Surely one of the most ear-catching and unique reissues of the year, Christoph De Babalon’s 'If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It' is a late ‘90s neo-noir ambient and D&B masterpiece - imagine if The Caretaker made fierce, unrelenting Jungle and you almost get an idea of what’s inside - reissued to mark the occasion of its 21st anniversary to plaudits from a new generation of listeners.
Christoph De Babalon was a key member of Germany’s mutant splinter cells who fused UK rave music with more experimental, Teutonic techno, Ambient and hardedge politics to brutal effect during the mid-late ‘90s. 21 years later, this music has patently withstood the test of time, distinguished by a haunting atmospheric pallor and ruffneck way with Jungle that still makes us feel just as clammy and psychotic as when we first heard it (most likely on a trip to Berlin or via Christoph Fringeli’s invaluable C8 database).
For us, If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It really distills a feeling of that era, as the utopian outlook of rave’s early years had evidently given way to something much darker, more maudlin, perhaps symptomatic of ennui with dance music’s hyper-commercial land grab, or even a pre-echo of pre millennial tension. Either way it provided the perfect soundtrack to ravers who were spending more time developing virtual lives online, or (speaking from experience) who weren’t yet old enough to go raving, but were shelled with media images and 2nd impressions of the culture, which had by then morphed into the prevailing trends of garage, trance, and prog house, and was but a ghost of its original, loony self.
If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It therefore feels torn between extreme states. On the one hand it goes harder than the rest in killer rave moves such as the hardcore rattler Dead (Too), the epic amen + drone blow-out My Confession, or the cutthroat beast Water. But on the other, he goes darker, more haunting than the rest of his field with remarkable cuts such as the 15 minutes of billowing dark ambience that open the LP in Opium, or with the sublime, Gas-like suspension system of Brilliance, and the funereal, bombed-out bliss of High Life (Theme).
De Babalon effectively plotted out terrain that bridged DJ Scud’s rugged jungle breakcore with soundscaping more commonly associated with Thomas Köner or Deathprod, and in the process set the ground for myriad contemporary producers and sounds ranging from Raime and Blackest Ever Black to Demdike Stare, Pessimisst and beyond. If You’re Into It, I’m Out of It was, and still is, a deadly statement of intent, whose rhetoric and aesthetic still strongly resonate with subcultural concerns in 2018.
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