London-based electronic musician Si (Simon) Begg is one of techno's most chameleonic producers. A restless, often ruthless experimenter with little respect for boundaries, Begg's recorded work toys incessantly with the conventions of ambient, breaks, U.K. garage, and electro (among other styles), the results often deviating so sharply from classification that they're simply lost on the listener. Begg's penchant for bugged-out basslines and his sense of playfulness often get him tagged as "wonky techno," but his mastery of sound design has landed him high-profile work creating scores for films, television, and video games.
Begg was born in Leicester, England in 1972. Weaned from his teens on a range of progressive music -- from prog rock and metal to electro and free jazz -- Begg joined the Cabbage Head collective upon being introduced to Cristian Vogel by a mutual friend. Begg began working as a sound engineer, and started DJ'ing in 1991, the year he moved to London. He began making music in 1993, and released a few experimental cassettes as well as a series of techno 12"s with Vogel under the name Inevitable Technology. The duo also formed the Mosquito label to release dancefloor music with a high quotient of weirdness. Releases as Bigfoot began appearing on Eukatech in 1995, with the moniker expanding to Bigfoot Futures Ltd. the following year. Begg hooked up with Coldcut's Jonathan Moore and Matt Black through London's local music scene. He released his first EP as Cabbageboy, Sausage Doctor, on the pair's Ntone label in 1995, following it up with an additional EP, Planets, the following year. He started releasing futuristic electro-breaks records as Buckfunk 3000, with releases appearing on Moody Boy Tony Thorpe's Crammed Discs subsidiary Language beginning in 1996. Begg also began releasing records under his own name in 1996 -- the downtempo EP Nothing Is True Zen Say appeared on Mille Plateaux-affiliated Chrome, while Opus was issued by techno institute Tresor. Begg started another label, Noodles, in 1997, debuting with the compilation Noodles Part One: The Death of Cool.
The 1998 Buckfunk 3000 LP First Class Ticket to Telos was followed by a Si Begg full-length for Caipirinha, Commuter World. Cabbageboy's Genetically Modified followed on Ntone in 1999. Mosquito and Noodles both remained active, releasing music by Begg as well as artists such as Jamie Lidell, Neil Landstrumm, and Cursor Miner. Begg signed to NovaMute in 2001, releasing The Mission Statement under the name S.I. Futures in 2001, followed by Director's Cut (credited to his own name) in 2003. The singles "Revolution" and "Revelation" were issued by NovaMute, while many other releases appeared on Noodles.
Begg initiated a multi-part series of Jetlag and Tinnitus EPs in 2006, continuing to push the envelope with intense, glitchy, bass-heavy sound constructions. His work was embraced by proponents of the harder side of dubstep and electro-house, and artists such as Bassnectar, Kid606, and Kanji Kinetic remixed Begg's tracks around the turn of the decade. Film soundtracks U.F.O. and We Made Our Own Disaster appeared on Noodles in 2012, while Permission to Explode (a 20-track full-length as well as several related 12" EPs) was released by Addictech in 2013. The ambient album Extreme Environments appeared in 2014, and a series of Refugee Appeal singles was released in December of 2015. These were collected as Music for Refugees in 2016. The same year also saw the release of another experimental ambient album, Extreme Environments, as well as two more soundtracks, Hard Tide and Kicking Off. Shitkatapult released Begg's ambient album Blueprints in 2017. ~ Sean Cooper & Paul Simpson