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Show Twelve - April 2021
Hello again, and welcome to show 12 of The Times We Used To Spend, which makes a full calendar year. I can't believe it has gone by so quickly. First off, I just want to thank Aaron, Mat and Johan of all things The Other for giving us this platform and, in particular, for allowing me to ramble on at great length about the music that I like and have collected over the years.
So the theme for this show is nineties techno. As usual, I have just pulled out a bunch of records, and I'm going to talk a little bit about what they mean to me and have done over the years.
That's Kirk Digiorgio in his As One guise from his first album called Reflections, and the track is called Orchilla. It came out on the New Electronica label that released really fantastic records in the early to mid-nineties. They licensed a lot of stuff from Kirk Digiorgio's label, for example, which was called ART or Applied Rhytmic technology and Eevo Lute Muzique and things like that.
So Kirk Digiorgio was quite an important figure in the kind of UK techno scene. Obviously significantly influenced by Detroit, as you can hear in that particular track, but part of a genre that was called ambient techno that arose in the UK in the early nineties.
The incredible Kenny Larkin under his Pod guise from a double 12 inch that came out way back in 1992. This track is called Northern Nights, a wonderful slice of techno and one of my favourite tracks of all time.
Kenny Larkin has never released a bad record, in my opinion. His incredible album, Azimuth, has just been re reissued as well. This Pod release, Vanguard, is a double 12 inch, initially released in 1992 on the Buzz label but reissued by Mint Condition in 2019. It's been available digitally for a long time via Rush Hour on Juno. I highly recommended all seven tracks.
That's Christo, and it's by Clark from the Lofthouse 12 inch that came out on Planet E, Carl Craig's label. It's a good place to mention that there are no Carl Craig tracks on this show. I did an entire show on him, so you can go back and look at that if you're interested. Clark was Mark Bell, one half of LFO, sadly no longer with us. This is another beautiful, beautiful record. An absolute gem, with an ambient feel to it. I can definitely hear Carl Craig's influences, so it was not surprising that it was released on planet E. Unfortunately, it was a pretty rare one and I don't think it's ever been released, as in a digital form. The record itself super expensive, but still keep an eye on it. These early to mid-nineties classic records are being repressed at a rapid rate.
That's Underground Resistance and Cosmic Traveler. This is from, to my mind, the most significant Underground Resistance record. It's called World to World, and it marks a real turning point in UR's work, in my opinion, from the early stuff, which is very housey, quite electro at times, even some ravey style stuff. Maybe that's pushing it a bit.
But with this one, Mike Banks really switches the sound around, and he takes it into a totally different realm and points the way forward for Underground Resistance. Of course, the A-side of this is probably the two best-known tracks: Amazon and Jupiter Jazz, which are far more dancefloor-oriented, driving kind of stuff.
But again, a very different sound to what they had done previously, in my opinion of course. Underground Resistance is one of the great techno acts. Jeff Mills was initially a part of them, and they've had all these offshoots and so many different members over the years and just steadfastly remained true to their ideals and philosophies.
I love this record so much I'm playing two tracks from it. This is the A2 side, Jupiter jazz. If you like this kind of style of techno, this record is essential. You cannot live without it.
Right. Let's get into something by Juan Atkins. Largely regarded as one of the founders of techno releasing tracks as Model 500 way back in the eighties. This is a track from 1994 under his Infiniti guise. I love this record so much, just beautiful chords, and you can hear a European influence in it, actually. That's a lot to do with Orlando Voorn, the Dutch techno producer. They recorded a lot together, and I think this was done in his studio in Amsterdam. Or so the rumour goes, who really knows. This came out on Metroplex, Juan Atkin's own label, one of the most important labels that released so many vital records in techno, starting in 1985, with all the model 500 records, Eddie Fowlkes, Channel One, Frequency, and so on.
If you encounter someone who, and there are many of them, insists they don't listen to techno because it's too noisy or the deep house heads who only listen to Deep Explorer records at 116 beats per minute, just play them this. And if they're not converted well, then that's their loss.
It's another one of my favourite producers, Dan Curtin with Wind and Water. This was on a 12 inch called Dream Not of Today, released in 1994 on Peacefrog Records. Dan Curtin is originally from Cleveland, not exactly a hotbed of house and techno productions, but he's been a significant figure to my mind. He's got a such a distinct sound that I don't think anyone else has. His records are pretty fast and, they sound really frenetic, with the beats and drum programming that's almost frantic and a little distorted. He messes a little bit with the time signatures but couples them with beautiful melodies. So you have this really driving rhythm section and beautiful, rhythmic, melodic stuff on top. He has had a long, long career still producing, still making outstanding records. He released a record last year called The Lush Network, which is readily available on digital and everywhere. Amazing record. If you want to check out Dan Curtin, have a look at that one.
That's Molecular Structure by Transits of Tone, UK group from 1996. Sort of a breakbeat feel to it in a way. It was actually produced by The Advent, Cisco Ferriera and Colin McBean, who, of course, made some of the best ferocious techno of the nineties. People may be more familiar with Colin McBean now, as he goes by Mr G, primarily making house records.
So this Transits of Tone record is pretty middling, to be honest. There are some really great tracks some real filler. Could have just released four tracks. And what's really annoying as well is that it plays from the centre. So you've got to put the needle in the middle of the record. And I always forget to do that and wonder why the damn thing has stopped playing. It's really annoying. Can people please stop doing that? Thanks.
Something a little darker, that's Clint foster with Indiums. Clint foster is none other than Joey Beltran, JB3, Code Six, Direct Disorder, Technical Onslaught, etc.
This is actually the newest record in the show. It's from 1999, and it came out on Damon Wilde's Synewave label, one of the great New York techno labels. So New York isn't generally spoken of in techno scenes. It's always Detroit and Berlin and so on. But Synewave is a really, really great label, worth checking out.
Joey Beltran is probably best known for the rave Anthem that is Energy Flash. Still, he's been releasing things forever and is a significant figure in techno and, from New York, which is, as I say, not usually associated with techno.
That's four tracks by my favourite techno producer and DJ, Claude Young. The first one, Impolite to Refuse, came out on a really fantastic compilation called Detroit: Beyond the Third Wave in 1995. Not a great pressing, and it's ancient and a bit crackly, so it doesn't sound impressive, but wow, what a fantastic track that is. He's just such a tremendous producer, getting to the core and essential elements of techno in his music. He doesn't mess about, and his skills behind the decks are second to none. There's a DJ kicks mix he put out in the nineties that is unbelievable.
The second track is from his A Brother from Another Planet alias, called Acid Wash Conflict from the 12 inch of the same name. This came out on 7th City in 1995. Excellent record. He also did another Brother from Another Planet release in 96 called Updating the Existing System, which was also on 7th City. 7th City is Daniel Bell's label - another fantastic producer and important figure in techno.
The third track is called The Sleeper Awakens, far more minimal but really shows how he can move between styles. That's from a 12 inch that came out in 95 on Djax Up Beats, the Dutch label run by Miss Djax, called Nocturnal. And the final track is called Dark 2, also from a 12 inch on Djax Up Beats from 1998.
The unmistakable signs of Mr Jeff Mills there, with Black Is The Number from the Purpose Maker 12 inch. Some great tracks on there as well - Casa, In The Bushes etc. If you can own a Jeff Mills record, I would strongly suggest that it should be this one.
It's kind of the pre-start of the Purpose maker Label, where it went in a slightly different direction. Jeff Mills is an institution in techno. From his early days DJ'ing on Detroit radio, being part of underground Resistance. I have many Jeff Mills records, and I wasn't really sure which one to play. There are the obvious ones, The Bells, Cycle, Man From Tomorrow and so on. Still, I decided to go with this one because I think it's a vital record in his discography in that it's marking a slight shift to the kind of tonalities that he's going to be interested in.
Of course, now he's doing substantial classical pieces with orchestras and all kinds of things. Not that that's really my thing, but it does indicate the enormous progression in his work as a musician. He's just always done his own thing.
Hopping across the Atlantic from Detroit, which has dominated the tracks I've played so far. This is Luke Slater, another seminal figure in early techno and still going strong today. Very Detroit influenced. This is from his second 12 inch in 1993, The Astral Adventures of RK1 and the track is called Hydraulic Blisters. An appropriate title as it's a pretty punishing track with its heavy baseline that gets more complicated as it goes on. You really need to hear this loud. It's mindblowing when you listen to it in that environment.
Luke Slater recorded under quite a few names, but possibly the most well-known of these is Planetary Assault Systems. This next track is a Planetary Assault System record from 1998 from an album called The Drone Sector, and it's called Tap Dance.
If you're interested in Luke Slater and investigating his work - and I really urge people to do that, because he's a remarkable producer and the most important, to my mind, UK techno artist - I recommend this release. I keep coming back to this record when I think of his work, as it's definitely my favourite. The album is very varied as well, with some ambient tracks and some really massive percussive workouts.
Still very much techno of the time, but it sounds like it could have been made yesterday. I think that's a really a mark of nineties techno, is that there's so much vibrancy to it compared to the kind of stuff that we get most of the time today.
The most extraordinary minimal techno record ever made, that's DBX with Losing Control. DBX is the afore-mentioned Dan bell, another seminal figure. I can't remember where I first heard this. It was probably at some rave or something, but I remember just being astonished by it and having to track it down and get my hands on it.
Definitely Dan Bell's most well-known release. I don't know what to say about this record, to be honest. It's amazing. Every time I hear it, I'm just blown away by it. It's just so controlled. There's literally one kick drum, a tiny vocal snippet, just going on and on and on throughout the track. And despite such a little going on, it's so full sounding. And that bass is just incredible. This was also remixed by Richie Hawtin and Carl Craig. It was remixed by Robert Hood. All the luminaries of the time. But the original remains the best version.
That brings us to the end of show 12. I hope you enjoyed it. I really enjoyed putting this one together, although it was challenging to decide what to include. So many records that I left out, and as I mentioned, there's no Carl Craig because I already did a show dedicated to him. I also didn't play any of the nineties dub techno stuff — none of my Basic Channel or Chain Reaction records or anything like that. Many things arrived in the pile for the show but never actually made it, from people like Acid Jesus, Damon Wilde, DJ Hell, Neil Landstrom, Robert Hood, and so on. Many fantastic techno records were released in the nineties that I just didn't have time for.
I love techno, and I bought so many records in the nineties, and then I got rid of probably three-quarters of them, some of which I probably shouldn't have. But then I kind of lost interest when it went all minimal and black v-neck t-shirts. Minimal techno in the early 2000s sounded way too close to trance my liking, but now I'm started getting back into techno again, and what's really exciting to me is that breakbeats are coming back a bit. So we've got all these really, really great new productions that are coming out.
Okay. That's it for me. See you next time. Fourth, Friday of the month. Thanks for listening.
Times We Used To Spend is a two hour ramble through my record collection making connections between eras, genres, melodies and rhythms.
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