LTJ Bukem is up next in our Ask the Experts series. 

Like so many artists, Bukem, real name Danny Williamson, found his way into music through piano lessons as a child. He didn’t discover clubbing until the early ’80s, aged 17, by checking out the local soul venues. As a keen record buyer, he became interested in the idea of mixing his own version of a club soundtrack and soon DJing became his main focus. By 1988, he’d gained enough of a reputation to realise that DJing could maybe offer a full-on career; and no more than 24 months later, he’d performed in front of 10,000 people.

As a producer, Bukem has released an extraordinary number of legendary tracks, starting with “Logical Progression” (1991), “Demon’s Theme” (1992), “Atlantis,” “Music” (1993), and “Horizons” (1995). At once anthemic and relaxing, the former of these offered the blueprint to Bukem’s sonic vision, and inspired the birth of his own imprint, Goodlooking. Run from a small office in Harlesden, London, the label debuted with “Demon’s Theme,” which, with its soulful combination of rushing breaks, lush ambience, and mellow vibes, caught the attention of many. 

Goodlooking is now established as a leader in these sonic realms. In 1998, Bukem released the Mystical Realms EP, featuring “Twilight Voyage” with sombre flute refrains, chopping keys, and an outer-world ambience. The vocal and instrumental versions of “Orchestral Jam,” with its urgent breaks and dissonant violins, along with the reflective last track “Journey Inwards,” represented a deeper development of the Bukem sound. In 2000, he released his long-awaited solo album, Journey Inwards, a diverse and multi-directional release of drum & bass, soul, downbeat, and house tracks. 

During this time, Bukem has continued the Progression Sessions series of live mixes captured on CD, featuring epic performances recorded live in the USA, Tokyo, London, and Germany. He’s also compiled the Soulfood and Soul Addiction compilations, further underlining his position as a sonic leader of post-rave breakbeat culture. 

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