The Criminal Minds (TCM) Part Three

Welcome to the third part of the series of articles documenting the musical achievements of Milton Keynes\Buckingham Hip Hop collective The Criminal Minds. In the third chapter we will focus on the period between 1993-1994 and the groups achievements as an established Rave\Hardcore crew. To revisit the previous chapters please select one of the below links:

The Criminal Minds – Early 1990s.

By 1993 TCM had recorded and released several successful vinyl EPs that had firmly established the crew as part of the UK Rave scene of the early 1990s. TCM production coordinators Spatts and Halo had developed a signature sound and formula that contained elements of Hip Hop, Reggae and Dance music which continued to create opportunities for the collective. The TCM live experience was also accompanied by the groups vocalists MC Iceski, CMD, and Safe D.

Th Prodigy + Criminal Minds event flyer – Sanctuary club, 1994.

In 1993 momentum continued to build and over the course of the year TCM recorded and released music for several different record labels. The first collection of new compositions formed a four track ep entitled “The criminal” which was released in January 1993 on White House Records. The artwork for the cover sleeve which is displayed below was created and designed by founding TCM member and pioneering local graffiti artist Chase One.

The Criminal Minds “The criminal ep artwork” – White House, 1993.

The criminal ep” is made up of four recordings in total (The criminal, Spiritual fire (fe-Luton cha cha), Ruffneck dancer, Head hunter 2 (Toxic Culture Mix)) and follows on in sound and style from the groups previous releases for White House Records. All compositions were written and produced by Spatts and Halo at “The Hill” which was a term used to describe the TCM HQ located at Shipton hill, Milton Keynes. “The criminal ep” can be heard in the below youtube playlist:

The Criminal Minds “The criminal ep playlist” – White House, 1993.

TCM‘s final release for the White House record label during this period was a collection of new recordings and remixes entitled “Joyrider ep” that also included a record sleeve designed by graffiti artist Chase One. Side A of the ep contained two previously unreleased recordings one of which was the title track “Joyrider (badman vs babylon)” and the other “Toxic culture” which features a sampled vocal introduction by TCM rapper MC Iceski.

The Criminal Minds “Joyrider ep artwork” – White House, 1993.

Side B of the ep contains two remixes of previously released TCM recordings. Track one “The criminal (Top Buzz remix)” was reworked by the production team behind Hardcore\Rave crew Top Buzz and track two “32 Troop (Hardware remix)” refers to a remix of composition entitled “Papa Malaysia” created by Spatts and Halo in 1992 and released by White House Records under the alias of 32 Troop. “Papa Malaysia” by 32 Troop was reworked for the “joyrider ep” by Hardware (Zak & Jan).

The Criminal Minds “Joyrider ep playlist” – White House, 1993.

During the course of 1993 TCM began releasing music with Labello Blanco Recordings. The first of several collections of new compositions and remixes were presented in the form of the “Sound clash at the hill vol 1” ep which was a collaboration between TCM and D.O.T. The ep which can be heard in the below youtube playlist contains four previously unreleased recordings (Drums of doom, Speckless, Dub, Halo caust) several of which are built around previous TCM releases.

TCM vs D.O.T “Sound clash at the hill vol. 1 playlist” – Labello Blanco, 1993.

The result was another solid TCM ep that further added to the groups musical legacy and a follow up 12″ single entitled “Sound clash at the hill vol. 1 (remix)” which was also a collaboration between the TCM production team and D.O.T was released shortly after. “Sound clash at the hill vol. 1 (remix)” contained two previously unreleased recordings entitled “Drums of doom (Sound systems at dawn)” and “Evil” which can both be heard in the below youtube playlist:

TCM vs D.O.T “Sound clash at the hill vol. 1 (remix) playlist” – Labello Blanco, 1993.

TCM continued to work with Labello Blanco Recordings throughout 1993 contributing to a third release entitled “Raize EP Part Two” created with recording artists New Class A. Side A of the ep consists of a composition entitled “Pull it up” by TCM of which there are two separate versions (Pull it up (side down), Pull it up (alt mix)). Side B contains a composition by New Class A entitled “Future” of which there are also two different versions (Future (vox mix), Future (instrumental).

TCM meet New Class A “Raize ep part 2 playlist” – Labello Blanco, 1993.

TCM‘s musical journey with Labello Blanco Recordings concluded with the release of an eight track double album entitled “Mind bombing” that contained a colour picture gatefold sleeve designed by graffiti artist Framer. The album was produced and mixed by Spatts and Halo and featured collaborations with DJs H Bomb & Zak Attack, plus a featured performance by Midi Network. The “Mind bombing” artwork is displayed in the below slideshow:

The Criminal Minds “Mind bombing lp artwork by Framer” – Labello Blanco, 1993.

The compositions included on the “Mind bombing” lp (Joyrider 2 (The last ride to hell), Running (From myself), The voice of the mind, Blaggamuffin (Rastaroid mix), One way system, Change the pace, The only solution, Deeper) all carry the signature vibe and production that propelled TCM to the forefront of the Hardcore\Rave scene. The lp marks a significant achievement for the group and serves as a great representation of dance music from this period. All tracks can be heard in the below playlist:

The Criminal Minds “Mind bombing lp playlist” – Labello Blanco, 1993.

TCM‘s final release of 1993 entitled “Ghetto ep” was released on Outlan U.K. which was an independent record label set up by Spatts. The “Ghetto ep” contained four recordings in total including a remix by DJ Slipmatt of one of the groups previous compositions entitled  “Drums of doom“. The full list of tracks (Ghetto theme (Drive-by mix), Out there…is anybody?, Drums of doom (Slipmat remix), Ghetto theme (B boy trip mix)) can be heard in the below youtube playlist:

The Criminal Minds “Ghetto ep playlist” – Outlan U.K, 1993.

The final TCM recordings to be released during this period formed a 12″ single that consisted of two compositions (Amen(Again), Jump the gun (Smoke eye scientifik)) both of which were produced and mixed by Spatts and Halo. The 12″ single was released via Section 12 Recordings which was a second independent label set up by and involving Spatts. The compositions that made up the 12″ single were the last TCM recordings to be collectively produced by Spatts and Halo to date for TCM.

The Criminal Minds “Amen again\Jump the gun playlist” – Section 12 Recordings, 1994.

During 1994 the dynamic of TCM evolved as the production partnership of Spatts and Halo ended. TCM continued to perform live at several high profile music events throughout 1994 one of which was the European Hardcore Hip Hop Festival that can be viewed in the below footage. The TCM Performance starts a 23.05 minutes and features several variations of the groups early Hip Hop recordings including and unreleased track entitled “Shades of ruffness“.

European hardcore hip hop festival footage – Basel, Switzerland, March, 1994.

The TCM live performances during this period involved several other members\affiliates of the group one of which was DJ Zak Attack who had previously been credited as a contributor to some of TCM‘s recordings and remixes. Towards the end of 1994 the collective took a break from recording\preforming together for several years and focused on a selection of other musical projects. This concludes part three of the series of articles.

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