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World Music Features

Nelson Dilation

By Phil Meadley
Published January 26, 2006

Nelson Dilation is a name that demands respect from his peers. Dilation has been there and done it. Wherever there is a global fusion party, Dilation is likely to be there.

Picture this if you will: You are inside one of London’s hippest nightspots, in search of the ultimate Asian breakbeat experience. The year is 1993, the venue the Blue Note, an über-trendy club smack in the heart of Hoxton Square, North London. On this particular evening the Blue Note has been taken over by Anokha, a club night that is going to blow the lid off the Anglo-Asian Underground dance movement. On the decks are Talvin Singh and State of Bengal, whipping up a furiously multi-rhythmic dancefloor frenzy, while upstairs DJ Pathaan is playing a tastefully chilled Asian ambient blend for the chic set loungers.

Aside from their turntable prowess all the DJs have one thing on common: they are all of Asian origin. All, that is, except for one stocky white dread who takes to the decks intent on proving that this movement is open to anyone with an open mind and an eclectic record collection. 

            This man is Nelson Dilation, and these days he’s a name that demands respect from his peers. Dilation has been there, done it, and written several books (in a metaphorical sense) in the process. Wherever there is a global fusion party, Dilation is likely to be there, head bowed, fat spliff in one hand, soaking up the beats with a nod and a grin. Hopefully all his hard work is about to pay off, once his debut artist album—made with his friend Tony Marrison—is licensed and hits the streets. It may just sound like the world’s biggest carnival procession, shooting rhythmic salvos through the streets of Rio, Bombay and Marrakech.

            Dilation, finalizing the new album in his London studio, is understandably very excited about his new project, and over the moon at the amount of extremely positive feedback that he’s been receiving. “We’ve just given our tracks to a few select people and we’ve had an incredible response,” he enthuses. “BBC Radio 3 DJ Andy Kershaw has already proclaimed Kamel Nitrate (the name of the duo’s project) to be the future of world music!”

 Having experienced Nelson’s production skills first-hand through his incredible remix for the Bushmen of the Kalahari Sanscapes project, it’s clear why many people will be viewing this album as a cause for celebration. The key to Dilation’s success is his understanding of many traditional musical forms, combined with his love of funky breakbeats and freestyle dance music. As a DJ of 10 years experience, he knows how to rock a crowd, and this ability to move a dancefloor translates neatly into his own sound. Indeed, respected world music stalwart Kershaw was so taken by Kamel Nitrate that he demanded they do a special session for his show. No wonder that Dilation boastfully views his new album as “one of the best global fusion albums ever made.”