from the Midlands, 'Guardians of Dalliance' consists of James Mitton-Wade,
Mike Hall and Sophie Perks. James had already established himself with
Moving Shadow as part of the Essence of Aura trio (the other members
being Ian Scott and Tim Grantham) who released 'Let Love Shine Through/So
this is Love' (Shadow 61) which Omni Trio remixed (Shadow 61R).
Essence of Aura disbanded when Ian went to the States leaving James
to establish himself as a widely respected solo artist. Using the sobriquet
'Carlito', he released these instantly acclaimed works on Fabio's label
'Creative Source' from '95 onwards: 'Carlito's Way / Heaven / Grapevine
/ Introspective / Fall Down'.
Meanwhile, in Derby, Mike worked as a studio engineer influencing projects
including Mike Pickering & Graham Park (of M People), Wycliffe (the
soul singer) and 808 State. With this formidable experience behind him
Mike made his way to Coventry where met James. It would be a further
five years before they fulfilled their promise to work together. Sophie
was visiting from Birmingham to work with some other musicians and was
promptly approached by James and Mike when they heard her vocals.
Guardians of Dalliance first single release for Moving Shadow was 'Laid
Up' (Shadow 94) which the E-Z Rollers remixed (Shadow 94R). Guardians
returned the favour soon after with a superb remix of the E-Z Rollers
'Retro' (AC103). Then we heard 'The Look' (Shadow 112) before the most
recent outing 'Beneath Sunrise' (Shadow 125). In between all this productivity,
James 'Carlito' did a great job compiling 'Trans-Central Connection'
(AShadow 7) for Moving Shadow - the third in our series of regional
compilations, highlighting, naturally, the indigenous talent of the
Midlands. The main impetus was to 'personalise' the music by making
the audience more aware of the artists' backgrounds and identities,
and to demonstrate how the influence and talent in the drum 'n' bass
scene is distributed nation-wide. He is particularly proud of this,
saying 'It was a good project to undertake....I learnt a lot and met
some great people'.
Contributors included Carlito himself, Essence of Aura, Guardians of
Dalliance ('Persuasion'), Tango, Neil Trix, Q Project & Spinback and
DJ Addiction. So well was this received that he delivered 'Trans-Central
Connection II' (AShadow 11) early in 1997 reaching No.1 in DJ Magazines
top ten. The album featured exclusive unreleased tracks from artist's
whose credentials were established on the first compilation and introduced
a new artist Organic Synthetic.
James comments 'Since the original Trans-Central Connection was released
the d&b scene in the Midlands saw a big improvement. However, the Midlands
artists as a whole still need representation, and this album provides
an excellent showcase. Technical Itch made an appearance after agreeing
to be part of the project having once lived in Birmingham and his style,
on a darker tip, gives the album a real edge'.
Freedom to dabble and experiment with no limitations is how Guardians
of Dalliance describe their musical agenda. The distinctive name comes
from a sample from a 'Hypnotic Instruction' tape. It encapsulates the
approach, influences and direction they adopt. Mike salutes Vangellis
and 'all jazz', a passion shared by James, who also enjoys the rare
groove heroes along with Jamiroquai, Fabio, DJ Addiction, Tim Grantham
(Essence partner whom he cites as his mentor) and anything with a Rhodes
keyboard, flute or sax in it (which is quite a lot). Sophie likes to
put her feet up to the strains of Joni Mitchell and get down to Frank
Zappa or George Clinton and the P Funk boys.
Forthcoming projects include compiling the album 'Diffusion Rooms' for
Moving Shadow and their debut album which is currently under completion.