Sunday, 14 August 2022

Hep Hop Excursion

Side 2 of an arguably more 'chiller' than 'chill out' compilation tape, recorded circa July to September 1996.
This selection is weighted towards acts from or based in my birthplace Bristol - Massive Attack, Tricky, Carlton, Earthling - and recorded following (and possibly as a reaction to) the proliferation of trip hop compilations in 1994/1995. The term trip hop was apparently coined by Andy Pemberton in June 1994 and first appeared in Mixmag when he reviewed DJ Shadow & RPM's single In/Flux. However, it also became seemingly inextricably linked with "The Bristol Sound", even though many of the tagged artists either had already or would soon transcend such a label.  
Renegade Soundwave deliver a suitably spine-tingling take on Pop Will Eat Itself's Underbelly. I remember hearing this over the Virgin Megastore PA when PWEI's remix album Two Fingers My Friends! was released and it was enough for me to shell out for the limited edition 2CD there and then. 
Another album I bought on spec, having read about but not heard, was ISDN by The Future Sound Of London although I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for. ISDN is a 15-track album edited together from various live broadcasts that FSOL had transmitted during 1994 to radio stations all over the world using ISDN networking, then a relatively new technology. 
Hot Knives featured on the initial limited edition (of 10,000) "cruciform velcro-sealed embossed card case with separate card sleeve". What the Discogs description doesn't mention is that visually ISDN is also a dead ringer for Spinal Tap's Smell The Glove (or original motion picture soundtrack album, if you're a pedant). ISDN was reissued six months later with a more conventional sleeve design and jewel case and a slightly different tracklisting, swapping out three tracks from the original issue, including Hot Knives.

Scorn was formed in 1991 by Mick Harris and Nik Bullen, both ex-Napalm Death and quite far removed from the music of their former band. I only have two CDs by Scorn, the Deliverance EP and Ellipsis. Both are remix projects so possibly unrepresentative of Scorn’s output as a whole, but sphincter-troubling electronic music all the same. By the time of Ellipsis, Scorn had become a solo vehicle for Mick Harris, the album mostly remixing tracks from their last album as a duo, 1994's Evanescence. I have no idea what the original version of Night Tide sounds like but here Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud rebuilds the track around his trademark use of mobile phone and police radio scanners to disturbing effect.

Finally, an honourable mention for several of my favourite chanteuses, all featured here with standout tracks: Martina Topley-Bird, Róisín Murphy, Sarah Cracknell and Tracey Thorn.
If you're feeling the heat again today - a peak of 33°C is expected in my neck of the woods - then stick this on for 45 minutes and you may start to experience shivering and goosebumps, which may help.

1) Underbelly (Renegade Soundwave Blackout Mix): Pop Will Eat Itself (1995)
2) Aftermath (Version 1): Tricky ft. Martina Topley-Bird (1994)
3) 1 To 1 Religion (Skankapella Remix By Dobie): Bomb The Bass ft. Carlton (1994)
4) Dominoid (Radio Mix): Moloko (1996)
5) Hot Knives (Live ISDN Transmission, VPRO Radio, Netherlands): The Future Sound Of London (1994)
6) Night Tide (Scanner - "Flaneur Electronique" Mix): Scorn (1995)
7) Gone (Alter Ego Decoding Gone, Pt. 2): David Holmes ft. Sarah Cracknell (1995)
8) Protection (7" Edit): Massive Attack ft. Tracey Thorn (1994)
9) Nefisa (Faraway Moses) (Remix By Plunderphonics): Earthling (1995)

1994: 1 To 1 Religion EP: 3
1994: Aftermath EP: 2
1994: ISDN (limited edition first issue): 5 
1994: Protection EP: 8
1995: Ellipsis: 6 
1995: Gone EP: 7 
1995: Nefisa EP: 9
1995: Two Fingers My Friends!: 1
1996: Dominoid EP: 4

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