Long before Bristol had become a recognized stronghold for downtempo trip-hop and spy-soundtrack dubs, the duo of Rob Smith and Ray Mighty teamed in the late '80s for two early breakbeat tracks, "Walk on By" and "Anyone Who Had a Heart." The anachronistic fusion of sophisticated Burt Bacharach productions with laidback hip-hop prefigured trip-hop's later fascination with the more polished end of '60s adult-pop. The pair also produced the Top Ten hit "Wishing on a Star" for the Fresh Fours, then signed with ffrr Records (who were looking for a production team with crossover abilities similar to Soul II Soul).
The label later rejected both Smith & Mighty's debut album and several subsequent recordings -- claiming they were unsuitable for release -- so the duo formed their own label, More Rockers. Five years after their initial brush with major-label shenanigans, they released Bass Is Maternal. Smith & Mighty also worked on production for More Rockers signee Marxman, and released a volume in the DJ Kicks series in 1998. Big World, Small World followed two years later. Smith has also recorded with the trip-hop trio Jaz Klash. ~ John Bush
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