Play The Five Tones

One of the many very specific offshoots of the acid house revolution of 1988 was bleep ‘n’ bass, an almost exclusively northern sub-scene. The first bleep ‘n’ bass record came from Bradford (Unique 3’s The Theme) but after that Sheffield and Warp Records became the home of a style of dance music pretty much defined by its name- pocket calculate bleeps with deep, heavy, sub bass over a drum machine. A vocal sample to complete. Minimal, intense, British techno. Between 1989 and 1991 a load of great bleep ‘n’ bass records were made, best heard at full volume in pitch darkness with a strobe flashing away (but home listening will do too).

Sweet Exorcist were from Sheffield, a duo of Richard Kirk (of Cabaret Voltaire) and DJ Parrot (Richard Barratt). Their first record, in 1990, was Testone- made using some test tones and a vocal sample from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. It is absolutely essential. Only LFO came close to this.

Testone

The video was directed by a certain Jarvis Cocker, pre-fame, and is a classic of its kind too.

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Well Did You Hear There’s A Natural Order

Here’s another protest song. Jarvis wrote this while watching the Live 8 spectacle on TV almost a decade ago. He starts out with some globalisation issues…

Now the working classes are obsolete
They are surplus to society’s needs
So let ’em all kill each other
And get it made overseas

But he also saves some special bile for the people we all know at the local level…

Oh, feed your children on crayfish and lobster tails
Find a school near the top of the league
In theory, I respect your right to exist
I will kill you if you move in next to me

Ah, it stinks, it sucks, it’s anthropologically unjust

Extra marks for getting the word ‘anthropological’ in there.
Then he aims for business and the political parties that prioritise it over people…

The free market is perfectly natural
Do you think that I’m some kind of dummy?
It’s the ideal way to order the world
Fuck the morals, does it make any money?

And Jarvis’ conclusion in the chorus is truer now than it was back in 2008. All together now…

Running The World

On

Until a couple of days ago I never knew there was a video for Apex Twin’s 1993 song On (from the e.p. On).

I caught it by accident on TV, on a music channel I flicked onto while waiting for a lift. On is a delicious track- it could be serene ambient were it not for the buzz and distortion of the bass and the harshish drums. Yet it still manages to be beautiful. I was then doubly surprised that the video was directed by Jarvis Cocker, making brilliant use of water dripping, a beach, a deep sea divers outfit, a cardboard cut out of Richard D James and stop-motion photography. The only shame with the video is it’s only three minutes forty five seconds long. Luckily the e.p. version is seven minutes long.

On

Is This The Way The Future Is Supposed To Feel?

Or just fifteen thousand people standing in a field?

I found this footage online, ten minutes of videotape from the massive Sunrise Energy rave in 1989. It’s a fascinating piece of social history, so many people dancing in an aircraft hanger and outdoors in broad daylight. The stars are the crowd- black and white, male and female, all of them dancing- all of them- a mass of colourful clothing and dry ice. At the end a couple of cars are on fire- no-one really seems to notice.

‘You want to call your Mother and say ”Mother, I can never come home because I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere, somewhere in a field in Hampshire.”

Away from the utopian dream of a new rave based way of life the two men largely responsible for Sunrise Energy were Tony Colston-Hayter and Paul Staines. Colston-Hayter was a young Tory entrepreneur and named in the papers as ‘Acid’s Mr Big’. He claims he was an anarcho-capitalist. The Shoom crowd say he was regarded as a Hooray Henry, a ‘loud dickhead and a laughing stock’. Last year he was jailed for five and a half years for masterminding the theft of £1.3 million from Barclays by hacking into bank accounts. Paul Staines is the unpleasant right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes. Nice one, top one, sorted.

Moss Side Story

Barry Adamson, formerly bass player for Magazine and currently a Bad Seed, has a back catalogue I’ve never really explored enough. This song from his Oedipus Schmoedipus album has Jarvis Cocker in full on ‘sexy’ mode and is rather good. The album takes in everything from film John Barry style soundtracks to jazz, dub, soul and electronic stuff. Worth looking out for.

Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Pelvis

Barry Adamson, formerly bass player for Magazine and currently a Bad Seed, has a back catalogue I’ve never really explored enough. This song from his Oedipus Schmoedipus album has Jarvis Cocker in full on ‘sexy’ mode and is rather good. The album takes in everything from film John Barry style soundtracks to jazz, dub, soul and electronic stuff. Worth looking out for.

Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Pelvis

Moss Side Story was a film noir soundtrack and homage to the streets he grew up in, released back in 1988 and found Barry a slot on Snub TV…

Hawley Philharmonic

Richard Hawley performed a set accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra for 6 Music recently, a selection of songs off his latest album and some older ones. You can listen to it here (but only for the next few days). Introduced by Jarvis Cocker at the Great Hall at Magna near Sheffield, it’s in two parts and doesn’t start until about half an hour in. I’m not always a fan of orchestral versions of pop songs but this is stunning in parts. Hawley has a track record of playing in off the beaten track places, playing in gig in The Devil’s Arse a few years back. The Devil’s Arse is an underground cavern in Castleton, Derbyshire.

>Death In St. Petersburg

>

This popped up earlier on random play and I’d forgotten how good it was- Death In Vegas’ Dirge (Cossack Apocalypse Mix). Part of a 12″ remix promo of Dirge (with One Dove’s Dot Allison on vox) the other side was the Adrian Sherwood dub remix I posted ages ago. This remix takes DiV to Russia with a lovely extended finger picking intro and some vocal samples, then ramping up the ramshackle groove for eight minutes, all mist, fog, fur hats, revolutionaries and cossacks on horseback. The remix was by The Chocolate Layers, Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey of Pulp who provided a remix of Black Box Recorder posted here last month. This is a really good remix if somewhat unsuited to the glorious sunshine we’ve got in M33 at the moment.

dirge cossack apocalypse.mp3#1#1