Boomkat Product Review:
Jonny L’s seminal, debut D&B LP, Sawtooth boomerangs back from ’97 on a 1st ever 2LP pressing, loaded with the all-time anthem Piper amid some of the sickest, teched-out steppers from the UK scene.
Perhaps symptomatic of ’17 rather than ’97 economics, this pressing is reduced from the original 5-plate set - which were very typical of ‘90s D&B albums and compilations - to a more efficient 2LP with negligible sacrifice to fidelity.
For anyone who grew up in the ‘90s with access to cable TV, Jonny L’s Piper, with its definitively late ‘90s promo video, was an unavoidable mainstay of MTV2’s advert-less hours of programming, beaming images of cyborgian ravers into the living room of impressionable minds around the UK and elsewhere. Fair to say those images and sounds left an indelible impression on listeners including us, and the likes of Powell, who cites Jonny L’s work on this record as a big influence.
While the deliciously slippy sound design of Piper makes for a clear standout, it’s not the only one, with the warehouse-ready weightless tech-step of Treading coming close behind, along with the nerve-riding, Reese-fuelled 2-step rolige of 2 of Us and the sidewinding swerver Obedience, and even a class spin on acid-electro with Detroit.
Ultimately, Sawtooth was one of those mad, hi-tech and deep forward ‘90s records that penetrated the mainstream conscience, irrevocably lodged in malleable young minds as a pivotal cultural artefact in a much cooler way than, say, Jonny L’s later work producing Victoria Beckham and Dane Bowers’ UKGuilty pleasure, Out Of Your Mind. A flashback to times when the link between underground and mainstream dance music was more fluid, right before NME and reams of other tosh stymied the momentum of rave music and apocryphally deemed white guys playing guitars and drums to be more relevant to the yoof. Fuck those guys for ever. Long live D&B, garage, UK dance music.