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The Original Jonathan Lisle

Author: Terry Goldfain
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Much like his Djing, Jonathan Lisle's ascent into the ranks of the dance music elite can be described less as explosion and more as a subtle and persistent, yet unstoppable force. Many similarities and links have been drawn between Lisle and John Digweed, who holds the credit for first discovering Lisle's enormous talent. There are the obvious connections such as Lisle being involved in the A & R for Digweed's label Bedrock and Lisle being chosen by Digweed to mix and compile the second in Bedrock's 'Original Series'. However, a more intrinsic bond, and possibly the reason Digweed regards Lisle as the closest thing to his protege, is that they share a reverence, respect and understanding for music's timeless power. Neither are obsessed with searching for the newest tracks, and in both of their most recent compilations, Digweed's 'Choice' and Lisle's 'Bedrock OS_0.2', the most potent moments are created by tracks of a previous generation.

"Three or four of the thirteen tracks on the album would be considered old," agrees Lisle. "Old records say things that new records don't. A lot of the new music is great, but with some particular classics, you've never hear anything like them since. The Bladerunner track creates a certain mood which I couldn't find in any new releases. It would be great to put new stuff out all the time, and a lot of the new stuff walks all over the old stuff production-wise, however sometimes you want to say something that fitted the mood ten years ago, but not so much now. As long as you put new stuff with it, it's fine."

Testament to Lisle's talent is the fact that he made a name for himself internationally as a DJ before releasing his first production, a rarity in the modern dance music scene. Recognition first came after John Digweed played a mix of Lisle's on his Kiss 100 radio show a few years ago A strong friendship and mutual respected quickly developed, resulting in Lisle being appointed to an A & R position at Bedrock Breaks. Lisle now also owns his own label, M Theory. "The reason I started M Theory was because I found it frustrating that Bedrock weren't taking some of the tracks I was really into," he explains. "M Theory's got a different kind of sound to Bedrock Breaks. A bit weirder and slightly less accessible. After I've weeded out the demos that have been sent in we'll sit down and discuss which one suits which label better. I'd rather the artist, for their sake, gets a deal on a label like Bedrock as it will help their careers more. M Theory's quite big on new names, people who've never had a deal before. I want to help people get out of their bedrooms, get exposed and be discovered while a label like Bedrock would be less inclined to put out a name that nobody has heard of."

From all reports, Lisle the potential to be just as talented a producer as he is a DJ, yet his original material has not yet seen the light of day. "They're all kind of works in progress," admits Lisle. "Hopefully we'll get them done this year. One of them I'm doing with Bill Hamel and is a break-beat track that goes into drum 'n bass. It's wicked. I love it. I need to get back to the States and spend a few more days on it. I'm just putting the finishing touches on my 'Doors in the Wall' EP. So hopefully, by the end of August, it should be done with four or five tracks in totally different styles. My trouble is, I set my studio up in '97 but I've got about sixty or seventy tracks started. They're all there on my computer. Maybe I'm too much of a perfectionist so if I don't think something is quite right I'll put it on the backburner to return to later and as a result I don't get anything finished because it has to be exactly right. My ambition is to put out a record like Papua New Guinea or Belfast one day. Timeless pieces of music. I don't want to just knock something out. It has to be really special."

"It's the same with the Bedrock mix CD. It took a long time to chop the stuff up and do four or five d