Def Beats – Ten Non-Stop Full Length 12″ Mixes

Released in 1987, this collection promises “the hardest hip-hop in the world direct from New York City” and certainly represents exactly what my 18-year-old self would’ve been playing on the tape deck of my Ford Cortina back in the day.  In fact I bought lots of Hip Hop compilations (on cassette) back then, so its quite surprising I never bought this one.

To be honest, hearing this relentless barrage of beats, scratching, grainy samples and second division MCing now makes me feel terribly old and even gives me a slight headache. No wonder my dad hated this stuff. I still love it in principle, but I’m gonna take it off the deck and put something else on now before I have to take some Neurofen.

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Published in: on December 13, 2011 at 11:07 am  Comments (1)  
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Logic – Logic System

From discogs :::

“Logic System is a musical project of Hideki Matsutake. Hideki started as an assistant for Isao Tomita in the 70’s and is well-known as the sequencer programmer and modular synthesizer operator for the Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), but he wasn’t a member of YMO. He worked on several of their albums and toured with his huge collection of synths. He also did sequencing work for numerous technopop albums for other artists, particularily in the early 80’s.”

So what do get here ? – a classic slab of 80s Japanese electro-pop that’s what – pop-pickers.   There are some moments on here of pure arpeggiated bliss (if that is your cup-of-lfos!) …   vocoded vocal madness …. twee jap-pop ….  and drone-lushness … oh yeah – and the odd filler – but who’s complaining ….

If you like early-era electro-pop – and lets face it – who in there right mind doesn’t – then this is essential listening …  dare I say it twice in one day – CLASSIC – no shit !!

Oh yeah – almost forgot to mention – the main musicians are listed on the sleeve as – Micro Computer MC-8 (Processor 8080) and TR-808 – can’t get any better than that lets face it !!

Published in: on April 1, 2011 at 3:03 pm  Comments (4)  
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Loose Ends – Magic Touch (Club Mix)

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One of those ’80s groups I kinda liked at the time, then just forgot about. My favourite song of theirs was “Hangin’ On A String”, but this follow-up was pretty nifty too, though I was surprised to note that they never had a top 10 hit. Of course, that super slick sub-Jam & Lewis plastic-soul production sound is about as far away from hip as you can get right now, and as for the fashions on display in this lavish double-gatefold package…sheesh. But maybe all the kids will be dressing like this next year. Stranger things have happened.

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Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 4:55 pm  Comments (2)  
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Dance Hits 2

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Simply had to have this for the sleeve – such a stereotypical example of mid-’80s design with the garish primary colours, geometric abstracts and squiggles; a pure Smash Hits-style suger rush.

Musically, it’s a mixed bag of the best and worst of electronic dance-pop, r’nb and hip hop of the period. At the time, my idealistic 6th Form self would’ve turned-up his nose at much of this (though I definitely revered Mantronix) but now it’s the audio equivalent of  flicking through an old photo album, igniting pungent and often amusing flashbacks to those happy days of  second- hand Ford Cortinas, attempting to get served in pubs, free study periods, lusting after girls…and so forth.

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 8:28 am  Comments (2)  
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Jeff Wayne – Eve of the War (Picture Disc), featuring Justin Hayward

Picked up this synth-laden-throbbing-conceptual-rock 12 inch monster just before Xmas – in a 4 for a quid deal in some ragged-old thrift shop in Wincanton.  Not a bad deal as these are apparently fetching upwards of 20 quid a pop at present.  Never much cared for old Wayne/Hayward back in the day – and the only time I have heard this stuff since has been on a couple of dodgy Hammond LPs – where a pliny-plonk interpretation has not quite convinced me to revisit the original. 

However – on sticking this on the old deck – and cranking up the sub-woofer – we get a sequenced-electro-floor-filler – this gets the old walls and curtains vibrating – not to mention what it does to these old knees.   A very nice piece of electronic rumbling  and tasty picture vinyl if ever there was one !!

The b-side tracks suck though (at least to these jaded ears) – you however may think differently !!

Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm  Comments (5)  
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Company B

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As far as I can tell, this all-girl group never made the slightest impression on this side of the pond. Released on Atlantic Records in the States, this is a UK issue of their debut album on the obscure Blue Bird label, which you could buy in Virgin for £6.99 back in the day. I came across this pristine copy last week in the Fishponds branch of Cancer Research UK.  It was going for a quid, just begging me to take it home. So I did.

Company B’s Wiki page gives a brief synopsis of their career. This album, released in 1987, was produced, arranged and engineered by a fella called Ish in Miami. The stand-out track is opener “Fascinated”, which apparently did quite well Stateside. I recognised the song straight away because  a Housed-up cover version was a moderate hit over here for Lisa B. in the following decade.  But the whole album is a cute example of that near-forgotten, pre-House, Latin-tinged yet strangely Europhile electronic dance sound  known as Freestyle.

For any curious readers, here’s a clip I found of the girls performing “Fascinated” live on TV. Sound quality is a bit rough, but you get the idea…

Published in: on December 13, 2009 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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High Fashion Dance Music (Vol.2)

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I feel extremely privileged to have chanced upon this one recently, released on the Belgian label Dureco Benelux in 1983, compiled and impeccably mixed together by Ben Liebrand and Fritz Van Swoll, liberally embellished with 808 rimshots and Linndrum hand-claps, this is wonderfully evocative snapshot of the hi-NRG electronic dance music of the period.

Only a couple of tunes I already knew, because they crossed-over to the UK charts: Freeze‘s “I.O.U” and Clubhouse‘s remarkable collision of Steely Dan’s “Do It Again” with Jacko’s “Billy Jean”, described as a ‘medley’ here, but actually an early ancestor of the ‘bootleg remix’.  The rest is all new to me (maybe they were hits on the continent, or else briefly fashionable club anthems of the period) although I can tell some of these have been sampled since, particularly “Huevo Dancing” by Fresh Face.

Well if this is volume 2, then I need to hunt-down volume 1, along with that ‘Sound Effects and Linndrum fills’ album advertised on the sleeve…

Published in: on October 7, 2009 at 8:51 am  Comments (2)  
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