Nude Photo

While I’m in this techno/house groove we should have something from Detroit and one of the originators of the whole thing. Derrick May was one of the Belleville Three (the other two being Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson). The sound they cooked up in Belleville in the mid-to late 80s was partly a result of isolation (Belleville was pretty racially segregated at the time and the three stuck together). Belleville was a rural suburb of Detroit and many of the residents worked in the car factories, well paid jobs. The black population of Belleville were a black middle class, with the disposable income to buy records and equipment. May, Atkins and Saunderson listened to Kraftwerk, George Clinton, Prince, Yellow Magic Orchestra, The B-52s. Eventually Atkins bought a synth and then taught the other two to dj. They began to play records in the clubs of Detroit and then ventured further, discovering Chicago’s house scene. Suitably inspired by the scenes in Chicago’s warehouses and clubs, and the largely black and gay crowd losing it on the dancefloor, they returned home to fuse Chicago’s house music with Kraftwerk’s mechanical sounds, with the stated intention of creating the music of the future.

Nude Photo

The second release under the mis-spelt Rhythim Is Rhythim name was Strings Of Life, one of the key records of the UK’s Second Summer Of Love. Nude Photo, co-written with Thomas Barnett, preceded it. Barnett describes driving home after a disappointing session writing with Derrick, with the idea of the ‘three Roland drum machines strategically placed on the floor of Derrick’s living room’ and how he wanted to make them join together in an ‘extra-terrestrial-midi-rain dance’. The track was created the following day. The sampled laughter comes from Yazoo. The rest comes from Derrick and Thomas.

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I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love

One of my favourite tunes of last year was Doc Daneeka’s massively upbeat slice of retro-rave, recently repressed on vinyl.

The vocal sample is from I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love by The Emotions, from 1976. Back in 1992 it was used by 2 Bad Mice, a duo from Hertfordshire ‘fuelled by takeaway pizza and spliff’. Hold It Down is a great record, from a time when bedroom producers with some basic equipment, a stack of records and a few of ideas could move mountains. Incidentally, the vocal sample is also the line Bobby Gillespie was singing when Weatherall created Loaded (as posted by Drew at Across The Kitchen table earlier this month).

1991 was the time when the dance scene fractured, with the rise of ‘ardkore. Hardcore/’ardkore developed between 1991 and 1993, new producers, djs and clubbers arriving and shifting things on, with breakbeats rather than metronomic drum machines, increasingly fast tempos, ‘cheesey’ synth sounds, sub-bass and sped up vocal samples. ‘Ardkore also lurched away from the utopianism of early house/acid house towards a darker vibe- but Hold It Down, the title itself a phrase used by people in clubs rushing on E, isn’t too dark, more massive fun. Hands in the air people.

Join The Future

Almost everything I’ve posted here recently, except for the Ride song at the weekend, has been bleeps and squiggles, 303s and 808s, and I had every intention of sitting down to write a post with guitars in it but then I read Michael’s comment on one of my Warp posts last week where he mentioned Join The Future by Tuff Little Unit. Released on Warp in January 1991 this is a superb techno record, a deep wandering bassline, clattering drumbeats and some lovely sinuous synthlines. People often say techno is cold and austere but this is warm and inviting and in the words of a commenter at Discogs way back in 2002 ‘you can feel the hidden euphoria of a new generation in it, a tune for the after hours’. Perfect.

Join The Future (12″ Mix)

This Coat Right Sweetheart Cost 800 English Pounds

A bank holiday bonus. I don’t know if this is the best thing on the internet today but it’s definitely up there.

Delusions Of Grandeur

Hardkiss were a San Franciscan trio who played a key role in the early 90s in establishing rave/dance music in the USA. At first they put on parties, promoting and djing, then moved into producing records and running a label. All three- Scott (God Within), Gavin (Hawke) and Robbie (Little Wing)- started making their own work which then got mixed together on their 1994 album Delusions Of Grandeur. This is a twenty minute segued sampler mixing ten of the tracks which make up Delusions… (which was remastered and  re-released in 2015).

1. God Within – ”Raincry (Spiritual Thirst)”
2. Hawke – ”3 Nudes Having Sax On Acid”
3. Drum Club – ”Drums Are Dangerous (Drugs Are Dangerous)”
4. God Within – ”The Phoenix (Rabbit In The Moon’s Riverandrain Mix)”
5. Little Wing – ”Mercy Mercy”
6. God Within – ”Daylight (Dreamerdreamsalone)”
7. Hawke – ”Pacific Coastal Highway #1
8. Rabbit In The Moon – ”Out Of Body Experience (Burning Spear)”
9. Unknown – ”Top Secret Song”
10. Little Wing – ”Thing (One)”

This being San Francisco things are pretty cosmic and hippy in places and by all accounts SF rave had a New Age ‘spiritual vibe’ (plus drugs) that marked it out as different. The trio saw Future Sound Of London’s Papua New Guinea as the starting point for what they wanted to do and the album’s tracks go from acid house to trance to breakbeat and techno. In places they veered close to the kind of mood music cds you can find in garden centres with samples of bird calls and monkeys but on the whole this is forward thinking, open minded stuff.

As a bonus here’s their inspiration, FSOL’s Papua New Guinea, a true moment of greatness. Counter intuitively, for something that works best as an extended track, this is a 7″ version. Still epic and massive.

Papua New Guinea (7″ Mix)

Style Avenue

This is Timothy J. Fairplay’s remix of Mangsebung by Sweden’s Fotan- thumping drum track, swirling noises and then the seagulls come in. Not one for those who have woken with a headache this morning. Relentless, trippy, satisfying.

The track is out on limited vinyl as one of five remixes on Fontan The Convenanza remixes (also featuring Red Axes, Khidja, Mythologen and Pardon Moi).

Timothy has also sent this into the wild ahead of a new ep. I don’t like to quote directly from press releases but I can’t do any better than this- ‘a chuggy cosmic workout across time and space’.

Cali

I expressed the view on Twitter recently that the new single from Ride is a lovely thing, shot through with an end of summer feel. Opinions were divided: some suggested that the new album is superb, party due to Erol Alkan’s production and the simultaneous crunch and shimmer of the guitars; some could hear The House Of Love in the twin vocals; some suggested that it was alright, fine in a traffic jam on the radio but lacking true greatness; some suggested my mid-range hearing is shot.

I’m still into it several days later. From the opening bass intro, and diving bass runs through the verse, to the twin guitars and slightly out of focus vocals, it shimmers and swoops. The single version is shorter than the album one (which has an extended ending part) and the surfing video seems apt. An online reviewer suggested that hearing men in their forties sing lines like ‘Kissed you on a beach and I was saved’ is a bit embarrassing but I don’t buy that. When payday finally arrives I shall be buying the album.