed me once. Big.
Phuture Phantasy Club – Slam (Low Fat Vinyl)
Dark and foreboding like most of the original acid house tunes were. This track commanded the floor, never allowing it to peak but showing the crowd what we were talking about and sussing out who was who and what was what in the audiences across Europe and Scandinavia. Ominous.
Bam Bam – Make U Scream (Funky Club Mix) (Westbrook Records)
Oozing sexuality and style, this Chicago number has Chris Westbrook at his slickest. Effortless style, deep breathing and orgasmic vocals matched with increasingly killer drums and 303. Smooth and Sexy.
Chez Damier – Untitled KMS049 Side B1 (KMS)
This track was produced and mastered in New York by Aretha Franklin’s producers. I’ve heard the story many times. They were unaccustomed to house music and it took a while for them to “get it” (at hundreds of dollars an hour) but then it clicked and they made those drums snap like a tree in a hurricane and the riff hit you right on the jack-bone. This one worked the househeads in the mostly techno orientated crowd and was great on the big systems Orbital used. Undeniable.
Lil Louis – Why’d U Fall / The Conversation (Epic)
Lil Louis (pronounced Loo-iss and not Louie) is, for me, the real Chicago Don and that’s why I have no hesitation including two tracks from this ep which both served me well. Why’d U Fall is a builder which has eerie vocals chanting “Why Fall” throughout. It’s another classic which stays composed, although absolutely nuts, and doesn’t peak - which is very important when you are opening for a band. The Conversation is a well known stone cold classic , still battered out by DJs in the know. It features what is probably the best house saxophone section ever written over a rolling bassline which is produced o the max and absolutely fills the room, whether it be a 400 capacity basement in Hamburg or a 6000 capacity ice hockey stadium in Stockholm. Huge.
Phantazia – Inner Light (Mental Radio)
This is a tune of its era. An epic Belgian number which positively freaked me out when I first heard it played at Pure. It kinda made everything else at the time seem small in comparison. I dropped this after the band had played and remember most distinctly playing it in the main square in Turin where they filmed the car chase for “The Italian Job.” I watched a crowd of thousands go mental on a warm summer’s night and never had so many people ask me about a tune on at any Orbital gig. Even more remarkable was that it had been out for 3 or 4 years at the time. Foreboding and all encompassing.
Chris Simmonds – Child’s Play (Baby Blue Records)
This was a favourite amongst the Orbital crew and always picked up the spirits after a long day loading up and building scaffolded stages. It’s a banger which builds to an incredible synth section which is techno as fuck. Serious but a lot of fun.
Eddie Flashin’ Fowlkes – 420 Low (Tresor)
This one was a bit self-indulgent at the time as I was careful not to play anything that would upstage the start of the show in any way. Not that I could ever upstage Orbital’s live act as a DJ but this tune is massive and probably too banging to play before they went on, if I’m honest. I only dropped it once before the main show and that was on the third night of the Snivilisation tour at Paradiso in Amsterdam. It was a Saturday night and the whole tour was done “in the round.” That involved the construction of scaffolding staging in the middle of the room and not the use of the stage. Paradiso went the extra mile and had tiered staging set around the scaffolding. It was like being in the Coliseum or some amphitheatre. The crowd were going absolutely bonkers and I had to take it there. I dropped this and remember turning round to look at the crowd at my side and behind me. They were all positioned on the tiered staging with their own spots. I remember seeing the Amsterdammers with their eyes shut and absolutely having it. It’s a moment I will never forget, although I never did it again before they played. That same night my DJing got an encore and Lee Walker (Theee Mellowtrons) handed me a white label 12 and said “play this , it’s drum n bass.” Paul also recalls this moment as being the introduction of that style to Amsterdam,. Although I’m not sure of that now, given the timeframe, I remember thinking I’d never heard anything that fast with such resonating bass. I have no idea what the track was, you’d have to ask Lee.
Djing with Orbital schooled me on restraint and composure. Creating and maintaining an energy that never peaked but pulled everyone in. It was the biggest moment in my DjJ career when they asked me to tour with them. I had seen them live at Aberdeen’s Fever before the track “Belfast” even had a name. I approached the brothers after the gig and gave them a kazoo I would often take with me to clubs and play along on. I told them I was going to get into DJing and that they were going to be massive - and also to put the kazoo in their first video.
It was many months later that they came to play one of the first Pure nights in Edinburgh and Phil saw me and said “did you see it?” I had no idea what he was talking about and it turned out they had held up the release of the 'Belfast' / 'Satan' 12 inch for two weeks to include a postage stamp sized picture of my kazoo on the back cover. I am forever indebted to Paul and Phil Hartnoll for the opportunities they gave me and the support and confidence it built in my Djing. We are still very good friends to this day.
DJ Dribbler now lives in Ibiza and has written two books based on five characters and their experiences during the 90s rave scene. They are called “Harry’s Kebabs” and its sequel “The Take Away”. The books have had “rave” reviews and you buy them on Amazon HERE and HERE. The book is also available at Underground Solu'shn in Edinburgh with Glasgow's Rubadub also selling and distributing the books.