Add some Halloween Horror to your DJ set with Vincent Price’s isolated ‘Thriller’ rap…

Nothing screams Halloween like Michael Jackson’s Thriller, released in November 1982, and while Quincy Jones’ epic bass hook is off the hook, Vincent Price’s closing rap, written by Rod Temperton, is what many fans remember most fondly of this disco funk classic.

For DJs looking to add some extra spice to their mix this Halloween, the isolated vocal is just the ticket – drop it on top of an evil techno cut, hardcore, drum n bass… it works a treat.

“And though you fight to stay alive,
Your body starts to shiver…
For no mere mortal can resist,
The evil of the THRILLER…!!!”

[Kudos to Andrea Azn for the upload]

Ready, steady, fashion! What to wear raving in 1993… [January 1993]

Music and fashion have gone hand in hand for more than half a century, and this article from Smash Hits in early 1993 sought to shed some light on what the self-respecting raver should have in his or her wardrobe for the coming year.

And who better to offer some sage advice than The Beloved’s Jon Marsh (who would go on to chart success later that year with Sweet Harmony), who journalist Sylvia Patterson notes should know a thing or two about dance fashion ‘after ten years of raving’.

“Dance fashion should be the clothes that people wear when they go dancing, not the expensive clothes that people wear to pose around in. I don’t think there should be any rules. If people make you feel insecure because you haven’t got the right clothing, then the problem lies with them.”

The interview also takes a saucy turn (let’s not forget, this is Smash Hits), as Marsh recalls that “the last clubs I went to, most people ended up taking most of their clothes off, so what are we talking about here?! That’s the sign of a really rad club. In the New York gay clubs I’ve seem people take them all off – completely naked on the dance floor. It’s cool, the only problem there is where d’you put your cloakroom ticket?”

On the same double page spread, Apache Indian (remember him?) offers advice on how to maintain the ‘bhangra’ image on a trip down the local supermarket, in an interview with Pete Stanton.

[Kudos to Lansure’s Music Paraphernalia for the upload. Photos by Neilio]

NME heads to Manchester to sample the ‘real’ Acid House scene… [October 1988]

“In magazines I read of the ‘London House Explosion’ and how they thought it up… that’s ludicrous! It’s been played in Manchester for years…”

This article from the NME, by journalist Sarah Champion, puts the spotlight on the Manchester scene circa late 1988; at a time when much of the British press’ attention was on nights such as Shoom and Spectrum in London, the northern city had a nascent scene of its own… and was keen to spread the word about it.

There are inputs from artists such as Terrajacks, Mike Pickering and Biting Tongues, and a somewhat amusing anecdote about A Guy Called Gerald, fresh from the success of Voodoo Ray:

‘There’s a story going round that proves this guy’s dedication. After jacking in his McDonald’s job for a career in house, his dole claim forms were caught up in the postal strike. For six weeks he has been penniless. But despite lacking even enough money for a bus fare, he still made it to the studio last week… by walking seven miles across town lugging his SIX ‘acid machines’ in carrier bags…’

And of course, a welcome chunk of the article is devoted to The Hacienda; as its PR man Paul Conns states: “The Hacienda has always been ahead of The South. In London, Acid House is all a scam, because they’re just starting to re-release tracks that were played in The Hacienda two years ago, and sell it as something totally new.”

[Kudos to Archived Music Press for the upload, Picture by Peter Walsh, NME 1988]

Set these dancing pixels to your favourite tune, sit back and enjoy…

Sometimes you come across a website that just makes listening to music a whole lot more fun…

Ivan Dixon‘s Pug of War Tumblr blog is well known in the ‘pixel art’ community for its dancing 8-bit GIF representations of celebrities, cartoon characters and even political figures.

Here’s David Bowie in his various guises…

And here’s David Brent…

Here’s Donald Trump…

And here’s Bernie Sanders…

And here are some of the characters from Shaun of the Dead… 🙂

Pretty awesome stuff.

What we love most of all, however, is how well each character seems to bop in time with most early Chicago house tracks, try it yourself and watch the hours of boredom at work just melt away…!

Check pug-of-war.tumblr.com for more. Keep up the good work Ivan!

SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND: Sasha & Digweed, Ministry of Sound’s Sixth Birthday [September 1997]

It’s hard to believe that the Northern Exposure mix series – arguably the mixes that established Sasha & John Digweed as dance music’s partnership du jour (following the duo’s earlier Renaissance pairing) – is 21 years old this year.

Last September, Digweed surprised listeners to his long-running Transitions radio show when he uncovered a classic show from the vaults, taken from the publicity tour for Northern Exposure and recorded live at Ministry of Sound‘s sixth birthday.

The mix, from September 1997, is a fantastic journey through house, prog and trance; a relic from a time when genres didn’t really matter, as long as the tunes were pumping.

Capricorn’s 20Hz, Morgan King’s I’m Free, Plush Plastique’s Dr King’s Dream and the excellent Wormhole by Tom Wax & Jan Jacarta are some of the standout tracks. Play it LOUD…!

THROWBACK THURSDAY: OFF – Electrica Salsa [1986]

As Sven Väth celebrates his 53rd birthday, 909originals celebrates one of the diamonds in the Cocoon maestro’s bejewelled crown.

Under the pseudonym OFF, Sven released Electrica Salsa in 1986, the first single off the Organisation for Fun album. With its fantastically anarchic video – Watch Sven dance with a robot! Watch Sven dance with a beer hall full of confused Germans! Watch Sven gurn for the camera! – the track was a hit in Italy, where it hit the number one spot, as well as achieving hit status in Austria (2), Germany (3) and France (3).

In the UK, where Wham! and The Commundards were among that year’s biggest selling artists, Electrica Salsa achieved a lowly 86th position. Boo!

Considering what Sven has achieved in the years since, it’s reassuring to know that he was just as bonkers three decades ago as he is right now.

All together now…

I warn you about my secret,
I’m going to expose…
A great threat to your bodies,
To your mind and souls.
Don’t be alarmed,
It doesn’t spell danger,
Stumble in the groove,
Dance with a stranger…
Don’t have to ask you to get up
You’ll do it on your own!
Ba BAAAA ba BAAAAA!!!

Happy birthday Sven, you absolute mentaler…! [Kudos to Benito Benites for the upload]

He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy… [1989]

Heaven has been a part of London clubland for more than a generation – first opening as a roller disco in 1979 before evolving into arguably the most famous gay club in the world.

Not that its transition always ran smoothly, however. Entrepreneur Richard Branson‘s Virgin Group took over the club in 1982, with the opportunistic Branson being “one of the first to identify the burgeoning ‘pink pound'”, as the club’s Wikipedia page puts it.

Seven years later, however, amidst fears that acid house culture was poisoning Britain’s youth, Branson too fell foul of the gutter press, with the News of the World publishing an ‘exclusive’ report in 1989, claiming that Heaven was ‘A Drugs Hell’, with “evil dealers selling youngsters killer Ecstasy pills – under the noses of anti-drugs campaigner Branson’s security staff…”

“See me inside and I’ll see you alright,” a ‘denim-clad cockney’ is claimed to have uttered.

The reaction to the article, and those that followed in other papers, however, was not what the hacks may have bargained for, with gay rights campaigners accusing the paper of victimising the then mostly-underground LGBT scene in order to sell more papers.

Branson, meanwhile, held on to Heaven until 2003, eventually selling to a consortium that included the original club manager, David Inches.

[Image sourced from Class of 808]

Why Fischerspooner decided to re-‘Emerge’…with a little help from Michael Stipe

When the annals of electro-pop are written, Emerge by Fischerspooner deserves to be considered as the Gimme Shelter or Hey Jude of the genre – from the bubbling synth intro to Lizzy Yoder’s lyrical climax, it’s four minutes and forty-six seconds of pure exuberance…

Since that scintillating debut (accompanying album #1 was electroclash’s first masterpiece), the group, led by Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner have kept a relatively low profile, rock-tinged 2005 follow up Odyssey notwithstanding.

Now, however, the group are back with a new album, Sir, produced and co-written by no other than R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe. And as this fascinating conversation in Interview magazine between Spooner and Stipe reveals, the two have known each other for a long time… close to thirty years.

“God, I can’t remember where we first met,” Spooner recalls.

“We were in Athens [Georgia],” Stipe responds. “I was your first lover. Do you really want to go there? I was 28. You were 18. We hit it off big time. You had a lot to learn, I had a lot to learn.”

What follows is a uniquely personal interview between a semi-retired rock legend, and an artist readying for a second run at stardom. As Stipe tells his compatriot: “The bravado in your approach to live shows is so inspiring. It’s jumping-off-the-cliff fearlessness. And I feel like you’ve grown a great deal as a lyricist in the making of this record. You’ve learned to trust your instincts and not overthink everything. That’s where all of us tend to get lost. We try to imbue things with so much meaning—square peg in round hole.

“At the age of 57, I’ve realized that nothing should be square peg in round hole. Everything should flow and work naturally.”

Sir will be released in February 2018. For details of live shows, visit the Fischerspooner Facebook page.

Welcome back guys…

Full on cartoon rave hysteria…

A few weeks back, The Guardian ran an enjoyable piece on how ‘cartoon rave’ changed pop – with the likes of Sesame’s Treet by Smart E’s and Urban Hype’s Trip to Trumpton taking over the charts in mid 1992.

‘Some people called this kind of music cartoon rave. Others called it toytown techno,’ the paper wrote. ‘Whatever the name, it proved a brief phenomenon, fading away by autumn 1992, to the delight of more seriously minded rave DJs. Yet this uniquely British sensation, where nostalgia met new electronic production tools and a sense of humour, helped to introduce a generation of children to the joys of electronic music, while many of its producers went on to considerable success.’

This mix, posted by YouTube user Happier onheat, shows just how extensive this microtrend was, with tracks sampling shows such as The Magic Roundabout, Bod, The Muppets, Rainbow and even The Simpsons.

It also contains Horsepower by Bolt, which I have to confess is a guilty pleasure… 🙂

Tracklisting:

Mark Summers – Summers Magic
GSP – Banana Splits (Cut It Out mix)
Gavin Cheung – Here Comes Bod
Solo – Rainbow
Shaft – Roobarb & Custard
Sons Of Bungle – Rainbow Vibes
Unknown – The Simpsons
Bolt – Horsepower
SOA – Muppets Mayhem
Smart E’s – Loos Control (Sesame Street rave mix)
Children’s Stories – (Charlie &) The Chocolate Factory
Nexus & Blowback – Totally Cabbaged

Amnesia Ibiza: Opening Party, 25 years ago… [1992]

Ibiza was a well-known stop off point on the global hippy trail in the 1970s, and it was this promise of a new beginning that led a young businessman from Madrid to the island to open a nightclub mid way between Ibiza town and San Antonio.

The club initially called The Workshop of Forgetfulness, was soon christened Amnesia, and with that, clubbing culture changed forever.

In the early 1990s, Amnesia was restructured into the sprawling complex it is today, featuring the Main Room and the Terrace, where it would go on to host unforgettable nights such as Cream, Matinee, La Troya and Cocoon, which recently completed its 18th season there (details of the accompanying The Sound Of The 18th Season mix have just been released).

This YouTube video from 1992 shows the main room and terrace in full swing, with tracks including Moby’s Go and DHS’ House of God – not to mention some serious hippy drumming – keeping the punters entertained.

Long live Amnesia…

[Video uploaded by Amnesia Ibiza, picture from www.amnesia.es]