Back in the mid nineties Mo Wax was one of the hippest labels around. The company were kings of the trip hop phenomenon. But as that fell from fashion, the label did too. James Lavelle didn’t help matters with his “more is more” attitude which reached its intended apotheosis with the bloated Headz 2 compilations of 1996 – two double CDs with an exhausting three hour running time. The quality of the CDs was infuriatingly hit and miss, with far too many run-of-the-mill tracks and offcuts from people capable of far better. There were a few moments of inspiration, though, and Grantby’s “It’s Coming” was the real ace in the pack.
Who? Well precisely. Grantby aka Dan Grigson has a discography that stretches to one twelve inch, “Time Booth”, on Cup Of Tea Records and a number of contributions to compilations and remixes all dating around 1995/6. It’s a shame that there was not more, because “It’s Coming” is a wonderful track. It has a film noir menace with a sinister string motif playing over a fairly standard hip hop beat. This is beefed up with some sampled jazz drumming. Then two and a half minutes in, the tempo drops, with all sorts of spooky nocturnal noises enveloping a sampled, muted trumpet that sounds like Miles Davis circa 1958 playing deep inside some dark tunnel. It’s a triumphant six minutes of moody cinematic music that anticipates the kind of stuff done later by the likes of Deadly Avenger, Lucky Pierre and others. It’s on Headz 2B. I’ve no idea whether it’s available as a download anywhere, though.