Although it said Numbers on the flyer, last Friday’s party at La Cheetah was the closest thing to a full on revival of the old Mystec night in years. A gathering of the majority of the old team for the first time in a very long time certainly helped with that feeling, even if most of the crowd had never even heard of Mystec – which is more than probable, especially given not only the temporal gap between then and now, but the sheer amount of club nights that have come and gone in Glasgow’s music history.
Aside from the presence of the old guard phalanx, it was the music that kicked the Mystec mood into overdrive, courtesy of Goodhand and Dirty Wriggles who were both residents at the original night. Sets from Martin fae Rubadub and a corking live show from MMM pushed things upwards, but it was the music from the first two which smashed home.
It was always about the music. I recently heard someone else saying that one of the prime changes to have affected clubs over the last couple of decades was that nights that were once put together by music people seem now be run by party people. It’s an interesting point of view, and it’s certainly one that I share to an extent, and it cuts to the quick of the subtle change in priorities that seems to have befallen house and techno nights. There are still a lot of people out there who want to put on nights because they are obsessed with the music and want to share it, but they seem to be in decline. Perhaps as we reach saturation point there is less interest in organising small nights focussed on the music alone. I don’t know.
Mystec deserves to be remembered, I think, by more than a few old bastards reliving their youth. The fact is that, even at the time, there weren’t very many clubs playing the sort of music that Mystec was. Club 69 was probably the major influence, but even that dwindled as Mystec found its feet. For a start, Mystec was doing that multi genre thing before even Optimo got going. You could here anything from The Eurythmics and disco to Big Black and film soundtrack material taking their place along side the house, the acid and the techno. Almost from the start electro was a major component, and ghetto house soon became just as important. In fact, if there was any type of music you probably wouldn’t hear a great deal of, it was the harder strain of techno – its relatively straight-laced edge never really sat entirely comfortably along side the sleazy, dirty funk that propelled a typical Mystec night.
Talking to a couple of people last week about whether or not there was a single tune that defined Mystec brought some interesting ideas. Our Luv by Blake Baxter was one. 420 Low by Eddie Fowlkes was another, along side tunes by UR, Armando, DJ Assault, E-Dancer, DJ Valium and many more – some almost forgotten now, others still lingering in the consciousness.
I’ve gone for another one, and hearing it dropped last week in a club for the first time in years reminded me once again of what an utter monster X² is. Fittingly, it’s a Mad Mike track under one of his occasional aliases, and if there was always one thing that united Mystec’s disparate personalities it was an all-encompassing love of the music of Mike Banks and Underground Resistance that bordered on obsession.
X² is top-tier techno bass – just about a perfect example of the craft. Everything from that brutal, flat and monotone vocal that sounds like a Borg going off on one, to the scything bass, to the taut, cold strings and the throb of the breakbeat fit so tightly into the hustling groove it leaves no room for the unnecessary. It’s a slab of tight, nervous bedlam designed to destroy dancefloors. It still does.
Dirty nasty beats as we used to say. This is the dirtiest and the nastiest. It is rage and soul all bound up in a compressed bomb of frequency that leaves little but a sweat soaked stain behind. Often imitated, never bettered. Kinda like Mystec itself. Funny, that.