It’s gone ten and I’m still sitting at the bar in the little tavern on the corner of Atkins and Mills, nursing a rum while I listen to the cold, fat, rain crackle down on the sidewalk beyond the filthy windows. I light another cigarette – a Hawtin’s Special Blend, fresh off the boat from Germany. Nothing but the best for old Ma Scribe’s little boy.
The barman waves good night to the dive’s only other customer as I drain my drink. “Refresh that for you?” he says, pointing at my glass. I shrug. Sure, why not? More booze might just help.
“Don’t I know you from somewhere?” he asks as he pours my shot.
“Don’t think so.” I take a sip. A bigger sip than I meant.
“Sure I do,” he pushes on. “You’re the guy who wrote that thing about nostalgia killing music, aren’t you?”
“You read that, huh?” I drain my glass and tap it, but he doesn’t seem to see. Goes on talking and busying himself with something or other behind the bar.
“Yeah, I read it. It was Ok, but, you know, I think about a million other people have said it, haven’t they? I mean, It’s kind of a cliché; Everyone knows that music depends on its own past for inspiration.”
“That’s uh, that’s not really entirely what I was trying to say..” He’s not listening.
“Besides, I like all the old stuff that you can buy now. It’s great for me. I’m too young to have heard it the first time around. I think it’s great you can get it all again. I was in this record store? The one on Dettmann Street, beside the Klock tower? Bought this great record, Acid Tracks by a band called Phuture. The guy in the store said it was awesome. Have you heard of it?”
“No, I’ll, ah, I’ll have to check it out.”
“You should.” The barman looks blank for a second. “I haven’t listened to it yet, though. I think I need to get a record player or something first.”
“Can I get another rum?”
“Sure, ” He says. As he pours he asks “So, what you writing next?”
“I’ve gotta write a thing about the best represses of September.”
“The best represses?” He raises an eyebrow. “After that last thing you wrote? Doesn’t that make you a bit of a hypocrite?”
Jesus, I think, Everyone’s a God-damned critic. I finish my drink, leave a tip, and grab my jacket. Then I head back out into the cold, wet, night.
Underground Resistance – World 2 World (Underground Resistance)
While UR’s little run of represses haven’t exactly gone unnoticed, they don’t seem to have received anywhere near as much publicity as they deserve. That might be due to them all selling out pretty much the instant they arrive on shelves, which is exactly what the way it should be. They have yet to really get in amongst their genuine classics yet, (as far as I know – I might have just been busy during the three seconds they were available) but we have one now in the shape of World 2 World. Oh my, this is the sort of record the word ‘classic’ was invented for.
You could start wars over discussion about which record is the greatest to come out of Detroit. And unlike most wars, it would be one worth fighting. Some will point to releases by Drexicya. Others to Mills, or May or Atkins. All would be equally valid. I don’t know whether World 2 World is the very best of the very best, but if it isn’t it comes pretty damn close.
Musically, this is pretty much the pinnacle of early UR. Released in 1992, it shows a lighter touch than an awful lot of techno from the period – even including UR’s own stuff. Whether it’s the dusky, ravey brilliance of Greater Than Yourself, the warm, wobbly funk of Cosmic Traveller or Amazon’s astounding explosion of stomping, epic,invention this is really one record everyone should own. For me, the highlight is Jupiter Jazz – a collision of High Tech Soul, house and sleepy rave which features that piano riff. Utterly captivating. This is why we have represses. Buy two copies if you can get them: one to listen too, the other to preach with.
Electronome – No Landscape (Murder Capital)
The Bunker/Viewlexx/Murder Capital triumvirate have been in rude health over the last year or so, throwing out some unbelievable re-releases from their back catalogue(s). Once again they hit the mark with this repress of the 1995 debut of Electronome, a brain-wrecking dose of pretty much full on electro mayhem that still sounds frighteningly unhinged 21 years later. While a lot of European electro of the period was nodding its head to towards the colder styling of producers such as Anthony Rother, No Landscape is proof that not everything was willing to go in that direction.
This, instead, is a fine example of what was beginning to happen in the Netherlands. While the second track draws on Kraftwerk and older, more restrained forms of the genre do to its work, the other three tunes are as mad as a sack full of angry mongoose. Distorted, breakneck in speed, and volcanic in intent, they take no prisoners, mainly because they’ve probably run you over before they even knew you were there. If you play any of these tunes in one of your new fangled discotheques today, do me a favour and take a selfie of yourself in front of all the panicked faces. Then put it on a T-shirt. Yep. This record puts me in that sort of mood. Outstanding psychopathic beats from out Dutch brethren.