Monday’s Long Song

I posted this photo on Twitter last week, the contents of a box I found in the loft. These cassettes have survived numerous house moves and various culls. I was happy to find them, the Proustian rush was enjoyable. Many of them date from the late 80s when it was in lots of ways a different world and I was a different person. Someone called Jon Fugler saw the photo and commented ‘good haul, the ladybird is my favourite…’ to which I replied ‘Fluke’, a useful piece of information I thought as the band’s name isn’t on the front of the cassette. It was then pointed out to me by @AcidGrandads that Jon Fugler was the singer in Fluke. Sometimes you just have to give a virtual shrug, smile and face palm.

Fluke were ace, an acid house/ electronic band who crossed all the genres from techno to house to ambient, guitars, synths, samples, drum machines and vocals. Their song Pan Am Into Philly is one of the great lost ones of the era and the version on Creation’s Keeping The Faith, Philly (Jamourphous Mix), is superb and a real personal favourite from that time. The album with the ladybird on it is from 1991,a live album from a time when people doubted whether this type of band could really perform live- the band doubted it as well as the computers weren’t always reliable enough to survive a gig. Nevertheless the album, Out (In Essence) is a great snapshot of the group.

Garden Of Blighty (Out/In Essence)

What makes my inability to recognise Jon Fugler even worse is that in my final year at university I knew Hugh Bryder (who was Fluke’s tour DJ and friend of a friend, and Hugh was supposed to be DJing at my wedding in 1995 but was stuck on a train).

Well Tempered

Fluke were a British acid house/techno group who put out a very good album on Creation (The Techno Rose Of Blighty, 1991) and went on to release several others and then went on to provide music for film soundtracks (The Matrix amongst others). But in some ways their best work was the remixes they did of other artists in the early 90s. They worked on several singles for Bjork’s Debut including the definitive version of Big Time Sensuality and this magnificent, shimmering, rushing, dancefloor reworking of Violently Happy.

Violently Happy (Fluke Well Tempered)

This remix of  Spooky was the fourth single from their 1993 Republic album (and there is a sign of how things had changed- New Order on Factory would never have done something as major label as releasing 4 singles off an album). One of the (few) highlights of the album and its related singles were the 3 remixes Fluke did of Spooky.

Spooky (Magimix)

Slid

Fluke made a good progressive house sound, pumping bass with whooshing synths and were in demand as remixers- they worked some magic on Bjork and New Order to name but two. This 1993 single Slid came out in a variety of formats and mixes, all designed for playing at loud volume in bars and clubs and the chances are if you were out clubbing at this time you’d have danced to this. It stays just the right side of handbag with that insistent percussion and groove.

Slid (Pdfmone)

Something Important Is About To Happen

Between 1992 and 1994 I shared a flat with a friend. We both bought records and for reasons of limited finances and common sense he bought some records and I bought others. This meant that when we went our separate ways I was short of a lot of records from that period which I knew very well but now didn’t have, some of which I filled in and some I never got around to. Years later I went to my collection looking for Debut by Bjork- and didn’t have it.

Big Time Sensuality is one of my favourite songs from the time- the throb of the bass, the rush of the synths, the sheer giddiness of the vocals- and a fantastically memorable video too. It also perfectly illustrates why Bjork went solo. Would this song have been improved by Einar shouting over it intermittently? It would not.

The version of the song that soundtracked the video single release was the Fluke mix, more clubby. The album version is here if you want to compare and contrast. And this is one of Justin Robertson’s thumping, arms-in-the-air remixes.

Big Time Sensuality (Justin Robertson Lionrock Wigout Mix)

Spooky

My previously unplanned Joy Division-New Order week continues. I can’t imagine Republic is anyone’s favourite New Order album, despite its magisterial Regret single. It was made against the backdrop of Factory collapsing (as sung about in Ruined In A Day). When Republic came out it was not on Factory but, irony of ironies, on London Records. Side one of Republic was decent enough- Regret is the last truly great song they recorded, World (The Price of Love) is a good dance tune, Ruined In A Day’s alright. Spooky, co-written with producer Stephen Hague, stood out. It was also the final single released off the lp, and had a variety of remixes. I’m not sure New Order have been best served by remixes (a few outstanding ones excepted). The handful of remixes of Spooky passed muster though especially the ones by Fluke. They tweaked Spooky into a really classy, shiny, sleek piece of techno-pop.

Spooky (Magimix)

In 1993, not long after this was released and when we had just started courting I put this on a mixtape for the future Mrs Swiss. It had a hand drawn and written cassette inlay card and everything.

The picture above shows one of the more bizarre promotional appearances the band made. A Top Of The Pops slot to sell Regret was done live via satellite link up from the Baywatch beach. New Order mimed the song while surrounded by buffed Californians playing volleyball and frisbee. The smasher of the Berlin Wall David Hasselhoff looked on.

 

Keeping It Peel

October 25th is Keeping It Peel Day across the internet. I’ve taken part previously- the sound of John Peel’s voice followed by something familiar and brilliant, or unfamiliar and brilliant, or just plain puzzling, was one of the joys of the man’s radio show. In previous years I’ve posted Keeping It Peel songs by Half Man Half Biscuit, The Redskins and Sabres Of Paradise. I dallied briefly with posting a song from The Cramps only Peel Session but we’ve had a surfeit of Crampiness in recent weeks- not that you can have too much but I thought some of you might be getting bored- and when searching my d/ls folder found this, Sonic Youth covering The Fall’s Rowche Rumble…

Rowche Rumble (Peel Session)

And also this from long lost blissed out, groovy, Balearic dance act Fluke, who I always had a soft spot for…

The Allotment of Blighty (Peel Session)

The two together, I think, kind of covers some of the spirit of the man and the radio show.

Fluke ‘Philly (Jamorphous Mix)’

This is one of my favourite records, one of the period’s most under-rated bands, the opening track to Creation’s Keeping The Faith lp, dance-rock-acid house-crossover, and one of the most euphoric records ever committed to vinyl. From the opening chords, to the ‘put your hands up high’ vocal, to the bass, to the soaring synths… everything about it. Sheer bliss.

philly_-_jamorphous_mix.mp3