Goldie gets a Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Reissue of Timeless
In September 1995, David Toop of Mojo said this regarding Clifford Joseph Price, better known as Goldie, “With a few notable exceptions, Jungle has thus far been a music for singles and endless drum ‘n’ bass compilations. As the genre’s first high-profile, major label album, Timeless by Goldie and his Metalheadz changes all that.”
Goldie breathed in the essence of urbanized chaos and gave us a blueprint for reaction within that sphere. As Rush’s “2112” is to rock, “Timeless” is to drum ‘n’ bass. And to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of this progressive moment in electronic music, Goldie reissues his monument.
Looking back at the mid-1990s, Toop’s synopsis is the reason why “Inner City Life” was pounded into my skull over and over. You heard the metropolitan escape on soundtracks like Trainspotting and in various remix compilations. Even Rabbit in the Hole’s remix of the song became almost as popular as the original, not to mention Photek’s expansion.
Then again it could also be the major success of the album, reaching #7 on the UK charts, the highest for a drum ‘n’ bass album at the time. That alone made this song saturate the scene and give Goldie a global identity.
It was not until I listened to Timeless that I discovered “Inner City Life” was just part of a 21-minute soundscape of an urban jungle masterpiece. The song is a sonic statement with equal parts free-flow and controlled angular chaos that spirals into a journey through industrialized interpretations that feels like a living, breathing machine. In context, “Inner City Life” just seems to flow in and out of all of that.
Inner City Life
This is also the song that international audiences had the chance to experience UK Top 10 vocalist Diane Charlemagne; she was lead singer for the band Urban Cookie Collective and later performed with Moby for his live tours.
Timeless cannot be mentioned without throwing Rob Playford’s name into the discussion. Playford (aka Timecode) has been referred to as “the busiest man in jungle.” He did most of the programming and production on this album, complementing Goldie’s ideas and arrangements.
Goldie was a master at timescale-pitch modification, a process of changing the speed or duration of an audio signal without affecting its pitch. A great example dates back to 1992 and the song “Terminator,” an early Metalheadz experience, Goldie’s start-up label. Although not as drastic as on “Terminator,” the timescale-pitch modification method is also molded in throughout the Timeless album.
Goldie talks about how “Terminator” changed his career
For Goldie, this was his life’s achievement, a decade in the making that reached back before “Terminator” fueled a dance floor of ecstasy-laden kids. Going from a Hip Hop graffiti artist background (his artwork adorns the album cover) to a DJ who revolutionized breakbeat beyond the basic element of the style, Timeless pushed the sound to revolutionary proportions .
You may not immediately recognize it but this album is an homage to the people of the past, the pioneers: Doc Scott, Grooverider, Kemistry, and others. This is also an artist with a lot of energy, anger, and passion for what he does. And with a dark past, Timeless may be as much a recognition as it is the light at the end of the tunnel, as “State Of Mind” clearly enunciates. “I played the game and felt the pain, but I am stronger now.”
Goldie—”Sea of Tears”
“Sea of Tears” became the second standout track to the album and also the second longest. Whereas, “Inner City Life” was a look outward, “Sea of Tears” is a look inward and best demonstrates the mind of Goldie as it has its dark corners and a reflection of his upbringing.
This is his escape into sadness and realizing beauty because of it, a universal reality. Timeless is an album that defines a progressive movement of electronic culture and has sealed its fate as an artistic statement for its time. Timeless was selected to be in Robert Dimery’s book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and this reissue reminds us exactly why.