From what I can gather on the internet, Indochina was a sub-label of China records, which secured its position in the industry through its best-selling artists Art of Noise, Morcheeba and the Levellers. Indochina was its loosely defined dance music off-shoot that pressed up everything from trip-hop to house to disco to jazzdance to hip-hop to breaks to, in six instances I can find, jungle/drum & bass.
My introduction to the label's jungle efforts was through the "Players (Amen Mix)" on ID036T, which was released in 1995 and has a hip-hop jump-up feel to it. About 5 years later, I took an interest in hunting down the other jungle releases on the label, and have been more than pleasantly surprised at both the diversity and the quality of tunes I've discovered thus far. As I say, I've found six releases, specifically ID030T, ID033T, ID036T, ID043T, ID053T and MOR001, but I've only included the first three here because, I've yet to buy the fourth release, and after having heard the last two, I reluctantly admit they're a little too plain and minimal for my tastes, but what do you expect from Doc Scott, J. Majik and Omni Trio in 96-97.
Despite the latter tunes being wonkypoop, the first three are of a different order. The first, ID030T, is a new and decidedly different take on Summer Breeze, which the readers of this blog would probably be more familiar with as a tune by Bonny and the Highlander. The Band of Gypsies version is a funky melodic non-amen number, and the Team 5 version is a ragga-snippet amen tearout. Casablanca, the third tune on the release, is an orchestral, steppy tune that brings to mind rainbow socked bunnies hopping through a field of poppy seeds. ID033T, quickly becoming my favorite of the bunch, manages to combine jazz and jungle in a manner quite unlike anything I've heard before. Usually a jazzy jungle tune, in my experience, signifies a jungle tune which has very minor influence from jazz or has a sax sample thrown in somewhere or another. Here, the focus seems to be more of an even split, and the producer employs innovative tricks such as throwing in an amen crash on only the fourth beat of a measure. I don't know enough about the technical aspects to go much deeper into it, but for any fellow jazz and jungle enthusiasts out there, I suggest you give this a blast through the headphones. The third, as stated earlier, has a jump-up amen tune that I quite enjoy, an electro-esque stepper, and overall a more steppy techy vibe that would fit in with the direction dnb was heading in late 95-early 96.
According to the promo sheet that came with my copy of the Medusa release, Indochina had planned on setting up a sub-label for future dnb related releases entitled Freebase. This seems to be confirmed by the fact that the cardboard sleeve for that release and the Players release had a Freebase name and logo on them, but they continued to use Indochina catalogue numbers, and I couldn't find anything else on a Freebase label on the internet, so I'm led to believe that the plan went defunct before it ever really took off.
When I get the fourth release, I'll add it here, but for now, I hope you enjoy these three latest offerings from my dusty shelves.
On a side note, for those who like their trip-hop funky, I highly recommend listening to the album Albumen by The Egg on this label. One of the best in that genre I've heard.
Spiral ft Lisa Lamb - Summer Breeze - Indochina 030T.rar http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?tm1iyjmenjj
Medusa - Indochina 033T.rar
The Player, G-Force & Ill's - Indochina 036T.rar