Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Just passing through (RIP Travis Edwards / Satin Storm)

RIP Travis Edwards, half of Satin Storm

Who are most famous for this tune "Think I'm Going Out of My Head", or as it is often fondly referred to, "Nicholas Parsons", owing to widespread mishearing of the sample.  As one person on Discogs said, "I was lucky enough to get a 12' original copy of this in Brighton once. It had 'Nicholas Parsons' written on the sleeve...."

Initially I too heard it, disbelievingly, as "Nicholas Parsons". But then I realized the voice is actually saying "people are passing".  Possibly a twist on this rave buzz-phrase you used to hear on the pirates - "passing through" or "just passing through". There's something appealing about the flatness and British understatement, like "safe" or the way Aphex Twin used to praise things as "decent". But I almost pick up a quality of  vernacular mysticism too: after all, that's what all of us are doing, just passing through this life. It also made me think of the way that bodies aimlessly circulate in the club or rave-space -  or travel between different clubs in the course of a night. As a pirate MC remark, it suggested radio waves passing through the building walls, transmissions traversing the entire city. 

I'm probably reading too much into it! 

Well, Travis Edwards has passed through and passed on, it seems. 


One of the things I'm most chuffed about is having reviewed "Think I'm Going Out of My Head" in Melody Maker, although for some reason the title on the white label's sleeve is the flipside tune "What Do You Do", so the review says that ..  

"Think" was one of the very first pirate tunes where I truly grokked ardkore's Frankenstein aesthetic -  tracks crudely sutured together out of portions of pop hits and all sorts. I grasped that whatever this was, it wasn't techno anymore -  it was some other animal altogether. 

"Think I'm Going Out of My Head" seemed to be on the pirates constantly in the later months of '92, wobbling like some strange manatee-on-rollerskates creature.

Here's the review from January 30th 1993 - my only regret is that I didn't make it a single of the week ("Terminator" by Metalheads and something by The Drum Club got the two SOTW spots)

Oh, in case you wondering who the soul chanteuse is.... it's actually a chanteur, albeit one with a high voice, rendered higher still by the ardkore chipmunk effect: Little Anthony and the Imperials

(The other half of Satin Storm, incidentally, was Russell Taylor, who later recorded as DJ Tayla and played a role in the founding of Good Looking Records.)

That flipside

A remix of "Think I'm Going Out of My Head"

I do like the Satin Storm logo

Later on I picked up a whole heap of Satin Storm tuneage during my trawling Music and Video Exchange record bins days. 

This earlier EP has some good tunes on it

Nice tune with a synth melody line copped off some classic roots 'n' dub tune I can't quite mentally place  - aka "1999" or is "Satin Storm 1999" like it says on the label.

Although not as big as the Prodigy as a rave live act, Satin Storm were a proper performing unit, with a troupe of dancers. See the label info here about ten "Satin Storm Dancers"!

Here's a tribute mix to Satin Storm by a Swiss bloke called Olivier Ducret who's been running the labels Mental Groove, Musique Pour La Danse and We Release Whathever the F We Want since 1989, and has also recently put out a compilation of the Breaks the Limits label (Bay-B Kane) and two comps titled Bleeps Breaks and Bass - Volume One and Volume Two.

Now the last time I blogged about Satin Storm, knowledgeable commenters provided some colourful back story for Travis Edwards, who turned out to be a veteran of the UK dance scene going back to the 1970s and who was already the ripe age of 35 in 1990, when Satin Storm put out their first record.

Charlie W:

He had history going back to the Crackers soul funk scene as a dancer with the UK's first all male, all black dance group Torso. I found this out from MC MC [aka Maurice Capillaire]..

Blogger Unknown: 

I knew him in the late 80s when he managed Kick studios in Goodmayes. He worked on lots of other stuff at the time including the famous 'Tainted Love' by Impedance....  I was always at the studios, hanging around and contributing to tracks, usually writing lyrics. Travis was an incredible dancer. I lost touch before he formed Satin Storm...

Blogger mediaeasier: 

I was good mates with Travis through the '90s. He was born in 1955, was prevalent on the dance scene in the 70s, and was still podium dancing well into his late 40 in clubs across the UK. Check out this advert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7RFYEe42VI at 10 seconds - that's Travis! I'd love a Babysham.

Travis lived for music, played by ear, would hear a tune, and could instantly play it back. His musical and dance talent naturally led him to the rave scene, 90's then the house n garage in the noughties.

He married Miss Croatia, Ivona Brnelic, in the mid 90's then split after 5 or 6 years. Travis was a huge hit with the ladies. He never bragged but told me on the quiet that slept with over 2000 women during the '70s and '80s!

He remarried 2003 to a wealthy woman in Essex and we lost contact.

We had some crazy good times over the years, Travis was a proper character, some of the things he got up to and involved in would make amazing movie scenes today.

Well, blimey here's some clips of Torso, the all-male all-black dance troup, but I don't think Travis is in the troupe at this juncture 

Here's some info from the troupe's creator, Devon Buchanon

In 1980 I decided to break a huge taboo that existed in the world of contemporary dance and with a friend David A’lee, we founded Torso, the UK’s first “All-Black, All-Male, Dance Group ” The opening sequence features a younger me on the camera controls 

Torso was created from a group of east London friends whom I met through dancer and DJ Masher Fontaine at Mayfair’s exclusive nightclub, “Munkberry’s” in Jermyn Street ( A club frequented by the likes of Marvin Gaye, Freddie Mercury, and Elton John . It was here that Grace Jones famously once entered the club by driving through the doors, astride her motorbike, straight onto the dance floor,) 

Torso Dancers, Masher Fontaine, Norman and Bassey Walker, Foster George, Denis Elcock and Hoyle Baler were the pioneers for all the support dance acts that can so often be seen these days behind every A-List pop star. 

In the 80′s, it was a ground-breaking idea, and the catalyst for a massive change in contemporary dance. Back then, I used to work with Grace Jones who herself was breaking the taboos that surrounded black women in music and who wanted to challenge gender identification and role models. I saw an opening to create this totally new dance type of company, one that only featured only black, male dancers. In the early 80’s the norm on TV was to see blonde leggy girls dancers like Pans People or white men blacked-up, as in the Black and White Minstrels. 

Style was very important in those days . I was assistant to the legendary fashion designer Antony Price aka Bryan Ferry’s Roxy Music and Duran Duran. Antony drew much inspiration from the glamorous film stars of the 1950’s and it inspired me to give Torso a flavour of that Motown era, with short boxed suits in pastel colours. We served it up with a twist, the boys would strip down to backless shirts, which they eventually removed in the finale, to reveal their rippling steamy Torsos. We put the sex back into dance and made men sexually provocative and attractive as performers , much to the delight of many straight women and gay men from that period 

Later on, Torso and myself were invited to help re-open the world famous night club, Studio 54 in New York. They danced in front of Andy Warhol, Jane Fonda, Tony Curtis and Diana Ross to name but a few of the stars present . 

After Torso disbanded in 1982, I went on to create “The Maasai Dance Company” taking the concept that I had created for Disco and Pop into the world of Ballet and Jazz with nine dancers each with a background in Classical dance (Rambert Ballet Students ) videos soon to be posted"

Travis Edwards danced for other acts, not just Satin Storm - for instance he would come onstage, with his girlfriend, when Break The Limits did PA's

Commenter Charlie W points me towards a gofundme page set up TE's son Kristian, raising funds for a wake / afterparty exTRAVaganza on September 24th 2023. The page has a much more detailed account of his dad's life story, and loads of pix and vidz.

A few snippets: 

"... Travis was very gifted and athletic and excelled in gymnastics from his early school years and was also a fantastic roller-skater.

"...Travis was always way ahead of the curve even by introducing James Brown and Motown music to the deejays at clubs he frequented like DJ Gulliver at Lacy Lady’s...  That also led to Travis directing a traffic of people to Lacy Lady’s which laid the foundations of it becoming such an iconic club. 

"...  He frequented A Train (Mile End), Stratford Town Hall, Ilford Palais, Lacy Lady’s and Waterloo’s Birdsnest as well as all the west end London clubs like Ronnie Scott’s. In Frith Street and Crackers in Wardour Street,Soho. Travis danced professionally via an agency for various club and pub venues like the Circus Tavern in Purfleet Essex....

"The Edwards family were very talented, so much so, that the whole family loved to Paris and were offered a recording deal with Disques Ibach 59 Av. Marceau Paris in 1977 Travis was a huge sensation in all the clubs in Paris Elysee Matignon, castle’s Rue Princess and Club 78 (so if en did weight) on the Champs Elysee. 

Trevor Shakes is quoted on Travis's Parisian days:

"He had created a name for himself dancing and modelling and everybody loved him. This is late 70s, 1977-1978 at venues like Elysee Martinon, Club 69, La Palace, Castile and Club Prive. Travis was also dancing on skates and was so acrobatic." 

".... Travis was with his bother Darnell modelled at the Paris Fashion week in 1978 and were the first to incorporate dancing whilst modelling clothes. Travis subsequently ended up working with Christine Pearce for the Milan Fashion shows and modelled high fashion clothing brands Adidas, Men’s Liberty and Lacoste. Travis was part of the Torso dance group and did many fashion shows modelling and dancing with his friend Trevor Shakes and Leon Herbert, travelling all over the world."

"Around 1988 Travis invested in an Atari and started making music. Travis’ biggest achievement was his Satin Storm record label..." 

"... even inspired Goldie with his group Metalheads with my Dads track “Let's get together.” This was around the same time in 1993, that he won hardcore group in the year, beating Prodigy, at the KISS FM Billboard awards."

Tuesday, August 22, 2023


Youngsie sounds like a back-in-the-day jungle deejay or MC. A proper nuum name.

But it's actually Wire-beloved avant musician Richard Youngs, who's become infatuated with manic breakbeat edits and is combining that with what he usually does 




(via Jon Dale)

Release rationale for the first in this direction,"Ha Hey": 

Two months away from instruments and microphones. Two months with just a laptop. I had a jungle epiphany. The world of sound was wild again. So many possibilities. Discovering the joys of sample packs and raiding my own multi-tracks. How had I never known about tracker software?

This came together over a weekend. On the Monday I sent it to Sappo for that little extra. Red-hot master, everything through the rack, pushing decibels. Tuesday, act fast. Here it is.

Quite exciting, if too frenetic and chopped to get anyone to wind-their-waist (definitely more Third Eye Foundation or Shitmat than, say, Levicitus "The Burial").

Bonus points for putting "V.I.P." in a couple of titles. 

Rather different from what he's known for

Monday, August 21, 2023

The Introduction to Technology


A rare, goes-for-a-lot hardcore EP from '92 that I never heard of or even seen before, until I spied it on the wall at Reckless in Berwick Street last week. 

Toiling Goblins mix - love the title

Appears to be a one-off  - the label's solitary release - with most of its perpetrators having no discernible prior history in music nor indeed any active afterlife.  Apart from this fellow

Perhaps all the artist names are just alter-egos for this one person.

I'm sure the bods at Reckless know the going rate for this kind of thing, but on a sonic level I would value this at more like 15 quid than 150 quid. (Discogs has it at a penny cheaper!) 

And I'd much rather have scooped it up for a fiver in '95, back when second-hand 'core was still going cheap and I was scavenging the stuff in bulk. 

(Still have lots of 12's in a box I never got around to listening to, third-div tunes in ugly color-graphic sleeves or generic blank ones, foraged in a frenzy from Music & Video Exchange bargain basements or similar grotshops)

Five quid seems like the right price for a VG quality copy with six fairly generic grist-to-the-deejay-mill-at-that-time type tunes. Five quid - or let's say six, making it an even pound per tune. 

  That said, first rack "Meow-ophone" is amusing with its Charly-says style feline sounds. 

Nice joke with the artist name too - RSPCA. 

And the track comes with a "Whiskas Mix" too.

Friday, August 18, 2023



'Confusing Times" - the title of a slice of brand nu-darkcore by a veteran demi-legend of the original era, Jack Smooth, caught my attention - in part because the concept of confusion - druggy disoriented delirium, but also the con-fusion of disparate elements into manic collages (fissile rather than fusional) is at the heart of the dark moment - the sense that no one knew exactly what they were doing or where they were going, a collective plunge into the unknown, a kind of chaotic multi-tentacled organism birthing itself blindly, a Lovecraftian entity

And isn't the word "CONFUSION" shouted in archetypal darkcore classic "Here Come the Drumz", sampled from Public Enemy?

Why yes it is... at 30 seconds in, for the first iteration

But here in the present  day, there is no confusion about what darkcore is... it's a settled genre. The ingredients and constituents are very much known, this is terra cognita, mapped and plotted...  a formula even, as can be seen in the preciseness with which Mr Smooth descibes his modus operandi. 

Back-in-the-day darkness from Smooth and Wax Doctor, it grinding riff nastiness could be PCP cru 

Talking of titles, I like the one for this back-in-the-day Jack trak - "Happy Nonsense"!

An earlier track with another cool title - "Sweat Attack" (not as it says on the label, "Take Some E's"! which is also excellent in its blunt 'this is what this music is for' instruction)

from the Crowd Control EP  (yet another clever title).

What other hardcore / darkcore songs reference the concept of "Confusion"?

Adding these suggestions from Spiro in comments.... 

The latter as Spiro notes doesn't have "confusion" in the sample but is there in a vocal sample 

Ed in comments mentions New Order's "Confusion", which is a bit outside the era. Never liked this tune much (too Freez "I.O.U.") but I love this video with its snapshot of Manhattan clubland in the early '80s, the Funhouse etc etc

Here's a fairly orrible mid-90s techno-trance refix of "Confusion"

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

"there's always been a dance element to our music"

Struck me that there is a distinction between people who are into dance music meaning music that is designed primarily for dancing to, and people who dance to the music they like

So for instance, take the historical (possibly ongoing, I wouldn't know) phenomenon of the student indie-disco - this is a case of people who, while professing no interest or indeed rather often absolute antagonism to "dance music", can be found dancing exuberantly to the music they like

In fact most forms of popular music have a dance aspect

Possibly all forms of popular music, in potential (given that the ballad once upon a time would be considered a slowie, for that point in the night when the couples do up-close body to body dancing)

Even metal and hard aggro rock has a dance element, if you count headbanging and moshing as dancing, which I think you should. (Air guitar and air drums etc are also forms of dancing, in a way).

A "heavy metal disco" (Sounds, August 19 1978)

It's a way of looking at popular music that unsettles both categories - on the one hand, people who think functional, nightclub oriented music is something they are not interested in, you can point at them and go "but look, you are jigging about to Wedding Present / Strokes / something more recent I can't think of" ergo you are into dance music.

But equally your dance music fanatics who think only the functionalist, purpose-built stuff is proper dance music, you can say, "yes, but look at all these people moving their bodies in patterned ways to music with a beat. You don't own this concept or this practice".

At one point, the concept of 'dance music' as a separate domain from the rest of pop/rock didn't exist, all bands were dance bands - the Beatles, the Stones etc.

Then things got more 'head'-y with pyschedelia, prog etc.

But even then, if you look at the crowd footage of e.g. a Grateful Dead show, the audience is dancing. Indeed there's a distinctive Deadhead dance which no doubt would have appalled contemporaneous fans of Northern Soul or jazz-funk (as would the Deadhead clothing). But it's dancing.

Conversely, I'm sure for some fans of "dance music proper", their enjoyment is bodily inert - largely a cerebral and immobile practice.