A while ago I was asked to put a selection of tunes together for the Hell Yeah! podcast. I was keen to oblige but I’m not really a DJ and despite owning decks I’ve never learned to beat-match. The brief was pretty wide – “something we can listen to in the afternoon, 1 hour” was all the guidance I had – but still enough to worry me as (regular readers here will know) I don’t really do laid-back so much, and while I’m happy to listen to banging jungle and hardcore all afternoon I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea for that time of day.
So I gave it some thought and came up with a set of some of my favourite records that you don’t hear in mixes nearly enough and that I thought would go together tolerably well with my ham-fisted blending from one to the next. It’s really a very mixed bag, with ambient house, acid, techno, dub, jungle and more, starting off mellow and nice, building up to a pretty dark section in the middle and then ending up happier again. The DJ skills are non-existent but I stand by the tunes – each one is great in its own right, you can decide for yourself if they should ever have been put in a mix together!
You can read more and find the tracklist over at the Hell Yeah blog.
And while you’re there check out Hell Yeah’s output – you can listen to everything on the site and pretty much everything on the label is a winner. I’d recommend starting with stuff by Luminodisco, Crimea X and the Balearic Gabba Soundsystem edits. Support them with a purchase or two if you can, they’re an independent label trying to make a living putting out great music.
Also highly recommended are the Balearic Gabba Soundsystem mixes that you can find in various places on Soundcloud – check the links below for a couple and have a search for more if you like them – you won’t be disappointed!
Bam Bam – Then There Was Light!
A quick heads-up about this new track from (acid) house legend Chris Westbrook AKA Bam Bam – grab the download from Soundcloud ASAP as it’s only free for 2 weeks then it goes for sale online.
It’s a top tune, a massive summertime house banger with some fat warm bass, monster acid squidge (something that’s far too rare these days) and vocals that I can’t help thinking are a cheeky nod to Lil’ Louis’ classic Blackout.
Bam Bam is responsible for some all-time classic tracks including “Give It To Me” and the mildly terrifying “Where’s Your Child”. In addition his Westbrook Records label brought us Mike Dunn’s Magic Feet and Armando’s Land Of Confusion, arguably two of the best and most influential acid tracks of all time.
To be honest I’m not really up to speed with his more recent work but going on the quality of this track I’m off now to correct this.
So grab this while you can, or if you’re already too late for the download have a listen here and then go find somewhere to buy it!
New Grooves – 2 A.M.
This is a tune that I’ve loved for years and years but only just found out what it is. I know it intimately from an amazing Jon Da Silva tape from the Hacienda that got caned round my way back in 1992. If you’ve been keeping up with the comments on here you’ll know I recently read Peter Hook’s “The Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club”, where after all these years I finally found a track list for the tape (and also discovered that it was recorded at the Robs Records Party on Wednesday 4th March 1992). I’m currently in the process of tracking down some of the tunes that I’ve never identified up to now, and this is one of them.
It was released in 1991 on New York’s Nu Groove Records, and is one of those great tracks that sits right on the boundary of House and Techno (and in this case also Acid). After a short intro the groove builds as drums are gradullay added to the mix. Urgency is added to the already driving bassline as the awesome 303 acid line flitters in and out, and that’s about it – nothing too big or clever: just a great tune.
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Paisley Sq. – Transitional Phase
I’ve recently been listening through some old acid compilations (as you do), and was struck by how un-dated this track sounds for something over 20 years old – although this could just be because the 80’s revival type sounds of recent years make the dated sound contemporary once more!
The production is smoother and less sparse than a lot of the acid stuff from the time, and the acid line has something of a rock-guitar-riff feel to it so I imagine it could sit easily next to more recent electro-clashy type tracks (although I have only a very basic understanding of what electro-clash might involve, so could be way off here).
The track is from back in 1988 and appeared on the Acido Amigo compilation. I’m afraid I can’t tell you anything more about Paisley Sq. – this track on that compilation is their only release listed on Discogs, and the record bears no further information about who Paisley Sq. were.
Beaumont Hannant – Psi-Onyx (Moon Meets Mars)
Following on from Wild Planet here’s a track from some-time Warp records artist Beaumont Hannant (well, he had a track on their Artificial Intelligence II LP anyway, which is good enough for a tenuous link in my book!).
I can’t get enough of this at the moment – fourteen years too late (it came out in 1995 on the excellent General Production Recordings label, but I only came across it a month or so ago). More accessible and dancefloor-friendly than some of Hannant’s stuff, here classic techno beats are woven with bleeps, spacey synths and (most important of all) absolutely amazing layered acid squidge lines that evolve throughout the tune. Totally wicked.
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Acid Scout – 4 Degrees
I was talking in the pub earlier this week to Alboy about a record he bought a long time ago by Acid Scout, the recording pseudonym of Richard Bartz, who according to discogs.com:
became one of the founders of “Munich techno” – a powerful, groovy, and highly influential variant of what was then called “funky techno” and is nowadays established as “minimal”.
The Acid Scout release that Alboy had at the time (this would have been 1994 or thereabouts) was (I think) the 12” release of “4 degrees”. Back in ‘94, the name “Acid Scout” seemed amusing – still does, in fact. Not quite sure why. I liked the track back then because it had a slightly naive, old-school feel to it, whilst still kickin’ hard at high bpm.
If the truth be told, this week was the first time I’d thought about Acid Scout in many a year. On return from the pub to my computer, an optimistic search for “Acid Scout” on emusic produced the album Safari – containing said “4 degrees”. No idea if this is the same as the 12” mix but it is enough to give you the general idea of what was doing it for us 15 years ago.
I like it.
And the rest of the album is very good too!
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Temple of Acid – Temple of Acid
Hi folks – no posts for a few weeks from me – been a bit mental. So mental, in fact, that I need some good old-fashioned acid. And it comes courtesy of a compilation called ‘Best of Techno 4 – Low Price Music’ which turned up in a charity shop in Clacton-on-Sea of all places.
Sounds extremely unpromising… but this particular track, which I’d never heard before, is an absolute killer. I particularly like the 303 polyrhythms and the way it breaks out at 2:43 with synth pads that are completely outside the key of the main 303 line, and then goes into some weirdly hypnotic thing at about 3:25.
‘Best of Techno’ (volumes 1-4) are well worth buying if you do see them cheap. Not much info included though on the individual tracks though – it says this one was produced by the Hypnotist, who certainly was a genius, but I can’t give you any more info than that.
More from this series over Xmas as a welcome relief from the synthetic nonsense that has come to dominate Yuletide. Increasingly I think people are turning away from that… and looking for a real turkey. :-(
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Mike Dred – Oxycute
First off, big props to Alboy for reminding me about Mike Dred a couple of weeks back. According to his site, Dred was described by the Rough Guide to Techno (is there really such a thing? Wow) as “the Jimi Hendrix of the 303”.
Does that mean he sets fire to them on stage? So that’s the real reason for their escalating 2nd-hand prices.
But I shouldn’t take the mickey, as this is a killer acid techno tune. One of the great things about the Roland 303 is that the sequences don’t have to be in 4/4 – you can have any length sequence between 1 and 16 steps. Mike plays a 5/8 sequence here against 4/4. (The other side of this 12” release from 1994 on R&S records, “Macrocosm”, features 7/8 against 4/4.
When I use Propellerhead’s Rebirth software 303/808/909 emulation (nowadays available as a free download) I usually end up getting into these kind of polyrhythmic excursions. 13/8 vs 7/8 anybody? Sounds great but is not danceable by most of us. The Fast Show’s “jazz club” sketch comes to mind… “GREAT.”
Fortunately, Mike knows what his priorities are somewhat better than I do, and wisely decides to lock the beat down with a hard funky 4/4 on the 909.
This has made me think that I need to dig out some of my other old techno 12”s from the early 90s. To be honest I hadn’t a clue as a record buyer then, and often just bought according to label (hence I have about 2 dozen on R&S, many of which are pants), but I’d forgotten how good this was, so I’ve probably forgotten several other gems too. Just have to find them now…
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Ozric Tentacles – Kick Muck
Kevvy K’s mention of the Ozrics earlier on has been playing on my mind, and so here we go. It’s the Ozric Tentacles, and why the hell not?
This comes from the only Ozrics LP I know well at all – Pungent Effulgent, their debut on vinyl, released in 1989, although there were apparently some earlier tape-only releases of their legendary live performances since they originally formed in 1984.
The Ozrics are purveyors of the highest quality dub-, funk- and ambient-tinged psychedelic rock, or “Space Rock” as devotees like to call it. This is one of the more rocking tracks from the album, which is really varied in style and pace.
Apparently the name for the band was invented during a conversation about hypothetical cereal brands. It doesn’t take much imagination to work out (1) how twisted on psychedelics they probably were at the time and (2) what a hilarious conversation this must have been!
And in exciting milestone news, by my reckoning this is the 1000th tune posted on Dilated Choonz. So millenary congratulations to us!
Humanoid – Stakker Humanoid
As my final instalment in the current series of Acid posts, here’s a 20 year old track that still totally kicks ass today. Compare this to the other Acid tracks I’ve recently posted from the same year (1988), and you can immediately hear how way ahead of its time Stakker Humanoid was in terms of the range of sounds used and its compositional structure.
More importantly it was streets ahead of anything else just in terms of how totally fucking heavy it is: Those beats! The whistles! The space battle laser sounds! The ACID! That spooky robotic voice! Mindblowing stuff back in 1988 (when it made it to #17 in the charts), and to my ears still fresh.
This track set the scene for the development of techno (in the UK at least) for a good few years to come, and Brian Dougans (aka Humanoid) went on to make more influential techno with Garry Cobain as The Future Sound Of London.
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