*In his bedroom
It’s hard to write about acid house - the subject has been squeezed by a million blogposts til there’s little left to say. But still, I’m trying to plow through my 20+ years of rave records, and there’s no way I can skip the acid out completely. To bring some fresh perspective, I thought this week I’d pull out some 80s European reactions to acid. Over in the UK we have a tendency to eulogise American acid house – pretty understandable really since the yanks invented the stuff – but this means a whole host of excellent early European acid gets over looked. It’s a funny irony, because by and large, the Americans making the first wave of acid were enthralled by European dance music. The continent was also the only place most of them could make a living outside of their hometowns, and inevitably those visits by the likes of Tyree and DJ Pierre led to young producers in Paris, Berlin and London scrambling to acquire their own 303s to abuse.
Last time I checked, the records I’m posting today are all available off Discogs for next to nothing, which seems crazy, but there you go, it's a dumb market driven by fashion - exploit it!
First up I’ve got 12”s from This Ain’t Chicago and Beatmasters – both have a fair claim to be England’s first proper acid house record, with This Ain’t Chicago’s ‘Ride the Rhythm’ the more explicitly ‘acid’ of the two. In something of a rarity, the record has actually got someone shouting ‘Acieed’ over the 303 line, a particularly pleasing British quirk. While those shouts of ‘Acieed’ took over playgrounds everywhere in the late 80s (largely due to the chart success of dodgy pop house cash in ‘They Call It Acieed’) they’re actually pretty sparse on vinyl itself. This mix is on the B Side of the 12” – something that characterises most of the records in this post – the acid tracks where always tucked away on the flip, a chance for producers to mess around with a crazy new toy, little realising they were part of a revolution.
Likewise Beatmasters ‘Acid Burn’ is the flip to a fairly humdrum single – ‘Burn It Up’. S-Express’s Mark Moore is on the board, and he turns the original into a slow, stomping disco acid builder. The track lacks the militant 909 drum pressure of ‘Ride The Rhythm’, but compensates with genuine analogue warmth, and a really funky use of the little silver box.
Over in Belgium, Hypnoteck was the brain child of Pascal Maton, who started out as a New Beat producer before steadily moving into acid house. In this track he was trying to create a Belgian hip house cut, reimagining the so so original as an acid house dub on the flip. I can’t find this dub mix posted anywhere on line, so I guess I’m doing a service by chucking it up here – the A Side is on YouTube, alongwith this intriguing comment from someone called Veto Allen who claims to be one of the original vocalists:
“Believe it or not Punchie, Cedric, Myself. None of our names ever appear on Hypnoteck albums but we were the force and drive behind it. Pascal and Patrice took advantage of young American kids who just wanted to play in the studio. They got rich and all we got was some sneakers. I just played this stuff so my daughter can see where her dad began his talent in Mons Belguim back in the 80s“
If this is the case, I can only wonder if the original MCs ever saw any royalties from the ‘Body Moving’ sample – I’m almost 100% the Beastie Boys lifted it from the acapella that closes the 12”. It’s the same old story really – the history of house is full of great records made by shady bastards. There are copies of this going for 25p on Discogs, but if you’re looking for one, make sure it’s the dub mix, as there are 11 different versions out there, and not all are worth the postage…
Finally, here’s some German action. Again this is an attempt to create acidic hip house. I’m not sure whether the vocals are sampled, or recorded by an American over in Germany, or what (there were loads of G.I.s getting in on the action so I'm guessing the later, pull me up if I'm wrong). This track is taken from a compilation called ‘Generation 2 – The New Sound of Berlin’. At some later point I’m going to revisit this comp as it has some really crazed early house experiments on it. For the moment, I think there’s planty to enjoy in this wonky, menacing 303 work out.
That's enough for this week - just a small tip of the iceberg really, but enough, I hope, to encourage people to have a dig around for stuff from closer to home, there's a lot of it out there, please feel free to let me know if there's any deep classics I should know about ..