Tag Archives: 1991

Pale Saints ‎- Kinky Love (1991)

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For a shoegazing band from Leeds, it is amusing that I fundamentally remember Pale Saints for a Nancy Sinatra cover. The band formed in 1987 with Ian Masters on bass/vocals, Graeme Naysmith on guitar and Chris Cooper on drums. In late 1990, Meriel Barham, the original vocalist of Lush, joined the band as second guitarist and vocalist. The next year, the band released the EP Flesh Balloon and on its flipside was the their unexpected cover of ‘Kinky Love’. It managed to balance the psychedelic jangly riffs with Barham’s soothing and sophisticated vocals that did enough to honour Sinatra’s original.

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9 of the best – sounds of 1991

A compilation for my hangover. Also a compilation for what looks like its going to be one of the last sunny days in September. I was immersed in dance music in 1991, but R.E.M., Nirvana, Mercury Rev and Lenny Kravitz were able to break into a best-of list otherwise dominated by the sound of house music.

Orbital – Belfast

Mercury Rev – Frittering

Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy

Moby – Go (Woodtick Mix)

Future Sound of London – Papua New Guinea

R.E.M. – Losing My Religion

George Michael – Cowboys and Angels

Lenny Kravitz ‎- It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

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Honourable mentions also go to: Saint Etienne for ‘Nothing Can Stop Us Now‘; My Bloody Valentine for ‘Only Shallow‘; De La Soul for ‘A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays‘; Photon Inc. for ‘Generate Power (Wild Pitch Mix)‘; Crystal Waters for ‘Gypsy Woman‘; Altern 8 for ‘Infiltrate 202‘; Björk for ‘Hyperballad’; A Tribe Called Quest feat Leaders Of The New School for ‘Scenario‘; Slam for ‘Eterna‘; Frankie Knuckles for ‘The Whistle Song‘ and Last Rhythm and Silvie Carter for ‘Last Rhythm‘.

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R.E.M. – Losing My Religion (1991)

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We celebrated the birthday of a friend this weekend. There was much frivolity and nostalgia about the early 1990s. In 1991, there was one band that ruled the radio waves. R.E.M. released the ubiquitous ‘Losing My Religion’ that year – a track that would also feature on their seventh long player Out Of Time. The song was one of the sounds of summer 1991. The album sold over over 18 million copies worldwide.

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Photon Inc. (feat. Paula Brion) – Generate Power (Wild Pitch Mix) (1991)

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When I think DJ Pierre, I think Phuture and the pivotal role that he and his Roland TB-303 had to play in the birth of acid house. But he had a second life. At the start of the 1990s, he had moved from Chicago to New York and developed his own mashed-up Wild Pitch sound. That sound really took shape on the Wild Pitch remix of ‘Generate Power’ (Strictly Rhythm, 1991). The influence of those looping stabs would make their way across the pond and would be be felt on X-Press 2‘s early releases on Junior Boys Own.

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Moby – Go (Woodtick Mix) (1991)

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Moby’s ‘Go’ was originally released as the B-side to his debut single ‘Mobility. A year later, he would channel his passion for Twin Peaks and make his mark with his Woodtick Mix, a reference to the David Lynch series. The track opens with a strings sample from Angelo Badalamenti’s ‘Laura Palmer’s Theme’ and ends with a locomotive groove that would humble every dance floor in 1991/92. Richard Melville Hall had arrived. Have a great weekend.
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Lenny Kravitz ‎- It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over (1991)

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I heard this song earlier this week for the first time in a while. Lenny Kravitz released his album Mama Said in 1991 at a time of his break up with Lisa Bonet. He was cool, but he was hurting. ‘It Ain’t Over ’till It’s Over’. Have a good weekend.

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Mercury Rev – Frittering (1991)

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Now for one of my shoegazing/alt rock favourites… Mercury Rev’s song ‘Frittering’ featured on their psychedelic long player Yerself Is Steam. Guitarists Jonathan Donahue and Sean “Grasshopper” Mackowiack unleash a wall of feedback at the 2:05 mark to accompany David Baker’s claustrophobic vocals. It’s all infused with West Coast shimmer and a pinch of Roger Waters-like salt to taste. Bloody brilliant.

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Rhythm On The Loose ‎- Break of Dawn (1991)

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Geoff Hibbert had been producing dance music since 1988 under various guises. In 1991, he released this house banger as Rhythm On The Loose. I am tempted to label ‘Break Of Dawn’ as progressive house, but really this was a slice of breakbeat techno that was so prevalent in 1991. What made this track so ubiquitous on dance floors was Hibbert’s sampling of classic Salsoul. The Shep Pettibone mix of First Choice’s ‘Let No Man Put Asunder’ is cleverly blended.

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Sound Waves – I Wanna Feel The Music (1991)

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After some success with After Hours‘ ‘Waterfalls/Feel It’,  Andrew Richardson teamed up with Sound Waves’ Gijo Rosario and created another deep house classic. Like the best of deep house from that time, the track’s simplicity (organ, vocal loop, hi hats) is what makes it still sound so timeless. The Strictly Rhythm label was on fire.

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Shades Of Rhythm – Sound Of Eden (1991)

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Summer hit this week and it’s never too much of a heat-dream for me to think of open air nights in the Med. So step aside for an early 1990s piano house banger. Peterborough dance legends Shades Of Rhythm released ‘Sound Of Eden’ in 1991. They were on a roll; their previous single was the classic ‘Sweet Sensation’. Tuuuuuuunnnnes. “Here’s another chance for you to dance with me.” Have a great weekend.

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Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (1991)

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The producers The Basement Boys stumbled across a demo of Chrystal Waters’ ‘Gypsy Woman’, overlooked their go-to muse Ultra Naté and turned the songwriter into an overnight sensation. 1-2-3, “but she’s homeless, she’s homeless/And she stands their singing for money, La da dee la doo dow, la da dee la do dow”. Have a great weekend.

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George Michael – Cowboys & Angels (1991)

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In 1990, George Michael was still at the height of his creative powers. He released Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 in the September and the following March, its song ‘Cowboys and Angels’ was pressed as a single. It is notable for being the first and only single that did not make the UK’s top 40 chart and the last before everything got complicated. It is quality.

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Steve Poindexter & Kareem Smith – To The Motherland (1991)

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Even in 1991, ‘To The Motherland’ had a bygone sound. Born and bred in Chicago, Steve Poindexter was part of the original ghetto house scene (Armando, Frankie Knuckles etc.) of the mid 1980s. Moreover, his father used to drum for Duke Ellington. Now that’s old school. Released on Musique records, this deep house workout featured on the B-side of the Steve Poindexter and Kareem Smith pressing ‘N B Battle Track’. Have a great weekend.

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Cappella – Everybody (Hypnotic Cyber Mix) (1991)

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Hands in the air my friends. This track is all about two individuals for me – Gianfranco Bortolotti, the producer behind Cappella, 49ers, Fits Of Gloom and East Side Beat, among others; and Bangor’s very own Sasha, DJ master. Bortolotti provided the Italian stylee house breaks (which now sound a little sown together) and Sasha executed in most of his early 1990s warehouse sets. And to top it off, the Hypnotic Cyber Mix of Cappella’s Everybody was released on the FFRR label when they were hot as. Have a great weekend.
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Bizarre Inc. – Playing with Knives (1991)

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In 1991, I spent more time in Quadrant Park, an infamous club on the outskirts of Liverpool, than I can or care to remember. During those hedonist days, the sounds of piano house and breakbeat techno crowded out any other music. Some of those genres have not aged that well and ‘Playing With Knives’ is no exception. However, Bizarre Inc.’s Quadrant Mix of the track will always have a special pacemaker-sized place in my heart. Have a great weekend.

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