Thursday, December 28, 2017

down at the teknoclub

via Steeeve Cross, a cool doc on the early days of German techno

which (and this a topic to return to later in greater depth) predated the Detroit use of the word techno

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

it was 20 years ago today

A cool find by Tim Finney (currently annotating his yearly run-through at ILM of 2017 tracks literally nobody else in the world has heard) in the form of some classic-era styled (but somehow not exactly retro)  drum + bass by OneMind

Here's what he says about it:

"There are many things I miss about mid-nineties jungle, but one aspect that’s hard to put into words is the curious emotional ambivalence its best tunes so often imparted, that oxymoronic mix of steel-eyed alertness and paranoia with melting dreaminess. At its expansive mid-nineties pinnacle, in exploring literally-never-before-heard sonic hinterlands, jungle also frequently pioneered what you might call emotional between-states: violently happy, gently murderous.“Early Daze” - a tune which seems happy to call back to just about every era of jungle’s history - channels that ambivalence in part through its frequent return to that most inscrutable of breaks, Apache, those high-pitched, quicksilver bongo hits somehow evoking (or invoking) the unbearable lightness of being even as they slugs you across the jaw. It’s a broader theme, the tune expertly navigating the intersection of light and dark previously trod by Photek’s “The Water Margin” or Metalheadz’ “Angel”: disembodied diva sighs swirl around airy rave chords and compressed, late nineties d&b bass bleeps. But most of all this vibe resides in the rhythm, delicate but sharp, and endlessly mutating; the way it ceaselessly cycles between motifs, seeming to up the ante with each frenzied hop, as synth riffs sizzle and fall like acid rain around it."

YouTube then promptly took me to another Metalheadz release from this year that also had that "future frozen" feel   - somehow paused / poised in 96-97, at that (arguable) "Metropolis" / Source Direct peak of the genre: the evolution of a form not taken any further, but not really outflanked or surpassed either... the Movement immobilised...  just hovering there/then, perfectly.

Funnily enough I've been digging some contemporary D+B that fell into my earshot more or less by chance - more on that later

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"the ghosts of '94"

[also via Jon Dale]

re-e-wind the clock of time for further memoradelic jungalizm courtesy Chris Adams of Hood

that track is the most Amentalist of the emanations on Shadows of the Short Days

the rest is more disassembled and time-corroded, the missing link between Third Eye Foundation and The Caretaker maybe...

while this is like vintage IDM when it was good (i.e. before it was known as IDM)

some earlier Downpour "drum and bass seances" that be "summoning up the ghosts of '94"

including this tune which was among my faves of 2017 - whatever that actually means in this time-scrambled era-not-era   - especially given it's ghosting of "Sovereign Melody"

(and in fact checking i see that while I heard it in 2017 it actually came out in 2016)

Monday, December 25, 2017

breakdown breakbeats

[via Jon Dale]

release back story:

Billa Bronx is a mask of Astro Nautico co-owner Bennett Kuhn. Kuhn lost his father to ALS in 2009. 'Father Forgive' was recorded in 2012, just months before Kuhn was admitted to a psychiatric ward on Long Island in response to symptoms of psychosis and hypomania. Kuhn was diagnosed with bipolar disorder — a diagnosis his father shared. Kuhn took a five-year hiatus from releasing recorded music to convalesce. Billa Bronx comprises some of the artist’s last musical inspiration before stepping into silence. 

'Father Forgive' was captured in single takes in Kuhn’s childhood home on Long Island using hardware synthesizers and loopers, effects pedals and breakbeat editing software from 1999. The only computer used was his father’s voice communication device, acquired after neurological degeneration had rendered him mute. Kuhn repurposed the machine to speak mangled drum loops in polyrhythmic contortions, articulating a visceral, damaged, wordless expression of grief and revolt. 

At 28, Kuhn is now publicly outing his bipolar in solidarity with others affected by mental health diagnoses. Billa Bronx unromantically asks us to consider what role our emotional extremes play in the overall course of our health, and what power music has to temper or unleash them. “You must cross a line to know where it lies.”

*Note on appropriation: Recognizing that black British immigrants from Jamaica and the West Indies were progenitors of jungle culture, the gross proceeds from this release will be donated to a travel fund offering cultural exchange opportunities to youth internationally ( 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

GABBING ABOUT GABBER: a brutalitarian resurgence a/k.a the return of apocalypso-disco?

Resident Advisor says that 2017 was the year that hardcore came back strong

Certainly it was the year of the Mover fulfilling his chiliastic promise "see you in 2017" with a return to high-profile deejaying at techno festivals and the release of a remastered anthology of his greatest ravefloor smashers, although the heralded new full-length album by Marc Acardipane under his most famous moniker has been bumped back to 2018, marring slightly the neat circularity of his comeback coming in 2017 as promised earlier thisyear.

The RA report also points to  Paul Elstak penetrating the Netherlands pop chart for the first time in a long while...

... to the Parisian squad Casual Gabberz's parties and its Inutile De Fuir compilation of this year

.... to the activities of Poland's WIXAPOL and Sweden's Drömfakulteten collectives...

 ... to the Gabber Eleganza blog and its roving The Hakke Show performances....

.... to the punitively intense Unpolished parties thrown by Amsterdam's Reaktor Events (which they trumpet as their "most hard-lined techno concept" and a "yearly ordeal"!) ...

... and to various other manifestations of a renewed appetite for brutalitarian aesthetics.

It makes perfect sense that the ravenous maw that is retroculture would sooner or later turn  for nourishment to possibly the last remaining un-ransacked resource of renegade commitment, outsider ferocity - an un-exceeded extreme. 

Incidentally, four of the nine trends that defined 2017 according to RA's overview involve the prefix "re" - the return of Electro (what, again?);  the resurgence of Eurohardcore;  the fact that it's a boom time for "new old" music, i.e. the rediscovery of forgotten music or recovery of never-known-about or never-even-really-released music from the archival electronic dance past;  and yet another rediscovery / rehabilitation / revisionism syndrome, i.e. the rewiring of techno with EBM and Industrial influences (M.E.S.H. , Perc, Tzusing, Phase Fatale,  et al). That last one possibly feeds into, or makes logical, the rehabilitation of gabba, given that it's part of the prehistory of Eurohardcore (although the nu-EBM is a lot slower). 

Also talking up the vintage gabba is this post + mix at Marc Dauncey's Mutant Technology blog -  titled"Gabber House" and described as "an hour and forty minutes exploring the murky world of hardcore techno, gabber and a sprinkling of jungle and breakcore, ranging from 150 to well over 240 bpm, from 1992 right up to the present day." Excellent stuff with a disconcerting large number of names and titles unfamiliar to me, but then  fully tracking the raging and ranging enormity of the Eurohardkore Kontinuum through the Nineties would've required total commitment to the genre / area, and I've always had ears for too many other things  

And finally a reminder about ArteTetra's recent gabber-influenced cassette release Svelto: the Hakken Tuner  (discussed in this earlier blog post) by  DJ Balli - who I had the pleasure of meeting in Bologna last week - and Giacoma Balla

A fan of the Italian Futurists as well as Phuture Tekno, Balli also authored - under his full name Riccardo Balli - the aptly titled 2012 book Apocalypso Disco: La Rave-O-Luzione Della Post Techno.  Blurbed thusly at Amazon (excuse the crude Google translation job here):

"At the end of the eighties, the element of techno music was imposed as a viral macrocode on which thousands and thousands of young people recognized themselves. In the following two decades a nuclear fission took place which split it into small atoms: the breakcore, the 8 bit, the gabber, the mashup, the goa-trance, the mutant dancefloor ... An international galaxy almost impossible to tell . In this text Riccardo Balli analyzes the different musical and attitudinal ramifications of the post rave through oral tales, literary remixes, visionary interventions and interviews with producers and protagonists. The goal is focused on the dynamics of a political nature that have generated assault groups, extreme situations and new lifestyles: speedcore, psy community,, Elevate Festival and the world of chiptunes. A multitude of noises, ideas and movements whose spurious and transversal sound is called Apocalypso disco." 

(I mentioned to Balli my dim recollection of having once operated - in partnership with Margin / Monitor comrade Paul Oldfield - a deejay duo team that traded under the name Apocalypso. We were not hugely successful in our appeal to the Oxford student market)

Balli also is involved in the label / organisation Sonic Belligeranza ("hard-electronics blaxploitation since the year 2000") and a contributor to Datacide, the original  intellectual hardcore / hardcore intellectual zine.

Datacide is still active on the web and intermittently in print too (there's a new issue just out in fact - #17, details of the contents and how to purchase here).

Recently Datacide held a panel discussion about retro both in and outside dance culture, titled next:now - strategies to resample the future and what do you know, there's a quote from the intro to Retromania right at the front...

"Once upon a time, pop‘s metabolism buzzed with dynamic energy, creating the surging-in-to-the-future feel of periods like the psychedelic sixties, the post-punk seventies, the hip-hop eighties and the rave nineties. The 2000s felt different.…  Instead of being the threshold to the future, the first then years of the twenty-first century turned out to be the ‚Re‘ Decade … revivals, reissues, remakes,
re-enactments. Endless retrospection...."

Hyperstasis  - the apocalypse as atemporality, entropy, the whimper


Phuturism - apocalypse as teleology, conflagration=consummation, the BANG.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

'E' by Gum!

Lifeline's Peanut Pete Ecstasy safety leaflets archived here by their designer / writer Michael Linnell.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

ambient d&b

kind of ambient drum & bass, without the drums ... and the bass dissolved from distinct riffs into a mire of sub-lo texture

like someone auditioning for a sound design job on Blade Runner 2049

and also not unlike Acardipane's most ambient-gabba moments e.g. "Jupiter Pulse"

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Nodz on

Suburban Base's graphic designer Dave Nodz having a bash on the Cubase

Not to be confused with this

or this project

back to the brilliance of Nodz



Woebot did a fab profile of Nodz back in the early blogging days - now findable only in the Big Book of Woe. a snip at $2.99

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

ghosts of futures past

via Luke Davis, a gorgeous film of  kids electro-boogieing on the London Underground, as haunting for its ghostly glimpses of public transport and commuters in the Eighties as the angular grace of the dancing and the sleek futurism of the clothes

some more ghosts - and a track that is a 20th Century monument

Thursday, November 9, 2017


maybe neurofunk wasn't a totally bad idea after all - that's pretty wicked, that

off of Jonny L's Sawtooth which is getting a reissue to celebrate its 20 Years Existence

plus a raft of remixes (all by dubstep-aligned types not drum & bass operators, significantly) of his big tune of '97 "Piper"

who knew there was a promo?

puro neuro

but he could also do pretty

and then within just a few years he'd jumped from neuro two-steppers to actual 2step garridge - and onto the TOTP sound-stage, in the company of Posh Spice

the foundation of his Hall of Fame status, though, is this early effort

the 99 relick

i guess that's why call it a Continuum, folks! (pt 2984)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

proto grime

garage rap really - precursor to Pay As U Go

Thursday, November 2, 2017

siiiick bass, Think-ing dark

 sick B-line

that track, I always connected with  Mask / Gang Related's "Ready Or Not" - both have that mental jagged bassline
"Ready Or Not" annoyingly isn't on YouTube in its original form, but only as this (pretty decent) remix

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Rider on the Stormzy

Here's a piece I wrote for i-D on the unlikely love affair between grime and Jeremy Corbyn.

Although written a good while before the Burial essay, they are companion pieces in some ways.

For instance, public transport - specifically, the night bus - plays a role in both pieces.

And Mark makes another appearance.

Monday, October 30, 2017

mitsy memoree

such an anthem they released  it the next year as "1999" and the year after that as "2000"

Then put it out again as "2004" (but unchanged - the 2000 versions repressed)

Now here's a bizarre thing - NME faves Peace, who are a neopsych Stoney Rosey sort of proposition, actually covered "1998" on their 2012 debut EP Delicious. Which actually makes me like them a little bit. It's not so much a cover as a purloining of the riff and the writing of a song over and around it. And actually it's not bad at all - quite a fun neo-psych blowout.

They must have been little kids when "1998" broke into the UK Top 10

back to the original (is still the greatest)

the video poster seems to think this is the correct (and faster) speed of the original, but feels bit too frantic to me

Binary Finary still going, based out of Australia these days, playing the odd festival around the world 

i was just about to pronounce that the music doesn't seem to have moved one jot forward since the late 90s -  but then realised it's actually a Classics Set !

the crowd go mental when the Binary Finary fellow drops "1998"

now i wonder if trance has moved a jot or two since the late 90s?

the pay off i fear would be too slight for it to be worth me investigating

one more time

Friday, October 27, 2017

shadows of the past, hungry ghosts of the future

new blog Two Hungry Ghosts interviews John Morrow  about the legendary Foul Play remix(es) of Hyper On Experience's "Lords of the Null Lines" and also Alex Banks about the great but less played original track

(via Droid)

Ooh and there's an interview with Morrow about their Omni Trio "Renegade Snares" VIP remix too (Banks too, as he and the other Hyper On fellow engineered).  Two Hungry Ghosts man seems to be systematically going through the Foul Play remixography.

Lots of other cool stuff on the blog, which is kind of like a magazine -  Issue One, Issue Two etc -

Like this chat with Blame

And here's the second "Null Lines" remix with Randall joining the Foul Play boys

And here's the really ace original Hyper On track - sort of nutty-but-dark maximalism in line with their earlier releases

On the flip of the first Foul Play remix was this beaut

Did not know about these other "Null Lines" remixes

improperly titled that one - should be Cloud Nine featuring Ray Keith

That Photek one appears to be from 2006  - and has a kind of techstep / gloomcore circa 96 quality

And what's this then?

actually rather nice

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ghost Hardware: Burial and revenant rave

Here's an essay I did for Pitchfork about Burial's Untrue ten years on. 

It's also effectively a tribute to Mark Fisher, who is a recurring presence in the piece. 

It's intentional that Burial's real name is never once mentioned in the piece - honoring his original allegiance to rave's radical facelessness and anonymous collectivity. 

Below is my favorite out of the post-Untrue Burial output - in some ways the missing chapter from that album.

There were two parallels and precursors for Burial's  ghost-of-rave (as ghost-of-socialism) aesthetic that I couldn't get into as it would have been too much of a digression.

The first: Mark Leckey's Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, which I wrote about here

And the second:  "Weak Become Heroes" by The Streets.

What Burial related through samples and moody orchestrations, Mike Skinner conveyed with words,  describing the flashback of a former raver abruptly set adrift on blissed memories of love and unity on the dancefloor. All the commotion becomes floating emotions...  They could settle wars with this...  Imagine the world's leaders on pills... All of Life's problems I just shake off.” Then he's snapped back to the dreary streets of a hostile and hopeless 21st Century England: “gray concrete and deadbeats... no surprises no treats... My life's been up and down since I walked from that crowd.” “Weak,” in Skinner’s song, means not just personally frail, but politically powerless. The weak became heroes when they became a mass, uniting around the unwritten manifesto in the music: someday there’ll be a better way, but in the meantime let’s shelter for a while in this dreamspace.  What the critic Richard Smith (like dear Mark also “late” now – so many ghosts these days) called “the communism of the emotions” triggered by Ecstasy seemed to prefigure a social movement. But the collective energy never got beyond the level of a pre-political potential; the moment dissipated. 

I love those hardcore and rave tunes because they sound deep, hopeful, for the times, and the people... It’s unbelievable, that glow in the tunes, it almost breaks your heart.” - Burial, someplace, sometime

"The tunes I loved the most…old jungle, rave and hardcore, sounded hopeful....  All those lost producers…I love them, but it’s not a retro thing… When I listen to an old tune it doesn’t make me think ‘I’m looking back, listening to another era.’ Some of those tunes are sad because they sounded like the future back then and no one noticed. They still sound future to me." - Burial, someplace, sometime  

In a way, it's a shame Burial stopped doing the interviews -  he was almost born to do them, even more than make music! He's better at describing his own music and motives than any of his critics, except Mark Fisher himself. I remember Mark telling me after he'd done the interview that he couldn't believe his own ears - the stuff that Burial was coming out with was so poetic and evocative, too good to be true almost. a dream of an interview. Anwen Crawford told me of a similar experience: as I recall it, it was like she was hypnotized, sent into a trance by his voice over the phone. but at same time he was completely real and genuine - somehow down to earth and an ethereal being floating out there at the same time.

"I wanted the tunes to be anti-bullying tunes that could maybe help someone to believe in themselves, to not be afraid, and to not give up, and to know that someone out there cares and is looking out for them. So it's like an angel's spell to protect them against the unkind people, the dark times, and the self-doubts" - Burial on Rival Dealer EP / "Come Down With Us"

Actually there's a third parallel/precursor - The Death of Rave by V/Vm, a/k/a The Caretaker - another of Mark's favorites of course... 

This post is dedicated to Carl Neville

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

studies in a mood

an adjacent mood

and what do you know, actually called "Moods"

more songs by Dillinja with "mood" in the title

a much later study in the (sovereign / deep love) mood, by someone else entirely

Monday, October 23, 2017

"drum and bass seances"

"Summoning up the ghosts of '94" - Downpour a/k/a  Chris Adams from Hood / Bracken with some auntologikkal ardkore

the two above are current - part of "a memory project studying the provincial drum and bass scene spanning the years 1992-1994"  - complete with "Period correct kit list: Akai s950 sampler / Alesis Midiverb II  / Novation Bass station / Roland RE-201 Space echo / Delta lab Effectron II  /Atari ST running cubase "

but these below appear to be older experiments in skewed nuum sounds, done as early as 1997, now reissued or issued for the first time

some cool titles - "hey charles hayward", "a beginner's guide to mass hysteria", "if you're a fast enough mc", "dont' let's quantize", "it's only rock and roll and i don't like it", "wish we were there" (don't we all mate - there / then)

this one is very dreamy

Saturday, October 21, 2017

it's... not... over

latter also sampled (different bit though) on

and LOTS of other records

including this (with yet another famous bit - "your mind your body and your soul" - from this ransacked-for-samples supertoon)

Also - "every day of my life" - as sampled in this (and other places too I think)

same lick also used on

Verily the sampler's first choice !!

Praise be to divaqueen Rochelle Fleming!!!

listen and just count the samples!

First time I ever heard the "it's not over" vocal lick was in a 1992 pirate session - it's five minutes into this comp of fave pirate bits, the build-up to a glorious trainwreck of a mix, Citadel of Kaos "It's Not Over" into Goldseal Tribe 'Living Lonely"

"community radio at its best - you nutter"

Monday, October 16, 2017

Belief it M8

"Taking the album’s title into consideration, these three parts seem to represent a sort of holy trinity for the UK hardcore continuum—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost" - cute bit about the tripartite structure of new Special Request retro-rave epic (early uk acid techno / junglizm / ambient emanations) in an otherwise lukewarm review at Pitchfork by Patric Fallon.

He rates this other recent effort by Paul Woolford higher.  

Moments So Dark

some days third-division darkcore seems better than first-division anything else

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sweet Exorcist

Well what do you know... just checking out which Curtis Mayfield tune it was that (brilliantly) intros The Deuce (also gathering in brilliance - takes a while to get going, give it time)... and realised that despite loving the obvious Mayfield tunes I'd never really properly done his discography... Had a look and what I did see but there's an album by Mayfield, smack dab in his creative prime, called Sweet Exorcist

So this must be where Sweet Exorcist got their name from

It's a great name - for a band and for an album. But I wonder why Richard H. Kirk and DJ Parrot picked it...  And what the phrase signified for Curtis M?

Monday, October 9, 2017

hey, gabba + gabba !

Gabba #1

release rationale:

"DJ Balli is one of the most brilliant sonic minds of his generation: producer, performer, writer, label owner, and much much more. Composer (and long term fan) of hardcore electronic music, he's always believed in the intrinsic subversive power of up-tempo, 'not-intelligent' dance music as opposed to the most pretentious, self-important, byproduct-of-the-ancient-rockstar-system electronic scene. On his path, he met the infamous Italian outcome ArteTetra where he found the perfect platform to express his borderline take on music. Next October the 14th, the world will meet DJ Balli's last effort called 'SVELTO, the Hakken Tuner', recorded with the precious contribution of long-dead Futurist Giacomo Balla, out on International Cassette Store Day for ArteTetra as a part of the "Functional Tools 4 a Better House Living" series' first batch that will also include the 'Musica Lavapiatti' tape by Shit and Shine. Preorder is up at the link

"Here you can take a look at the exclusive tape trailer we at put together couple of weeks ago using the cassette's original tunes as soundtrack, and starring - of course - the almighty DJ Balli, who gets to trace back his origins directly to Giacomo Balla, futurism, pyramids ( .. ) and thirst for speed, also featuring PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN FOOTAGE shot in 1996 during one of the legendary Number One (BS, Italy)'s Hardcore Warriors nights' finale. We'll be presenting the tape on our website [] next Friday. So, enjoy the clip in the meantime, coming with English subtitles, and share it if you like it & want to support the amazing guys at ArteTetra. Let's finally acknowledge back the power to subvert the status quo that have always belonged to stupid, ruthless and violent music. P.S. Ah, did we mention the fact that 'SVELTO, The Hakken Tuner' is a hardcore gabber record? Yeah you heard us: not those fancy, horrible mainstyle revival stuff, we're talking real (weird) shit here. You've been warned!

Gabba #2

Gabba feature in Dazed and Confused focusing on the curatorial efforts of Ewen Spencer and Alberto Guerrini, creator of something called Gabber Elegenza and the Hakke Show. Here the emphasis is less on the sonix and more on the style of the subculture.

[via Karl Kraft]

Sunday, October 8, 2017


Well I didn't even know there was a version of this with a rap on it - let alone the squawking diva

The "Out of History Mix" is, I think, the one I like (and love the title)

Also the Cave Edit (another good title) - very spare and empty at first

And the Dub Mix

"Rehurse Eq" - what's that when it's at home?

Is this an unofficial remix from back in the day?

This claims to be one too but i can't hear much remixing going on

Then there's this recent-ish remix by Perc + Truss - nice bit of retro-slam action

Of T.99's one true moment of glory I wrote this (as part of an eMusic round-up called the Rave Dozen):


For a couple of years in the early 90s, Belgium ruled rave culture, spewing out a series of innovatively abrasive tunes that rocked ravefloors across the world while also upsetting droves of Chicago house/Detroit techno purists, who saw the style as eradicating techno’s links to black music altogether. And its true, the Belgian sound, as pioneered by labels like Hithouse, Who’s That Beat, R&S and 80 Aum, did turn away from the Afro-American wellspring and drink deep on strictly Euro sources. Its secret ingredients were a strong dose of Electronic Body Music, that stiff-jointed but dancefloor oriented offshoot of industrial trailblazed by Belgium’s own Front 242, and a pungent tang of classical music, especially the more sturm und drang-y Carl Orff/Wagner end of it.

Out of all the Belgian hardcore hitmakers, t.99 were the biggest crossover success, reaching #14 in the UK charts in May 1991 with “Anasthasia” and also scoring with the near-identical “Noctune”. The principal hook in  “Anasthasia” is a hard-angled stab pattern playing what sounds like a choral sample (possibly the famous “O Fortuna” sequence of Orff’s Carmina Burana). The intro to the track, a female voice saying “music, maestro, please” is at once a nod to the quasi-classical vibe of the tune and an advance rejoinder to the horrified hordes of house purists who would decry this slice of brutalist bombast as “just not music”. 

Actually the parts of “Anasthasia” that don’t feature the portentous fanfare-blare of the riff are quite pleasant: a chugging Euro-haus groove topped with wafting synths, almost like “Pacific State” without that cheesy saxophone. But the harsh ‘n’ doomy hook-stab does always return at regular intervals,  sounding a bit like a flock of crows cackling in scorn. 

The four mixes are fairly indistinguishable (this was a time when remixes were precisely that, remixes, as opposed to virtually brand-new tracks), the “Out of History” version perhaps having the edge by a whisker. 

That’s an intriguing sub-title, actually:  were t.99’s Patrick de Meyer and Olivier Abbeloos hinting that rave was a gigantic exodus of disaffected and politically disengaged youth leaving reality behind for a utopia of druggy noise? Or was the idea more apocalyptic, as in “we’re running out of time”? Or a bit of both, as suggested by the title of the debut t.99 album Children of Chaos

Sadly, following its 1992 release, the duo themselves headed for the dustbin of (dance) history. 

Their other glory-ish moment- "Nocturne"

Yet more C+C Music Factory style Eurodance rappige and diva sqwawkage

"Nocturne" came in mixes indexed to particular times of the night - stations on the journey to the end of the rave - a cute 'n' clever idea!

The same idea as "Anasthasia" / "Nocturne" pretty much

Different, but not good - the video is quite a period piece though

Oh the pathos of the rave single-artist album...

Fairly banging, reasonably slamming:

Before they were hardcore, they were New Beat

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Last Pirates

BBC doc on pirate radio, mostly focused on the Eighties tower block wave

(via Karl Kraft)

Friday, September 29, 2017

7 of clubs

i'm not sure what the logic was exactly but as tie-in to my book on glam rock, iD asked me last year to list my seven favorite / life-changing clubs / nights-out-dancing. No i don't quite understand either but a fun and easy exercise so why not? i included raves as essentially very large, roof-less clubs. oh and there is a gig in there as well. so clubs, very loosely understood. in chronological sequence rather than ranked according to life-changingness.

1. Progeny, Brixton Academy, London, October 1991
"Orbital entrance with their live techno performance (then a rare thing) and the immortal tingle-riffs of Chime. But at this irregular rave organised by The Shamen, it's the born-again rapture of the audience - blissed out girls blindly carving shapes in the air, shirts-off and shadow-boxing boys lustrous with sweat - that really turns me into a rave convert."

2. Castlemorton Common, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, May 1992
"Anarchy in the UK, for real. Hordes of urban ravers join forces with cavalcades of hippie travellers in their caravans and trucks, and the result is an instant city - estimated population 40,000 - springing into existence in a remote rural part of the West Country. Causing consternation across the nation and ultimately leading to the Criminal Justice Act, the free party - instigated by soundsystems like Spiral Tribe and Circus Warp - rages for eight days. I'll never forget the ashen light of dawn rising after the first night - and the hairy drive back to London, with my friend Samantha nearly falling asleep at the wheel several times..."

3. Labrynth, Dalston, East London, 1992-93
"A catacomb of garishly painted caverns and corridors, with a deceptively halcyon outdoor garden, and a murky and jostling main floor, the Labrynth was my favourite club ever. It's where I witnessed hardcore rave turn to the dark side: hands-in the-air choruses and happy pianos gradually, insidiously eclipsed by scuttling 'n' seething breakbeats, foreboding bass-tremors, macabrely witty horror-movie samples, and shudders 'n' shivers of clammy synth-slime. What I remember most about Labrynth is that you never once saw the DJs - they were tucked away in the corner somewhere out of sight. Instead, the stage was occupied by the ravers themselves: a crammed, teetering front row of kids facing the crowd from out of which they'd climbed. The crowd literally became the star of the show."

4. Even Furthur, Wisconsin, USA, May 1996
"Anarchy in the USA, for real. Hordes of candy-ravers and gabba warriors - most from the nearest cities, Milwaukee and Chicago, but others who'd flown or driven from every corner of the nation - descend on a scouting camp in a remote rural part of Middle America. The chaos was partly chemical and partly weather induced. Sporadic rain turned the dancefloors into swamps full of puddles. Along with the mud and the screams of acid freak-outs that intermittently pierced through the trees, what I remember most vividly is Scott Hardkiss dropping his skin-tingling, never-to-be released remix of Elton John's Rocket Man. And the debut US performance of Daft Punk, then barely-known but already a fully-formed juggernaut of joy."

5. Club Voodoo, Bayside, Queens, April 1998
"NY's compact but fanatical hardcore scene congregated for the birthday bash of Brooklyn techno warlord Lenny Dee - and for the US debut of The Mover, just one of the aliases used by the German producer Marc Acardipane (whose 1991 track We Have Arrived pretty much invented gabba). He played a searing, stampeding set that drew on an arsenal of tunes by himself and allies like Renegade Legion and Miro, all released via the Frankfurt label cluster PCP / Cold Rush / Dance Ecstasy 2001. The strobing riffs of Apocalypse Never and Torsion seem to swarm through the ravefloor like a cloud of poison gas. Then the fire marshals arrived to shut down the party for being dangerously overcrowded."

6. Drive By, New York, 2000-2001
"I went to a bunch of UK garage clubs in London but I never had as good a time as I did at Drive By, the hub of NYC's intimate 2step scene. The parties took place at various locations, but my favourite was the Frying Pan, a boat - moored off the Hudson River at the Pier 63 quayside - whose interior was fantastically corroded (it had been sunk for several years, then refloated and repaired). Unlike the UKG vibe of snooty exclusivity, Drive By's atmosphere was friendly and fervent, with a striking dearth of designer labels and not a drop of ostentatiously swilled champagne; the dancing too was more fluidly nubile and expressive. The mismatch that had always pained me during my UK excursions - the gap between 2step's frisky euphoria and its audience's screwface cool - was gone. For once, instead of being a pale copy of the UK original, the US transplant was like a corrected and perfected version."

7. Hard Summer, Los Angeles, August, 2012
"EDM is rising to a peak, its take-over of the USA seems certain. I visit LA's premier EDM festival - two successive weekend nights, drawing fifty thousand - more as an anthropologist than a participant. (I also have my 17-year-old niece, a bit of a handful, in tow, which means I have to be the responsible, surrogate-parent). Despite these constraints, the two nights are both big fun and a revelation, reminding me that the music is always changing, that it will always have a surprise or two up its sleeve. Such as the retina-blitzing bombast of Skrillex and his headlining concert, which shows the extent to which electronic dance music has become a fully integrated audio-visual spectacle. While also showing that this doesn't always have to be a degrading (d)evolution, a travesty of the original spirit. For sure, things have come a long way from the darkness, the tucked-out-of-sight DJs of early rave clubs like Labrynth. But the music is still all about the rush, it's a celebration of noise and sensation and excitement for its own sake. And when Skrillex flips the cameras onto the fans and then projects that teeming throng of faces and hands, that glittering constellation of held-aloft phones, onto his towering video-screens.... well, once again, the audience is the star."