A late ‘90s neo-noir ambient jungle masterpiece, Christoph De Babalon’s 'If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It' sounds something like Thomas Köner re-assembling fierce, unrelenting D&B with his frozen gear. Now a quarter of a century old, it still occupies its own distinct notch on the continuum; copied endlessly, never bettered.
Christoph De Babalon was a key member of Digital Hardcore, the mutant Berlin-based splinter cell who fused UK rave music with more experimental, Teutonic techno, Ambient and hardedge politics to brutal effect during the mid-late ‘90s. CDB was always somehow on another level to most of his peers and labelmates at DHR, less interested in purely aggy breakbeat energy, his was a sound that also embraced windswept, ice-cold ambient atmospherics and a bleak sort of romance that was at odds with the almost cartoonish “sound terror” aesthetic of the label.
For us, ‘If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It’ really distills a feeling of that era, as the utopian outlook of rave’s early years had given way to something much darker, more maudlin, perhaps symptomatic of an ennui with dance music’s hyper-commercial land grab, a kind of pre-millennial tension. Either way, it provided the perfect soundtrack to ravers who were spending more time developing virtual lives online, or (speaking from experience) who weren’t yet old enough to go raving, but were shelled with media images and 2nd hand impressions of the culture, which had by then morphed into the prevailing trends of garage, trance, and prog house, and was but a ghost of its original, loony self.
It’s an album torn between extreme states; on the one hand going harder than the rest in killer rave moves such as the hardcore rattler ‘Dead (Too)’, the epic amen + drone blow-out ‘My Confession’, or the cut-throat beast ‘Water’. But on the other, it gets properly haunting on the remarkable 15 minute opener ‘Opium’, or with the sublime, Gas-like suspension system of ‘Brilliance’, and the funereal, bombed-out bliss of ‘High Life (Theme)’.
Christoph De Babalon effectively plotted out terrain that bridged DJ Scud’s rugged jungle breakcore with soundscaping more commonly associated with Thomas Köner or Deathprod, and in the process set the ground for myriad contemporary producers and sounds ranging from Raime and Blackest Ever Black to Demdike, Pessimisst and beyond. ‘If You’re Into It, I’m Out of It’ was, and still is, a deadly statement of intent, with an aesthetic that still strongly resonates and influences today.