Tag Archives: 1989

Sweet Exorcist – Testone (1989)

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richard-h-kirk

Released on Warp Records a year before LFO’s self-titled banger, ‘Testone’ might not have been quite the touchpaper that its successor was, but it certainly had the heritage. Sweet Exorcist was a collaboration between Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H. Kirk and Richard Barratt (aka DJ Parrot)… ah, the sound of early techno: Atari bleeps, snappy hi-hats and deep base. And what’s more, Jarvis Cocker directed the video.

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Pixies – Hey (1989)

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Pixies 1989

Pixies released their underground rock blueprint Doolittle in 1989. Buried in its eclectic B-side was ‘Hey’. It has everything you would want from a Pixies track: Black Francis’s arresting start; the longing lyrics; the groovy bass guitar; and that siren solo from Joey Santiago. “We’re chaaaiiiined.”

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Philip Glass – Metamorphosis One (1989)

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Philip Glass

Inspired by Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Philip Glass composed and performed an oeuvre of piano music in 1988 that he then pressed and released as his Solo Piano album a year later. The opening track ‘Metamorphosis One’ drifts in and out of superlatives.

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Beastie Boys – Shake Your Rump (1989)

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The Beastie Boys 1989

The Mothership got me thinking about the masters of talking shit… Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA. (It doesn’t take much.) After the highly stylised Licensed to Ill, it would have been easy to see the Beasties become a gimmick and parody of themselves. But no; they moved themselves to the Pacific Coast, hooked up with the Dust Brothers and went long with a little timely reinvention. ‘Shake Your Rump’ may sound like another ‘Hold It Now, Hit It’, but notice how sophisticated the samples had become – there’s a cuíca in there FFS. And while Ad-Rock may have included more rhymes than Jamaica got mangoes, MCA’s delivery goes up a notch. ‘Shake Your Rump’ featured on the imperious Paul’s Boutique.

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Kate Bush – This Woman’s Work (1989)

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Catherine Bush

‘This Woman’s Work’ originally featured on the soundtrack of the John Hughes movie She’s Having a Baby. A year later, the song was then released as the second single and penultimate track from Bush’s long-awaited album The Sensual World. The song ended the decade just how this woman’s work had started it. Beautiful music. And that was the 1980s. Have a great weekend.

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Orbital – Chime (1989)

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Phil and Paul Hartnoll

Recorded “in a cupboard” at their home in Sevenoaks, ‘Chime’ put Phil and Paul Hartnoll front and centre of the burgeoning UK house music scene. Typical of the time, the sound was dominated by the simplicity of the Roland TB-303 synthesiser. It was originally pressed on Jazzy M’s Oh-Zone records and later picked up as a full release on Pete Tong’s FFRR record label.

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Happy Mondays – Hallelujah (1989)

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Happy Mondays 1989

Right at the end of 1989, the Happy Mondays released their genre-defining EP Madchester Rave On. Opening track ‘Hallelujah’ was acid house, rave and the alt club scene all in one. It was magnificent. Have a great weekend.

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The Stone Roses – I Wanna Be Adored (1989)

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The Stone Roses 1989

There is only one way I can end this recollection of the 1980s. In 1989, The Stone Roses released their eponymous debut album, perhaps one of the great albums. The record opened with unmistakable soundscape of Mani and John Squire’s guitars. ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ would become a song/lyric that would define Ian Brown, a band and a generation. Have a great weekend.

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Pixies – Here Comes Your Man (1989)

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Pixies' bar

Arguably, ‘Here Comes Your Man’ was the Pixies breakthrough single, despite a canon or work that already included the classic albums Come On Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa. Black Francis had written and played the song by 1987, but was reticent to release until the 1989 long player Doolittle. No doubt about its quality, and more a question of confidence rather than subject matter. The song’s about hobos travelling on the train (“boxcar”), while an earthquake hits.

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Digital Underground – Doowutchyalike (1989)

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Digital Underground

‘Doowutchyalike’ is the fantastic sound of a non-stop party – a party at which George Clinton is the main man. While the West Coast was being saturated by Parliament-Funkadelic infused gangsta-funk, these gents from San Francisco Bay Area remained true to Clinton’s original sensibility – sex and humour. This boastful song features on the aptly named 1989 album Sex Packets, which is full of such debauchery. Digital Underground didn’t take themselves seriously, but they were no novelty act. For starters, Humpty Hump, his false nose and his merry men were the first to bring Tupac Shakur into the studio.

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Pixies – Debaser (1989)

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Pixies again

Apologies to those that already received this post earlier in the week. I am blaming recent blog glitches on festive hiccups, but this song was always going to be a hard one to hold back. ‘Debaser’ is a straight-up post-punk classic by the Pixies. It is the first song on their 1989 album Doolittle. Frontman Black Francis may take the plaudits for the vocal onslaught, but David Lovering’s drumming actually swings. For those with a little time and humour, it is worth checking out the acapella version on SoundCloud by IsolatedVocals.

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Ultra Naté – It’s Over Now (1989)

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Ultra Naté

Despite the stateside voguing in the video, Ultra Naté’s ‘It’s Over Now’ and its remixes were much loved by UK house heads. It filled dance floors when it was originally released as a single in 1989 and would feature on the diva’s debut album Blue Notes in the Basement two years later. Have a great weekend.

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Airto – Samba de Flora (1989)

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Airto

Before his untimely death in 1987, Jorge Dalto had established himself a career that looked like a jazz funk roll call. He was the musical director for George Benson between 1976-79, having also performed with Tito Puente, Grover Washington, Spyro Gyra and Airto Moreira. However, it’s the Argentinian pianist’s work with Brazilian jazz drummer Airto that I single out for this blog. The dance-floor classic  ‘Samba de Flora’ features Airto’s percussion intro followed by the arrival of a signature, discordant piano solo. It was one of Dalto’s final recording sessions. Priceless.

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Landlord – I Like It (Blow Out Dub) (1989)

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Landlord

Kevin Saunderson may have created the sample first on Inner City’s classic ‘Good Life’, but the piano stab would get a full outing on the Blow Out Dub of ‘I Like It’ a year later. Originally pinched off Nitro Deluxe’s ‘Let’s Get Brutal’, Landlord’s DJ friendly mix of the riff would spawn hundreds of warehouse anthems. The underground world of house music accepted plagiarism in search of gold. Them were times of a pirate’s code. Have a great weekend.

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Electronic – Getting Away With It (1989)

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Electronic

I’ve had 1980’s pop whirling around in my head for a day or two, but before I get the smelling salts out, a quick indulgence… ‘Getting Away with It’ was the first single by Electronic. The team included Bernard Sumner, Johnny Marr and the guest collaboration of Chris Lowe, Neil Tennant, Art of Noise’s Anne Dudley and ABC’s Dave Palmer. This was 1989, and probably a good time to form a pop supergroup, if such a thing is possible.

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