In his 1922 poem, The Wasteland, TS Eliot claimed that April was the cruellest month. While it’s a doozy of an opening line, the old bugger obviously never had to go techno hunting through the slim pickings of late summer because if he had, he’d know it is August that’s the worst. It’s that time of year when everyone sane is off on holiday, drinking beer and listening to the football; doing everything, in fact, except putting fresh records out.
Well, it’s maybe not quite that bad, and there are still more than a few goodies getting kicked into the stores at the moment, even if the frequency is a little down. Strangely, though, the impressive thirst of the repress industry seems to have been slaked somewhat over these last few weeks, with only a few slivers of the past dropping out of the time warp into our grubby hands. Lucky for us they’re not bad, not bad at all. So without further ado let’s get down to this months business. Usual terms and conditions apply.
Octave One – Octivation (430 West)
Presented in its promo version instead of the original, commercial release (meaning that There And Beyond is replaced by Sonic Fusion),The Octivation EP is one of the real early gems from Detroit outfit Octave One. A house-ier sound than the more outright techno of their later work, Octivation remains both an important document charting the transition from the early motor city sound to its all-conquering mid nineties peak and a collection of killer techno tunes infused with emotion, sophistication and soul. While most of the heads will gravitate to the classic brilliance of Nicolette’s subtle, bleepy, Detroit funkathon, anyone in search of something even more haunting and deep should check out Paradise, a sultry, emotive trip across the boundary between house and techno that evokes the sound and vibe of very early Blake Baxter. Excellent, moody and classic.
Psychik Warriors Ov Gaia – 1989 (Sacred Summits)
Maybe not a true repress seeing as it was originally released on tape instead of vinyl, this re-release of the Dutch act’s début is a blend of techno, rave, acid, trance, EBM and God knows what else, all wrapped up in tribally threads. To say they don’t make ’em like this any more would be the understatement of the year. A crueller mind than mine might even go as far to suggest that, after this, not even Psyckik Warriors made ’em like this again. As a snapshot of a certain point in time and space, 1989 is pretty much unmatched; deep head music, marbled with attitude, gleeful experimentation and a sense that, musically, almost anything was possible is aided by the muscular flexing of the tunes. While all four tracks drip with invention, it’s probably the 14 minute work out of War Chant that stands out as the big moment on the release. An epic builder of titanic proportions, War Chant channels industrial nous into a cracked techno framework that defies convention. Either get it now or be prepared to spunk 100 notes on the original tape when you realise you were wrong to wait.
Mike Dunn – So Let It Be Houze! (Westbrook Records Chicago)
Yeah, I know: represses of original acid house records are so common these days that there are as yet undiscovered Amazonian tribes using them as currency, but I’ll always make room here for a Mike Dunn re-release. Let’s face it, the guy is a gold-plated, 100% legend who was responsible for some of the best music from the genre even if he never got a tenth of the recognition he deserved. Although this one has been repressed before, I think this is a newly remastered version. So for that alone it’s worth picking up even if you already have a dozen copies. I won’t say much about the music because at the very least you should know the Video Clash refracting brilliance of Magic Feet better than your family (and if you don’t, you’d better get moving to rectify that sad state of affairs). Hell, all three tracks should be beyond familiar. A trio of pumping, burning grooves with some of the bendiest 303s ever committed to vinyl. You know what they sound like. You know what to do. Go do it.