I don’t know about you but whenever I hear that Hardfloor are releasing a new record I react with a mixture of slight disbelief, delight and a little bit of terror. Of all the acts from way back in the mists of the past still pushing out music today, Hardfloor are perhaps unique in the way their vision remains more or less undiluted by the passage of time. Ever since Acperience1, that paen to the reality bending, alien tribal qualities of the 303, their music has been something that doesn’t really fit in with the usual genres. Not quite techno, not quite acid and not quite trance, it lingers long in the mind as well as the dance floor. Hardfloor themselves have, in a sense, become custodians of a genre all of their own; one that harks back to a golden era of European techno, but one that never really existed. It’s tempting, therefore, to label them techno’s Status Quo (sans the denim armour and dreadful posturing) but that would just be unkind. For a start, unlike Status Quo, they’re not shit…
At one point they became the Go-To-Guys for acidic remix duties. It’s an incredible list, and some of their remixes hold that rare distinction of being even better than the original. Robert Armani (Circus Bells), Mory Kante (Yekeyeke), Depeche Mode (It’s No Good) and New Order (Blue Monday) all felt the touch of the 303, but it was the work they did for the much missed Caspar Pound’s Rising High Collective that remains their finest hour.
The original version of Fever Called Love is, in itself, a great piece of trancey early nineties techno that owes a sonic debt to the sort of sweaty mix of House, Italo and Hi NRG that was beginning to filter back into Britain and the rest of the continent as a result of summer holidays in Ibiza. What kept it above the mass of other records at the time was that seductive, dreamy yet hard-edged vocal by American singer Plavka, who would later go on to lend vocals to some of Jam and Spoon’s seminal and timeless work. Nowadays, techno with vocals is still too often seen as one of the great taboos. Which is a shame – and I shall say this only once – because VOCALS ON TECHNO ARE GREAT. Back then, at the very dawn of po-faced technoid snobbery, it was almost considered punishable by death.
The reason I’ve chosen this as the last Friday Night Tune of 2014 is simple. As I said a couple of weeks ago, I’ve decided to spend the run up to Christmas simply choosing tunes for no other reason than I like them and they mean something special to me. I started this FNT malarky way back in February with Rhythm is Rhythm’s majestic, sweeping and uttery compelling Ikon because it was, is and always will be not only my favourite techno tune, but my favourite piece of music of all time. And while I can’t claim that Fever Called Love is quite as captivating, it remains a gateway into the memories of a time when my friends and I were first really beginning to find our way into the brave new world of house music, and to hearing this song over and over as part of Slater’s ‘Sacred Beatz’ mix tape as we spent long winter nights driving all over the highlands for no other reason that it afforded the time to listen to music, smoke fags and take the piss out of each other. It also formed a part of our early years together in Glasgow, learning to DJ and playing dreadful sets to the poor sods who paid at the door. So to John, Ranald, Richard, Craig, Jamie and Kevin, this is for you, you glorious and ridiculous gang of idiots. Lets get drunk over the holidays.