Saturday, 14 November 2009

Top Old Skool tunes for maximum realness

There are loads of serious and frivolous topics worth writing about today. The Guardian's story about birth defects in Falluja evokes some truly appalling images that would seem to be more at home in the body horror sub-genre of sci-fi.

A baby being born with two heads?

Aside from the unbearable moral and social strain this would cause on the parents, it's just massively sad, especially when considering how hard is for many couples to actually conceive in the first place.

The X Factor no-marks Jedward are still a pop culture obsession for many in the UK. Most sensible punters have spotted the regrettable Irish pair for what they are: a huge waste of a sperm and egg.

One could even muse on why old people clutter up the supermarkets, pavements and roads on Saturdays when they've been sitting at home DOING FUCK ALL during the week.

But when there's an Old Skool rave on at SE1, it's just best to bang down ten songs I hope to hear most tonight and get into the spirit of things...

In no particular order...

What Have You Done - One Tribe

If this tune only comprised that awesome clattering beat and ominous synth reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti's Twin Peaks music sampled so memorably on Moby's G, it would still be mint. But the sorrow in Gem's mournful vocal and MC Nuts line, "I wanted your love not your blood, I'm not Dracula," make this One Tribe track essential.

Who Is The Bad Man? - Dee Patten

For a start, any song that samples Jimmy Cliff in the brilliant Jamaican gangster flick The Harder They Come should be given a thorough hearing. Excluding said spoken snippet, the beauty in Dee Patten's 1992 classic is its simplicity, aside from that skittery, slippery beat, it's all about a bassline so heavy it has to get in a lift on its own. There's no wonder this can still be heard on many of London's better pirate radio stations.

Sueno Latino - Sueno Latino

Big tunes in Ibiza (and by extension pretty much every other Mediterranean clubbing resort) often lose something when they eventually make their back to Blighty, partly because most of the time its so damn grim living in a state where the sun barely shines and we have to keep our flesh wrapped up all damn year. This classic from 1989 was based on Manuel Göttsching's E2-E4, an album of ambient wonder and then some.

Papua New Guinea - The Future Sound Of London

Ten out of ten for the name of the crew who made this 1991 banger, even if they do hail from Manchester. In latter years Hybrid and Welsh liquid d 'n' b star High Contrast have turned in staggering remixes that have brought the tune to new audiences, but the original rocks dancefloors with its wordless ethereal female vocal and mysterious two-note keyboard motif. And, yes, like most tunes on this list, the bass is frighteningly obese.

Chime - Orbital

Another class tune from 1989, Chime was recorded by Phi and Paul Hartnoll (Aka Orbital) on their dad's cassette recorder. Stick that in ya Cubase and smoke it, class of '09.

The Sound Of Eden - Shades Of Rhythm

Alas, the truncated version of this uplifting 1990 piano anthem embedded below is here as an indication only. The original gives the separate vocal sections room to breath and is structurally beyond many tunes of this era. Breathless, euphoric female crooning is just the start, there's still a smart bit of MC-ing to come and of course, that chorus. Heartbreaking but simultaneously comforting and knowing, there has probably not been a better couplet about a man's perspective of love in the history of dance music: "It's every time I see her / It's every time I see the girl."

Voodoo Ray - A Guy Called Gerald

Hacienda anthem, one of the first acid house tunes to take the UK, the sound of '88. Nuff said.

Pacific State - 808 State

Yes, yes, another Manc crew (including Gerald Simpson, aka A Guy Called Gerald). But this 1989 song is ineffably gorgeous. There's a funky d 'n'b Grooverider version, but the original is the one. Just an edit below, but you get the jist.

You Got The Love - The Source feat Candi Staton

Yes, it's just Frankie Knuckles' Your Love with a new vocal. Yes, it made No 4 upon its release in 1991 and is as well known by your mum and dad as by your mates. Yes, the Now Voyager remix was used at the end of the final Sex In The City. But. Just how damn uplifting is the Candi Staton vocal? The way she sings "Occasionally," is enough to make this solid gold tuneage.

Big Fun - Inner City

Pop techno genius from Detroit legend Kevin Sanderson. Good Life is perhaps more immediate, but this 1988 stormer is so damn cool it should have a picture of Johnny Depp on the record sleeve.

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