Drum'n'bass fusionary James Hardway works most often with cool jazz textures, though he is largely immune to the purist poses of many jungle producers. Known before the mid-'90s under his birth name David Harrow (and reportedly related to Al Capone), Hardway has worked with an impressive cast of British producers, from Genesis P-Orridge to Adrian Sherwood and Jah Wobble to Andrew Weatherall. During the early '80s, Hardway lived in Germany and acted in films before getting into the Berlin music scene. He recorded an album in 1983 (as David Harrow), and worked with European electro-pop star Anne Clark on several albums. Hardway also appeared with Jah Wobble on the continent, but relocated to London by 1986, where he was swept up by the acid-house phenomenon.
Hardway divided his time during the late '80s and early '90s between dub units (Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound System, Lee Perry) and the burgeoning electronic community, working as a producer with Psychic TV and many others. After ranging into jungle/drum'n'bass during 1995, he debuted his James Hardway guise with an impressive 1996 LP, Deeper, Wider, Smoother, Shit. The album was all the more noteworthy considering he played all live instruments (except for flute) and covered programming as well. Hardway displayed a talent for writing songs also, with a credit for Billie Ray Martin's 1996 club hit "Your Loving Arms." After the release of his second, 1997's Welcome to the Neon Lounge, Hardway earned an American contract through Shadow. The label collected tracks from his two albums to date for the 1998 compilation Easy Is a Four Letter Word. After the practically obligatory remix collection Reshuffle and Spin Again, Hardway returned with his third proper album, A Positive Sweat. For the recording of 2001's Moors + Christians, he assembled a virtual studio band by gathering recordings together from a journey to Cuba and Jamaica. Hardway's recordings as Technova have also appeared on Andrew Weatherall's Emissions Audio Output Records. ~ John Bush