ROLLER ALERT: Toronto Is Broken Takes On a Cutty Ranks Classic

by | Feb 3, 2017 | Tunes

At some point over the past 20 years, you have heard this anthem in one form or another. But regardless of where you may have been when you first heard it, the first bar of vocals will instantly transport you back to a dirty warehouse somewhere in mid-90s London. The dancehall reggae tune, “Limb by Limb” by Cutty Ranks holds one of the biggest vocal hooks ever heard– sampled time and time again in jungle music culture. Marvelous Caine sampled the tune in 1994, solidifying it as stone cold jungle classic, and dispersing it through dance floors across the globe ever since.

Over the years, there have been many remixes and interpretations of this tune from producers in every genre, but – going back to its breakbeat roots – Toronto is Broken delivers a heavy-grooving drum and bass remix that’s been rolling through clubs and shredding dancefloors. The track is a massive contemporary take that does the classic Cutty Ranks number justice– a perfect marriage of jungle roots and a deep, dark, and polished basslines.

I had a quick chat with Christian (aka Toronto Is Broken) and spoke about this fire new roller, his second album, his favorite moment of the year, and more.

Tackling classic anthems seems like it could be a daunting task– how did you go about approaching remixing “Limb By Limb”?

It definitely was quite daunting, and a great honor to be asked! I’ve been combining a lot of jungle elements with more techy styles, such as in “No Gyal Tune”, “Original” and on my next Sub Slayers single that’ll be out in a few months time, so I instantly had a starting point to work with. Additionally, I wasn’t really given any stems to work with, more of a small sample pack of the original source samples from the original, such as the vocals and the siren/lead thing. Overall the remix came together quite quickly and the limitations on what was given to me made me more creative in using them (there’s a lot of one shots and fx that all originally started from the vocals). 
I went quite out there with the remix and drew inspiration from some of my more glitchy tech tracks such as “This Way Up” and “ZeroOne” that came out on Viper in the past which had the elements made in a more experimental way. For example, the basses are made from source sounds which have been extremely stretched and re-pitched to the point where most people wouldn’t use them, but for me it created really weird and cool new artifacts in the sound of which work great once distorted and more.
I’m really happy with what came out in the end, and I was thrilled to find out that Marvellous Cain loved the remix and it made it onto the final release!

When we spoke last year, you told us about the impact that ambient electronic music has had on you. How does that specifically impact your production?

It’s definitely given me a lot more compositional tools to work with when writing music, and I now write more progressively. Even when I’m working on tear out dancefloor tracks, including a long evolving soundscape throughout the drop can add a lot more depth to it and keep it moving and develop the atmosphere and emotion in the track. This is something I’ve been developing over the course of writing my second album, and it’s also displayed on my next single coming out on Sub Slayers in a couple of months.

We also spoke of your second album, which I hear is due to be out soon! What was the driving theme behind this project? How did the album-making process change for you on this second go-around?

It’s been a lot quicker to come together and sounds a lot more consistent across the board. “Section Nine” took two and a half years to write and my style and inspirations changed a lot over that time, hence why it sounds so varied and broad; this time round the majority was written in about six to nine months and sounds a lot more solid as a piece of music.

“Section Nine” told the story of a civilization falling into ruin due to their dependence on technology and people become lost and isolated once it fell apart. The new album carries on from this story, but focuses on just one protagonist and their struggle trying to find a place in a broken world – it tackles them going through depression and hardship. There is also an antagonist, described simply as “I AM”, a higher power of sorts, frustrated and resentful of what humanity has done to their world. Whilst “Section Nine” was very sci-fi and cyberpunk sounding, this one is more ethereal and focuses a lot on spirituality and emotion.

What is one essential plug-in/tool that you couldn’t work without?

Right now it has to be PaulStretch, a program that allows you to stretch any audio file by ridiculous amounts (for example you could make a drum hit last several years!). It’s been an invaluable tool when writing my second album and by dropping something melodic in you can make the most amazing and deep sounding pads that evolve gracefully over time, something that would take no end of hours from a synthesizer.

What was your favourite moment of 2016?

A definite highlight for me was probably playing at the DNBHQ live stream with DJ. Work Bar in London is such a great, intimate venue and the show was crazy overall! It got recorded and you can listen back to it here.

Check out more of Christian’s sounds through his soundcloud here.
Follow Toronto Is Broken here.

And make sure to pick up your copy of the remix on Beatport here.


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Kat Dudinsky is Nvrsoft, a drum and bass DJ from Washington D.C. You can find her hard at work for BADAss Raves, 3D Productions, and Katsucon. In her free time, she is a student, cook, and rower.