b. Mohammed Aktar Ali, Yemen. This DJ and producer grew up in east London, England, and consequently absorbed a range of musical styles from various cultures as a child (his name is Urdu for scoundrel or black sheep). While he was working for a reggae label that hired sound systems and PAs to clubs, he came into contact with dance music and began to DJ. With his brother, he ran a pirate radio station in Walthamstow called Ali FM and later played house at Labyrinth. It was a natural progression to begin making his own music, and as Easy Mo he released a number of house tracks on his own label, Pure Vibes. In the mid-90s he turned towards drum ‘n’ bass and signed to Outcaste Records, where he worked on various projects that reflected his multicultural background. After the promo ‘I Am That Type Of Badmarsh’, he contributed to Nitin Sawhney’s second album, 1996’s Displacing The Priest, and released the acclaimed Differences EP on the US label Ubiquity Records. He teamed up with the multi-instrumentalist Shri for 1998’s Dancing Drums. Here the pair blended funky, busy breakbeats and dubby grooves with traditional Indian instruments and Shri’s nimble bass guitar playing. Some tracks, such as the excellent reworkings of Ananda Shankar’s ‘Dancing Drums’, employed Indian-sounding melodic ideas, while others, notably ‘Gharana’ and ‘130 Steps’, focused more on rhythm and percussion. The album also included an excellent cover version of the Dave Pyke Set’s late 60s sitar-led track ‘Mathar’, while the title track was featured on Outcaste’s Untouchable Outcaste Beats compilation. At the same time, Badmarsh continued to work as a solo artist, releasing a second promo on Outcaste, ‘I Am That Type Of Badmarsh II’. The follow-up Badmarsh & Shri collaboration, May 2001’s Signs, was an excellent collection of less drum ‘n’ bass-orientated tracks featuring guest appearances by Apache Indian and Kathryn Williams.
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