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."

1 comment:

Charlie w said...

There's more back story at the go fund me page set up by his family