Ashley Beedle was one of the most efficient in a cast of British producers who rewired American disco during the late '90s with much of the same energy and flair Derrick May used when looking to foreigners like Kraftwerk for his techno blueprint. His work in the Ballistic Brothers, X-Press 2 and Rising Sunz, plus his day-job productions as Black Science Orchestra and Black Jazz Chronicles married the possibities of the '70s to rare-groove and deep house.
Beedle was born in Hemel Hempstead in 1962. He began DJing during the acid-house explosion of the late '80s, but was turned on to disco as well when he heard Norman Jay DJing obscure tracks on the pirate station Kiss FM. After he joined long-time friend Rob Mello and John Howard as Black Science Orchestra, the trio reworked the Trammps' "Where Were You (When the Lights Went Out)?" into their debut single "Where Were You," released on Junior Boy's Own. House godfather Frankie Knuckles began spinning the record, as well as the second BSO offering "Strong" (recorded with Linsey Edwards replacing Mello). Beedle recruited engineer Marc Woolford and keyboard player Uschi Classen for third single, "New Jersey Deep," and watched the record become a classic, selected by Knuckles and the Masters at Work team for use in their DJ sets.
Though Beedle teamed up with Dave Hill and Rocky & Diesel to form the Ballistic Brothers and release one of 1994's hottest LPs, London Hooligan Soul, he was back with Black Science Orchestra that same year, now just Beedle and Woolford; though troubles with sample clearance delayed the album almost two years (the duo eventually drafted session musicians and vocalists instead), Beedle kept busy with the formation of the disco-rave project X-Press 2, this time including him and Rocky & Diesel. The trio released singles for Radikal-Q and Junior Boy's Own but hit the jackpot with a track called "The Sound." It spent weeks at the top of the American dance charts. Later that year, the debut Black Science Orchestra LP, Walter's Room, was released on Junior Boy's Own.
Instead of continuing with Black Science Orchestra, Ashley Beedle reunited with Hill and Rocky & Diesel for a second Ballistic Brothers LP, Rude System. Beedle also released two proper solo EPs during 1997, both recorded as Black Jazz Chronicles. The following year brought a BJC album, Future Ju-Ju, the most well-integrated fusion of disco, jazz and techno of his varied career. Beedle is an in-demand DJ and also runs three labels: Soundboy Entertainment, Afroart and Ill Sun. [See Also: Black Jazz Chronicles] ~ John Bush