Friday, April 29, 2011

Best R&S track?

Come on guys!

No one's suggested an alternative for my favourite R&S tune yet... Must be pre-94 old skool (nothing past 1993 please). Only other requirement is that you can't nominate "Dominator" because it is shit.

I do want your thoughts on this  - maybe 17+ years of hindsight has promoted some of less famous tunes to classic status...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Secret Desire - White Light / Anna Lies (1990)

All across the UK in the early 1990s record shops launched their own music labels, and many became important definers of the dance movement... Zoom, Vinyl Solution, 23rd Precinct... the list is long. Sadly, many died due to poor/inexperienced management (the record biz wasn't as easy as some hoped), changing tastes or a loss of interest from their owners.

London's Vinyl Solution had the good fortune of having Bizarre Inc. and J. Saul Kane (Eon, Depth Charge, etc.) on its roster, but although it managed about 100 techno flavoured releases, its time had come by the end of '94. The over-appreciated Bizarre Inc. overshadowed some of the other talent:  Subject 13 and Secret Desire for example. But these acts produced some quality tunes, and for me they are far easier to listen to 20 odd years later than "Playing With Knives".

Secret Desire's double A side 12" features two seriously good pieces of techno; "Anna Lies" is hard-arsed dance floor fuel, fucking with your head and feet as it pays homage to Detroit and Orlando Voorn's looping synth styles. Meanwhile "White Light" takes you on more of a head trip, but this is one for a big empty warehouse. Very haunting and a lot of energy comes out of its snare patterns.

Nowadays, with patience not what it once was, these tracks might be thought of as a bit too repetitive to justify their 6 and a half minute lengths, but in the right [head] space they might just be perfect.


A1 White Light
B1 Anna Lies

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ...mediafire

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A really fuckn good New Order remix

What can I say? THE greatest electronic band of all time!

Even better than Kraftwerk or Underworld - and that's some seriously stiff competition. Don't bother to argue though, it's purely subjective.

Pretty much the entire New Order and Joy Division back catalogue can be found here, but as far I can see they don't have this up.

5-8-6 was recorded for the 1982 opening of Manchester's Hacienda, apparently it originally came in at 22 minutes, but thankfully they shortened it for the album release.

These 2001 Peter Black remixes keep it sparse and deep, and the fantastic dub dispenses with the vocal altogether to accentuate the grinding bassline. Perfect 5am munt music.

Apart from Shep Pettibone and Arthur Baker (who helped define their sound back in the early 80s), very few remixers have done New Order real justice. But Peter Black gets them, and gets them good.
It's amusing that all three of these guys are American and isolated from the English Acid House scene, but get it more than anyone who was part of it.


A1 5-8-6 (Peter Black Remix)
B1 5-8-6 (Peter Black Dub)

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ...mediafire

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sasha's First Remix; but is it any good?

A quick look at that bastion of electronic knowledge, Discogs, shows that 'The Man Like' has been credited with over 275 remixes so far, but this is his first. Widely considered a bit of a classic in early progressive house, but it's not one of my favourite tracks - certainly there's a very good intro built around a "Take me, take me higher..." vocal, but after that it really only just plods along.
One thing I can say for sure, is it is much better than the original.


A1 Came Outa Nowhere (The Worldwide Mix)
B1 Came Outa Nowhere
     (Sasha's Take Me Higher Mix)

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ...mediafire

The Best R&S Track

Right off, I just wanted to point out that it's not really my intention to get in to posting tracks from the big players (Soma, UR...) because given enough time they'll all be relaunching on Beatport or similar - if they haven't already. And besides, if it's still in print you should be supporting creativity and paying for it.
I believe R&S is moving in the digital re-release direction too, although I'm not sure that label boss Renaat Vandepapeliere is altogether interested in looking backwards; me thinks any money he could make from his back catalogue would just go towards financing new acts.

When I think back about R&S, I can see it pretty much defined the early 90s for me. I spent a good amount of time searching for its latest releases or looking for other labels' output that followed on from the R&S sound. So many classics - the Ravesignal series; Radical Rob's "Monkeywah"; RHC's "Fever Called Love"; Spectrum's "Brazil"; the "Order To Dance" compilations. Mostly big room rave flavours, but also just straight up quality techno from the likes of Joey Beltram and Kevin Saunderson too.

So what is the best R&S release?

Resistance D's remix of DJ Hell's "My Definition Of House Music"?
Or something from CJ Bolland: "Mantra", "Camargue", "Space 3001 (Remix)", the absolutely storming Exclusive UK Remix of "Horsepower"?
Outlander's "Vamp"?
Possibly even "Dominator" or "Mentasm"?...

Well, my favourite R&S choon is by Dave Clarke as Directional Force.

"Parameter" begins with a little speech about the potential of midi technology to create music with no boundaries (classic techno attitude that!) before moving into some very lush and melancholy pads. Quickly building into storming techno it hits a peak with a hard as fuck proto-jungle Amen Brothers breakbeat. But the track really gets good after this initial break, dropping back to just the kick and bassline before introducing a simple but beautiful one note melody and some really fat analogue pads. Then some fantastic ringing bells come in over the top and we're back to that banging breakbeat.

Rivals anything from Detroit for emotional depth and dancefloor energy.

As is often the case with classic tracks, "Parameter" is not the title track to the release; the two other tracks are more straight up acid-fused techno, quite hard for their day, but both quality choons with a good trippy edge. They haven't aged as well as Parameter, but care. Back in '91 I had to swap my copy of "Exposure To Little Electronic Noises" on Stealth to get a hold of this 12", which really hurt. But it was worth it.

Dave Clarke left the R&S fold after this release (something about money and how he felt he wasn't getting his fair share), but it'd be years before he put out anything of this calibre again - and even then, I don't rate his Red series all that highly. The Parameter EP was recorded and mixed in Renaat's Ghent studios so maybe he should get some credit for nurturing a classic.

Your submissions for best old school R&S track are most welcome, but must be pre-94 (not 1994 or later). And you can't vote for "Dominator" because, let's be honest, that track is crap. And not "Kinetic" either. I own it, but don't really like it. "Mentasm" shits me too, but it is a classic (spawning a few billion pale imitators) so you can vote it in if you want.

A1  F.O.
A2  Parameter
B1  Forever

Vinyl Rip _ 320kbps MP3 ...mediafire

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tektonics Mixtape (1998)

Another from the archives, this time on the uptempo trance-techno tip; gets pretty acidic in the end.
No tracklisting, but after a quick listen through I can give a rough idea of what's in the mix:
Terry Lee Brown (Straylight?); Secret Cinema (Timeless Altitude); Warp 69 (A Natural High - Dave Angel Rework); Luxe-Live (Live Steam); Jan Driver (Filter); some more Terry Lee Brown; early Chris Liebing as La Folie; lots of Dutch tech tunes; some banging Chris Cowie; a touch of goa and the pumping acid of Massimo Vivona's Kinetico project....
Done on two 1200s and a pretty basic mixer, the mix moves along well enough and the mixing is not too bad either. Most importantly, the tracks have pretty much stood the test of time and are still worth a listen.

Tektonics Mix (cassette recording - 2 x 45 minutes, 128kb) mediafire