One of the junglists that produces hardcore, and dark core with the Technical Itch crew.
Darren Beale first made waves as a producer back in the early 90's with his hardcore project 'Orca'. He then moved on to produce deep Drum & Bass under aliases such as 'Acro', 'Koda', 'Code Blue' & 'Wild Orkid' - primarily for 'Lucky Spin' & 'DeeJay Recordings'. It was in the mid 90's that Darren first met Mark Caro (Technical Itch) & they began to work on a few tunes together. The result of this meeting speaks for itself, with both members contributing to the meteoric rise of both the Decoder & Technical Itch names - ultimately leading to the position that they are in today - leaders of their field.
Over the past few years Darren's tracks as Decoder have received wide acclaim from DJs, punters & press alike; this is reflected in the number of labels that he records for - Tech Itch Recordings, Breakbeat Culture & Hard Leaders now release the majority of his material, but with remix work & production credits on most of Peshay's album tracks, Decoder's name crops up time and time again. Key recordings over the years include 1997's 'Decoded EP' (TI016) on 'Tech Itch Recordings', which was one of the biggest D&B releases of that year & achieved the position of No.18 in N.M.E.'s 'Vibes' Singles Of The Year, 1998's collaboration with Mark Caro yielded the seminal strains of 'EKO', again on Tech Itch. 1999 saw 'Headlock' (TI022) surface to a rapturous welcome alongside Technical Itch's 'Deception', whilst the Summer saw the release of Darren's 2nd EP 'Encrypted' (TIO24) which charted in the Fab & groove top 10 rollers for a month, peaking at No.3.
1998 also saw Darren deliver 'Dissection', his first artist album on Hard Leaders, to an enthusiastic reception. Mixmag's (Nov.1998) opinion was that "Dissection is proof that there is still a bright future for Drum & Bass albums"; while Muzik (Nov.1998) said of the album - "Typically excellent production & a fine blend ranging from the dynamic funk to the deepest of the deep, wracked with quality". Wax (Nov.1998) also recognised the album's merits, hailing it as "One of the more interesting long-players to surface this year". The album has also spawned the massive singles 'Stash' & 'Hacker' which join previous Hard Leaders 12" classics like 1996's 'Fog' and '97's 'Vapour Dub' and 'Turn'.
As far as remix work goes, the list is a long one with reworks of major artists like Photek (Rings Around Saturn Rmx), Adam F (Dirty Harry Rmx), & Alan McGee's The Chemical Pilot (Astral Dominoes Rmx) standing out. '97 & '98 also saw Darren produce a number of tracks for Peshay's forthcoming 'Miles From Home' album. Those cuts include the seminal title track (also the first single - released in 1998), the second single 'Switch' & it's flip side, 'Retro'.
The past year or so has seen a noticeable progression in Darren's music - fusing the tough beats and futuristic sounds he has become known for with a touch of melody, funk & soul - getting back to live instrumentation & real music. This development has been taken a step further through his ongoing collaborations with Substance, the results of which are appearing on Breakbeat Culture ('Secret World', 'Something Else', 'Encounters EP') and labels like Doc Scott's 31 Records ('Dimension' / 'Fallen') and Moving Shadow offshoot Audio Couture ('Curvature' / 'Heist').
Darren is also working on a vocal project entitled Kosheen with 'Yes Men' & ''Dangerous Waters' released on Breakbeat Culture in 1999. Comments like "the best thing to come out of Bristol since 'Mezzanine'" from Wax (May 1999) and "Original and fresh" from Update (22-28 March 1999) were proof enough that the original downbeat versions did the business, with Decoder's Drum & Bass remix still in every top jock's box, Kosheen is definitely a name to watch