You gotta hand it to Telstar Records, they knew how to penetrate and exploit a new market. When these came out in 1990, my previous self would’ve probably turned his nose up at such flagrant commercialisation. But then I found them last week nestled together in a dark corner of the CLIC Sargent shop in Fishponds (which had been dry as a bone for months, to the point where I had all but given-up visiting – just goes to show you need a lot of patience in this game!) and I just had to have them.
Points to observe: all the tracks are mixed together with extreme skill and precision by The Mixmasters (Darren Ash & Martin Smith) using lots of razor sharp editing techniques inherited from ’80s bad-asses like The Latin Rascals and Curtis Mantronik. In fact, I’m left wondering how the hell they managed to assemble this lot without the aid of modern-day software. I guess it was all done with a mixture of turntables, samplers and multitrack tape. Listening to the results now is like having a year of your life flashing before you – a cyberdelic nostalgia trip of unrivalled proportions!
The way they mixed-up house, rave and hip hop so effortlessly reminds us how connected those genres were back then, at least to white english kids like me. It was all ‘black’ post-electro music as far as I was concerned, and if you were into De La Soul, you would be into Royal House, Bomb The Bass, Inner City and KLF too. Not forgetting Kid ‘n Play, Technotronic and Stakker Humanoid.
Volume 2, side 2 is the ‘Retrofuture Mix’, which looks back to the decade just past, exhuming the still-fresh corpses of acts like The Sugarhill Gang, Rockers Revenge, Paul Hardcastle, and Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, and setting them back to work in a celebratory dance macabre. Yeah, back to the olde skool!