Friday, August 5, 2022

Pause for the Cause: London Rave Adverts 1991-1996, Vol.2 - already!!!


Luke Owen of Death Is Not The End has swiftly followed up Pause for the Cause: London Rave Adverts 1991-1996 Vol. 1.  with Pause for the Cause: London Rave Adverts 1991-1996 Vol. 2 - another bumper collection of pirate ads from back in the rave days, including some more audio contributions from me. And here's the blurb I came up with: 

 "Back in the early ‘90s, whenever the pirate radio MC announced “a pause for the cause”, I usually pressed pause on my cassette recorder. That’s something I would regret years later, when ad breaks had become cherished mementos of the hardcore rave era. Luckily, back in the day I often left the tape running while I went off to do something else. So a fair number of ad breaks got captured accidentally for my later delectation. Not nearly enough, though. So in recent years I started combing through the immense number of pirate radio sets archived on the internet.  Sometimes the tracklists would note “ad break” or “ads”, helping to narrow the search. But often I’d just stumble on a bunch in the middle of a pirate show preserved on YouTube or an old skool blog.  A few of my original unintended “saves” and latterday “finds” are included in this wonderful collection by audio archaeologist Luke Owen. It’s the latest in his series of compilations of UK pirate radio advertisements, with this volume focusing on the audio equivalent of the rave flyer: MCs breathlessly hyping a club night or upcoming rave, listing the lineup of deejays and MCs, boasting about hi-tech attractions like lasers and projections, mentioning prices and nearest landmarks to the venue, and occasionally promising “clean toilets” and “tight but polite security” (“sensible security” is another variation). Some of these ads are etched into my brain as lividly as the classic hardcore and jungle tunes of that time. (Most rave ads incorporate snippets of current music, of course – big anthems and obscure “mystery tracks” alike).   Names of deejays ring out like mythological figures: who were Shaggy & Breeze, Kieran the Herbalist, Tinrib, Food Junkie?  Putting on my serious hat for a moment, I think these ads are valuable deposits of sociocultural data, capturing the hustling energy of an underground micro-economy in which promoters, deejays and MCs competed for a larger slice of the raving audience.   But mostly, they are hard hits of pure nostalgic pleasure, amusing and thrilling through their blend of period charm, endearing amateurism,  and contagiously manic excitement about rave music’s forward-surge into an unknown future. The best of these ads give me a memory-rush to rival the top tunes and MC routines of the era."    

You can hear and buy Pause for the Cause Vol. 2 digitally and as a limited-edition cassette at Bandcamp

One of my contributions to Pause for the Cause #2. 

Here's my Guardian piece from last year on the first two collections of UK pirate radio adverts that Death Is Not The End put out. 

And here's a longer interview I did with Luke about his label and the interest in pirate radio transmissions.

Since then Death Is Not The End has out a collection of a different era of pirate radio - Brooklyn Pirates: Neighbourhoods in the Sky, 2014-2021 - compiled by David Goren, an audio archivist based in Brooklyn. 

Thursday, August 4, 2022



Bit of fun here from Orbital with a track / video that garbles the first four years of UK rave - sped-up breaks + acid wibbles, animation likewise compacted out of received images and notions (rave as anti-Thatcherism)

What was that Springsteen line about middle-aged folks sitting around with nothing to do but wheel out the same old "boring stories of glory days"? 

Brothers Hartnoll gave me my first in the flesh sight of a 303 when I went to interview them in Sevenoaks in early '92 - I wonder if they are still using the same unit? 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Rap attack

The female Aphrodite (yes I know, doesn't work in mythology, but it makes sense in jungle). By which I mean - trampoline B-lines, pretty melodies, taking the increasingly narrow and unpopulated path of jungle-as-fun and jungle-as-pop (but in truth, production-wise just as sharp and technical as any Photek or J Majik tune -  hence the alias Engineers Without Fears)

I mean listen to this

As a DJ she could play as hard as anyone - I remember her bashing brains alongside Hype, Darren Jay, Randall down Paradise 

Tuff little B-side

Should mention sidekick Aston of course - credits often say written by Rap, produced by Rap and Aston

I'll tumble 4 ya

Don't know this remix by Desired State

Nor this mix

These neither

As DJ Rap, this is terrific 

Reese bass - before or after "Deadly Deep Subs" / "Terrorist"? 

More than solid stuff via an alter ego 

There was a misguided 'pop' oriented album, with her vocals prominent...

But before that a whole album with Voyager (aka Pete Parsons), with the okay agreed rather yukky title Intelligence, but likely more than solid contents-wise (I've not delved and have no recollection ever hearing at the time). 

Few years ago I saw Rap do an in-store at Amoeba the performance connected to an Ableton conference in LA that I participated in. It wasn't great, mainly because the volume was feeble - the set-up seemed worse than your average 1980s music center - and there wasn't enough of a crowd or the right sort of audience responses in the brightly lit store. But I bet she still kills it when playing the nostalgia circuit. 

DJ Rap rockin da Amoeba massif

Monday, July 25, 2022

leapniks and rave gear

"An All-Night Rave at the Alexandra Palace"

An all-night 'trad' ball held in the echoing and chilly infinity of the great hall of the Alexandra Palace. Band followed band from 9-30 PM until 7-30 AM the next morning. The audience were dressed almost without exception in 'rave gear'. As the essence of 'rave gear'  is a stylized shabbiness, the general effect was of a crowd scene from a biblical epic.  To describe an individual couple, the boy was wearing a top hat with 'Acker' painted on it, a shift made out of a sugar shack with a C.N.D. symbol painted on the back, jeans, and no shoes.  The girl, a bowler hat with a C.N.D. symbol on it, a man's shirt worn outside her black woolen tights. 'Trad' dancing in the contemporary sense is deliberately anti-dancing.  When I first went to jazz clubs, there were usually one or two  very graceful and clever couples.  But today the accepted method of dancing to trad music is to jump heavily from foot to foot like a performing bear, preferably out of time to the beat.  I have no explanation to offer for this unattractive fad, unless it is to underline that they have no connection with the lovers of pop music, all of whom dance rather well in a somewhat mechanical way. Trad musicians have christened these self-made elephants 'Leapniks'.

from George Melly's Revolt Into Style - original source for this is an article he wrote in 1962 on trad jazz and dance crazes for the New Statesman