Monday, June 28, 2010

Digital Boy - Ok!Alright/Kokko Remixes (1991)

The originals were okay (alright, even), but pretty simple and repetitive rave fodder. These remixes added real depth and turned them into rave masterpieces. The weakest link is DJ Herbie's mix of Kokko – a bit too high on the cheese factor; but his happy piano mix of OK!Alright is almost equal to Luca's more serious acid house mix (the pick of the release?).

Even so, it was Luca's own remix of Kokko that was cained the most – high energy rave with chanting, acid and “dance, you've got the chance” vocal. Tune. And I like the sleeve cover art too - very simple, lots of white space, smart font work.

A1 OK! Alright (DJ Herbie Remix)
A2 OK! Alright (Luca Ciberspace Remix)
B1 Kokko (DJ Herbie Remix)
B2 Kokko (Luca Rave Remix)

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ... mediafire

Variations on "The Realm"

Who doesn’t know the acapella beginning with “Something for your mind, your body and your soul...” Speedy J made a massive hit out of a vox loop and some noisy bass, but really, was it any good? Me thinks it was just stupid loop techno.

Anyway, C’hantal’s original “The Realm (Love In D Minor Mix)” is a fine example of that early 90s style of house fused with techno that New York labels like Nu Groove and Strictly Rhythm did so well. Over 12 minutes long and trippy without being psychedelic. It makes good use of hypnautic organs, breakbeats and a stunning saw-shaped bass line that C’hantal pinched from a track called "Time" by German producers Beat In Time.

C'hantal - The Realm '92

A1 The Realm '92
A2 The Realm (Accapella)
A3 The Realm (Original Bonus Beats)
B1 The Realm (Love In D Minor)

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ... mediafire

The Germans got equal when they released ‘The Real Time’, a remix of sorts of their original track that C’hantal took the bassline from, only this time using the C'hantal acapella on top to full effect, taking The Realm from grinding house to rocking euro rave. (By the way, the Short Mix is the pick here – it’s more concise – and the audio of the longer Remix is a bit scratchy in parts.) C’hantal’s 92 remix also moved toward a European techno feel, but nowhere as successfully as the natives.

Beat In Time - The Real Time

A1 The Real Time (Remix)
A2 The Real Time (Short Mix)

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ... mediafire

For another take on the bassline minus the acapella, check Peyote’s “Wardance (Warrior Mix)”. This is actually Dance 2 Trance and it’s a solid slice of their early trance techno.

Peyote - Wardance (Warrior Mix)
Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ... mediafire

A short mix: "Send Me Higher" (2008)

A first attempt to put a mix together in Ableton.
A few years old, and not all old skool, but not bad anyways (even if I do say so myself).

Yello - Oh Yeah (Dance Mix)
Jackson sisters - I Believe In Miracles
Spectrum - The Incrowd
Underworld - Two Months Off
DJ Icey - Wanna Do It
Mental Mayhem - Joey's Riot
Moby - Go (I Like To Score Mix)
Michael Jackson - Wanna Be Starting Something
Greed - Give Me (Hypersonic Remake)
Doug Lazy - Let The Rhythm Pump
Piece - Free Your Mind (Future)
The Stone Roses - Fool's Gold (Grooverider Mix)

Download @ 128kbps here: mediafire

What the fuck is IDM?

Intelligent Dance Music?
At the heart of this phrase is a word: D A N C E.
If you can't dance to it, it's not dance music, only electronic music - and just because it's electronic doesn't make it music. Some of Autechre's textures are terrific experiments in sound, but I wouldn't want to dance to it any more than I would 2 Unlimited.
And, it's just as possible (if not more so, judging by some of the try hard attempts to replicate Aphex Twin and the like) to make stupid, uninspired electronic soundscapes as any other dodgy trance/techno/... tunes.
So stop saying one genre is more intelligent than the next - unless you're talking about Gabba, Hard NRG or Tony De Vit style Hard House - they are all really stoopid.

Sorry, just had to get it off my chest.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Very Early Will-E-Tell Mixtape (1991)

Recorded at his mum's house in Camberwell, it's typical early Will party music.
For the uninitiated, Will was one of Melbourne's rave DJ pioneers – and possibly also it's first superstar DJ; and this is the earliest tape I have of his, mid 1991 I think. Programming and mixing is pretty tight, but why he put “Another Sleepless Night” on half way through the "Mind Fuck" side beats the shit out of me.

Full-On Mix (cassette recording, 128kb) mediafire
Collapse - My Love (Ambient Drops). City Beat, UK (1991)
Frank De Wulf - The Tape (Remix). Music Man, Belgium (1990)
Bizarre Inc. - Playing With Knives. Vinyl Solution, UK (1991)
The Prodigy - Android. XL Recordings, UK (1991)
Space Trax - Atomic Playboy. Stealth, Netherlands (1991)
Spectrum - Brazil. R & S, Belgium (1990)
Beltram - My Sound. R & S, Belgium (1991)
D-Shake - My Heart, The Beat. Go Bang! Records, Netherlands (1991)
Capella - Everybody. Media, Italy (1990)
Spectrum - Spectral. R & S, Belgium (1990)

Head Fuck Mix (cassette recording, 128kb) mediafire
Spectrum - Amplification (Lenny Dee & Eric Kupper Remix). R & S, Belgium (1991)
Modular Expansion - Eliminator. Music Man, Belgium (1990)
Second Phase - Mentasm. R & S, Belgium (1991)
Shawn Christopher - Another Sleepless Night. Arista, USA (1990)
The Untouchables - Yeah C'mon
Beltram - Energy Flash. Transmat, USA (1990)
The Untouchables - Trippin'
Juno - Soul Thunder. Basic, UK (1990)

TOO1 - TOO1 (1993)

Can’t tell you much about this, except that it’s mid 90s trance – probably European (Discogs says UK) – with a bit of pump and the A side is a better mix than the B side. Have a listen, it’s not a bad track...

A1 - no title

B1 - no title

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ... mediafire

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Early Cosmic Baby - "Tao Nonstop" + "State Of Mind"

Back in ’93, Cosmic played in Melbourne – I think he was one of the first major European underground acts to tour here. If he was a DJ, I’d still rank it as one of the best live mix sets I’ve ever heard; but since he was sequencing all his stuff live for 40 non-stop minutes it was pretty phenomenal.
Early on he hit us with the main riff from his first solo single “Tao Nonstop” (Sept. ’91) and then proceeded to weave it through the rest of his set. Magic.
Then came the end of the show, except that Cosmic started to jump up and down and shout “Wait! One More!” before knocking out one of my all time fav’s, his collaboration with Kid Paul as Energy 52 and “State of Mind” with its inspired recycling of the Total Confusion breakbeat. Fucking massive.

Unfortunately, it was all down hill from there though as Cosmic led the rave and techno world down the turgid path of trance with such nonsense as Cafe Del Mar and Loops Of Infinity.

Tao Nonstop is a vinyl rip from what was a frequently played track and there is still popping – even though I’ve cleaned up the file quite a bit. My copy of State of Mind is pretty much clagged now and I couldn’t really get a clean rip, but I found a 256kb version taken from a CD compilation which is probably as good as it’s going to get with this.

Cosmic Enterprises - Tao Nonstop

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ... mediafire
Energy 52 - State Of Mind

CD Rip _ 256kbps MP3 ... mediafire

Arm In Arm 4 - Promo Mix

A quick mix made in Ableton Live 6 to promote an upcoming gig at the 4th in a series of intimate old skool reunion parties. Pretty much straight up rave here (minus the dreaded hoovers)...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Seminal LP - 808 State "Ninety". Review by Jack Barron.

One of the key tracks I remember from the first Biology party is 'Cobra Bora' - DJs were cutting in its abrasive stab sounds throughout the night. Pretty certain it only ever got released as a b-side, but it's a phenomenal piece of Manchester techno, taken from an album that let the Americans know they weren't the only players in the Techno game.
Ninety tells a story in techno - one of the few albums I knew of the period with a proper narrative, and I still only ever listen to it right through. Only 8 tracks, but all gold. For me, probably my favorite album ever.

If you haven't heard it in a while, do yourself a favour and listen again; if you don't know it, track it down. And if you need any further encouragement, have a read of this review by Jack Barron in NME that I've kept for posterity. Apart from his praise for the album (10 out of 10), Barron gets props for the quality of his writing and his understanding of a sound still in its infancy. "...State of the art and one of the blueprints for the ‘90s." Too fucking right, matey.

808 STATE Ninety (ZT1WJEA LPICassetteJCD) 
INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, the working title for ‘Ninety’ was ‘F—eries’, the latter being a term of endearment that the younger members of the band give to the contingent of ladies who like to provide them with tea and toast in the mornings. Interesting because It belies a crude, scruffy street attitude that the old guard f the music press simply don’tunderstand.
‘Ninety’ is but the aural tip of a massive, predominantly white, (black kids were always into dancing) working class cultural upthrust that has taken place during the last year. The House- based Equity Culture is, as an underground phenomenon, far bigger and more open-minded than that motley old punk thing ever was.
Most people now go to clubs not to listen to old favourites, but to be blown away by new music they have never heard before. And this is why, as entertainment value, club culture gives people a continuous stream of novel music experiences in a way that no band playing their set list (even the notion of set list shows inflexibility) can ever match at a gig.
Moreover, what fires club culture, turns on ravers, varies from region to region. In Southern England people are more eclectic and willing under the guise of Balearic Beats to groove to anybody from Digital Underground and Happy Mondays to Chris Rea. In Manchester, by contrast, Techno rules everything to such an extent that the city ought to consider twinning with that other capital of the style, Detroit. It’s in this context that the sounds arrayed and layered on ‘Ninety’ are best understood.
Although recorded in six days— the only link between punk and House Of Funners is the belief that anyone can make music and do it fast and cheaply— ‘Ninety’ sounds as though it could have taken a year to put together such is the eye and ear for detail at work in the grooves.
From the opening ‘Magical Dreams’ to the closing ‘The Fat Shadow’ (named after the girth of the band’s manager, Ron) everything is designed via musical repetition and ever more layers of sequencing to hypnotize the listener into a trance dance. In this, the current House Of Fun is somewhat akin in function to ritualistic music as used by tribes the world over to briefly achieve a state of altered consciousness.
Of course, the structures and soundscapes that 808 State operate within have precedents. Among these are the automotive electro streamlines of Kraftwerk, Afrika Bambaata’s updating of these, and Chicago’s subsequent Phuturistic Acid subversion of them.
Although the accent of 808 State may be on rhythmic repetition this doesn’t mean that the eight tracks on this album are uniform; far from it, although nearly all are informed by the sharp and incessant edge of Techno House. ‘Magical Dreams’ begins with a glockenspiel motif which is quickly swamped by a grinding bassline until Fresh Vaness enters to rap-sing about “A fantasy taking over your mind.. have no fears just close your eyes and disappear.
But where to? ‘Magical Dreams’ may be the only cut here with a whole vocal but by exception to the rule it does serve to remind that House music in its instrumental form — unlike rock which via whole lyrics paints a finished picture— is very much interactive with the listener. It conjures mental images in the imagination of the dancer, images which change according to the mood of the music.
As befits champions of relentless Techno, however, there is very little relaxation to be had on ‘NInety’. 808 State are built for heavy duty dancing. Nowhere Is this more true than on ‘Ancodia’, the band’s fave which has been resurrected from an earlier incarnation. The cut is very much a funky multi-percussion outing with synths spitting, the DJs scratching, and fragmented vocal samples fading in and out, a dizzying musical vertigo.
‘Cobra Bora’ subsequently plunges the band into overdrive with brutal discordant sheet keyboard chords being suddenly rocketed skywards on layers of (acidic) synths and breakbeats.
Such is its intensity, ‘Cobra Bora’ is destined to become a “Mental Mental” fave on a par with ‘Strings Of Life’. If it’s released as a single it will be right up there with ‘Pacific State’ (included here in its revamped ‘202’ guise). Even the latter has been transformed from a jazzy, almost cocktail affair into a harder state by inclusion of a new rumbling undercurrent.
Welcome To Techno City,” goes the intro to ‘Donkey Doctor’ which kickstarts Side Two of ‘Ninety’. From here through ‘808080808’ the BPMs mount and the music becomes more pugilistic and rudely intrusive with machines farting huge chunks of layered squall. The album finally sets us down gently into the next decade with the more s-p-a-c-e-d regions of ‘Sunrise’ and ‘The Fat Shadow’ with its invocations of exotic tribal cultures.
In terms of its scope, the crew’s abilities to take unearthly and unlikely sounds and inventively turn them into memorable music, this album is one of the year’s best. It puts the Mancs right up there with their forebears such as Kraftwerk. State of the art and one of the blueprints for the ‘90s. (10) Jack Barron

Sunday, June 13, 2010

20 years ago this week: Biology Rave, Melbourne 1990.

It's a lifetime ago, yet in part seems only a recent memory.
Here I was, innocent (ignorant?) but keen - I'd been getting deeper into dance music after years spent listening to 'inde'. House music was good, but I was really more into its bastard son, Techno. I'd heard about raves on the other side of the world in the UK, and knew that drugs could improve the experience...
Anyway, June 1990 - one of Melbourne's first fully fledged dance parties (I think there was one at the Old Greek Theatre a few months before, and more underground parties had been going for years...), put on by the guys who would later run the Every Picture Tells A Story raves, Richard and Hydi John plus Mark James who now fronts the Future Entertainment leviathan.
It was advertised as being in a warehouse, but close to party time the venue changed to the Powerhouse on Albert Park Lake. Suited me fine - I lived in a shitty flat around the corner, and I could see the party from my window. A couple of minutes walk and we were inside the party.
I'd planned to get on some E, but funds only allowed to try acid for the first time. Now it all made sense!
Eight or nine hours we stumbled out back to reality, but my life was never the same. I became a dedicated acid lover; any opportunity to drop was a good one - weddings, hair cuts, you name it; but I loved it most because Techno got different on it or because of it. That Biology party is important to me because it showed me for the first time that music should have enough depth to allow independent interpretation. That's why I hope the music you'll find mentioned here will be notable for its quality and thought provoking nature (but it won't be disappearing up its own arse; after all, it is just music to dance to - even if you are losing your mind in the process).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

YO3 - Deep Sleep EP (1994)

It’s mostly what some cunts might call IDM here; lots of ambient textures and abstract beats – not bad music at all, and not too different from Beaumont Hannant’s usual output as far as I know. 
But on the B side you get “Scramble”, a pretty simple rave track probably knocked together in a couple of hours. But fuck me if it isn’t brilliant big room techno to make you dance, with some mighty fine percussive rhythms. Best played fast (+4 or more), and don’t mix into it’s intro. Yes, it is that good.

A1 - Deep Sleep
A2 - Scramble
B1 - Liquid Flow
B2 - No More Lies

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ... mediafire

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ramin - Vol. I - Essence Of Ecstasy EP (1991)

Most know “Brainticket” from Ramin Volume 2, but that’s go-no-where trance from 1992. Volume 1 is good post-new beat 1991 trance, fusing house and techno at about 120 beats per minute over 4 tracks. “Ueberleben” has a killer intro, goes on to sample Fast Eddie before it really starts to go off about 2 minutes in. Head fuck dance music. “I Can’t Understand” pumps a little harder; “Reality” takes it deeper, and could be the track of the EP, while “(Where Is My) Ecstacy” moves into the wonderful world of day after the night before mid morning mind fuck music. 
If only I had a crate of records that were as good as this EP...

A1 - I Can't Understand
A2 - Reality
B1 - Ueberleben
B2 - (Where Is My) Ecstasy

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ... mediafire