Like all good urban legends, the tale of how Clifford Joseph Price, formerly of Walsall and then London via Miami became known simply as Goldie has more than one exposition. Writing in his own biography on Resident Adviser the DJ/Producer and father of breakbeats with our breakfasts tells us the nickname first stuck to him as a rasta then labelled Goldielocks; plenty of others say it became his shorthand in or after a spell hustling in South Florida following his conspicuous dental work.
Either way he was at the right place, at the right time, one of the first to be exposed to a then exclusively underground hybrid of post hardcore being played at Rage, a weekly night based in Heaven at Charing Cross with resident DJ’s Fabio and Grooverider. This scene, with it’s intestine shaking sub-bass and endlessly looped breaks spent it’s first two years in almost complete anonymity outside of South London’s clubs and pirate radio stations before gradually it was subject to an aggressive takeover by the Yardie posturing of Ragga, a further doubling-down on an already introvert posture.
As a reaction the tempo consciously dropped – and jazzy space added – on releases by the likes of Omni Trio, LTJ Bukem and 4 Hero, but the record which took both sounds into the mainstream was Timeless.
Goldie had been absorbing every sonic facet across the entire spectrum of Jungle’s domain, from the uncompromising street sounds and MC braggadocio of the ever-darker club nights to the increasingly jazz influenced sophistication of output on labels like Moving Shadow and Good Looking. Timeless was the result, a record which fused cutting edge production and studio trickery with the adrenalin of the unknown, simultaneously raw and smooth, an hour plus of whatever you wanted it to be.
More than twenty years later, Timeless remains just that, from the twenty-minutes plus of it’s trypthical, mind expanding opener Inner City Life to the vivid modernist-soul of You & Me. Like all voguish movements drum n’ bass would eventually be assimilated into the mainstream, but here this was it’s signature moment – and remains even as a stand alone work one of innovatory genius.