LTJ Bukem is the stage name used by the drum and bass musician, producer and DJ Danny Williamson (born 1967, London). He and his record label Good Looking Records are most associated with the jazzy, atmospheric side of drum and bass music. The name "LTJ Bukem" is a contraction of "El DJ Book 'em", a nod to the Spanish for "The DJ". "Book'em" (or "Book'em Danno") is the well-known catchphrase by Steve McGarret, Senior Officer to "Danny Williams" on the television series Hawaii Five-O. Together we get "Ltj Bukem".
Life and career
Williamson was raised in Watford
by foster parents. He was trained as a classical pianist and discovered jazz fusion
in his teenage years, having a jazz funk band at one stage. However by the late 1980s he decided to become a DJ
, and gained fame in the rave
scene of the early 1990s. As a producer, he released a series of classic jungle
tracks such as "Demon's Theme" (1991), "Atlantis" and "Music" (1993).
He then dipped in visibility as a producer, with his work running legendary London club night Speed and his record label Good Looking Records coming to the fore. A series of compilations entitled Logical Progression highlighted a jazz and ambient influenced side of drum and bass. The style became widely known as intelligent drum and bass, although Bukem himself was opposed to the moniker, unhappy with the implication that other styles of jungle were not intelligent. Bukem also explored the downtempo end of electronic lounge music, with sister label Looking Good and the Earth series of compilations. Some of the artists who rose to fame under Good Looking in this period include Blame, Seba, Big Bud, Blu Mar Ten, Future Engineers, and Artemis.
On July 16, 1995 he did an Essential Mix alongside MC Conrad. In 1997 he remixed the James Bond theme for David Arnold's concept album of James Bond music. In 2000 he finally released a debut solo album, the double-CD Journey Inwards. The album heavily emphasised his jazz fusion influences. 2001 saw a remix of Herbie Hancock.
He DJs extensively around the world, often under the Logical Progression or Progression Sessions banner, with other Good Looking artists and house MCs Conrad and DRS.
Style and influences
Viewed as an innovator in the drum and bass
style, LTJ Bukem is known for developing an accessible alternative to that hardcore
genre's speedy, assaultive energies. His style pays homage to the Detroit
-based sound of early techno
, but Bukem also incorporates still earlier influences, particularly the mellow, melodic sonorities of 1970s-era jazz fusion as exemplified by Lonnie Liston Smith
and Roy Ayers
. Early in his career, Bukem was identified for his response to the "almost paranoid hyperkinesis" of breakbeat
-based house music
, and specifically for his reservations regarding the overbearing force of the hardcore
mentality. Bukem's music from the early 1990s onward represents his efforts to map out an alternative future for breakbeat house music
by incorporating softer-edged influences culled from London's
1980s rare groove
and acid jazz
scenes. Music on Logical Progression
reveals these influences, as does his approach on 1993's Music / Enchanted
, which features string arrangements and sounds from nature. His use of keyboards, live vocals and slow- motion breaks
on these and future releases earned Bukem's music the tag intelligent drum and bass
. While this designation caused controversy within the drum and bass
community, it also influenced the popularization of hardcore
music in the UK
during the mid 1990s.
- Delitefol (released as a white label only Cat no. WIZ BUK 01)
- Logical Progression (released under the name LT Bukem)
- Demon's Theme / A Couple Of Beats (Good Looking Records Cat no. GLR001 released 1991, repressed 2000)
- Who Knows Vol 1 (released under the name The Bookworm)
- Teach Me To Fly (LTJ Bukem & DJ Trace released 1992)
- Bang The Drums / Remnants (LTJ Bukem and Tayla Good Looking Records Cat no. GLR002 released 1993)
- Return to Atlantis (LTJ Bukem and Apollo Two Good Looking Records Cat no. GLR003 released 1993)
- Music / Enchanted (Good Looking Records Cat no. GLR004 released 1993)
- 19.5 / 19.5 Reprisal (LTJ Bukem and Peshay Good Looking Records Cat no. GLR008 released 1994)
- Mixmag Live! Volume 21 (LTJ Bukem compilation /remix DMC Publishing Ltd Cat no. MMLCD21 released 1996)
- Logical Progression (a four volume label compilation series)
- Progression Sessions (a ten volume compilation/remix series)
- Earth (a seven volume compilation/remix series)
- The Journey (LTJ Bukem and Mystic Moods Mystic Moods Cat no. MMOODS 6/7 released 1996)
- Mystical Realms EP (Good Looking Records Cat no. GLREP001V released 1998)
- Journey Inwards (2000)
- Suspended Space EP (Good Looking Records Cat no. GLREP007V released 2000)
- Producer 01 (2001)
- Producer 05: Rarities (2002)
- Some Blue Notes Of Drum 'N Bass (2004)
- Revealed to fellow drum and bass DJ Fabio on Radio 1 that he had established contact with his birth mother for the first time. (2007)
- Performs sound checks at every gig he plays.
- Established a following via his residency alongside fellow drum and bass DJ's Fabio and Grooverider at the legendary night Speed.
- Bukem is half Egyptian, half Ugandan (revealed on Fabio show, Radio1, 24-Feb-08)
- Alias's include: LT Bukem and The Bookworm.
- Sweetness Michelle Gayle (Mellow Drum n Bass mix by LTJ Bukem 1994)
- Feenin Jodeci (LTJ Bukem Remix 1995)
- Transamazonia The Shamen (LTJ Bukem Remix 1995)
- If I Could Fly Grace (LTJ Bukem Remix 1996)
- The Essence Herbie Hancock (LTJ Bukem Remix 2001)