Bomb The Bass
Tim Simenon, the one-man electronica whiz kid behind Bomb the Bass, is a sampledelic British hip-hop producer who also co-produced a pair of massive international hits: Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance" and Seal's "Crazy." Born in Brixton of Malaysian and Scottish parentage, Simenon became interested in dance production after studying studio engineering and DJing at London's Wag Club, a mecca for fellow breakbeat mavens like S-Express' Mark Moore and Coldcut's Jonathan More and Matt Black. In 1987, Simenon constructed a pastiche of a DJ record titled "Beat Dis," which incorporated samples from Public Enemy, Ennio Morricone, and the classic television shows Dragnet and The Thunderbirds. Packaged to resemble a white-label import from America, the track became an underground hit and, after its reissue on Rhythm King, a surprising number two smash on the British charts in early 1988. (Coldcut's "Doctorin' the House" and S-Express' "Theme from S-Express" both followed "Beat Dis" into the Top Ten.)
Later that year, Simenon returned with an LP (Into the Dragon) that featured an expanded Bomb the Bass lineup: producer Jonathan Saul Kane (who later recorded as Depth Charge) and vocalists Maureen Walsh and Lauraine McIntosh. Two singles from the album, "Megablast" and an inventive cover of the Burt Bacharach-Dionne Warwick classic "Say a Little Prayer," hit the British Top Ten as well. Also in 1988, Simenon co-produced two tracks for the debut of Neneh Cherry, stepdaughter of the free jazz trumpeter Don Cherry. Both singles, "Buffalo Stance" and "Manchild," became British Top Ten hits. After completing work on his own studio, he also produced a track for Adamski ("Killer") and mixed a single named "Crazy" for Adamski protégé, Seal. "Crazy" soon became a Top Ten single on both sides of the Atlantic.
With all the outside recording commissions, it took nearly three years for Simenon to ready a follow-up to the first Bomb the Bass LP. Unknown Territory finally dropped in 1991, led by another Top Ten single, "Winter in July," sporting a midtempo hip-hop aesthetic that would only earn critical attention several years later after being dubbed trip-hop. He also produced a range of acts, from Eternal to Sinéad O'Connor, during the early '90s, and more fruits of his collaborative nature arrived in 1995 with the third Bomb the Bass album Clear. The album included vocal tracks featuring O'Connor, Justin Warfield, Bernard Fowler, Bim Sherman, and Leslie Winer, as well as the instrumental input of Tackhead/On-U Sound compatriots Keith LeBlanc, Doug Wimbish, and Skip McDonald. Simenon again turned to outside work during the late '90s, remixing and producing for David Bowie, Depeche Mode, U2, Gavin Friday, Curve, Booth & the Bad Angel, and Hardfloor. After issuing a pair of EPs -- Clear Cut and Tracks -- in 2001, Simenon sidelined Bomb the Bass in order to focus on other responsibilities, such as the operations of his own Electric Tones record label. He then returned to the project in 2006, relying almost exclusively on a mini-Moog synth to create nine new songs. Two years later, the material was released as Future Chaos. Additional tracks came much more quickly, and the straight-ahead dance record Back to Light appeared early in 2010 with help from co-producer Gui Boratto. Singer and beatmaker Paul Conboy was co-producer on 2013's In the Sun, an album that featured more vocals and more traditional song structures than previous releases. ~ John Bush