Yé Ké Yé Ké

I’m a little late with this but thought it was worth paying tribute to a star of African music, Mory Kante, a singer and musician who had a genuine late 80s/ early 90s crossover hit. Mory’s death was on 22nd May, caused by underlying health issues which were complicated by being unable to travel to France for treatment due to Covid- 19 restrictions. Mory was born and raised in Guinea, West Africa, brought up in the Mandinka griot tradition (a griot is a hereditary role, a storyteller, musician, historian, poet). His song Yé Ké Yé Ké became a huge hit, the first African single to sell a million copies, and was a top end of the charts record in Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. The album Akwaba Beach, his third, sold in large numbers as a result of the single. Yé Ké Yé Ké was also a major club song, being in tune with the expansive, open Balearic sounds of the late 80s and was remixed several times. The chanted vocal and pounding rhythms caused mayhem in clubs, an uplifting and intense experience when surrounded by like minded souls, dry ice and strobes.

This version came out in 1987, remixed by Martyn Young of Colourbox and MARRS (and engineered by Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins), the bassline and acid sounds perfectly married to the Mandinka vocals and West African rhythms.

Yé Ké Yé Ké (Afro Acid Mix)

In 1994 German duo Hardfloor remixed it and sent it out around the world’s dancefloors again. A harder, more techno version.

Yé Ké Yé Ké (Hardfloor Remix)

R.I.P. Mory Kante.


This piece of slow motion shoegaze comes from Malmo, Sweden, has been remixed by Robin Guthrie, is out on Sonic Cathedral in November and is four minutes of sugar-coated, off kilter bliss. It comes in like Lush and makes a stately procession through Cocteau’s land, lost in a haze of FX pedals and echo-drenched vocals. I can chuck some more cliches in there for you if you’d like but it might be better if you just listen to it and then go to buy it at Bandcamp (only digitally I’m afraid, the 7″ is sold out). There’s an album from June this year called Pink Noise which I haven’t had a chance to listen to yet but on the basis of this song I will be soon enough.


And The Question Is Answered

This is an updated version of Big Hard Excellent Fish’s Imperfect List from a couple of years ago. The original came from the combined talents of Pete Wylie, Robin Guthrie and Josie Jones (and on the 1990 version Andrew Weatherall). The original list had range of targets from the late 80s and the re-worked list brings things up to date while also showing how little has changed.

Both versions mention Hillsborough. The justice the families of the 96 have been finally been given this week is truly right and proper. It also sadly confirms what many of us have known all along- that football fans in the late 80s were treated worse than cattle and seen as scum, that we were despised by an establishment that was engaged in something that was tantamount to class war and governed by a lying and corrupt government that colluded with a lying tabloid press that actually hated its readers, and that events were manipulated and covered up by at least one, probably two, corrupt police forces.

In 1989 I lived in Liverpool while at Liverpool University. I shared a house with a friend who was at Hillsborough, not the Leppings Lane End but another part of the ground. He returned home with both parts of his ticket- no one checked him into the ground. The Saturday after the disaster we were in Liverpool city centre. At six minutes past three the city centre stopped in absolute silence. Nothing moved and nobody spoke. It was one of the most moving, emotional minutes I’ve witnessed. As a Man United fan I’ve always felt deeply ashamed by the songs some of ‘our’ idiots sing and the heart of the matter is while it happened to be Liverpool fans who were unlawfully killed at Hillsborough in 1989, it could have been any of us, at another match, in another ground. Yes- this is justice for the 96 and for their families. But it is also justice for all of us.

Remember- don’t buy The Sun.

Pete Wylie’s Imperfect List

‘Adolf Hitler, the dentist, Terry and June…’

In 1990 this 12″ came out on One Little Indian, a list of bad stuff, credited to Big Hard Excellent Fish.

‘…fucking bastard Thatcher, Scouse impersonator, silly pathetic girlies, macho dickhead…’

It was shrouded in mystery, the chewy Scouse vocal incorrectly said by some to be actress Margi Clarke. It came with four versions, produced and remixed by Andrew Weatherall (Rimming Elvis The Andrew Weatherall Way read the sleeve).

‘…lost keys, Stock Aitken and Waterman, smiling Judas, heartbreaking lying friend…’

The voice belonged to Wylie’s then girlfriend Josie Jones and the track was written and recorded by an uncredited Pete Wylie along with Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie.

‘…The Sun newspaper, acid rain, AIDS inventor, Leon Britton, weird British judges, the breakdown of the NHS, Heysel stadium, homelessness, John Lennon’s murder, anyone’s murder…’

In 2004 Morrissey used it to arrive on stage to.

‘…tasteless A&R wanker, the Jimmy Swaggart Show, Clause 28, Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment, miscarriage…’

This is the lead version, seven minutes forty five seconds long.

‘…where were you?’

The Imperfect List (Version 1)