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Show Thirteen - May 2021
Hello, and welcome to episode 13. This month, we are delving into what I'm loosely going to call early rave records starting around 1988 and ending around 1993. We'll take in some of the early bleep stuff released on Warp Records and the like, move through some breakbeats, slash hardcore kind of stuff, and then what generally gets referred to as proto- jungle. Early releases that aren't quite jungle yet are still coming out of the tail-end of hardcore but very much pointing the way forward. Right. Let's get into it.
The one and only Gerald Simpson, AKA, A Guy Called Gerald. As I've mentioned before, one of my favourite producers of all time, especially his jungle releases.
This was his first release as A Guy called Gerald, VodooRay. It came out in 1988, and this is the remix, simply called Vodoo Ray remix. Interestingly, the original sample that he did from some TV show or something was actually voodoo rage, but early sampler technology didn't have enough memory to actually include the whole phrase.
So it ended up being "voodoo ray". A Guy called Gerald was in one of the really influential bands of that time making house music in the UK. And that was 808 State, of course, but he left them under less than pleasant circumstances.
Nevertheless, 808 State were significant pioneers of electronic music in the UK, particularly in the north of England in Manchester, centred around the legendary Hacienda club. This is probably the most well-known track from that period.
That's the wonderful Pacific 202 by 808 State. I have quite a few versions of this on various 12 inches, and I wasn't sure which one I should play. I like all of them except the Grooverider rider mix; that's rubbish. This version is from the 90 album, which came out in 1989.
I don't think there's a bad track on there. It brings together all sorts of different influences from electro, from acid, from early techno breakbeats; it's all there. A couple of years ago, people were playing this a lot—a good choice.
While A Guy Called Gerald, 808 State and the like were creating this music up in Manchester, there was another musical genre brewing in the Midlands of the UK, centred around Sheffield and a little label you may have heard of called Warp Records.
That's Nightmares On Wax with Aftermath, from their 1990 release, backed with I'm for real on the other side. Both incredible tracks. This is sampling Jam On It by Nucleus, a really well known old track. This was the fourth or fifth release on Warp, maybe a bit later. This is my favorite of the early stuff, and very much falls into the the birth of a new genre that came to be known as bleep or a bleep and bass or beep techno, whatever you want to call it.
Bleep was largely centred around Warp Records and artists like Sweet Exorcist, Forge Masters, LFO, Tricky Disco and so on. Warp of course changed direction a bit when they started moving to the Artificial Intelligence series and embraced what was horribly called intelligent techno. Amazing music, terrible name.
This track still sounds so fresh to me. And so highly, highly influential.
One of the other really important early records that also came out on Warp in 1990m was Testone by Sweet Exorcist. And I am going to play Testtwo from that 12 inch.
Sweet Exorcist were Richard H. Kirk and DJ Parrot. Kirk had his roots in Sheffield industrial music and experimental stuff as part of a Cabaret Voltaire, a very important band as well. He was also in Xon and The Technocrats and so on, and also did a lot of solo stuff and collaborative work within the house and techno scene of the time,
This track almost sets a blueprint for minimal techno in a way -- the 808 percussion. A classic classic of the bleep genre and doesn't sound dated at all to me.
Sheffield is interesting in the sense that, much like Detroit, it's a very industrial city. It's no coincidence that the music that comes out of that social and economic milieu mirrors the geography and the spatial dimensions of its place. So we have this very kind of robotic mechanical sound to the music.
Right. One more warp track. And this time, we going to go a little bit forward in time and have sending from LFO. Again, I have a bunch of LFO records and I wasn't sure which one to play. So I thought I'd just go with one that's kind of friendly and nice to listen to beause some of their stuff is quite harsh, not in a bad way. Just, maybe not for listening.
That's LFO with Love Is The Message from 1991, LFO was Gez Varley and Mark Bell, pioneers of bleep and early techno in the UK. They brought dso many idspaarte influences, doing stuff with breakbeats and acid and all sorts of mash-ups of genres. Mark Bell unfortunately passed away, about a decade ago. I actually played one of his tracks on my previous show, the techno one, that he did under the his Clark alias.
So bleep, bleep, techno bleep, and bass, whatever you want to call, was a really important, important part of early rave music in the UK. And it was very much the stuff that was played at warehouse parties and raves and so on around this time. It was influenced by a whole range of things from hip hop to electro, to early techno coming out of the US, early Chicago house, all these kinds of things, but also homegrown, UK music.
In particular, what is really important to this was the reggae aspect of sound system culture in the UK. This brought a heavy bass influence. One of my LFO records actually has a warning that says that the bass on this may damage your home Hi-Fi equipment. It's made for these massive signs systems with huge bassbins and that's very much a part of a sound system culture that's coming into play.
Bass on bleep records is very different to the kind of bass that you hear in your traditional techno or house records at the time. It's a lot, lot more pronounced and that would lead into more breakbeat stuff that started then experimenting with even deeper bass frequencies and sub-bass. Thsi would mutate into hardcore and eventually jungle and drum and bass, and then speed garage, two-step, dubstep, all following that trajectory. That's what really ties UK music together -- the importance of the bass above all else.
An obvious one, but what a track that is. That's Papua New Guinea by Future Sound Of London. The Monsoon mix from the 12 inch that came out in 1992. The sample on this is from the 4AD band Dead Can Dance. I think it's from Within The Realm Of The Dying Sun.
At this point we are starting to hear more breakbeats, even though it's not necessarily kind of ravey per se. This was played everywhere back in the day and everyone would go mad when they heard it. Absolutely beautiful track. Future Sound Of London are still going and incredibly prolific. Papua New Guinea kind of straddles that ambient/breakbeat/rave divide. Highly influential it would go on to be copied by all these terrible bands like Enigma and Deep Forest and the like which we really don't need.
More coming soon!!!!
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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