Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Back from the Dead

The return of A Guy Called Gerald on form that he’s not seen since his pioneering drum’n’bass excursions on “Black Secret Technology” says a lot about the current health of electronic music. Since writing off dance music became a tiresome journalistic cliché, the evidence to the contrary has been getting stronger and stronger. It peaked with the emergence of a European dance scene which the rearguard of UK clubbing - the ones whose lazy hedonism prompted rumours of dance’s bloated corpse in the first place – have this year felt compelled to dismiss as a flash in the pan.

Looking back, it’s been a tough landscape for the innovators over the years, especially those like Gerald Simpson, who were there at the outset of Acid House. Since that creative flash point in British youth culture, the ever-increasing demand for 24-7 party soundtracks and burgeoning cult of DJ celebrity have dictated that they either disappear underground or adapt. A tough call for an artist who’s known the heady thrill of underground music rudely gate crashing the TOTP party (albeit without actually having the dubious pleasure of making that appearance himself when 808 State mimed their way through the Gerald-penned classic, "Pacific State"). Check the clip - the instrument being played by Graham Massey appears to be the exhaust off an old Mini Metro:

Now that the lines have finally been drawn more clearly between the dance factions, the likes of Gerald can re-emerge with a bag full of new ideas. Its almost as if a certain strain of the music has picked up where it left off, as if time stood still from the early 90s for these people until now.

Gerald is resident in Berlin now, of course, where some of those basslines and stripped down dancefloor dynamics hark right back to Detroit and Sheffield. A time before Friday night went wrong on Radio One.

A Guy Called Gerald's "Proto Acid: Berlin Sessions" is out now on Baked Goods


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