This irregular column is going to be irregular no more. I’ll be doing a round-up of my favourite represses and re-releases towards the end of each month now so if old gems are your thing you can stop by around the time pay-day hits for a bit of guidance on where to sling your cash. As always it is going to be stuff I like and think deserves to be in your collection. Obviously, some of the records I’ll cover will have been available in digital formats all along, but this column will entirely concentrate on the wax (maybe an occasional CD) because otherwise calling it ‘Best Of The Represses’ will be look a bit silly. And to celebrate brand new all singing, all dancing addition to the Pattern Burst empire, we’re going to kick off with a bit of a Detroit special. Oh yes we are.
Robert Hood – Minimal Nation (M PLant)
It’s almost impossible to overstate how massively important Hood’s Minimal Nation was to the development of techno. As with his former UR comrade in arms Jeff Mills, Hood has found himself emulated thousands of times over the years and yet few people have ever managed to approach the stunning power of his music. I’m aware that I’m repeating myself here, but I think it needs to be said once again: What makes this so special is that Hood has taken a scalpel to the music and gone at it with surgical precision until every ounce of fat and every single non-essential element is gone and what’s left is techno music paired down to nothing more that a collection of stark and furious grooves. Now available in a brilliant triple 12″ with an included CD, this is one record I would describe as pretty much essential if you have even the slightest interest in just what techno can do.
And one more thing: If anyone still thinks Berlin minimal has anything to do with this they should seek medical help. That’s like blaming Exile On Main Street for Primal Scream’s Give Out But Don’t Give Up.
Scan 7 – Black Moon Rising (Cratesavers Muzik)
A couple of close friends on mine are on record as claiming that Black Moon Rising is one of the very best tunes to come out of Detroit. To be honest, it’s quite hard to disagree as it is an utter peach of a track. Re-released on Scan 7 main man Trackmaster Lou Robinson’s own Cratesavers Muzik Label (originally it was on Underground Resistance), and now backed by You Have The Right and it’s remixes by Aaron Carl and Jay Denham, Black Moon Rising remains a slinky, dance floor destroying tune of high drama and surprisingly subtle power, the tight alien melody singing its heart out over those whip cracking snares and an epic upwards bass. Quirky and very funky, this is a master work by a Detroit act who never got quite the adulation they deserved. The B-side and it’s two extra mixes are pretty tasty too, but it would have been nice to have the rest of the original EP present and correct. Still, that’s what Discogs is for. Don’t know if it’s been remastered. It sounds it to me. But then I’m breaking in some new needles so even the most muck encrusted 12″ I own sound remastered at the moment.
The Martian – Cosmic Movement/Star Dancer (Red Planet)
Bit of a strange one this. I’ve been very reliably informed that this isn’t a repress, but a very limited reissue of some rediscovered back stock. When I say limited I mean Limited so if you want it, you’re going to have to be pretty damn quick. It’s up on a couple of shops at the moment so get moving. This is probably the best 12″ by the mysterious Martian (long thought to be Mike Banks despite his protests that it was actually a friend of his. I don’t know, and I kind of like all the wee Detroit myths anyway so even if I did know I wouldn’t say), and it’s simply a pair of absolute monsters. From Cosmic Movement’s heavy, trippy acid drenched journey across the face of a singularity, to Star Dancer’s trancey crescendo’s and alien cries over the surface of a gas giant, this is Detroit’s infatuation with xeno vistas taken to the final frontier. Fierce music with an ear for melody and symphony it’s redolant of a time when there was still new ground to be broken, and unique music was commonplace. Go get it now before it’s too late.