Friday, September 28, 2007

Not another Acid House compilation

Don't ask why but everything has gone Acid House at Tunetourist HQ today. Maybe it's got something to do with the UK's Guardian newspaper catching on that the spirit of the movement is now firmly resident in post-Wall Berlin (sample quote: "Hedonistic freedom will always hold special significance for those who have known the absolute lack of any freedom"). But, in a brief break from our usual fwd>> agenda, we're going back to its earliest incarnations for inspiration.

Seldom though has the sound of 1988 - 90 as we recall it been captured adequately on a compilation album; even Soul Jazz's "Acid" comp beat a well well-worn and geographically focussed path through jackin' Chicago house. So, we hereby launch our manifesto for the first truly as yet un-compiled history of a certain strain of the movement we're happy to call Acid House.

Manuel Gottsching - "E2 - E4" (Disk Union reissue)

Let's kick off with the daddy of them all, Manuel Gottsching's majestic "E2 - E4"; 23 minutes of otherworldly inspiration that hit this member of Krautrock act Ash Ra Temple like a thunderbolt, sometime in 1981. Yes, 1981. If you don't recognise this minimal exercise in modal groove in its original form, you may recall it from the endlessly re-issued 'Balearic' dance classic "Sueno Latino" which first landed in 1989 and which rips off Gottsching's vision wholesale. Here, you can listen to 25 years of electronic music being mapped out in gently undulating grooves with an insistence and restraint that dance music has only had the courage to return to in recent years.

Neal Howard – “Indulge” (Network)

Some Derrick May track or other, usually the sublime "Strings Of Life" or bleeps 'n' bass-defining "Nude Photo" ought really to crop up at this point but instead we've opted for lesser-known Detroit-producer Neal Howard and a track called "Indulge". It was licensed to Network Records - a key UK distributor of the Detroit sound in the UK throughout the late 80s and early 90s. Usually the internet yields something on most artists, however minor. Here though, we have little supporting information for you. Nonetheless, this feels more like an unofficial follow-up to "Strings Of Life" than anything Derrick May released and points the way to the lusher techno soundscapes of second-wave Detroit producers like Carl Craig. Originally recorded in 1988 it still sounds wonderfully fresh.

Ron Trent - "Altered States" (Warehouse)

Sadly, Ron Trent is now probably better-known for meandering cod-spiritual house music of the kind proffered by Joe Clausell et al but once upon a time he was capable of delivering this aircraft hanger-proportioned epic techno belter. Later, he'd go on to more or less single-handedly define 'deep house' through the early nineties output of his Prescription label and seminal releases with Chez Damier, like "The Foot Therapy EP".

Suburban Knight - "The Art Of Stalking" (Transmat)

Another in our admittedly Detroit-centric take on the Acid House story which hails from the Motor City. This 1990 release from James Pennington is our only track from a foot solider of the legendary Underground Resistance. Included here because it neatly prefigures the 'dark side' sounds that would invade the euphoria rush of rave in '91.

Soft House Company - "What You Need" (Irma Casa Di Primordine)
Sha-Lor - "I'm In Love" (Gentie)

The Italo influence that soundtracked the sweaty joy of Nude nights at the Hacienda throughout '89 and '90 is summarised as well by "What You Need" as any other track. Don't ask us to tell you any more about it... Same goes for this '88 classic from Sha-Lor which was reissued by Mike Pickering's Deconstruction label in '89 and is one of the Hac's most enduring vocal house moments; one of the few that's still an absolute pleasure to hear. Beautifully dubby and restrained, it’s hard imagining such an elegant record rubbing shoulders with Black Box on Manchester's most hallowed dancefloor.

Nightmares On Wax - Aftermath [LFO Remix] (Warp)
Ital Rockers - "Ital's Anthem" (Bassic)
Renegade Soundwave - Thunder (Mute)

The Northern bleep moment is rightly remembered for LFO's eponymous earth-quaking debut and Nightmares On Wax's double-headed assault, "Aftermath/I'm For Real". On our alternative guide we leave both of those to other comps and opt instead for LFO's sublime remix of Nightmares On Wax. See what we did there. "Ital's Anthem" was one of the heaviest tracks to force its way inside our young ears back in 1990. Released by the Leeds label that ran parallel to Sheffield's Warp for a while, it is techno as understood by kids more accustomed to reggae 'blues parties' than 'Balearic' beats. Can you see rave coming yet? Finally, 80s industrialists Renegade Soundwave were uncommonly inspired on their 1990 release "Renegade Soundwave In Dub" which yielded "Thunder", another proto-rave anthem that, oddly enough, used to get mixed into Jimmy Somerville at the Hacienda.

Rum & Black – “Slaves” (Shut Up & Dance)

Finally, one that clearly points us off in the direction of jungle, when the East London kids got involved. Here's where things began to fracture and, arguably, Acid House span off in different dirctions. The London 'summer of '88' lot were already sneering about sweaty 'Acid Teds' but the break with 4/4 beats and increasing importance of breakbeats really seems like a good place to leave it.

Better than "Old School Euphoria", we hope.


Blogger dalston shopper said...

This is excellence in blogging.

6:45 AM  

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