Skream and Benga have announced they’re working on music again together. Here are five other electronic music duo reunions that made an impact.
Dubstep pioneers Skream and Benga recently revealed that they’re back in the studio working on new material for 2022. In a tweet, Skream said, ‘The boys are back in town… Skream X @iambenga 2.0… 2022 we’re having it’. The Croydon native, who recently participated in Attack’s Quick Mix interview series, also posted, ‘No throw back, brand new music only’ on his Instagram page.
This is great news for fans of the two producers. It will be the duo’s first new music since ‘The Hydro’ in 2004 – that’s almost 20 years. Of course, the two have continued to release music independently, with Skream moving into house and techno material and Benga furthering the bass sound he helped forge. No word yet on what genre of music they’ll be working in but it’s sure to be killer.
This announcement got us thinking. What other famous dance music duos have reunited after breaking up? Here are five top duos that decided to get back together after calling it quits.
Masters At Work
Masters At Work
‘Little’ Louis Vega. Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez. These two New York-based DJs and producers came together in the late 1980s to record together under the name Masters At Work and together created some of the biggest (and deepest) house records ever.
Whether recording under Masters At Work, MAW, Nu Yorican Soul, The Bucketheads or any number of other aliases, producing for artists like vocalist India, or remixing everyone from Michael Jackson to Earth, Wind and Fire, the two have left an indelible mark on house music.
Although they’ve continued to DJ, the pair has been quiet on the release front since the early 2010s. In 2021 they announced that they were relaunching their own label, MAW Records. This was followed by two new tracks, ‘Mattel’, a deep house toy drum machine workout, and ‘We Did It For Years’. It’s good to have the two back recording, doing what they do best. They’ve also made their back catalog available digitally including some unreleased gems.
Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas
Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas
Fellow Norwegians Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas are both known for their space disco, a modern take on the kind of progressive dance music that first found favor in Italy in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Put them together in a room full of esoteric synthesizers and drum machines and what usually comes out is sublime, experimental, occasionally dancey, and always unique.
Between 2005 and 2009, the duo released three albums and a number of singles, all pushing the boundaries of what ‘dance music’ could be. These boundaries were further pushed in 2020 when they reconvened for III, their most experimental outing yet.
Melding kosmiche, Balaeric, prog and whatever else they cared to throw in, it managed to be experimental without ever feeling self-indulgent. It was a welcome return for the two and hopefully a harbinger of more to come.
Brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll have been at it since 1989 and the release of ‘Chime’, the first rave anthem and still one of the best. The two have built up an impressive body of work that includes nine studio albums, three soundtracks, six best ofs, two DJ compilations, a live record, and plenty of singles and remixes. They’ve also become a top draw live act, bringing a roadie-bothering amount of hardware synths out on the road with them and employing improvisation to keep things interesting.
The duo have actually broken up and reunited twice. The first reunion came in 2008, ending four years of quiet with a gig in advance of their 20 year anniversary tour the following year. They split again in 2014, saying they were ‘hanging up their iconic torch-glasses and parting ways for the final time’, according to their official website. Thankfully, this didn’t last, and 2017 again saw them back on the road (yes, complete with iconic pen-light glasses). They continue to tour and play and are currently gearing up for Thirty-Something, a compilation of remixes by modern artists like Dusky and ANNA, in celebration of the pair’s thirty-plus years in existence.
Sasha & John Digweed
Before Sasha & John Digweed, there were popular DJs but we’d argue there weren’t really superstar DJs. The two were already gaining notoriety on their own but when they united in 1993 at club Renaissance, first for back to back DJ sets and then for a series of high profile mix CDs, the stage was set for their meteoric rise to superstardom. Championing progressive house and trance, the duo’s sets were epic and technically impressive. A residency at Twilo followed Renaissance but all the while they continued to tour.
It would be wrong to say that the two broke up. If anything, extensive touring and their individual schedules kept them apart. However, Sash and Digweed officially reunited in 2017 with a series of shows at Privilege in Ibiza. These gigs continued in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, as did performances at Glastonbury and Ultra Brazil in 2017 and the CRSSD Festival in San Diego, California in 2021.
In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, few duos were as massive as Deep Dish. Comprised of Dubfire and Sharam, the Washington D.C.-based team had built themselves up from a local 150-capacity residency to winning a Grammy and working with Madonna and Coldplay. Along the way they started a label, Yoshi, released a clutch of DJ mix albums, and two albums of original material. Their sound was a big room mix of progressive and tech house with plenty of melody and funk tempered with heady effects.
Citing the usual creative differences, the two split in 2006, with Dubfire moving in a darker, more techno-oriented direction and Sharam going the upfront and melodic way. The two came back together in 2014 for the single, ‘Quincy’, and a Radio 1 Essential Mix.
In 2018 they appeared together at Pacha Ibiza for a reunion show, and then again at Coachella in 2019. According to an interview with their hometown paper Washington Post in 2019, they’re hoping to put together a best of compilation as well as finish a new studio album that started during the ‘Quincy’ sessions.
Did we miss any duo reunions? Let us know the ones that impacted you the most in the comments.
While you’re here..
Check out Skream in our recent Quick Mix series on YouTube.