If there was a track that summed up the two sides to the rave scene in the early 1990s, it has to be Bizarre Inc’s Playing with Knives, which skips merrily from dark, buzzsaw synth patterns to uplifting piano house.
Formed by DJs Dean Meredith and Mark Archer (the latter would later go on to form rave pranksters Altern 8), Bizarre Inc’s has already surfed into the UK charts with Bizarre Theme/X-Static, and Such a Feeling, before the November 1991 release of Playing With Knives, which cemented the band’s place in rave history.
Yes, it’s a track that has appeared on countless ‘back to the old school’ compilations, and will likely continue to appear on many more, but there’s just something about that breakdown at 1.36; as the listener emerges from the darkness of the warehouse into the daylight of the track’s main piano refrain.
Of course, there are several further trips to the darkside as the track progresses – at 4.03, it all gets a bit full-on – but as commercial dance tracks go, Playing With Knives has stood the test of time better than many of its contemporaries. After all, within months of its release, the charts were full of ‘toy town techno’ reworking of children’s television themes…
The B-Side to the Quadrant Mix, on the Vinyl Solutions label, contains the excellent Plutonic; also well worth a listen.
[Kudos to VinylSolutionRecords for the YouTube upload]