Cross Fade Enter Tainment (CFET) are scheduled to release a remastered version of Christoph de Babalon’s If You’re Into It, I’m Out of It. This edition, limited to only 300 copies and mastered by Rashad Becker, will mark 21 years since its initial release. In 1997, club music had reached an interesting juncture. The optimism of early rave had given way to a darker outlook. The smiley face of acid had morphed into a evil grin, and the melodic riffs and vocal hooks became displaced by yet more percussion and digital processing.
This turn to the darkside produced some of electronic music’s most striking and heavy contributions. Digital Hardcore Recordings (DHR) were instrumental here, incorporating almost all aspects of ‘extreme’ music (punk, gabber, noise) into one glorious monstrosity. These releases have a bleak trajectory to them, as if written to accelerate the deterioration of social fabric. Take Atari Teenage Riot’s anarchic manifesto: Burn, Berlin, Burn, also released in 1997. This was music from the tail-end of Generation X: bitter and violent, its aims were the abolition of all culture and the creation of none. A self-destructive rush into a hot furnace of overdrive.
Christoph de Babalon joined this scene through this release on DHR. Its high contrast artwork and ironic title capture of the mood of the time. On the one hand, it is cold and maths-y, like the Neo-Noir psychologism of Aronofsky’s Pi or Lynch’s Eraserhead. But it is also carries a certain swagger, an adolescent anti-everything nihilism. Thom Yorke even described the record as “the most menacing album I own”.
It’s often said that while most genres develop as hybrids of two or more styles, jungle is more like a mutant. Tech-house or dub-techno are clear in their lineage, a cherry-picked composite of two distinct styles. But jungle, born out of techno and hip-hop and yet nothing like either of them, is a different beast. In 1992, Derrick May warned of this impending new genre as, “a diabolical mutation, a Frankenstein’s monster that’s out of control”.
If jungle is a mutant, then Christoph de Babalon’s music is a mutant’s mutant. If You’re Into It, I’m Out of It is both hardcore and ambient at the same time, a combo Philip Sherburne described as “a hellishly compelling couple”. Just listen to the epic 15-minute opener, ‘Opium’, a track that predates the gothic ambience of artists like Demdike Stare. In fact, I dare say that DS directly lifted its chords, style and sound for their 2010 track, ‘Matilda’s Dream’…! But then there are explosive breakbeat experiments, like ‘Water’ and ‘My Confession’ that lash out like rabid Rottweilers. Too weird for a rave but too rave-y for the home, If You’re Into It, I’m Out of It exists in a netherworld that is still not understood.
If You’re Into It, I’m Out of It is available now from Boomkat.