Suburban Knight – The Worlds/The Art Of Stalking

A stone-cold classic slice of Detroit Techno from the man called James Pennington. Of course, I already had a basic UK repress, but this is an earlier pressing on the Transmat label – ‘Made In Detroit, MI, USA’, indeed.  Dark, edgy, seething with repressed energy and menace, they really don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Picked this up in the local British Red Cross today along with an armful of other great records (more soon, I promise). Apparently they’d all arrived just this morning. There was a guy already rooting through the fresh pile when I got there. He also left the shop happy, with an armful of wax, though why he passed on this and some of the other gems I came across afterwards remains an inexplicable mystery.

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Published in: on June 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Beaumont Hannant – Basic Data Manipulation

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A classic example of early ‘Intelligent Dance Music’, I bought this on CD at the time (during that period when I was young, foolish and thought CDs were cool). Not mega-rare, but still reasonably collectible these days, I found this vinyl edition in amongst a bunch of nondescript ’90s dance twelve-inchers in Barnardo’s for £1.00. Result!

One small problem: the first disc is missing. It’s inner sleeve is still in there, forlorn and empty, so presumably the vinyl was accidently left on a turntable at some rave back in the day. But I bought it anyway.

Got home, went on Discogs and found a seller trying to flog a Near Mint disc 1 on its own for £1.50. So now I have the complete release, still at a significantly reduced price. I say again: Result!

Published in: on March 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm  Comments (1)  
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West Norwood Cassette Library – WNCL001

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The Thrifty Vinyl guide to blagging new dance singles for free :

1) Befriend talented but unsigned recording artist on internet.

2) Patiently wait a couple of years, until said artist decides to start own label, all the while providing steady encouragement and ego-massaging whenever necessary.

3) Wait for postman to deliver beautifully designed 10″ single. Slap on turntable and enjoy groovy-bleepy-bassy-dubstep sounds.

Or alternatively, just buy it here. Or here.

Published in: on June 12, 2010 at 5:54 pm  Comments (2)  
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Renegade Soundwave – Biting My Nails (Club Mixes)

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I was a big fan of Renegade Soundwave when this was released back in 1990, so it’s a bit of a mystery why I never bought it in the first place. Admittedly “Biting My Nails” wasn’t one of my favourite cuts from their debut Soundclash album, but I’d assumed my devotion was rabid enough to encompass all the 12″ spin-offs. Wrong!

Well, it’s finally found it’s way into my collection 20 years later, following a chance encounter on Kingswood High Street, and I’m very pleased with it, thanks very much. The ‘Sound System Plays A Renegade Tune’ mix in particular still sounds very strong – a stripped-back booming 808 workout. And let’s not forget the graphics: another excellent example of Junior Tomlin’s distinctive airbrush work that graced many a record sleeve of the period. Good gear.

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Human Resource – Dominator

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Yes, yes, yes, we all went out in droves to purchase a copy of ‘The Complete Dominator’ on 12″, or more likely CD maxi-single, somehow propelling this joyless slab of monomaniacal Dutch drug-noise into the UK Top 20 in late December 1991, but how many of you were hip enough to buy it a couple of months earlier, when it was just the original “Dominator” backed by a couple of groovy original b-sides?

Not me, that’s for sure, so I was pleased to come across this one recently, though it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that what once (not so very long ago) seemed like the future is now today’s scuffed and creased charity shop fodder. But at least it gave me an excuse to demonstrate to my kids the origins of that horrible ‘hoover noise’ that they can hear on the verses of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”.

Needles to say, they think “Dominator” sounds bloody awful, and you can’t really argue with that. I guess you just had to be there…

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 11:13 am  Comments (1)  
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Kenny Larkin – Integration EP

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Classic Kenny Larkin from 1991, an early release on +8 Records (‘The Future Sound Of Detroit’) this is the UK version on the Champion label, who licensed so many cool Stateside cuts during the early days of House & Techno. I love the label’s graphic style during this period. This is a tidy four-track EP, in the style of Derrick May, with “Colony” being a particular favourite for me. A pound well spent!

Published in: on December 5, 2009 at 8:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thin Ice 2 – The Second Shiver

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Another Telstar dance collection – ’26 coolest club zone hits from the makers of Deep Heat’. There’s a weird schizophrenic vibe here, as though it can’t quite decide what it wants to be. Or maybe just trying to cover too wide a cross-section of da club scene, 1991.

We got bangin’ Belgians (T99, Cubic 22), we got sultry House divas (Crystal Waters), we got mainstream hip hop (Salt ‘n Pepa, PM Dawn), we got UK chart-ravers (Altern 8, The Shamen), we got UK Northern bleepers (LFO, Rhythmatic), we got proto ragga-jungle (Rebel MC), we got disposable pop-soul  (Kenny Thomas) and so on…

We also have the most incomprehensibly dumb pseudo-political sleeve notes ever (sample line: “to kill a dream you don’t just need to kill the dreamer, but everyone he dreams about and whose dreams they inspire” – fuck off, you pretentious prick).The author wisely chose not to be credited.

Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 8:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Heavenly Hardcore

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The thing I like about these old hardcore/rave collections is the way they give me instant access to a clutch of tunes that I would’ve been far too snobbish to buy at the time. Rozalla was house music for plebs, yet inevitably her ubiquitous presence permeates through my memories of that period of my early-20s and all the fun and excitement that it entailed, particularly in 1991, when most of these tracks were originally released. 1992 was a very different matter though, as I spent a large proportion of that year helplessly watching my dad slowly dying of cancer (he passed away in November that year), which understandably coloured my mood for the remaining first half of the nineties.

Another interesting point about rave collections from this period is the way they ignore the potential stylistic divisions that demarcate the landscape of club music today. So we have straight-ahead vocal house from Kym Syms happily co-existing with more underground acts like Wishdokta and Shut Up And Dance, and British acts rubbing shoulders with Belgians and Germans – future Basic Channel star Moritz Von Oswald appears in his earlier Marathon guise, remixed by Joey Negro!

A testament to the innocence and unity of the early years of Rave? Or a cynical cash-in by clueless record company scum? Probably the latter but, for me at least, the function of this record has changed.

Published in: on October 7, 2009 at 9:48 am  Comments (1)  
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Innovators: Future Techno

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Man, I love finding interesting compilation albums. They reveal so much about the era they were made in. Nineties dance compilations don’t appear on wax in the bargain bins too often unfortunately, but I found this nice double album for a pound this week. No inner sleeves and a few little scratches here and there, but nothing that detracts too much from the sound quality. The inners were easy to fix – I just surreptitiously swiped a couple from some other records in the pile (handy tip, there ;-).

This was released in 1995 on Breakdown Records, a compilation-only subsidiary of Suburban Base, which was a label more commonly associated with the jungle and drum ‘n bass scene. But this one focusses on deep, minimal Detroit-flavoured techno from the Robert Hood school. Familiar names include Mike Ink, Christian Vogel, DJ Hell and Air Liquid. As the sleeve notes state, “Listen with an open mind and enjoy Innovators – our musical excursion”.

Published in: on September 15, 2009 at 8:41 am  Comments (1)  
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