When I first started doing these Friday Night Tunes things I wasn’t sure what it was they were supposed to be. I would occasionally do op-ed pieces about various things but somewhere along the line they became merged with FNT, and I began to use the tunes to illustrate some point or other I was trying make. Sometimes the tune fit pretty well, other times they have merely been tacked on at the end with only the most passing of links to the rant I had embarked on.
If the Friday Night sections have had a slightly nostalgic quality to them then fair enough. I have never wanted to descend to the depths of those old men we all know who wank on endlessly about how there hasn’t been a good album since Dark Side Of The Moon, but given how much new music gets covered on Pattern Burst, though, I make no apologies if more than a few FNT are from the distant past. I am surprised by how many of them are still well-regarded, but I’m even more surprised by how many seem to have vanished from the collective memory.
I should point out that all the tunes are chosen because I like them even if they are able to handily illustrate some rant, but it’s quite rare I simply stick a tune up for no other reason than I like it and think you should all hear it. One of the things in my life I am genuinely quite pleased about is that I was around and close enough to the big bang that house and techno were new to me when they were pretty much new to everyone. It was a voyage of discovery – it still is – and it puts people like me in an interesting situation when it comes to talking shit about music old and new. I find house music’s constant devouring of its own past both funny and just a little bit tragic. Techno isn’t quite as bad yet but if I hear one more tune that sounds like Jeff Mills circa 1996 I think I’ll go mental. I love Move Your Body and Strings Of Life but I don’t want to have to consider them the pinnacle of what electronica is capable of thirty years on. Raiding the past to inform the future is a valid enterprise, but raiding the past to evict its tenants so you can move in instead is just dumb. If I can instead introduce someone to a strand of our shared history that deviates a little bit from the ’99 Chicago House Anthems’ box set mentality I’ll be happy.
Ah hell, Maybe it’s just a human weakness, finding security in the known past instead of the unknowable future. Perhaps the feeling that everything new has already been done forces us to constantly re-examine whatever art has come before. It’s probably something written in our genes….
And with that most tenuous of links, sports fans, here is tonight’s tune! Genetic by Wild Planet! We always get there in the end, don’t we? I don’t know a huge amount about Simon Hartley, the producer in question. Half of his material was released on Warp, the other half on Detroit label 430 West. I’m not even sure where he is from, but I suspect he is British. Wherever he’s from he doesn’t seem to have released anything since the last millennium, which is a real shame, because the Wild Planet stuff was phenomenal.
Genetic itself only appeared on the CD version of 1999’s Transmitter album before reappearing later on in that same year as part of a remix pack. While it is a fantastic tune, one of its more interesting qualities (and the thing which makes it fitting for today’s rant – if you’re still following) is that is doesn’t sound like a lot of the loopy bangers which were kicking around in 99. In fact, it harks back to the early days of Detroit techno with a very strong Transtmatty/Metroplexy vibe. What it differentiates it is that kicking breakbeat which is gives it its Aux 88 feel even as it soaks in a bath of high-tech soul and strings, and that slaps it down as utterly contemporary for the time it was released. It’s a majestic number which reaches into the beyond. It’s true Detroit sky music regardless of where it’s from or when it was made. See, this is how you borrow for the past. And it was just as true then as it is now.