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.
A modernist entry into the weekend. Chris Clark’s music is often called shimmering. Apparently, this is because he’s always prepared to tackle a soundscape “of most resistance”. ‘The Grit In The Pearl’ is off self-titled LP on Warp Records. It’s dance music. It’s left field. Have a great weekend.
I hate to end the week on a sad note; but I do love to end it with a great tune. Last month, it was confirmed that Mark Bell, one of the founding members of house duo LFO, has died. With Gez Varley, Bell quickly established himself as one of the pioneers of early UK house music, helping usher in a creative wave of UK techno. They were part of a confident stable of acts from and around Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield that included Forgemasters, Nightmares on Wax and Unique 3. The bands benefitted from the burgeoning club scene in that part of the world as they had a guaranteed audience. In the case of LFO’s eponymous release on Warp Records, the music lived up to the billing. Bleeps and wall-cracking bass. The video was by John Foxx. Have a great weekend.
A year before DJ Shadow brought a new depth to progressive house music, and two years before Radiohead revolutionised progressive rock music, Richard D. James of Aphex Twin was out there. Released on Warp Records in 1995, ‘Alberto Balsam’ is the type of atmospheric layered sound that is just begging to be listened to in a large pair of cans.
The UK had quickly become the main market for the pioneering house music coming out of Chicago and Detroit. But there was no sense in the audience standing still. Club nights, DJs and record labels sprung up everywhere pushing the genre. Leeds played its part, with the city giving birth to its own Warehouse Club and Warp Records. The latter’s initial bleepy successes via Forgemasters, Nightmares on Wax, Unique 3 and LFO gave the label great confidence to blossom. CS & Lovebomb captured this intoxicating spirit. Just as Todd Terry’s Royal House was a eulogy to Mr. Fingers, ‘Feel It’ would use a Peech Boys sample as a tribute to Todd. Don’t Jerk It! Work It!
Now we’re talking the best of 2012. I love this track. Upping the tempo to 160 bpm, ‘Higher Ground’ is a fusion of Glaswegian Hudson Mohawke and Québécois Lunice’s beat smithing. Again this song is full of early 1990s nostalgia, but this time its a fondness for hardcore and trance house. Loops, liquid beeps, dirty bass, swagger, an air raid of car alarms – you name it, this an in-yer-face whirlwind, all dropped for Warp Records. They should be proud. Happy New Year!