Sluts ‘n Strings Steamin’ Promises EP was another record I got from a second-hand place back when they used to be found in the most unlikely of locations. In this case it was in a sort of hippy arcade that had been set up in a disused church at the top of Gibson street in the west end of Glasgow, not far from where I live. It was a brilliant little place for digging. I came into possession of a mountain of early Chicago stuff here over the couple of years I was a customer, and paid the sort of money that wouldn’t even cover the postage on a Discogs’ order today. Of course, it’s not there any more. Pushed out by redevelopment just like all the others.
On days like this – cold and bright downtime – I miss what there was. Places to kill a few hours, and enrich yourself musically while doing your bit for the local economy. There’s a lack of it now, not just the west end but the whole of Glasgow. The late nineties was a destructive era, even before digital formats delivered the hammer blow, and the opportunity to expand your knowledge, to talk to people with similar taste, to maybe take home something that would become massively important to you (not only music, but books too, sometimes even art picked up from a wee stall or broom cupboard store in a tiny arcade) was torn away by the ‘serious’ business of opening estate agents or hair dressers or shit, identikit cafes.
The Steamin’ Promises EP has long been one of my favourite bargain buys. I was always surprised by the fact that Patrick Pulsinger was involved in it, an artist I knew from brain buckling techno like his his Dogmatic Sequences records. His partner in Sluts ‘n’Strings (and long time collaborator) Erdem Tunakan wasn’t so well known to me. But while it seems as if Tunakan saved his best work for working with Pulsinger, the same could also be said for it being the other way around. It seems to be a rare case of two mates, brains on the same wavelength, pushing each other to see where they can go. There is a simple joy in that sort of music, and it flows through this EP like a river.
The other highlight was, I think, In Your Pretty Face, over the corner on the B Side. I was well into my Djax and Relief Records stuff by the time I first heard it, and the harder, grimy funk of that tune felt perfectly linked, even though it had been pushed through the loop of distance from Chicago (All the way to Vienna in this case). But while it was still warmed by the moods and tones of Chicago’s second wave, it nodded its head to something indefinable, something punk and central European.
As for Real Rebellion, it’s one of those tracks which can surprise me simply by who knows it, and who doesn’t. It always felt like it was a tune which should be properly hailed as a classic: that mix of house, disco, and acid, was prescient in its understanding of where the music would eventually begin to go, and it still feels thrillingly unfettered by considerations of genre. It is simply dance music in a very pure form And now – now in particular – as acid, house, and disco once again seem to be converging on a single point, it feels like the right time to give it a new listen and remember that while history repeats, good ideas have a way of refusing to lie down. I just hope it begins to apply to record stores as well as the records.