Minus 8View in iTunes
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By the end of the '90s, Minus 8 producer Robert Jan Meyer had developed a diverse, unique style of beat-driven jazzy dance music that won him much acclaim. His late-'90s drum'n'bass-influenced recordings for Inflamable and Higher Ground had been successful, but Meyer's work for Compost took him to another level alongside similarly adventurous beatmakers as Jazzanova and the Trüby Trio. Like these producers, Meyer crossed all boundaries as Minus 8, at times making music that's jazz-inflected, other times making music with a strong Latin feel. His work for Compost also distanced him from the drum'n'bass scene and moved him closer toward the burgeoning nu-beat scene of the early 2000s. In addition to his best-known work for Compost, which includes full-length albums, the Swiss producer also compiled CDs for Mole and remixed many of his peers. Bringing together drum'n'bass-style breakbeat percussion, a down-tempo sense of Latin rhythm, a jazz approach to arrangement, and a deep dose of funk, Robert Jan Meyer's Minus 8 project originally resulted from his years as a bass player in funk bands. Perhaps more notably, though, his music resulted from his urge to present an alternative to the sped-up "plus eight" style of dance music sweeping across Europe during the early '90s (a reference to the positive and negative pitch adjustment on turntables). Meyer first made a name for himself as a DJ, touring with many of the U.K.'s drum'n'bass elite: Grooverider, Bad Company, Goldie, and Krust, among others. DJ Cam then released Meyer's first Minus 8 productions on his Paris-based Inflammable label. The second Minus 8 full-length, Beyond Beyond, appeared on the U.K.-based Higher Ground label, and the prominent Munich, Germany, label Compost released Elysian Fields, the third and most celebrated Minus 8 album to date. His second release for Compost, Minuit, confirmed his move away from the drum'n'bass motifs that had characterized his late-'90s work. ~ Jason Birchmeier