THROWBACK THURSDAY: Lionrock – Are You Willing To Testify? [1993]

With tech house titan Justin Robertson heading to Dublin this weekend for the latest instalment of the Phever Legends Series (click here for more details), 909originals delves into the Surrey native’s back catalogue and a stomper from 1993.

Are You Willing To Testify? features on the Carnival EP, just the second release form Robertson’s group Lionrock (alongside Roger Lyons, and MC Buzz B), and features one of the most insane vocal breakdowns in early 90s dance music:

“Brothers and sisters, the time has come for each and every one of you to decide whether you are gonna be the problem, or whether you are gonna be the solution….You must choose, brothers, you must choose.

“It takes five seconds, five seconds of decision. Five seconds to realize your purpose here on the planet. It takes five seconds to realize that it’s time to move. It’s time to get down with it. Brothers, it’s time to testify and I want to know: Are you ready to testify?”

That sample, lifted from the MC5’s Ramblin’ Rose, comes at the midway point of a classic helping of early progressive house, coming at the listener, as one Discogs user put it, like a “maelstrom of percussive incisions”.

The formation of Lionrock was something of an accident – as a producer, a band Robertson was working with didn’t turn up one day, “so I thought I’d just use the time for my own music, because I waste a lot of my good ideas on other people’s work,” he told MTV in 1997 – but it would establish him as a big name producer, and somebody unafraid to mash genres together, as his later work with The Deadstock 33s and Revtone illustrated.

“Rather than stealing wholesale, I like to mix in bits of jazz, bits of ’60s pop or the Who alongside contemporary electronic influences,” he explained.

With a back catalogue this strong, it seems Robertson found the winning formula at an early stage. Dublin will be in for a treat.

Justin Robertson plays Yamamori Tengu in Dublin this Saturday 27 April, alongside Paddy Sheridan and Jay Murphy, as part of the Phever Legends Series. For more information, click here.

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