On Saturday night while The Chemical Brothers were block rocking the Other Stage at Glastonbury talk on Twitter turned to the then Dust Brothers 1994 Xmas Dust Up, a cassette given away free with the NME in December 1994. The tape was mixed by Ed and Tom, a window rattling, volume- all-the-way-up, seven song mixtape.

Side 1
The Dust Brothers- Leave Home
Bonus Beats Orchestra- Bonus Beats
The Prodigy- Voodoo People (Dust Brothers Remix)
Depth Charge- Shaolin Buddha Finger

Side 2
Renegade Soundwave- Renegade Soundwave (Leftfield remix)
Strange Brew- One Summer (‘Lektrik Dawn Dub)
Manic Street Preachers- La Tristessa Durera

Image result for dust brothers xmas dust up

Just looking at the sleeve and reading the tracklist transports me back to this cassette causing difficulties for the speakers in a red Nissan Micra back in 94/95- it used to get played a lot for a while.

Bonus Beats Orchestra was Tom and Ed Dust/Chemical under another name. Depth Charge were ace, the 9 Deadly Venoms album was trip hop and big beat before either really got going, and chock full of samples from martial arts films and horror movies. I’ve posted Renegade Soundwave before and the Leftfield remix is particularly good. Strange Brew were a duo from Manchester, one half of whom, Jake Purdy, lived down our street when we were kids. We’d long lost touch by the mid 90s but used to knock around in a gang all the time in the mid 80s. Funny to have a little childhood, local connection with a free NME cassette. Helpfully someone has transferred their copy of the tape digitally and uploaded it to Youtube. The beats sound quite timelocked but as a whole this still sounds fairly fresh I think.

The Dust Brothers would become The Chemical Brothers not long afterwards. Their remix of La Tristessa Durera was done while still Dust and isn’t subtle-  squealing noises from the start, various samples from Ed and Tom’s pile of odds and ends, lots of sirens and James’ vocal. La Tristessa Durera- the sadness endures forever- was written by Richie taking the point of view of a war veteran wheeled out once a year on Poppy Day as a ‘cenotaph souvenir’, poverty causing him to sell his medal. It is one of the best early Manics songs, showing behind the eyeliner, shock quotes and bluster there was some genuine talent.

La Tristessa Durera (From A Scream To A Sigh) (Chemical [Dust] Brothers Remix)

Keith Flint

I’m sure everyone who reads this will know by now that The Prodigy’s Keith Flint was found dead by police at his home yesterday. Keith was as much the face of the British music boom of the mid 90s as Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker or either of the Gallaghers and the music the group made provided a big selling counterpoint to the retro sounds of the guitar groups. The Prodigy came from the Essex rave scene, all long hair, jogging bottoms and very fast bpms and worked their inwards, eventually making some of the singles that defined the times. Firestarter was one. Not that it matters but I always preferred Breathe, a perfect distillation of punk x rave.

It was announced later on yesterday by Liam Howlett that Keith’s death was suicide- which is unbelievably sad. People who knew him all said what a sweet and lovely man he was. Someone else commented that suicide is ‘a permanent solution to a temporary problem’. Everyone, but men especially, have got to learn to talk to each other more and ask for help when we need it.

Campaign Against Living Miserably

The Samaritans

No Good

On our Freeview box we have several music channels, one of which is devoted to dance music (Clubland Classics or something is its name). It often runs down a chart of 50 early 90s dance music smashes which invariably I get sucked into. I walked into the front room on Sunday to find this playing.

Before they decided to turn into a rock band The Prodigy were a full on Essex rave outfit, Liam Hewlett’s dj and production skills plus 3 mates as dancers. No Good (Start The Dance) was a 1994 single built around a Kelly Charles vocal sample, rave synth stabs and a frantic breakbeat. The video is also very 1994, clearly paving the way for the later Firestarter and Breathe videos. But aside from slow-mo shots of Liam, Keith Flint and Maxim, it’s the dancing that really strikes me and that really locates it in 1994.