Friday, May 14, 2021

My Brilliant Friend

I don't think Paul Oldfield spent much time in clubs. And I'm almost certain he never went to a rave. But for someone who never got "right on one, matey," it seems to me Paul got deeper into the essence of acid house, techno, etc, than anyone else covering that beat at that time in the music papers, style press, and what then passed for dance magazines. 

Below you will find near enough his complete works on the subject from that time. Enjoy.


Paul Oldfield, Royal House, Melody Maker, autumn 1988


Melody Maker, probably 1989

by Paul Oldfield

Put A Guy Called Gerald beside the beatmasters, radical rap and survivalist electrodub that make up the rest of tonight's acts, and you'll see that he's somewhere else. Their urgency and agency, their in-your-face imperatives are replaced by his new narcosis and lotus-eating, becalmed passivity. It's all embodied in Gerald himself. There's none of the "front" or danger of the crews that precede him, just a familiar, somnolent Mancunian accent and patient behind-the-scenes programming. If it weren't for his singer up front, and the crowd downstairs setting up an incongruous terrace chant for ''Voo-doo Ray", it'd be more ambience than act.

That's appropriate. Gerald and his northern satellites launched New Age", aka "ambient" house, the phenomenon that emphasises the trance in trance dance, and should reconcile House music with "head" rock. Both musics can offer the same fix, or rather un-fixing of consciousness. Both can free you from the co-ordinates of the here and now, and let you attain oneness with the world and peace.

Gerald translates House music from urban night-life to paradisial, pacific (often literally Pacific, with a capital P) scenes. Tonight there's "Eyes Of Sorrow", with its rainforest percussion and pipes; or 'Voodoo Ray", with its slow-scanning ritual limbo from the tropics; or, as an encore, Gerald's own reading of the halcyon surf of "Pacific State". While rock, rap, dub have kept faith in Africa's heartland, the place of origins and history, House has escaped to the southern hemisphere's soporific, out-of-time innocence and unworldly primitivism.

That shows in the minimalist fluctuations and meander of "Subtopia", a serenity you can lose yourself in. Gerald's visual effects confirm this mesmerising tranquility at the heart of House too. They look as if they're influenced by the new model for the natural sciences, chaos theory (very much a buzz concept in club culture): instead of predictable forces and counter-forces (the grammar of "techno" music), there's indeterminacy and turbulence, back-projections of vapour, clouds, shoals of fish, self-ordering but unpredictable organic forms that fascinate.

But Gerald doesn't celebrate just nature or an Edenic past (none of rock's third-world heritage industry here). He's an unrepentant futurist. Just hear "Automanic", his preview of the forthcoming album: all print-out chatter, split-second samples and arc—light strobes on stage. Or "FX", an ascent through a Lloyds-building ziggurat of glass and steel. Think Tokyo, think Ridley Scott. It doesn't contradict his Pacific states, though. He's found tomorrow's paradise, where hi-tech achieves voodoo's instantaneity of communication, and where cities dematerialise into flows of light and information (think Kraftwerk), a mosaic of signals as mesmerising as the time-lapse record of city life in the film "Kooanisquatsi", but without that film's technophobic undertones.

Gerald's performance is "plastic", as his music's often been called. Plastic in the original sense, of course: adapting to all kinds of shapes, a hypnotic, becalming changeability. Go with the flow.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

breakbeat house


well it's the baggy beat aka Funky Drummer  but an unusually crisp and slow-mo boombastic incarnation

Creation aligned outfit whose existence I was reminded of by

Another Creation / MDMA honeymoon era signing 

again with the slow-mo breakbeat

Friday, April 30, 2021

Storm 3000


Not one of the artists I liked or followed - associate them with the Muzik Middlebrow Strand

And yet this is a tuff little beaut of a tune that I really liked on their debut album.

Probably the first time I heard the low-pass filter - love the way it sculpts the riff into a bloc of sound that seems to tilt and shift within space 

Then the nice, gently boombastic breaks - flashback to breakbeat house, or sideways to Big Beat maybe, but I'd rather think of Congress et al.

And then the funny little synth-melody that now for all the world reminds me of Belbury Poly

These are the tunes Leftfield are renowned for though


They're all right.  

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

hoo noo fly bi had da vid yo


this is the really fun megamix version, with a medley of UKG classics from many phases underneath

but i prefer the other version that is just an original boombastic barebones track underneath

this version is banging but orrible